Backpacking has become one of the most popular forms of travel for those looking to explore the world. If you have a case of wanderlust, then nothing will sate you like a backpacking adventure. You’ll experience the world up-close, you’ll meet new people, indulge in unique cultures and sample delicious food that you won’t find in a restaurant. However, one of the major concerns for backpackers is, well, packing.
You see, backpacking is supposed to be light so you can move around easily. You won’t see backpackers with a suitcase and several bags dangling off their shoulders—it’s just not practical. At most, a backpacker will have one main backpack and perhaps a small shoulder or side bag, but that’s it. Everything they’ll need for several days is going to have to fit in the main bag, and it’s important to pack the right things if you’re going on a backpacking trip that will last several days, weeks or even months.
To help you pack lightly so you can go further, here are a couple of handy tips.
What’s your food and drink situation?
Food is going to be heavy. If you plan to carry several bottles of water, a stove and raw ingredients to cook a meal, then expect to add a lot of weight to your backpack. The remedy? Don’t pack too much food. Learn to live off lighter snacks that don’t take much space or weight, such as protein bars. In terms of water, carry a bottle but nothing more, and take the chance to fill up the bottle whenever you can. Be careful, because some water sources aren’t palatable. Take a look at a water purification guide so you can learn how to source clean drinking water instead of carrying several litres with you.
Focus on sturdy, not fashionable
A mistake that some people make when picking gear for backpacking is they’ll go for fashionable items. It’s understandable that you want to look the part when you approach people, but if you’re backpacking you can’t compromise function for form. Take a look at inexpensive tactical gear for the best backpacks and survival gear that is made to last. Don’t walk into a designer store or your average high street clothing store. You need items that are built to be sturdy and used in survival situations.
Learn the layout
Backpacking should be explorative and fascinating, but it shouldn’t be dangerous. Whether you’re planning on taking public transport or exploring the city on foot, make sure you include a map in your backpack. Yes, a physical map, not a GPS device or your phone. The problem with phones is that they run out of battery fast, and battery banks that hold a lot of power are heavy and bulky. A physical map should weigh hardly anything and it can easily fit in your pocket. Together with a small compass, you can get around easily with a hardcopy map.
If you’re planning to go backpacking, do yourself a favour and skip all the unnecessary items. Focus on lightweight and learn to live off the land, not your technology.