How to Pack a Backpack for Traveling

How to Pack a Backpack for Traveling

Traveling is exciting and offers many benefits. These adventure-filled journeys are a great way to learn more about the world, different people, and their cultures. It’s fun to explore new cities or to marvel at some of nature’s most beautiful sights.

Your backpack will become one of your best friends because this useful item will carry all your essentials while you are traveling. Depending on your trip, you may need to pack different belongings.

How to Pack a Backpack for Traveling

Start with the Best Backpack

A high-quality backpack is an absolute must when traveling. Backpacks come in many different types. You can use frame or hiking packs, frameless packs, carryon bags, minimalist bags, day packs, waterproof packs, and many others.

The biggest difference between these types of backpacks is typically the design and size of the bag.

Day bags or weekend backpacks are usually much smaller than your large hiking bags. Frame backpacks are designed with a structure to keep the bag straight because they are bigger, longer, and are designed with plenty of space and add-ons.

The ideal backpack should have enough room to contain at least 3 days of equipment. Anything more than this may become too heavy for you to comfortably travel with. Look for a backpack that has the following:

  • Separate laptop compartment
  • Organizational panel in the front pocket for small items
  • Small front pockets for items like a phone
  • Side pockets for water bottle pockets
  • Large main compartment
  • Hooks to attach additional items such as a sleeping bag or sleep mat

Basically, you need a backpack that has a lot of pockets so you can stay organized while traveling. Backpacks with additional features such as waterproof material or a raincoat are also good features to look for when shopping for a good bag.

Figure Out What You Need for The Trip and What to Pack

One of the first things to keep in mind when you are choosing your packing list is the weight of the backpack. Bags can get heavy pretty quickly, which means you should only bring along the bare necessities.

It is better to do laundry on your trip than to carry too many clothes. It’s also better to buy food on your trip than to lug around heavy food items.

How to Pack a Backpack for Traveling

Here is a quick look at the travel gear you should include on your packing list:

First Aid Kit – Invest in a quality mini first aid kit that includes necessary medications such as pain tablets, fever medication, tummy medication, motion sickness pills, and some antihistamine. Wound treatments such as plasters, a pair of scissors, and wound balms are also good investments in case you obtain minor cuts and bruises.

Steri Kit – Hand sanitizers are always handy to have on your trip. With hand sanitizer and other sterilizers, you can clean equipment and keep yourself healthy despite being exposed to foreign germs and bacteria outdoors.

Pack of Wet wipes – Wet wipes are a must when you’re on the go. The wipes are ideal for wiping down anything, whether it’s your phone and hands after eating or your body if you cannot find a place to bathe.

Towel – Invest in a compact sports towel like those quick-dry microfiber towels that are designed for gym goers. A large and bulky towel will take up too much space while the microfiber towers are quick to dry and compact.

Washbag – A wash bag with mini shampoo, conditioner, body wash or soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, and washcloth are a must-have for any trip.

Wallet – It is important to not forget about your wallet that holds all the important cards you may need such as driver’s license, identification card, bank card, and other items you might need for the journey.

Travel Documents – You should also remember travel documents such as your passport and visa. Additional travel aids such as a map can be handy, although you might as well invest in a data package with access to a digital map on Google to reduce unnecessary weight in your bag.

Pair of Shoes – Ideally, you should bring at least 2 pairs of shoes. One pair should be practical for walking long distances and the second pair should be practical for walking around the beach or house comfortably. Invest in quality shoes that offer you the necessary support that is stylish enough to wear anywhere.

Your Clothes – If possible, you should only pack for three days. Clothes can be very heavy and can take up a lot of space in your backpack. You should also check the weather for your travel destinations and pack accordingly.

Try to choose flexible and comfortable clothing items that you can mix and match to create different looks with the limited number of clothing items. It is smart to take at least one jacket even if you are traveling during summer.

Take your time when you are choosing your clothing items. You need to pick quality pieces that are easy to clean, lightweight, and look stylish.

Rain Jacket – You do not want to get all soaked for two main reasons: It can be hard to properly dry your clothes when you are on the go and you do not want to get sick while traveling.

A good rain jacket that can fold into a compact size is a must, if you are traveling anywhere during the rainy season.

