How to become a lightpacker?
Basically, this article is going to be a short summary to serve as lightpacking for dummies. As you may have read in my previous article on New Year's resolutions, becoming a lightpacker is high on that list. I have already made some progress, but certainly not enough. At the moment, I am backpacking through Panama and maybe even Costa Rica. Bringing along just a 70 litres backpack, a daypack, and a small crossbody bag with my valuables, I have definitely come to realize that I brought a lot of unnecessary things and my new packing strategy only works to some extent. Did I mention that I also enjoy shopping during my holiday? Let me tell you, that the one postive thing of overpacking is that I will not be spending a lot on a new clothes this holiday. So, here is a list of tips and tricks to become a lightpacker based on the experience of a overpacking expert and some internet research.
1. Rolling your clothes
Clothes take up a lot more space wadded or even folded, compared to rolling your clothes. This allows you to fill up those otherwise empty holes in your bag easily too.
2. Don't pack your bag to optimally and full
Surely, I am not the only one facing this issue again. I did such a good job packing my pack and I took just that much stuff so that I could bring it along. During my holiday I have to carry along some grocery shopping, have to rearrange my stuff, and have dirty laundry that I want to keep seperate, with insufficient space for any of those things. Did I mention that when you fly to a warm country, you will need to keep your jeans and sweater in your backpack/suitcase as well? Well, I am currently facing those issues again. Make sure you pack your bag with the outfit your wearing travelling as well. Some advice for myself and those facing similar issues, leave some space! You can even kid yourself and say it is for shopping. I don't mind, just as long as you start doing it. Mind tip number one here too, if you roll everything packing, make sure to keep rolling or you will face even more challenges.
3. Bring less, fullstop
Even though I always take out stuff from my bag whenever I have packed, I always bring way too much stuff. I am personally not a great fan of recycling my clothes on holiday. Fresh clothes after a day of sweating seem to be a main priority for me. But I must admit that this excuse only goes that far. Wherever you go, they always offer laundry services. Also, bringing along a bit of detergent goes a long way too. Honestly, I could probably have survived with half of the stuff that I brought backpacking this holiday. Even so, I would probably have been better of with some more hiking gear. Yes, I am one of those hikers on sneakers that just doesn't seem to budge. Finally, just ask yourself for each and every item whether you are really going to use this (think about probabilities here) and whether it really deserves to be carried around. In my case, a pair of heels to wear out to dinner is unfortunately so not worth it. Bringing an entire library (I am personally not so much into ebooks) doesn't make much sense either. I brought three books this holiday, safe to say that was a bit much given one of them is about 700 pages and I can't read while in cars/buses.
4. Use packing bags
This is my new obsession, brought to my attention by my friend Rianne. If there is one person whose advice you will want to follow, it is her's for sure. There are many packing bag variants on the internet. The Dutch in me (being cheap I mean) wasn't going to spend a fortune on this, after all I am saving up for more important things remember. Good thing that IKEA of all places has these packing bags that are only a few euro's (even cheaper if you are an IKEA family member). This is a great way to pack up all your things and keeping them organized while travelling. Your clothes are packed much more densed and it allows you to find everything super quickly once you are on holiday. It has already saved me so much time even over the passed few days. Imagine if I would be this organized at home (still working on that)!
5. Carefully selecting your clothing
This is the main tip I got from the internet, people are super careful about what they bring with them. Choosing versatile clothes that fold up small, don't wrinkle or stain, and are durable should be packed. Leave behind all those items that will not give you the full benefit of carrying them around the globe. Apparently, we should start investing in merino wool items. They are great for both warm and cool environments, lightweight, and don't smell after one wear.
6. Sarongs as towels
Sarongs are really thin and are very much versatile. Like I mention, it is a great substitute for a towel. But if you are on holiday and want to visit a temple for instance, a great way to cover up. For women, they also serve as a nice beach dress. If you are not as comfortable with such a sarong or simply can't find one (I got a few in Thailand), get fast trying towels instead that are nicely foldable. I also brought one of these along by Decathlon, which has served practical on multiple holiday's now.
How about it, will you start using some of these tips and tricks? Any additional methods for us to try out? Please let us know in the comment section below!