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How to Pack Light When Travelling - Quick Tips and Tricks

Posted by Tim Coles on

It's really easy to overload your bag when heading off on a big trip, especially if you are venturing into a cold climate or going to be away for some time. And with costs for excess baggage and baggage handling fees continuing to rise, learning how to pack light is more important than ever before.   So how do you travel with less weight and bulk and still bring the essentials with you? Below I've included some quick tips to help you pack light when travelling.

Check the weight of your travel pack

Gone are the days of lugging around a suitcase or backpack that weighs a quarter of your baggage limit when empty. With improvements in materials and design, you can now get yourself into a backpack or travel pack between 1 and 2 kilograms. Smaller volume carry-on backpacks with lighter harnesses will also shave weight off your pack. And if you choose to go with a pack that does not require checking-in and can be used as carry-on luggage, then you can get your backpack weight down to less than a kilogram.  Great examples are the Osprey Ozone 35 Litre Carry-On Travel Backpack that weighs just 840 grams! For larger volume travel packs, check out the Osprey Farpoint and Osprey Fariview series that start at 1.4Kg.  These packs have backpack straps and harnesses so that you can carry them on your back if you have a bit of walking to do.  The harness is especially useful if you need to get your bag up a staircase or want to travel a bit faster.

Write a list

Writing a list helps you work out what is really necessary to take on your trip.  Think about the climate you are visiting and the sort of clothing you will require.  List your itinerary and the places you are visiting and the types of clothing and footwear that will be suitable.

Pack multipurpose lightweight and quick-dry clothing

Instead of packing in a pair of trousers and a separate pair of shorts, why not pack a pair of zip-off convertible pants that can be used as both?  You'll save weight by not having to pack an additional item and many of the convertible pants are made in lightweight polyester or nylon, making them quick drying and packable into a  pocket-sized parcel.  And the thermal shirt you have packed as an underlayer for use in icy climates can double as a shirt for use in warmer climates. If you need outer layer clothing that will keep you warm and dry in the cold, then look for clothing that is light and compact and windproof and waterproof.  A lightweight windproof and waterproof jacket worn over a fleece pullover is going to be lighter and give you more clothing options than a hefty 3-in-1 parka or a softshell jacket that still requires a waterproof jacket to go over it.

Wear the heavier gear

Wear your bulkiest items such as boots and jackets and long-sleeve shirts on the plane so they are taking up less room in your backpack.

Use packing cubes and stuff sacks

To help keep your clothes and gear organised and packed into your bag tightly, pop them into  some stuff sacks or packing cells.  These will help compress your gear down and make it easier to find items in your bag when travelling.   If you need to take an extra pair of shoes, fill the space in your shoes with socks and underwear to save on space.

These are just a few ideas that will help you keep your pack light and manageable.  In future posts I'll go into more detail to assist you in selecting appropriate gear for your next trip. Stay tuned!

Tim Coles, Pack Light