Quotes: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - Own only what you can always carry with you

Three ultimate preliminary packing rules


Two weeks before the trip is due to start, I am busy putting together my equipment. When you carry all your belongings on your back it’s necessary to adhere to some packing rules. Here are the three most important ones (and no worries: I will put up a detailed list of my gear in the coming days):

1. Travel light

Start by packing only the bare necessities. To me that is:

  • Clothing: T-shirts, Slips, bras, pants, socks, sweater, shoes, rain coat, hat, gloves, leggings, Thermo socks
  • Electronics: camera, smartphone (communication instrument and GPS device), tablet (replacement GPS device, notebook, and computer), Powerpack (for the phone)
  • Drugstore items: shampoo (also serves as soap), deodorant, sunscreen, washing powder, tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, wet wipes, nail clippers, nail file, comb, RubyCup menstrual cup, razor, exfoliating glove, contact lenses and cleaning fluid
  • Medication: band-aids/blister pads, Asperin, re-hydration sachets
  • Equipment: backpack (30 liters have to be enough), walking sticks (for added comfort while walking and added support on dirt tracks), reusable drinking bottle, headlamp, travel towel, [amazon_textlink asin=’B00G3PE9SK’ text=’cot’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’cbsou-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c51dff3f-5627-11e7-813e-77c660ffd76f’]/sleeping mat (in case Couchsurfing doesn’t work out, sleeping bag (and liner), small notebook & pen 

2. Travel light

Three packing rules of a long-term traveler and they are simple: pack light, pack light, pack light. Find out, which basics I pack for a long trip and why they make it into my backpack.Type and number are two very relevant parameters in influencing weight.

When it comes to fabrics I rely on microfiber and cotton. Even though cotton products are usually a bit heavier than microfiber alternatives I find them more comfortable in warmer temperatures. Therefore I prefer the natural fiber in t-shirts, underwear, and socks. Bamboo is increasingly used as it combines wearing comfort with lower weight.

If you pack for a week at the beach you usually do not expect to do any washing in-between. So you end up packing not only seven slips but also several pairs of pants or skirts and more than seven tops. That is OK as long as your suitcase only has to be moved from apartment to airport to hotel and back.

Having to carry everything on your back for hours on end makes things a bit more complicated.

That’s is why I apply the rule of three to t-shirts, slips, and socks: wear one, dry / wash one and one for the night.

I also wear layers: I buy jackets and fleece sweaters in larger sizes to wear them on top of each other in cold weather.

For most other products look for lighter alternatives:

My pants are not only super-light but also so-called zip offs, long pants and shorts in one.

I wear super-light outdoor running shoes (The North Face Alkaline GTX XCR).

My sleeping bag is made for warmer nights and therefore weighs only 500 grams.

Modern bridge cameras – like the [amazon_textlink asin=’B00V3RJETC’ text=’Olympus Stylus 1′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’cbsou-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’5053a98d-5628-11e7-8cb7-4d01bf7c2ce0′] which I am seriously eying to replace the old Canon SLR – do not only boast a very large focal length but often also offer HD video recording.

And my tablet is of course also the lighter netbook alternative (I added a folio case with a keyboard for more writing comfort). 

3. Travel light

An old trick to find out what else may go in the backpack is to only choose items with at least three different uses. For me those are:

  • Lock’n’Lock[amazon_link asins=’B0000AN4D0′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’cbsou-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8e51df13-5628-11e7-ab07-f5c459d1ad43′] box: Waterproof container for snacks etc., drinking cup and suitable for hot fluids and microwaves to make warm meals
  • Travel Cutlery: a simple army knife with added spoon and fork
  • Therm-A-Rest cot: bed, seating, and replacement tarp
  • Bikini: can be worn for swimming and as underwear
  • Carabiner, string, safety pins
  • External battery to charge the camera, phone, and tablet
  • Vaseline: lip balm, skin care, and lubricant
  • Sarong (African cloth): groundsheet, cover, towel, skirt, dress, towel

Do you have anything to add? Thoughts? Opinions? Let me know!

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