27 Jul How to Pack a Backpack for 6 Months Abroad
Packing is a nightmare… especially when you’re trying to pack light, and make it all fit in one backpack. We talked to a lot of people, and had been planning what to take for weeks, but when it came time to do it we were cutting down our packs to the bare necessities, and somehow we still end up bringing things that really aren’t vital…
Let’s talk about how to tackle the dreaded task of packing a backpack for 6+ months abroad – starting with your bags:
We each have a backpack, but my pack is a technically a backpacking pack and Markie’s is a travel pack. The difference in the packs is that mine is a top loading pack, which is meant for hiking/trekking, whereas Markie’s is a panel loading pack meant for travel, which is built for travel. There are tons of articles giving you advice on which ones to choose but in the end it’s based on what you think is better fit for your lifestyle, travel needs, and all-around use.
The next part is to tackle what you need to bring vs. what you want to bring. Depending on where you are going/when you are going will give you a little direction in what kind of stuff you need to pack. For example, we are going to Iceland first, so we need a down jacket (easier to pack) and a few warmer clothes, but then later on we are going on a trek in Nepal, so we need good hiking boots. And don’t forget about all of the beach days and hot weather…
Also, grab a day pack, one that you can attach/pack into your pack when you aren’t flying – that way you aren’t carrying two bags at once! Markie can tell you how that turns out…
Here is a list of what I brought:
Side Note: These pictures were before I cut out 20 lbs. from my starting point…
- (5) Tank Tops
- (2) Long Sleeve
- (1) Sweatshirt
- (1) Rain jacket/wind jacket
- (1) Down Coat
- (1) Running shorts
- (1) Jean shorts
- (1) Skinny jeans
- (2) Yoga pants
- (2) Dresses
- (12) Underwear – ½ thongs, ½ boyshorts
- (5) Running Socks
- (1) Wool Socks
- (2) Bras
- (2) Bralettes
- (2) Sports Bras
- (1) Swimsuit
- Hiking Boots
- Sandals (Chacos)
- Running/Tennis Shoes
- Travel Size Shampoo
- Travel Size Conditioner
- Make-up: LIMIT IT – really figure out your routine and bring minimal stuff
Others (that we brought, but again think long and hard about what you need):
- Water bottle (Platypus SoftBottle)
- Travel Cribbage Board – (we’re competitive)l
- Tep (Portable Wifi)
- Airport Bag (Place your pack in and check it)
- Sleeping bag (Under 2 lbs.)
Now, how to pack it – everyone has there own tricks to packing, but here are a few we used:
Tip 1: Try and place all your clothes in three (or less) packing cubes.
Tip 2: Put coats/sweatshirts in zip lock space bags.
Tip 3: Get a toiletry bag, and put all your shower stuff in there.
Tip 4: Get a charger organizer – it’s worth it if you have a ton of chargers!
Tip 5: If bringing a sleeping bag, strap it to the outside (Markie…it might have taken her awhile to figure that one out)
Tip 6: Put shoes in the bottom.
Now, pack it all once, and then weigh it. Once you determine your desired weight, go back and take out unnecessary items, and ask someone to go through it with you and have them pick items they see as pointless/redundant/unnecessary. And actually listen to them…
Our goal was to have our bags around 40 pounds, and even that is a lot. Just remember you have to lug all that weight around, so if you don’t mind now, you will later…
Even though you may be doing a lot of different things, keep in mind that you can purchase items as needed, too! It will be much easier than trying to bring it all at once!