Few Water Bottles – A good quality reusable water bottle or two is a must for your trip.

A water bottle is great to have if you have a backpack with a built-in hydration bladder because these bottles are ideal for filling up the bladder with water at any given spot and can be used to conceal what you are drinking while you are on the go.

Your Laptop or Tablet – If you can survive without a laptop or tablet, then feel free to leave these items at home. These tech devices are quite heavy and are unnecessary if you have a smartphone.

Modern smartphones are perfectly capable of taking pictures, sending emails, chatting on social media, making calls, navigating your way to the next location, reading, finding travel information, and so much more.

If you must take a laptop, you should invest in a smaller laptop and get a backpack with a separate compartment. If possible, you should leave these bulky tech devices behind.

Your Phone – Your phone is an absolute must for your journey because these devices can be used for almost anything. It is your map, camera, GPS, information center, emergency aid, Facebook, Twitter, and much more in one small and light device.

But you should still take some time to download and install the right apps so you can book accommodations or find places with ease.

Adapter Plug – Electric plugs in other countries may differ from the ones you normally use. Invest in at least one adapter plug for your trip so you can recharge your phone and other tech devices whenever you need to.

Sleeping Bag – A sleeping bag is a handy investment when you are either booking backpacking accommodations or sleeping in a tent. With your sleeping sack, you will always have a warm blanket to cover your body or a cozy place to stay in no matter where your travels might take you.

Sleeping Mat – If you are planning to sleep in a tent on your journey, then you really need to consider a sleeping mat. These mats are ideal for providing an extra layer to your sleeping area, which can prevent a lot of stiff muscles on your trip. They are also ideal to roll out at any given area so you can sit comfortably.

Tent – Most travelers prefer to stay in cabins as their backpacking accommodations. If you are not guaranteed a place to sleep at night, a tent can be a beneficial add-on.

Camping Cookware Set – Many accommodations are self-catering, and it would be very nice to have a hot meal after a long day of traveling.

Camping cookware sets are designed to be remarkably compact since the smaller pots fit inside the larger pots. Specific sets include cutlery sets.

Some spices – If you are planning to cook along the way, a few basic and compact spice packs can come in handy.

Ideally, you should bring a packet of delicious mixed spices that can be used on just about any food. The right spices can make a huge difference in the way your food tastes.

Pocket Knife – A good pocket knife has over 100 uses. A Swiss army knife is one of the best items to include in your backpack.

Lighter – A good quality lighter is one of those bare essential items that you always need to carry with you. They are handy for making a fire for cooking or lighting candles.

Torch – A good torch is always great to have on hand even if you choose to stay in accommodations such as guest houses. You never know when you might need to take a walk at nighttime.

Small Snacks – Food can be heavy, which means you probably shouldn’t pack too much for your trip. You should always have a few snacks in your backpack.

Snacks such as health bars or energy bars can give you an energy boost when you feel tired and a sweet treat is a must, in case your blood sugar levels drop too low after walking long distances.

How to Pack a Backpack for Traveling

One of the worst things you can do is to simply stuff all belongings into your bag.

It is very important to have an organization system when packing for your trip. A system makes it much easier to find what you are looking for when you are constantly moving and need to access things at any given moment.

How to Pack a Backpack for Traveling

Here are some of the best packing tips to keep in mind when you are packing your travel backpacks:

Consider Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are ideal for keeping everything in your backpack organized. You can have a different packing cube for different types of items.

For example, you can add all your cooking utensils and spices to one packing cube, your toiletries in another, underwear in another, and electronics in a different cube.

Compress Your Load

The way you pack your belongings can have a huge impact on how much space your equipment will handle. There are lots of ways to compress your belongings effectively.

One way is to fill your shoes with socks before adding them to your carry bag. Another good tip is to roll your clothes instead of folding them so your clothes will take up less space.

You can also use external straps to compress your backpack so everything will be firmer, compact, and smaller on your back.

Leave Your Carry-On

Carry-on bags are great for carrying small items but for long trips, it is best to leave a carry bag at home. These tiny bags don’t have enough space for all of your clothes, and it can be hard to move around when your hands are full.

