The Importance of Packing Light

Deciding what to take with you on a long trip can be daunting. It is difficult to decide what to take and what to leave at home. Carrying a heavy backpack puts abnormal strain on the spine and can lead to serious injury. However, with some good planning and preparation you can overcome these problems.  I recommend keeping your backpack below twelve kilogrammes.  It's best to pack only the essentials and to leave the luxuries at home. I know it is hard to leave useful items at home, but you will certainly find many more things you love while on the road.

Back in 2011 I was fresh out of college and I was planning my first backpacking trip to New Zealand. A big priority for me was to travel as lightly as possible. I had been hearing stories from my like-minded friends, of how they mistakenly took too much with them on their trips around the world. I was planning on travelling for three months and mountain hiking was included in my itinerary. I knew I would need good quality equipment to be comfortable on my trip, however I did not want to carry a heavy backpack around with me. So I started researching online and I found all the lightweight equipment that I needed. This took almost four kilogrammes off my overall pack weight and I was delighted with the results. I know four kilogrammes doesn't seem like a huge improvement, but shortly after I set off, the value of packing light became clear. I was comfortable and happy while I was moving around and other travellers that I met often seemed envious.

With all this in mind, my advice would be to make a checklist of what you will need to live comfortably. Once you feel your list is reasonable, be strict and don't add to it unless necessary. Lots of lightweight equipment including clothes, technology and camping accessories are widely available from camping stores and online. It's helpful to remember that once you set off you may need to carry extra items with you. For example; in some cases, you will need to carry food and water and this can add considerable weight of your pack. Once you settle into the vibe of backpacking I am sure you will not give a second thought to those items you found hard to leave behind. Backpacking is the art of living with less and enjoying the spirit of the adventure.


My backpack on my trip in New Zealand

Tips and Tricks for Travelling Light

  • If you are desperate for a particular item when you are travelling, then you can buy it locally, or you could ask a family member to post the item to you from home. 
  • If your backpack is compact, you may be able to skip the check in at the airport and take your bag as cabin luggage. This will save you time at the other end and you don't have to leave your pack at the mercy of the baggage handlers.
  • Always bring medical equipment with you because in some parts of the world there are no hospitals. At the very least you should bring a first aid kit
  • I recommend that you bring different layers of clothing with you. This gets you ready for all the different temperatures you will face on your trip, and it will save you from being to hot or to cold at any time. It also saves on weight, as you won't need to pack the bulky thermal items.  
  • A handy tip is to roll your clothes tightly when packing, this is a great space-saving trick, and it also helps to keep your clothes from creasing.
  • There are two kinds of backpackers, those who pack light and those who wish they had. If in doubt, leave it out.   

 I hope this Article has made it easier for you to travel comfortably on your next trip.