So, you’re about to embark on a big adventure, possibly to several countries and probably for longer than just a few weeks?
Then you need to check out these five top tips for living out of a backpack in the hope they’ll make it the hassle free and, honestly, the liberating experience it should be.
Five Top Tips for Living Out of a Backpack
Yes, this sounds like an odd piece of advice, but I wish someone had warned me how heavy a ‘lightly packed’ 60L backpack might feel after hours of carrying it from flight to flight, through city underground systems or on and between busy trains.
Getting a bit stronger (and even a bit fitter) before taking on your backpacking adventure will pay off for you big time. I’m not suggesting we all need to be akin to muscle popping bodybuilders to enjoy our travels, but knowing you can lift a bit of weight, if nothing else will make you feel more confident about having that bag on your back for the time you will.
2. Embrace the Fanny Pack
In truth, in the UK we call these bum-bags and until about a year ago (when incidentally they came back into fashion thanks to festival goers), I thought a bum bag was what questionable American tourists wore with beige only outfits and socks and sandals.
But all that horrible prejudice judgement aside, a bum-bag will be your most dependable best friend for your backpacking adventure. Ladies, in particular, it will totally avoid those wasted precious moments we’ve all spent digging around a vast handbag in search of your money, that really handy lip balm or even that all important passport.
They’re great for when you’re travelling between places but also really handy for days out or even nights out, leaving your hands free to take lots of pictures of the memories you’re making!
I opt for one practical bum-bag (think beige clothed American tourist) and one small fashionable bum-bag (think festival going bo-ho).
3. Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are a total game changer.
Never again will you spend hours diving into your massive backpack looking for that one specific top you know is in there somewhere. Instead, pack in cubes and if you’re super organised (I was a teacher…!) then you can label your packing cubes with ‘tops’, ‘vests’, ‘shorts’ etc so you know exactly where to look. I use E-Bags, which are dependable, sturdy and come in a variety of colours.
They will also help you squeeze much more into your backpack. I love mine so much that I even use them when I’m just away for a weekend.
4. Toss Out the Traditional Towel
Again, why didn’t someone tell me about these before?
Microfibre towels turn the item that would probably take up most of your backpack space into an item that will barely be noticeable it’s so small and tightly packed up. Okay, so that was a little bit of exaggeration, you probably will notice it somewhere in your bag but it will be markedly smaller than that big fluffy beach towel you’d planned to take. They dry super-fast, pack super-small and are super-handy for the beach and post-showering alike.
I personally have a Dock & Bay one as they do some really nice colours and designs but microfibre towels are available from most outdoorsy stores.
5. Lose the Shoes
Okay, so if you have never backpacked before there may be a temptation to think you need lots of different shoes for different occasions; the truth is (unless you’re doing a very specific activity whilst traveling) that you will live in a solid pair of trainers and a comfy pair of flip flops.
And as anxious as it might make you, leaving your summery going out wedges or luxury leather pointed toe smart shoes at home, I would strongly advise you do.
For me, I sometimes add in a pair of very light, packable smarter sandals so I can feel a bit fancier than a flip-flop in an evening but three is the absolute max, whether going for a month or six months.