To pack, or not to pack…

Hi all!

This week, I got to do a demonstration of how to pack luggage for a typical backpacking trip – which is, surprisingly, my preferred way to travel. I had no idea just how badly I wanted to go on a trip until I had my trusty MEC Supercontinent backpack (the BEST bag ever, trust me) all packed and ready to go – I had everything I needed and could have gone straight to the airport and on an adventure. It was mighty tempting, I’m telling you.

Today, I’m going to share some of my favourite general packing tips – over the years, I’ve developed my own style of packing and I’ve picked up on a few tricks that I hope you’ll find useful!


Packing Guide Part 1: Checked Luggage

With some considerable international and local travel under my belt, I’ve had to pack a lot of backpacks and suitcases for a variety of trips. I have packed for canoe trips in the bush, business trips to the United Nations (fancy!), and typical backpacker trips to a few exotic locations, and the tips I’m going to go through on the blog today are tips I use every time I pack for a trip, no matter where I’m going or what I’m doing.

Step 1: Do Research
– Keep location, duration, and purpose in mind before you start packing.
– It’s integral to know where you’re going, how long you’re going for, and why you’re going before you start packing so that you pack the appropriate amount of clothing, the appropriate type of clothing, and the most useful items for your trip
– doing a little bit of research can tell you a lot about the climate/weather, and cultural considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when packing

Step 2: Make a List
– Go ahead and write down everything you think you’ll need. It’s actually so useful to make a list before you start packing, even though that may sound like a lot of work. But in all seriousness, it’s worth it to put in the work – having everything you need on your travels will come in handy. That being said, you can always buy anything you need once you arrive.
– Not sure where to start with packing? Check out Pinterest for some amazing packing guides!

Pinterest packing guides provide some great inspiration! I've picked up some awesome ideas from these posts.
Pinterest packing guides provide great inspiration! I’ve picked up some awesome ideas from these posts.

Step 3: Take everything out of your closet that you think you’ll need
– I like to physically take out everything on my list that I think I want and need for my trip (from clothing to toiletries to shoes, take it all out).
– This is how you find out if you’re about to overpack! I overpack every time. It’s all trial and error, so no worries.
My recommendation: once you’ve gathered everything you want to pack, take away 5 items, because you likely have things you won’t wear or use that will just take up unnecessary space. Save that space for bringing new things home!

Step 4: Roll 95% of your clothing.
– If you’ve never heard this tip before, I’m telling you now: this is the best space-saving tip ever. Roll your clothing instead of folding! And, as an added bonus, if you’re really good at this method, you’ll also reduce wrinkling and creasing. Easy tip for creased clothes: hang your wrinkled clothing up in a washroom, turn on a hot shower, and let steam do it’s thing – this is easier than tracking down an iron when you’re on the go.
– This rule applies to the majority of your clothes. I don’t roll my pants because they pack better flat. The same goes for hoodies and heavier jackets – these are typically too bulky when you roll them.
– If you’re really concerned about space, wear your bulkiest clothing on days you are flying. Not only will this take away the packing conundrum, but this will also save you on cold flights and train rides – I always wear pants, a sweater, a scarf (which doubles as a blanket), and runners. You can always take off layers, but at least you’re ultra-prepared.

Step 5: Pack everything up.
– I like to put items into groups (ex. electronics, toiletries, hair accessories, socks + underwear, etc.) and then put smaller items into separate compartments and baggies. This makes things easy to find.
– I also pack in the shape of my bag. It’s a little bit like Tetris and you may have to pack and unpack a couple of times to get it right, but once you find a good fit, stick with that for your entire trip. You’ll keep things tidy and always be able to find what you need.
– Once you’ve got everything in place, you’ll be all set for your adventure!

Remember, lovely readers, if at first you don’t succeed, pack and pack again. Packing is a little bit like riding a bike: practice makes perfect and once you get it, you get it.

Next week, I’ll be going over what to put in your carry-on (my favourite bag to pack!!) and my must-haves (a.k.a lifesavers).

Until then, stay well!

2 responses to “To pack, or not to pack…”

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