Are you the one who always wonders on what to pack for a long backpacking trip? Trust us, you’re not the only one. Packing for long trips is one of the biggest difficulties one can face when getting into packing.
With constantly thinking that you want to pack light or questioning yourself you maybe forgot something, packing is stressful. Well, worry no more, take a deep breath, relax, sit back and read our thorough guide to pack for a long backpacking trip.
Tips for light packing
First things first, limit yourself to 8-10 kg (20-22 lbs) backpack weight (including your backpack). Everything above 10 kg (22 lbs) is more than the average weight limit you can carry on airlines. Even if you’re not planning on traveling by plane, we still suggest you stay within the 10 kg limit. Once you’re packed put your backpack on a scale and see the weight. If it exceeds 10 kg cut the clothing as most of the weight your backpack contains is from your clothes.
Most professional travelers know that there’s no difference between packing for 4 weeks and 4 months because you’ll surely find a place to do your laundry on a weekly basis.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to leave some clothing pieces at home have in mind that you’re only going to need a few pants/shirts, so be sure that they all match together. Opt for neutral and dark colors as they hide stains and dirt better than light color clothing.
If you expect that it’s going to be cold, dress in layers. That one bulky coat isn’t going to be needed and practical to carry, except if you’re traveling to a place where is extremely cold, then you’ll need it. Sweater, base layer, long sleeve T-shirt and jacket will make a perfect layer combo. Plus, you can always add more layers to your outfit.
- Backpack – Invest in a lightweight, high-quality travel backpack. It’ll be your best friend on your long trip.
- Socks – 4 or 5 pairs of high-quality socks are essential.
- Underwear – Having 5 pairs of underwear is definitely a must!
- Shoes – Considering the fact that shoes are bulky, we advise you wear one on your feet and pack one in your backpack. Comfy, nice-looking leather sneakers are always a good choice.
- Sweater – 1 or 2 light sweaters will come handy when dressing in layers. Another great replacement is Gore Tex poncho that will keep you warm during colder nights.
- T-shirts – 3 or 4 T-shirts are a must as you can wear them at all occasions (except formal occasions, then you’ll need 1 button-up shirt)
- Jeans – 2 pairs of dark-denim jeans will suffice. They’re casual and can be matched with everything
- Shorts – 1 pair of shorts. You can wear them with leggings when it’s chilly outside or alone during hot weather.
- Jackets – It really depends on where and when you travel, but you can never go wrong by carrying a light fleece or rain jacket.
- Bras – 2 or 3 bras, dark and nude/white one plus 1 sports bra if you plan on doing some sports activities.
- Skirt – Ankle-length or calf-length skirt is something you need to have in your backpack if you plan on visiting churches and temples
- Dress – Having one dress in your backpack can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in a situation where you need to dress nicely for a night out.
- Leggings – One pair of black leggings doesn’t take much space but can be matched easily with other clothing pieces. Plus, they’re cheap, so you can always buy one extra pair.
- Sarong or scarf – Every female traveler needs to have one sarong as it has untold uses. It can serve as summer protection, emergency bed sheet or stylish accessory.
- Hat – Sun is no joke! Invest in a wide-brimmed and easy-to-pack hat.
- Pajama – If you plan on traveling in winter then you should pack one pajama, but if you expect warm/hot weather, sleeping in a tank top or underwear should be okay.
What to leave at home
There’s always that one piece of clothing that you “think” you’re going to need it, but never wear it while on your trip. This is a list of items you can definitely leave at home:
- Big boots – Your feet are “designed” to walk. You don’t need big, bulky walking boots to walk 20 miles a day. Light hiking shoes will suffice.
- Extra clothes – No, you won’t need that extra T-shirt or a jacket. Everything you carry in your backpack is washable and we’re sure you’ll be able to wash your clothes at least once a week, even in the wilderness.
- Ziplock bags – Most travelers pack everything in a bag, and then in another bag which is then packed in a backpack (which is another big bag). Don’t do that, unless you’re packing worn shoes/sneakers and you want to keep them separated from clean clothes. Although it might make your backpack more organized, if you need your backpack to be organized you’re not traveling light.
Do a test run
Pack everything you plan on wearing in your backpack and test how heavy it is. We advise you to walk around with it on your back for around 25 to 30 minutes. If it seems too heavy then repack everything and ditch something you think you won’t need it. Wearing a backpack full of gear on your back is heavy and you don’t want to feel terrible on your trip because of its weight.
Packing light Vs. Looking stylish
We understand you want to look stylish on your trip, but considering the fact that you have limited space in your backpack, pack only outfits that will be both useful and stylish. It doesn’t mean you have to look bad to pack light. Just the usual things for casual dressing that can be easily matched will make you look nice and presentable.
That’s it! Just don’t forget to leave some space in your backpack because, as most travelers know, you can’t go home without souvenirs and things you’ll buy on the road. And remember, at the end of the day, it’s not important what you look like or what you’re wearing, but traveling without any stress about the weight on your shoulders. Enjoy your trip to the fullest!
Feel free to leave us a comment below on your clothing packing essentials and tips and tricks.