Mind Your Weight Distribution

Your back is stronger in certain areas, which means it is more comfortable when the weight of the backpack is distributed evenly. A good example is a tall backpack with lots of heavy items on the top. These backpacks can cause a lot of strain on your shoulders because most of the weight is carried on your upper back.

The heaviest items need to be placed closest to your spine in the middle of your backpack. You should also lay a laptop flat against the backpack so your back will feel more comfortable and reduce the likelihood of these pricey items getting stolen while traveling.

Items with moderate weight can be placed at the top of your backpack with lightweight items at the base of your backpack. When the weight of your backpack is balanced and centered, you can move around longer without feeling fatigue or pain.

Pack Your Belongings Based on Needs

Items that you use more frequently should be placed in areas where you can easily access these gears. Organizing and packing your backpack in a practical way will make it easier to find what you are looking for.

Here are a few travel tips on the best methods to efficiently organize and pack:

Plan Your Trips – Figure out the best way to pack your travel bag by carefully considering what you will do that day. Place items you will frequently use in pockets where you can easily access these items.

Items that you are less likely to use during the trip can be packed in the main compartment under your clothes. You should also pack your backpack around your daily schedule.

If you are passing through a border, it is better to have your travel documents within reach. If you are not planning to cross the border for several days, then you can keep travel documents in the main compartment and keep other items such as water and lip balm close by.

Place Clothes in the Main Compartment – Your backpack’s main compartment is the biggest, making it ideal for big packing cubes carrying your clothing items. Clothes are usually the heaviest items in your bag. People find it much easier to move when heavier items are placed in the middle of the bag.

Place small items in your hip belt pockets or front pockets. Small items can be quite bouncy and annoying to carry in your pant pockets. It is better to keep items like a smartphone, lip balm, credit cards, travel documents, and identification cards in these pockets where you can easily access these items.

Place Water Bottles in The Proper Compartments – Your water bottles should be placed in the side compartments. If you have a backpack with a hydration bladder, you should put the bladder at the very top of your bag because you will most likely refill it frequently.

Remember to Pack the Corners – We often forget to stuff the corners of the bag as much as possible. You will be surprised at how much stuff you can pack in these tiny areas. Packing the corners can also save you a lot of space in your travel gear.

Hook Your Sleeping Bag at the Base of the Bag – Your sleeping bag is a handy item to sit on in all terrains. Many backpacks come with a false bottom.

This bottom compartment is the ideal place for your backpack because it gives your bag a good base. It is also a great area to store items you don’t use every day such as smart clothes that are more suitable for going out.

Pack Shoes at the Base of the Bag – The extra pair of shoes you carry around should be placed at the base of the bag. This way, your shoes won’t emit bad odors in your backpack and can be easily accessed in case a sudden hiking expedition or a small adventure occurs.

Place Your Emergency Kit Close to the Top of Your Bag – Injuries are the last thing you want to think about on your journey, but many things can happen on a trip.

A good practice for safety precautions is to place your emergency kit close to the top of your pack so you can easily access things like headache tablets or band-aids when you need them.

Other items such as medications should also be kept close by so you can stay healthy and safe while enjoying your journey.

Remember Your Raincoat – Many backpacks come with a built-in raincoat but if yours doesn’t have one, be sure to pack a raincoat into your backpack.

It would be terribly difficult to dry off your clothing items while traveling and you wouldn’t want to get sick on your journey. Remember, traveling should be fun!

Place Snacks in Easily Accessible Compartments – Despite the little space available, it is still a good idea to put a few snacks in your bag. You can stuff snacks in the tiny and loose pockets of your backpack so you can reach these items with ease.

If you want to avoid snacking too much, you should consider putting your snacks in your main compartment so it’s more difficult to reach and thus, reduce the constant nibbling.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the best travel tips and have a backpack that is properly packed with packing cubes, you can travel more comfortably with ease. It is very important to carefully think about the clothes and other gear you want to include so you don’t end up bringing something you will likely not use.

We hope that the tips we offered in this guide helped reduce some weight in your backpack so you can travel comfortably.

If you would like to know more about the best backpack to buy or if you need more advice on the best ways to pack a backpack, you should read some of our other guides where we discuss and share other packing tips along with buying guides on the best travel gear to buy right now.

1 thought on “How to Pack a Backpack for Traveling”

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