Hacking the Packing: 6 Tips to Packing Light and Right

By Alycia Gordan

October 27, 2020

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Hacking the Packing: 6 Tips to Packing Light and Right

Packing light is nothing short of a task considering we all love to overpack.

A minimalist’s approach to packing is one that most of us do not see eye-to-eye with. However, once you adopt the strategy, you will find yourself feeling liberated and at ease.

Your packing list depends on multiple factors, such as the destination, the duration of your trip, the weather, and planned activities. However, if you wish to pack light, there are some tips that you must follow to make your life easier.

The following is a list of our top 6 tips to help you pack light and pack right every time. Let us get started.

1. Choose the right bag

First thing first: start with the right bag for the trip.

When it comes to packing, people tend to overpack simply because they have space in their luggage. The easiest way to avoid overpacking is to simply eliminate all the extra space. By choosing to travel with a smaller bag, you will be compelled to pack lighter and more efficiently.

We recommend choosing a carryon sized backpack. A stress-free way to avoid bags weighing over the weight limit, extra luggage fees, and, most importantly, the trouble of dragging your heavy bags around everywhere, carryon bags are fantastic.

2. Pack the necessities; cut out the luxuries

When it comes to packing, the general rule of thumb is to stick to the necessities.

An easy way to go about the ordeal is to lay out all your clothes and belongings, including money. Pack half the number of clothes and belongings and double the amount of money for travel.

Packing light requires a fair bit of sacrifice because you cannot carry everything you own, unfortunately. You just have to pack what you would for any regular day. Were you to pack an outfit for every occasion; you would need an extra suitcase.

Follow the Parento “80/20” packing principle stating that only 20% of your luggage will account for 80% of what you will wear on the trip.  

Your safest bet is to pack items from your core wardrobe that you wear every day. Everyday casual clothes are easy, comfortable, and no fuss. Even if you pack all your fancy outfits for those perfect insta shots, you will find yourself feeling uneasy and longing for your everyday favorites.

We all tend to overpack just in case. Please realize that most what if and just in case scenarios do not pan out, so why even bother prepping for them? Why carry around extra physical and mental baggage “just in case”? If a situation does work out, find a cheap and temporary fix, and swipe your card.

Cut out the unnecessary stuff. It is not exactly fun to be prepared all the time. Maybe deal with unexpected situations as they come. If nothing, you will get a good travel story out of it.

3. Pack for a week

It is always a good idea to decide on a set number of days to pack for. It does not matter whether you are traveling for a week, two, or maybe even a month; if you want to travel light, try to only pack for a week.

Packing for every possible exigency on a long trip is next to impossible. Therefore, it is best to reduce the chunk down to one that is more manageable. A week’s outfits are much easier to visualize, organize, and manage.

Packing more clothes means laundry, and laundry may not always be doable amidst hectic travel schedules, so spare yourself the responsibility.

Convenient, flexible, and reduced mental and physical burden; what’s there to complain about

4. Avoid bulk, pack layers instead

If you plan to travel in the fall or wintertime, you will need warm clothing that ensures protection. Bulky sweaters and jackets, although warm and cozy, are a hassle to travel with. Layers always get the job done.

Therefore, instead of packing bulky garments, we suggest packing multiple thin layers as they take up lesser space and are easier to manage. Moreover, you can always take off a layer or two in case it is warmer. With bulky jackets, you do not have that kind of luxury, and it will probably take up all the space in your luggage. Generally, two base layers and two to three t-shirts together take up as much space as one big jacket.

Our favorite layers to pack are thermal shirts and woolen or fleece base layers. They are super warm, comfortable, and versatile, i.e., worn with other items or taken off in case the weather changes.

5. Wear the heaviest item

If it is bulky, wear it. For instance, if you plan to carry a chunky pair of boots or a plus size leather jacket, it is best not to pack it and wear it instead. Similarly, always choose the lighter item to pack and wear the heavier item en route, as it just makes everything easier.

If you are traveling to someplace with colder weather and you want to bring your coat with you, do not pack it; just wear it. If wearing the coat during the entirety of the trip is impractical, ditch it altogether because the hassle is not worth it.

If things do get bad and you require a coat urgently, use the cheap and temporary retail therapy hack.

6. Pack the right fabric

In order to ensure that you pack light, it is critical to pack the right fabric for your trip.

Cotton is a very common choice. However, Cotton is not the wisest choice because it is quite heavy, takes time to dry, and is not as breathable as wool, perhaps. Synthetic fabrics and wool work out better in such situations. Wool, although pricey, is a worthy investment because it is warm, durable, versatile, and comfortable. It also fights off odor better than any sweat-wicking performance fabrics, so there is also that pro. 

Performance fabrics are also great for packing. They are cheaper than wool and are good for wicking away sweat. Their downside, however, is the smell that reeks from them if you do not wash them, so best be careful. Either invest in wool or give your performance fabric clothes a rinse after every use to avoid the smell.

Parting thoughts

Packing is not rocket science. Sure, it is overwhelming, but everything simplifies eventually. You just have to decide on how you wish to go about the matter. Traveling light is a choice and a fantastic one because it just makes everything so much easier.

Our advice is to keep it simple. Pack pieces, not outfits – it makes the whole ordeal much easier to deal with. Also, invest in packing cubes – they are a lifesaver. Lastly, leave a little room for souvenirs and maybe some new things you buy on your trip. The rest we are sure you will figure out using our tips and on your own. Good luck and have a fun trip!

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