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October 24, 2017

When packing for a trip, especially for the first time, its only natural get excited. Thinking about all the things you’ll do the places you’ll see. You may also start to wonder what you need to pack. How many pairs of socks should I take? How many shirts? Do I need to take my flip-flops as well as my boots? The truth is that you may not need to pack as much as you think.

No matter where you travel there will most likely be the same necessities available to you. For example you can buy travel sized toothpaste at any supermarket or pharmacy. You can buy a new pair of socks or underwear from Uniqlo. Be it in Bangkok or Tokyo. So when packing, try to take only what will be absolutely necessary.

1. Less is more

Packing less things but in a smarter way. That is to say, plan ahead. You can get by with 2 to 3 pairs of underwear and socks. 2 to 3 t-shirts and 1 or 2 pairs of pants. The idea is that you will be wearing one clean t-shirt and one clean pair of underwear while washing the dirty ones. This does mean that you'll be washing more frequently. If you pack natural fibres like merino wool they'll need less washing. Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial so it can be worn for several days without washing. And still not smell.

5 ways to pack lighter by dean

2. Multipurpose gear

When selecting or purchasing gear for your trip look for items that will be useful in multiple ways. For example a ‘merino wool buff’ is a tube of merino wool and can be used as a scarf, beanie, eye mask, headband, and much more. A dry bag can keep your things dry while you’re at the beach. But also can be used as for washing your clothing when there’s no sink. It can also be used to keep dirty laundry separate from clean.

5 Way to pack lighter for your next trip

3. Lightweight gear

Often overlooked is the actual weight of your backpack while empty. Many popular backpack that are aimed at ‘one bag travellers’ often weigh well over 1kg (2.2lbs) while empty. So I would suggest looking for a backpack that weighs as little as possible while empty to leave you with more spare weight to pack. I made a list of popular backpacks and their weights here.

Lightweight bathroom supplies

4. Solid toiletries

Toiletries are often some of the heaviest things you pack. Especially since liquids weigh a lot for their size. In this case I suggest using solid forms of liquid products. For example there are many types of solid shampoo bars on the market. They’re often made from healthy natural ingredients and are mild enough to use as shampoo and body soap. And since they’re made from natural ingredients you can use them in place of laundry soap and for washing dishes if need be.  

Wear your clothes that you pack

5. Wear It

My final tip for packing a lighter backpack is to simply wear your bulkiest, heaviest items. If you are going somewhere cold and you’re taking boots and a jacket for example. Wear the boots and jacket while boarding the plane so that they don’t take up space or weight in your bag. Of course it is preferable to layer clothing while travelling somewhere cooler. And also best to use an ultra lightweight packable down jacket for the lightest travel experience.

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Got your bag all packed but nowhere to go? Check out our roundup of the best 9 luxury vacation rental properties here

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