How and Why To Pack Light

By Doug Williams
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How and Why To Pack Light

Doug Williams
 
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Hiking buddies
 
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I remember the first time I decided to do a weekend’s ‘expedition’ in a nearby woodland. I first visited the local camping shop and bought everything I thought I was going to ‘need,’ this pretty much meant I’d just funded the shop owner’s tropical holiday that year.

The next challenge was carrying it all to the car. That night I eagerly threw all of my new, absolutely essential, kit into my 90L rucksack before trying to pick it off of the floor… Being a complete novice, I struggled putting the pack on and then started to ask myself how on Earth I was going to walk to the car with it let alone the route I had planned the next day. But hey everyone carries this when camping don’t they?

 

 

As years have gone by my kit has changed considerably, what you think of as necessities at home can be nothing but hindrances when on the road. You probably don’t really need the many items and pieces of clothing you thought you did.

 

Ask yourself this – are you on this trip to have new experiences and have an adventure, or to be seen and have all the comforts of home. Not ready to give up that heavy bag yet? Book a guided tour where your needs are catered. If you opt for the adventure, try traveling lighter, and you will love it.

 

 

Start by buying smaller bags, as a rule, people will fill all the available space they have, a 45-55 liter pack is usually sufficient. Remember, you are going on an adventure and not a luxury cruise.

 

The clothing that you take needs to be sufficient for about a week, so pack neutral colors so that things can be mixed and matched. In all countries, you can easily replace worn and torn clothing with something locally made. Shoes take up a lot of space and add weight, so select only one or two pairs, something good for hiking in and a pair of sandals. That’s all you need – do make sure that if your hiking boots are new you break them in first. Quality socks are important when walking but again you don’t need a pair for every day, often you can get away with three pairs, one to wear, one for the evening and one to wash/dry. Be sensible in everything you take.

 

 

Don’t overload your bag with technology. Take a tablet instead of a laptop. Use your phone to take photos instead of bringing a camera. If you like to read you can load books on your tablet, and don’t forget tablets also have cameras as well. Remember to pack chargers. Take a flash drive or SD cards, or upload the images online into a storage space.

Remember that bottles of liquids are now restricted items on most flights. If your luggage is strictly carry-on then forget those shampoo bottles – you will need solid bar shampoo and conditioners. LUSH has them both in a variety of scents to please even the fussiest person.

 

Try soap instead of shower gels as well, and for shaving gels, these also come as bars. Travel towels are great as these are lightweight and they dry quickly.

 

 

When you’re choosing additional items try and choose kit that has more than one use, shining the light from a small head torch through a drinking bottle can produce a great lantern, sporks save having to take a fork and a spoon, many metal mugs will also double up as a saucepan and a bowl.

 

 

If you are going to carry medicines of any kind have the correct documentation for them. Check to see what the regulations are for carrying various kinds of medicines with you. Keep everything in their original packaging and take painkillers, anti-diarrhea pills, rehydration sachets, band-aids, and anti-malarial tablets if you need them. Store anything in blister packets in a bubble wrap envelope to help keep the seals from breaking.

 

Look out for more articles on lightweight packing but for the moment remember to enjoy the trip, it’s an adventure and it’s YOUR adventure.

 

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