The rush you get when you’re traveling, the promise of unseen streets, the unexplored cities, the unheard languages, the unexplored cultures….It’s all incredible, enthralling and just too exciting…Until of course you have to pack.
We’ve all been there, panicking as we sit on our bags trying to close it as we fit everything in. The 27 tops you’ve packed for the weekend? Trying to convince yourself that you’ll need them all? Yes and yes. Packing is a nightmare for at least everyone I know who has ever traveled. The fear that you might have missed out on something, the “oh my god, what if I end up needing that object I haven’t used in at least 5 years.”…
Nothing, however, is worse than over packing for a trip – specially if you’re backpacking. You’ll need to be carrying that luggage on your back all the time, lugging around those heavy items you in no way need, and trying to convince yourself that you packed light.
You have hundreds of packing lists telling you that you need this and that, when in fact, you just need the essentials. Here is a list of items you don’t need as much as you think you do!
Let’s start with the backpack…Does it really have to be that big?
So yes, big backpacks fit more stuff in, but do you really want more stuff inside of your bag? A bigger backpack just means less convenience and more weight on your back and more weight to lug around. Sure it fits in more stuff, but it will also let you take in a lot more unnecessary stuff than you need.
The smaller your backpack, the less extravagant your packing lists will be – it’ll be like your own personal packing police guard! Get a small backpack, use packing cubes and fit only the essentials. Pack smartly!
If you’re backpacking, you really need to think twice before putting in that extra jumper, jacket, sweater or pair of jeans. You can take two pairs of sweatpants, or comfortable pants but jeans are a pain! They’re uncomfortable, bulky, take forever to dry and are just not convenient if you’re going to be on the go all the time.
If you really want to bring jeans, bring just one pair. This way you save yourself the hassle of washing them and you don’t have to deal with the weight of more than one jeans! You also don’t need more than one jumper – they’re quite easy to wash but are heavy, so one is more than enough to use.
The only acceptable situation in which you can bring in excessive gadgets in is if you’re a professional Youtuber, a photographer, or a videographer documenting your travel. If you’re not a professional, then chances are all you need is your camera, your charge and your smartphone. A laptop may or may not be needed, but I’ve seen a lot of people end up taking just too many gadgets, have the gadgets weight them down and just never use them through the entire trip.
Extravagant portable charges like solar chargers
The only type of portable charge you’ll need is a normal one that gets charged using a USB charger. If you’re backpacking, chances are you’ll have very little time to actually use the solar charger. Another con is that they’re also more expensive than normal portable chargers and weigh a little bit more.
Full bottles of anything
Really – just don’t. I see a lot of people traveling with full bottles of shampoo, conditioners, and other toiletries and it actually blows my mind. First, that’s a lot of weight. Second, chances are – you won’t be using it all. It might sound like a good idea at first, but trust me…It really isn’t.
Be careful with the type of shoes you’re taking
It’s no surprise that shoes are some of the heaviest things you’ll be carrying in your backpack so choose wisely. More often than not, you will not be using big, sturdy hiking shoes unless you’re actually going to be hiking.
Your trainers will be more than sufficient in any trip you take. However, research the destinations you’re going to. If you’re going to be hiking, then hiking shoes are actually essential. If you’re going to be walking a lot, then just get shoes that are made for walking and ditch the hiking shoes. Do your research and always find ways to avoid heavy, sturdy shoes.
Knives or corkscrews
Unless you’re traveling to a renowned dangerous place like some places in Asia or Africa – you really don’t need a Swiss knife or corkscrew. It will be an unnecessary weight and you know it’s just a product that is there for the “what ifs” instead of the actual “I need this!”
A sewing kit
A lot of packing lists feature sewing kits and they are also just unnecessary weight. You might need a needle and thread (in case of emergency), but if you’re backpacking then an entire sewing kit will be useless as:
- You won’t have the time to actually sew.
- You really won’t be needing it.
- It will be too much weight for nothing.
A complete medical kit
Let me make things clear. You do need a small medical kit or a small first-aid kit, specially if you’re traveling on your own.
Make sure your kit includes:
- Any prescribed medication for you.
- Antiseptic cream.
- Hydration sachets.
All the essential things – great, take them. Needles and syringes though? Don’t even think about it. Unless you’re a certified doctor who can actually use that on yourself, don’t bother.
What you need to do is take your basic medical supplies that you use regularly at home and leave the complicated things to an actual doctor or hospital. Also, if you’re going to a country that is known to have problem with needles, then sure, bring your own. Other than that, that’s just a waste of space and weight.
Skip the towel – bring a travel towel
Towels are both, heavy and thick. Skip the thick towel and purchase a travel towel instead. They’re much lighter and dry so much faster. The ultimate solution to being on the go all the time.
Before traveling however, check if your hostel or accommodation offers towels (even if it’s for a cheap price) and skip entirely on the towel if you can. It’ll significantly decrease the weight of your bag.
But travel towels are a great alternative if you need a towel anyway. Make sure they dry quickly, are compact, light-weight, not too thin and are super absorbent. They’re quite versatile and get the job done!
An actual alarm clock..Why?!
Some people actually get a physical alarm clock with them in addition to everything they need. First, such unnecessary weight. Second, why? Third, where’s your phone?! Seriously, don’t get an alarm clock – use your watch, your laptop or your phone!