Getting tired of digging through your backpack?
Doing a sort of “jump sit” to get your pack to close or zip up?
Well then, you probably got way too much gear than you need to be carrying or your backpack can even hold!
So how do you get all that “stuff” to morph and to fit in your sack?
Firstly, you MUST think outside the box.
Any seasoned backpacker knows the key to get your gear to fit is to be highly creative on how to shove everything in there!
Tip #1: Ask yourself, “Do I need that?”
Do I need my TV or 5 pairs of shoes? Take only a pair of flip flops and wear those trail running shoes for everything.
Do I need this or that, “just in case”?
Unless you are going to a place where no necessities will be for sale, then leave it behind because you can always buy as you need on your travels.
Pack only the essentials. Your clothing, socks, underwear… of course your electronics. You could also simply wrap your t-shirts or other essentials around your electronics to save space.
Tip #2: Using a “Stuffsack”
I use a ‘stuffsack’ for my clothes to compress them. Just like with those food savers or those bags to store blankets where your vacuum will suck the air out to save space… same concept. These small little bags do semi the same thing. Since I am a neat freak and like to stay organized, I use these. Don’t have to dig around in my backpack either.
I can highly recommend using this one:Liberty Mountain Stuff Sack
You’ll be surprised how little you need.
Tip #3: Small Essentials
I like to bring small travel size shampoo, conditioner, deodorant etc. that you can buy at any store. These can surely fill the corners and small spaces up in your pack to save space. You can also use your sock and undergarments to fill those small spaces up as well.
Same with your medications that you may bring. Take them out of the packaging and stuff them in your pack… taking that even a step further, take the medication out of the bottle or however it is packaged and put them into zip lock bags. This way it is lighter and saves more space.
Tip #4: The “Rolling” Technique
I learned this trick back while I was in the Air Force. “Roll” your clothes instead of folding them. Doing so squeezes all that unused air out from in between your shirts and pants creating a smaller surface area. That way they don’t wrinkle as much and of course does save space.
Tip #5: Form Your Backpack Foundation
I always put my most heavy and most largest items first on the bottom of my backpack. Whether its your sleeping bag or hammock… When you do this, your pack forms a nice foundation for the lighter items.
Bonus Tip! Multifunction Items!
Using a sarong as a towel, a blanket, a sheet or just a sarong. Since sarongs are usually pretty thin and also made of cotton… they are able to dry quickly and don’t take up much space. You can also use them as an extra layer of warmth or protection from those pesky mosquitoes. And obviously, you can wear the sarong too: perhaps when your clothes are drying, or hell, if you just want to do as locals do!
The sarong, in my opinion, is a perfect example of a multi use item as you do not have to carry a towel, a sheet, and an extra pair of lower body clothing. Plus, the sarong is a nice memento of your travels when you get home.