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How to Pack a Bag for Travelling

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How to Pack a Bag for Travelling

So you’re about to set off on your travels and have no idea how or even what to pack? Regardless of if you’re going for a month or a year, you will need to travel as light as possible. That’s easier said than done, but with the right advice and equipment you’ll be loading backpacks with no problem.


Image: Shutterstock

Firstly, what to pack;

- A large backpack
- A smaller daysack or hip pack for everyday use
- Travel documents
- Clothing (Avoid bulky clothing – layers are the way to stay warm!)
- Sleeping bag (You may or may not need this depending on where you will be staying)
- Sleeping bag liner (Silk or cotton)
- Comfortable walking shoes and one pair of comfortable sandals/flip flops
- Hiking boots (Again dependent on where you go or if you plan for any treks)
- Shower kit and toiletries
- Sunglasses and a protective case
- First aid kit
- Duct tape
- Camera (with batteries or charger)
- Worldwide travel adaptor
- Luggage locks

This is by no means an exhaustive list but these are some of the basics that most people will require.

Fitting it all in your bag

Next you need to find a way to fit everything in to your bag. Firstly, wear your bulky items such as walking boots, jackets and trousers to travel in. This frees up space in your bag for everything else. Alternatively, you can tie your walking boots to the outside of your bag to save space.

At the bottom of your bag you should place heavier items such as shoes or items that you won’t be using regularly. For example, if you have a rain jacket but won’t need it for weeks, this can sit at the bottom.

Using packing cubes

The next part of your bag should be filled with your clothes. Once you’ve finally chosen exactly what you need, the best way to store them is by using packing cubes. These soft zip lined containers are perfect for long or short journeys and can help to save a lot of space.

Start by arranging your clothes in to different groups like t-shirts, underwear, trousers etc. For each section you can use a different packing cube, so that they are easy to find in your bag. Then tightly roll up each item of clothing to make them as compact as possible in your backpack.

Ultralite Packing Cubes

Ultralite Packing Cubes - From £6.50

Packing toiletries

Keeping all your shower items in a Wash Holdall means you can place the bag towards the top of your backpack so that you can gain easy access to it, giving you the opportunity to freshen up in-between flights.

Wash Holdall

Wash Holdall - £24.99

4 stars - "Previous incarnation a much loved travel companion joining me on a variety of exotic trips far and away over 10 years. New version great but lacks the zipped pocket on the rear and on the interior of the flap, both of which were extremely useful, but has done away with the mesh which got ripped early on." - Noah - 01/05/2015

Where to put your sleeping bag?

Lastly, in your backpack we recommend putting your sleeping bag at the top - although bulky you can squash this in to the bag, this will also act as a layer of protection to your belongings. If you don’t have enough room for this, there will often be room to attach this to the outside of your backpack.

Backpacks that have a variety of different inside and outside compartments are great for putting small miscellaneous items such as umbrellas, duct tape, first aid kits, and sunglasses.

In the day bag

It's best to place your important documents (passport, tickets etc) in a document holder to ensure they stay safe. You can then keep this in your day bag with other important items such as your cash and any electronics.

This is so you can keep them safe, without having to check them in on a flight or store them underneath a bus on long trips. Having small luggage locks is also highly recommended. These can stop people from getting in to your bag quickly and act as a deterrent at the same time. They can also be used on lockers in hostels to store your belongings during the day.

Luxury items

Finally, depending on how much space you have left in your backpack you can also add a few luxury items such as a hammock, luggage scales, cookware and any fun items such as a deck of cards or anything else that might entertain you on long journeys.

All prices correct on date of publish.

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