How to hitchhike safely and effectively - practical tips. Everything you need to know before you go on a hitchhiking trip.
An ideal backpack, which will accompany us during the trip, should be comfortable, handy and practical. Regardless of whether you are planning a quiet city break, an adventurous trip to the mountains, or maybe a camping trip with friends - properly packed luggage is an absolute must. In this article you will find the most important, practical tips that will help you choose, adjust and pack your backpack.
- How to choose the best backpack
- Packing methods for backpackers
- How to pack a backpack for:
Which backpack to choose?
- These who prefer soft backpacks emphasize that these models are generally much lighter. Typically, soft backpacks are selected for shorter trips - those for which we need luggage with a capacity of 30 liters or less.
- If you do not plan long hikes with a backpack on your back, and you need a comfortable, light backpack for a walk around the city - the soft model will be perfect. However, in the case of heavier luggage, it is definitely worth considering the choice of a stiffened model.
- A well-chosen backpack with stiffening puts less strain on the back, and also provides better protection for our luggage. However, it is much heavier.
Usually, backpacks are divided into three groups - those with a capacity of less than 30 liters, those with a capacity of 30-50 liters and over 50 liters.
- The first ones will be perfect for shorter journeys, when you don’t need to take a large luggage with you. They are suitable for a weekend, city trip or camping, provided that we take a tent or a sleeping bag separately.
- The medium-capacity ones are the most universal - they are suitable both for a few-day trekking and a longer trip to another city. Usually, we also have a large selection of backpacks in this group with convenient compartments or stiffeners, as well as hip belts.
- The last category includes the largest backpacks designed for long hikes, multi-day camping trips or more extreme conditions. In their case, we can usually find a professional carrying system that will relieve our back and allow us to hike for many hours.
Of course, we will choose a different backpack for a multi-day trip in the mountains, and another - for a quiet trip to the lakes. Therefore, before choosing a backpack, let's think about its function and ask ourselves a few questions.
- Should the backpack be used only for travel or do we want to use it every day? If it will accompany us every day, choose a small and soft model.
- Do we plan to carry large, irregular items in it (because if so, choose a backpack without a large number of divisions, but with a spacious, one compartment), or maybe we want to have perfectly sorted and organized luggage (then choose a model with a lot of compartments, pockets and sections)?
Regardless of whether we plan long hikes with our backpack or a shorter journey with it - it is crucial that it puts as little strain on the back as possible, especially in the lumbar and hip sections. It is worth taking a look at the four main aspects that relieve the spine and increase the comfort of use:
- Stiffening - is crucial in the case of heavier, larger backpacks. It also protects the luggage and stabilizes it
- Hip belt - relieves the spine in the most strategic places and makes carrying a backpack less tiring. It allows you to transfer the weight of the backpack to your hips. Necessarily in a set with a hip pillow
- Carrying system - its complexity depends on the size and use of the backpack. The most professional ones have a huge number of possible adjustments so that the backpack can be worn comfortably even throughout the day
- Mesh system - allowing better ventilation
How to pack a backpack - packing methods
Proper packing of things in the backpack will not only allow us to evenly distribute the weight, but also ensure the convenience of using packed items and protect the more delicate ones.
In addition, most tourist backpacks are equipped with a number of amenities, such as belts, straps or pockets, which we do not always know how to use.
How and in what order should we pack things into a backpack, and how to fold them so that they take up as little space as possible and won’t be damaged?
How to pack things in a backpack?
Travelers advise to divide packing items into three groups:
- Light and large items, used relatively rarely - such as a sleeping bag
- Heavy and bulky things, rarely used - like spare shoes
- Light things that are used often - like a rain jacket
In what order should the backpack be packed?
- At the very bottom, we put items from the first group. They will constitute a kind of depreciation
- On the first layer, we put items from the second group - less handy and heavy, they will be secured from below by items such as a sleeping bag or a towel. Warning! Such location of heavy objects additionally makes our spine less stressed
- Fill the gaps between shoes or a camping stove with clothes
- At the very top, we put things from the third group, so that we have the best and fastest access to them
What tips should you keep in mind?
- Keep your documents, payment card or cash in the pocket on the waist belt. They will be easily accessible and safe
- Warning! Distribute the weight evenly. If you pack something heavy on the left, put an equally heavy one on the right for balance
- Place fragile items such as documents or maps in a plastic bag before packing them in your backpack
- It is believed that the maximum load that we can wear comfortably is 20% of our body weight
How to fold clothes?
- If you pack mainly sports clothes - you can roll them up to save a lot of space
- You can put your rolled up socks into spare shoes
- Bring plastic bags for worn shoes or a wet towel
- Do not fill the entire surface of the backpack - you may find that during trip you will not be able to fold your clothes the way you would at home, so they may take up more space
What to pack if ...
...you’re going for a city break
If you are planning a short trip to another city, you do not need to pack heavily as for survival in the mountains. It is important that you pack universal items, be ready for long walks around the city and take care of your comfort.
- Forget about taking cutlery, metal water cups or paper maps with you. Instead, bring a solid power bank, so you don't run out of battery while checking out local restaurants or taking photos
- If you are going abroad, take a foreign currency card with you to save on currency conversion
- Don't forget about comfortable shoes
- Also pack universal cosmetics so that after a day of sightseeing you can easily refresh yourself before going out in the evening
- It is a good idea to bring a water filter bottle with you
- Check that the place where you are going has the same electrical contacts as yours - if not, be sure to take an adapter with you
...you’re planning a trip to the mountains
This is one of the most demanding trips! Comfort is crucial here, as you will be hiking in difficult conditions for many hours. Plus, you can't count on the city's infrastructure.
- Take only the cosmetic essentials with you, such as the 3-in-1 bath gel
- Don't forget the quick-drying towel
- Be sure to bring proven, comfortable shoes
- Pack your cutlery set, a mug and a plate, as well as a tin can opener and a water bottle
- Take a lunch with you that will stay fresh in your luggage for a long time, such as granola bars or dried beef
- A cream with a UV filter is a must - both in winter and summer
- Remember to bring a pocket knife, first aid kit, a raincoat and a warm sweatshirt
...you’re planning a camping
Even though the conditions at the campsite are usually less demanding than these in the mountains - there are a few things that will surely be useful to you.
- A camping stove is a necessary element of a backpack's equipment if we do not want to be stuck with cold cans and sandwiches throughout the trip
- A sleeping bag and a pillow are the absolute minimum necessary for us to sleep in comfort, and our comfort will also be significantly increased by a special, inflatable mattress, which we will put at the bottom of the tent
- A small, fold-out chair does not take up much space and can be very useful during a barbecue or bonfire
- Don't forget about the handy travel lamp, portable board games and a pocket knife!
- Small portions of coffee, powdered milk or spices will make you feel at home while cooking at the campsite, and will not burden your luggage significantly
Packing is a stressful part of travel for many people. If you want to take care of your and your loved ones' comfort, and at the same time be sure that you have not forgotten anything - download the MyLuggage application and let us take care of preparing a proven packing list for you, tailored to your trip. From a long mountain hike to a relaxing getaway to another city - thanks to the list you will not forget anything and be prepared for any eventuality!
Other ways to improve your trip
We have prepared a comprehensive list of articles which will help you during your trip:
- Lower the costs of your trip - we’ve prepared 16 ways to both prevent you from spending too much money and allow you to enjoy your stay. See how to do this in this article.
- See how to travel during the pandemics - 9 verified methods on how to protect yourself from coronavirus while travelling. Check what can you do and what you should avoid.