What to pack when planning your backpacking trip is always a tough question, Do you pack to much and get stuck with lugging around a heavy backpack or do you pack to little and have the opposite problem of never having enough clothes and having to always do your washing.
Reflecting back on the list of items I took for my last trip backpacking through Latin America. I definitely could have done it a lot lighter,and gotten away with packing probably half the amount of clothes, Taken out a bunch of useless silly items I had in my backpack. But at the end of the day even now when packing my bag the second time for Asia/Europe just because I can travel with half the amount of stuff and half the amount of clothes, doesn’t mean that I should or want to.
“But you should cut down weight in your backpack as much as possible!”
When seeking advice on what to pack the common response I get is to take as little as possible, and while I agree travelling light is certainly preferable, but for me I have never been very good at doing that. I just don’t see the point of halving the number of shirts, underwear, socks etc that im carrying just to save 1-2kg and travelling with like 2-3 of each. When the ramifications of that is I have to either wash my own clothes or visit a laundry every 3-4 days instead of being able to last 7-10 days without doing washing.
The price and hassle of doing frequent laundry eventually adds up especially when travelling on a budget
- Doing laundry more frequently can get expensive (Image: Darwinbell)
If I was planning on going on doing multiple adventure treks battling through the jungle with the weight of my backpack baring down on my shoulders,sure I would cut down the amount of stuff in my backpack. But for me and most backpackers the reality is far from that.You only are going to be carrying your backpack from hostel to hostel and at worst you might have to walk 20-30 minutes across town.
- When on my multiple day Machu Pichu Trek I left most of my backpack contents at hostel.
In the few rare time’s you do go on a multiple day trek. Like I did when I went on a 3 day Inka Jungle Machu Pichu Trek, You take out all items not needed for that trek and leave them at the hostel.
Pack light, You can always buy more stuff on the road!
I agree with this statement, You can buy stuff on the road. However it also depends on where you are going. If you are travelling to cheaper countries such as Asia/Latin America you can easily pick up clothes cheap. However if you are travelling through more expensive part’s of the world having to buy more clothes can quickly add up to a lot of money especially when your trying to travel long term on a shoestring.
It really all depends on the type of travelling you are doing. If you are planning long term, short term, expect to be carrying your backpack a lot, Are in an area where it’s cheap and accessible to buy new stuff if you need it. Another thing to take into consideration is if you are flying a lot making sure your luggage is within the right right luggage limits.
For me I have a bit of a backwards approach to this. As I am in the situation where I will be leaving overseas for 2 years or more. I place no value on the clothes that I leave behind, By the time I get back home I won’t really care about them. I would rather pack a little more on the heavy side and leave/donate any clothes I find are not useful as I travel.
At the end of the day you have to pack your backpack in a way that’s comfortable to you.
To see what I packed on my trips check out the following posts
What I’m Packing For Asia/Europe Backpacking Adventure! (Coming September 3rd)
What To Pack For A 6 Month Backpacking Adventure In Latin America.
How do you like to pack when you travel? Do you always pack as minimally as possible or do you like to over pack and deal with the little bit of extra weight?