So, you have learnt what to pack from the last post and now you want to know how to pack. Here are my top 7 tips for packing the perfect pack!
- Put shoes at the bottom
As discussed in my article on The Ultimate Backpacking List for Beginners you should have around three pairs of shoes. These are easiest to put at the bottom of your bag. I find this easiest because shoes are easy to be dropped on the ground and sat on when you are waiting for transport as they do not easily get damaged. Also, the bottom of the pack is usually the dirtiest and this is ok for shoes. You definitely would not want to put your underwear at the bottom of your bag. I recommend pushing your shoes together and if you can find rubber bands then use these to keep them secure. I find that if you must, then putting wet shoes at the bottom limits the spread of wetness and dirtiness to the rest of your bag.
- Heavy and flat stuff against your back
The idea behind this is that the closer the heaviest items are to your back the better your pack will feel. Imagine if you had put a 5kg weight on the outside of your back vs directly against your back. Against your back, the weight will feel as if it is a part of your body whereas the further away it is the more it will cause strain on your shoulders and give into unwanted rotation as the pack hinges off your hips.
- Underwear and socks in a dry bag
This one is pretty simple and about hygiene and comfort. If something unfortunate happens to your pack, the last thing you want is for your underwear and socks to become dirty, wet and all around filthy. I recommend grabbing a dry bag as they last longer than just a cheap garbage bag. These can purchased from most outdoor shops.
- Roll your clothes and find gaps
For clothes that don’t need to be pristine and folded, try rolling them and finding gaps within your pack. I find that this saves space and keeps pack size to a minimum. This is a very handy technique if you have a waterproofed pack as you don’t have to worry about putting all your clothes in dry bags.
- Have the medical kit easily accessible
This is an important one! I have found that medical kits are used much more than they you would ever want them to be used. Make sure to have a well-stocked medical kit that can be pulled out of your pack at a moment’s notice.
- Have cards handy
For all those times when wi-fi is scarce and the waits are long…
- Keep the raincoat at the top of your pack
Most packs will have a zip at the very top of the pack. I recommend putting your raincoat in this compartment as it is easily accessible. Make sure to definitely have a raincoat if you are travelling throughout the tropics in the rainy season.
I hope my 7 tips for packing the perfect pack come in handy when preparing for your next adventure!