SPACE SAVING SOLUTIONS FOR BACKPACKING
When it comes to backpacking, packing efficiently is an absolute must. With limited space available, it’s important to not only decide on what you bring but how you bring it. Whether it’s how to fold a hoodie or what order to pack your items in, strategic packing skills will come in handy in just about any travel situation.
With your entire survival kit on your back, space-saving solutions are especially useful for backpackers, particularly when you’re exploring a variety of climates. As a team of passionate travellers and nature lovers, today we’ve collated our best tricks and tips for packing efficiently when backpacking across various climates.
Packing for wet climates
For backpackers exploring wet and damp climates, waterproof clothing will be at the top of the packing list. From waterproof jackets and trousers to water-resistant footwear, having the right protection for a comfortable and safe travelling experience is key. Whether you’re backpacking through a tropical wet climate or a chilly coastal area with lots of rain, there are a few solid ways you can save space while backpacking in the rain.
Invest in packaway waterproofs:
Known for their practicality, packaway waterproof clothing like jackets, trousers, and backpack covers are ideal for climates that produce a lot of rain. With the ability to squash down into compact carrying cases and pockets, packaway clothing is excellent for backpackers. Not only do they save space compared to your average raincoat or walking trousers, but they’re also quick to dry, too.
Packing for hot or dry climates
With less waterproof and thermal clothing to bring, dry climates may seem easier to pack for when it comes to backpacking. While less clothing may be required, hot and dry climates still demand some heavy essentials that can take up plenty of space. Whether it’s half-full bottles of sunscreen, canisters of bug spray, or multiple water flasks for effective hydration, your pack can quickly become overwhelmed with stuff. Here’s how to reduce the space that these essentials take up:
Store essential liquids/gels in bladders and sachets:
If you’ll be carrying liquids such as water, sun cream, bug repellent, and electrolyte packs, sachets and bladders are extremely useful in comparison to bulky flasks and plastic bottles. Water bladders, which can be stored flat against your back or against the chest, allow you to carry plenty of water while taking up minimal space. If you are hiking or walking away from a base camp, carrying smaller sachets of other essentials can reduce weight during the walk and reserve space for other essentials like camping gear and changes of clothing.
Packing for colder climates
Backpacking in colder climates can be challenging, particularly when it comes to staying warm. Thankfully, high-performance, layerable clothing makes backpacking in cold climates a lot easier, meaning you can safely leave the bulky parkas, thick mittens, and heavy bobble hats behind. Thermal, layerable clothing will always come in handy for colder climates, as they trap heat close to the body, wick away excess moisture, and enable plenty of movement and blood flow. A few solid investments in this area will limit the amount of heavy clothing you have to pack. Here are a few tips on what to buy for backpacking in the cold (and how to store them):
Invest in high-performance thermals
High-quality thermals are great for anyone hiking, walking, or backpacking in colder temperatures, or climates that can fluctuate from mild to cold. Acting like a ‘second skin,’ these layers can be worn on their own when you’re working up a sweat, or under your t-shirts, hoodies, and waterproof layers. Made with thin, stretchy fabric, thermal layers can be condensed down into tiny rolls, ideal for storing near the bottom of the bag or in travel cubes. Alternatively, you can comfortably wear them daily in colder climates.
Bring a 3-in-1 jacket
In climates that can fluctuate from temperate to freezing, having a 3-in-1 all-weather jacket is ideal. These jackets can be layered up or down, meaning you can wear a simple base layer fleece when it’s cold, or the full set when there’s freezing rain, bitter wind, or snow. As a jacket that offers three layers in one (all of which you’ll likely wear at one time), you’ll save plenty of space in your backpack vs. separate hoodies, parkas, and waterproofs
Additional Packing Tips
How to fold a hoodie
Hoodies can be easily folded into a compact shape by using a simple folding technique. While there are several ways to fold a hoodie, a great way to do so for travel is to create a compact cube that uses the hood to contain the hoodie. This can be achieved with a few simple steps:
1. Place the hoodie face down on the table, taking care to neatly align and flatten it out
2. Fold both sleeves into the centre of the hoodie, making a criss-cross or ‘X’ shape
3. Fold the excess fabric on the left and right so that the body of the hoodie is the same width as the hood
4. Fold the hoodie in half horizontally, so that the bottom seam meets the base of the hood
5. Fold the hood backward, over the body of the hoodie
6. Turning the hood inside out, gently tuck the body of the hoodie into the hood, using the draw cords to secure the hoodie into a neat cube shape
How to fold a jumper
Like hoodies, jumpers can be folded in several ways. When it comes backpacking, folding your jumpers to be as flat as possible is key. Despite how hectic the trip, resist the urge to ‘stuff’ your jumpers inside your bag. With a few simple steps, you can have a compact, super flat folded jumper than can be placed near the top or bottom of your pack:
1. Place the jumper down and flatten it completely
2. Fold one sleeve into the centre, going horizontally across the chest; repeat this with the other sleeve, layering it over the first one
3. Fold the jumper horizontally, bringing the bottom half over the top half and sleeves. For larger jumpers, repeat this fold again
4. Depending on your bag shape, you can now lay this flat inside your bag, or for bags with a smaller circumference, rotate the jumper and fold it again to create a flat, compact square