Daily Archives: 13 April, 2009

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A Guide To Pack Your Backpack

The key to successful backpacking is, as the term implies, how well you pack your backpack. There must be a balance between too much and too little. I have some experience in packing for long trips and short trips. As I have just packed for my upcoming trip to Seoul (yay!), I thought I will share my “best practices” in packing my backpack.

Let’s awaken that travel bug in your heart, shall we? Heh.

First off, of course, is your backpack.

Your backpack must be sufficient to hold all your belongings, with some space for new stuff you are bound to pick up from your trip. It should be made of canvas, has a detachable haversack, and a metal backbone to support your back when you are carrying it. Backpacks in various sizes – for guys, a 65 litres one should be sufficient. This particular backpack of mine was a Christmas gift from the lovely Cheryl, and was a God-sent during my winter trip last year!

The next most important thing will be your travel documents. And that doesn’t mean only your passport! A great trip means you will probably need a guidebook (mine is a Lonely Planet for Seoul), your flight e-tickets, email confirmation and directions to your accomodation of choice, a notebook (trust me, you’ll need it if you gonna do a travelog), and various print out of miscellaneous information not available in your guidebook. Usually, I will pack all these into a small carry bag; in my case, a Crumpler.

Next up – clothes!!! There is always a danger of overpacking the actual amount of clothes you’ll need. Here’s what I would usually do. For tops, I will set aside one to wear on the plane, one for each day I will spend on my trip. Since I’ll spend six days in Korea, I will bring six tops in my bag. Among these tops, have half of them of your primary colour – that’s black for me because it’s slimming and it goes with almost everything – and half of various colour to add variety. One of them should be a shirt in case you want to go somewhere smart, eventhough you are only backpacking.

Forget about extra shirt to wear while you sleep. Wear the same thing. The rule of thumb is every shirt can be worn for at least twice. Just air your shirts everytime you come back to your room. This will work even better if you are visiting cold countries.

Winter Clothes! Don’t you just love them? Here I have to go a little irrational, hehe. I always wear a long sleev pullover (black, from Esprit), on top of which I will don a jacket. I have one thinner one (black, from Bananas) and a thick one (brown, from Zara) in case weather at night during winter is too biting for the thin jacket. And a piece of scarf. One wil do, and choose a colourful one to add some colour to your otherwise dark ensemble of clothes.

Moving on to bottoms now. Rule of thumb – forget about slacks/pants and always go for jeans. They are durable for walking, protect you better against the winter chill, and easy to go with your tops. Wear one on your flight there, and add one into your black. Usually I will only bring one belt. Colour to be totally against the colour of your pairs of jeans (in my case, a white belt against dark blue and black jeans). But my brown belt is just too pretty not to bring along, hehe. And one pair of shorts to wear while you sleep. If you have a nice pair (like mine, from Litmus), it can double up to wear around your backpacker’s inn too. Comfy, presentable, and most importantly, practical.

Okay, now moving on to shoes. Unlike some women I know *snigger* I am very practical when it comes to shoes. At the most I will bring two pairs. One durable pair of walking shoes, and one pair of loafer for variety and double up as sandals. I will wear one on the plane, and keep the other pair in a shoe bag and pack it in my backpack. I am also impartial on socks. My guide is one pair for three days (com’on, don’t be a prude! it won’t kill you), two different colours (mine is black and white), and wear one on the plane. Pack the other pair of socks in the shoe bag as well.

All guys love their gadgets, me included. Here a list of things I will definitely bring along for my trip – a universal adapater (invest in a  good one, it will be worth it), my iPod and charger, my camera and charger, my Mac and charger (for blogging, downloading of photos, checking emails etc.), a thumb drive, a memory card reader, mobile phone and charger. If you count properly, you should have four charger cables – so count when you pack them, and put inside a special small bag.

The only stuff I am pretty particular about are my toiletries. This is where I often make mistake (as in, forget to pack some items, or overbuy some stuff). But here’s a list to get you started – toothbrush with cover, toothpaste (travel size), disposable shaver, shaving foam, mouth gargle (travel size), body shampoo (travel size), hair shampoo (I have to use my Bodyshop one due to my sensitive scalp), handcream (else your skin will break under harsh winter condition), hair wax, hair spray, and perfume. That’s lots of toiletries for a guy, but hey, if you don’t feel clean and look good for your holiday, when would you?

Now let me tell you a secret. I can’t believe that I actually blogged about this. LOL. And I have a feeling I missed out something. Hmmm… I wonder it is?

Anyway. So, what do you pack in yours when you go on holiday? Not business trips, but going overseas for leisure.