A few days before we left on our big trip, Mat and I each had a test run packing our new backpacks. On previous trips we have borrowed travel backpacks from family (thanks Sarah!) but finally made the investment in our own. I always pack too much and then regret it as I’m lugging around extra shoes and outfits that I “just couldn’t leave”, meanwhile my spine feels like it’s being compressed and my shoulders ache. I decided to buy a smaller backpack to force myself to pack lighter. That is crazy if you know me, because I love having a variety of clothing to choose from. I have been known to change outfits during my lunch break. It’s crazy, I know.
I ended up with the Osprey 36 L women’s backpack and Mat chose a simple REI 40L He chose the simple style on purpose because he hated having to deal with all of the extra fancy zippers, ties, and bells and whistles that come with a typical hiking/camping/travel bag. He also wanted a smaller and more sleek fit so he didn’t feel like he was constantly bumping people with his huge backpack.
We had read online that packing cubes are a must when backpacking, as it helps with efficiency when trying to find an item and saving room. Mat ordered these from Amazon and mine were a gift from the Easter Bunny. 🙂 I have three total: a small, medium and large. Mat’s packing cubes came in a group of five, but he is using only three: small and two mediums. We are working on mastering the art of rolling for maximum space.
In my largest packing cube I fit two pair of pants, two pair of leggings, one maxi dress, one maxi skirt, sleep shorts and workout shorts. A total of seven bottoms and a dress. The middle sized packing cube was for my tops, which fit four tank tops, three short sleeve shirts, one sweater, one cardigan and a swimming suit. The smallest cube is for socks and undergarments, which held a total of 13 items and definitely wasn’t full.
These three cubes plus a pair of sandals and a pair of Converse still only filled about 2/3 of the bag. So awesome! The rest of the empty space will be filled with toiletries, so hopefully it all works! Also, there is a special zipper at the bottom of the bag that holds my raincoat.
Mat was able to fit 11 tops, six bottoms, a rain coat, 12 undergarments and a nice pair of shoes in his bag thanks to his packing cubes. He is using the two medium sized cubes for tops and bottoms, while the smallest is for undergarments. Mat was even able to utilize his outside mesh pockets to hold other miscellaneous items that we will be taking i.e. laundry detergent, first aid kid, and ginger candies (for my nausea).
You better believe our hip belts carry snacks like protein bars, dried fruit, granola, etc. We can’t go anywhere without our snacks!
Do you know any secret packing tips or advice to share with us?