Packrats Unite! Packing Right.

Hello my name is Allison and I’m a pack rat.

But I’ve been learning to cut down… and I still manage to be prepared for anything. Here’s what I do.

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Rehabilitation Exhibit 1: First time using straps!!!

I’ve always been jealous of light packers.

My earliest pang of envy was when I witnessed a friend’s magical packing powers back in high school. It was exciting times. We were both on the volleyball team and visiting a neighboring city for a tournament with basically the entire female side of our grade. The best part of the trip was the fact that we would be staying over for two nights! With glitter in our eyes (and I think our hair) we set off, played hard in the first day of the tournament and then retired to the hotel. As we slogged into our assigned room everyone dropped their bags beside the beds.

Thump! Went my sports bag. Thump! Went another teammate’s backpack.

Tap. Went my friend’s contribution to our collection of packs.

It was a cosmetic bag.

The kind that’s a hand’s length across and a hand’s length deep. I couldn’t believe it. It was the bow to the parcel.

Maybe she’d left the rest in the car? I asked her if she needed the keys. She laughed and went nope. This is it. She hopped up from her seat and brought the bag to where I’d sloppily dumped myself on the bed. We quickly gathered round like it was a magic cauldron and we were the three witchs.

Double, double toil in trouble. Zipper purr and open on the double.

When the pack popped open my friend began to pull her belongings free: a t-shirt, a sweater, jeans, a swimsuit, undergarments, toiletries and a jacket. It was like the girl was a direct decendent of Mary Poppins.

I on the other hand had two books, a notepad, sweatpants, a sports jacket, a jacket, two pairs of jeans, three shirts, two sweaters, an extra set of shoes, undergarments and toiletries. I was ready to wait out a zombie apocolypse.

Lighten Up

And while I’m still a fan of overzealously packing trickets for entertainment I’ve learned to manage the wardrobe part of my suitcase. I’ve travelled a decent amount and discovered a lot on the road.

For example, hiking backpacks are waayyy better than suitcases (everywhere).

  • You can dodge the que for checking in luggage at the airports since hiking packs are considered carry-on luggage. Plus you don’t have to wait after you disembark.
  • You can trek through any terrain (which is good since if you’re cheap/reasonably budgeted you’ll have to walk through mud/sand/dirt A LOT).
  • These packs naturally limit you since you’ll have to carry it around on your back. I pack light because it is necessary!
  • You look like you don’t own squat. I still haven’t been robbed (knocks on wood).
  • A small enough pack means you can take it on the bus and you’ll avoid being bullied into a tuk tuk by someone who snatched up your bag when you reached the station (I saw this a lot in Cambodia).

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Of course, the hardest part of the packing isn’t settling on the vessle—it’s filling it properly.

Everyone has a different approach to preparing for their travels. Some like lists, some like a set routine and that’s that—like packing black clothes and two or three colourful scarves to add variety.

I like to picture myself in different situations and work out how my clothes would react.

Example: I really like this dress… if I happen to be wearing it and must sit on a motorcycle taxi will it work? No? It’s out.

The Main course

This simple packing guide may tell you many things you already know, but hopefully it’ll reveal something you hadn’t thought of before.

Packing Right

Got any travel tips? Drop them below!

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