An Essential Guide On How To Lighten Your Backpack
Lugging a heavy backpack around is not an enjoyable experience, especially when the strain is too much for your back and you end up with aches and pains. Sometimes it feels like you have no option but to have a heavy backpack, especially if you are heading off on a trekking expedition and have lots of belongings to take. There is, however, many useful tips out there which will lighten your backpack and make your days pain-free. Follow these extremely useful tips and you’ll never suffer from back pain again!
Start With The Bag Itself
Before you even think about the contents which you put in your travel backpack, you need to start off on the right foot. The next time you go and buy a backpack, forget about the stylish backpack and how fashionable it looks and start looking deeper into how it was made. Right from the get-go, some backpacks will be heavier than others, so it’s important to make sure that you purchase a lightweight backpack. Lightweight backpacks tend to be found in the hiking sections of stores, as they are specially designed for those who will be wearing the backpack all day in athletic conditions.
In order to tell if a backpack is lightweight, simply look at the materials it is made out of. You’re going to want to purchase a backpack which is either made out of canvas or nylon, as these materials are as light as a feather. From here, simply judge for yourself if the backpack is heavy when you pick it up.
As well as the material of the backpack, check to see if it is structured well. If you are going to be carrying a lot of items for long periods, make sure that the shoulder straps are thick so that they distribute the weight. For ultimate comfort, ensure that the straps have padding so that you won’t encounter any pains.
Think About Your Clothing Wisely
If you’re going backpacking, then you’ll soon realise that home comforts are long gone. Due to this, there’s no point dressing to impress or changing your clothes at any given opportunity. You only have so much space in your backpack, and filling it to the brim with clothes will stop you from packing other essentials. Get to grips with minimalistic clothes packing and you’ll be thanking yourself further down the line. Only pack the clothes which you will 100% be wearing, and leave the rest at home. If you have a particularly thick piece of clothing such as a jumper, then either wear it while backpacking or tie it around your waist.
Just as long as you have the basic clothing essentials, you won’t encounter any problems from removing some other garments.
Get Rid Of Unnecessary Heavy Items
The majority of us are guilty of being over-packers, and usually, slipping in one too many books or shoes is forgivable when going on holiday. When it comes to backpacking, however, over-packing is the last thing you want to do. You’ll soon end up with a bag full of unnecessary items that are weighing you down yet don’t even make it out of the backpack.
When possible, remove all heavy items which you are certain you won’t need. It’s likely that there will be an alternative solution to make up for their loss. Take shoes, for example. Shoes take up a lot of room and are one of the heaviest accessories which will go into your bag. Realistically, as long as they’re waterproof boots, then you only need the shoes that are on your feet. Practicality is key.
Compartments, Compartments, Compartments
If you’ve chosen a high-quality lightweight backpack, then it’s likely to have plenty of compartments for you to optimise. Avoid stuffing everything into the main body of the bag and utilise the compartments effectively; this will help to distribute the weight around once again. A great tip for this is to tuck your more valuable items into the hidden compartments and tuck less-valued items into the outer compartments. Although all compartments will be sealed by zipping or Velcro, you’ll have a greater peace of mind knowing the valuables are out of sight.
Sufficient Amount Of Food & Water
Other items which we are all guilty of over-packing is food and water. When it comes to backpacking, this is a common mistake to make, as it can be quite worrying to realise that you won’t be near any services when in a time of need. It is incredibly important that you take a sufficient amount of food and water for your travels, but the best way to stop this from overpowering your backpack is to create a plan.
Before you pack your backpack, plan how much food you will need for each day and ration accordingly. Store the food in light re-sealable bags when possible, and only use reusable water bottles made out of soft materials.
The great thing about food is that you can dispose of it once eaten, so you’ll find your backpack getting lighter after every meal.
Learn From Mistakes
If you’re an experienced backpacker, then you’re in a very fortunate position. Each time you head out on an expedition, make a note of the items which you didn’t use or caused you grief. When it comes to packing for your next trip, you’ll have a better understanding of what you really need and what will cause problems. If the item was extremely important for your trip but was still too heavy, then look into alternatives which have less weight.
You need to be stubborn when lightening your backpack, so accept your past mistakes and choose to learn from them.
Pack Disposable Items
Disposable items are perfect for when backpacking, as you can remove them from your bag once used. As mentioned previously, this is particularly evident with food, as you can throw the packaging away once you’ve consumed its contents. With each meal you eat, you’ll find your backpack getting significantly lighter and roomier!
As well as food, packing disposable BBQs is a great hack for achieving a lighter backpack. Have each member of your team carry just one BBQ, so that the weight is distributed evenly across you all. Once the BBQ has been used, it can be left in a bin rather than packed up.
By the end of your trip, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how relaxed and pain-free your body is. Not to mention, how much less you will have to unpack!
Travel Toiletries Only
Heading off on long expeditions can be tough, especially in the hygiene department. Although it’s completely normal to want to have a wash each day, take great care when it comes to deciding which toiletries to pack and if you should carry a dopp kit. Carrying 500ml of body wash and 500ml of shampoo is not ideal, and these toiletries will easily become the heaviest thing you carry.
In order to keep your dignity yet not break your back, opt for travel-sized toiletries. These will not only take up less space in your backpack, but they will be far lighter. Another great hack is to opt for multi-function toiletries, such as a body wash and shampoo 2in1.
You don’t just have to make use of 2in1 items when it comes to toiletries, either. As you pack each item, think about what you use it for, and see if it can be used for another purpose, too. For example, you can use the same pot for boiling water, drinking water, and eating your food. Just by making this efficient decision, you’ve already taken so much weight off your backpack.
This same rule can be applied to certain types of clothing, sleeping essentials, and so much more. Another great example is to use a thick piece of clothing as a pillow or blanket if you are going to be camping.
Keep Things Dry
Whether it be due to torrential rain or toiletry leakages, wet items immediately get far heavier. To avoid your items getting wet altogether, ensure that you have a waterproof backpack and that your clothing is in a separate compartment to items which pose leakage threats. Having dry items will not only keep your backpack lighter but will also keep you warm and insulated.
Notice The Difference
Making these efforts towards lightening your backpack will provide you with nothing but benefits, which is why it is important to keep them in mind for your next trip. Whether you choose to utilise all 10 tips or opt to try out a few, you’ll notice significant differences right away. Watch as your body has the energy and freedom to adventure to new heights as it will no longer be exhausted from lugging around heavy items all day! Not only this, but you’ll find that everything is far easier to find thanks to being so organised and less jam-packed.
If you’re going on a challenging trekking expedition, then give your body some slack when possible and enjoy your brand new lightweight backpack! You’ll soon find yourself leading the tribe and sharing your amazing packing secrets with everyone you know.