This is what we say on a regular basis when trying to pack for our next excursion. Whether it’s a few days trekking in the hills, a bike tour to Europe or a world trip, we always think we need more than we do.
We take a look at a few steps to get this art form mastered.
Step one – Choosing the bag
Your bag is your lifeline, if we get this step right, the rest can be easy.
285 litres, built in cool box and 52 external pockets, if you’re like me, when you see this advertised on your possible new rucksack, you get very excited, why wouldn’t you want all those crazy features, it’s a given. But if you can avoid the temptation, then that’s the first hurdle.
When buying a rucksack it is vital to get a good fit, this will allow you to carry the weight evenly over your body and avoid any rubbing or discomfort. Try to avoid thinking bigger is better, because if you have the space you will probably fill it.
Try to choose a bag that will offer exactly what you need for the trip and getting the right size and comfort now, will be of benefit later. I like to think of the bag as an extension of myself, if it was going to be a permanent fixture, then how would I want it to be.
See our rucksack buying guide for more pointers.
Step two – The contents
When selecting what to take with us, we need to be thinking not what we can live with, but want we can’t live without, this will ensure we only take the necessary items. When picking your items, seek out the lightest and smallest tools that will do the job the best.
It’s normal for us to want the home comforts when we travel, but although we like having a fresh pair of pants every day, if we were to sacrifice that for some extra food, then not only will you boost your energy levels, but your moods and overall performance will benefit too. This way of thinking will get the most out of your space and what you take.
Here’s an example of the GO Outdoors team’s favourite items:-
Step three – Lightening the load
Once you have all your gear laid out, it’s now time to lighten the load. Sit for a few minutes and look at all the things you have decided you definitely need. Now get rid of half of that and that is actually what you need.
This seems really hard at the beginning as you will be sure you need all of it, but once you start being strict, you’ll soon get it down in size. Look for multi functioning items, which will do two jobs, so something else can be removed.
Final step – The trial run
The final step is to do a trial run. Pack all your gear you have left and make sure you can fit it productively into your bag. At this point you should start to see if the previous processes have paid off, you’ll start to get a feel for the weight you’ll be carrying and to whether it all fits in well.
To finish off, try and schedule in a small excursion with your pack to see how you feel carrying the weight, if it feels good over a few miles then you have probably cracked it.
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