Figuring out what you need to pack and how you pack it is an important aspect of your pre-trip regiment. We have compiled a few of our packing tips we have accumulated over our time travelling and hope they help move you in the right direction.
Know Your Fabrics!
Knowing what type of fabric to bring on your trip can be the difference between washing them every day or ever month. Not only that, but it will help to save you from over-packing or under-packing and having to buy expensive goods spur the moment.
For warm climates, its crucial to ensure to balance the effects of quick drying materials with odor mitigation. Synthetic materials like polyester hold less water than cotton or wool which keeps it from clinging to you and staying wet. It is also great as you can wash them in the evening and have them dry by morning. Synthetic underwear is one of the best uses as you can wash them regularly and have them dry quickly. The downside of synthetics are that the fibers cannot absorb sweat and thus odor can develop quicker. After sweating, the shirt will dry but the bacteria will stay on the surface of the shirt.
For natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, and wool, the opposite of above is true. These materials absorb water and will stay wet for longer. Without proper air circulation or in extreme humid conditions, they can take a long time to dry. However, the benefit of them, aside from the fact that they are natural and not based of a fossil fuel, is their odor protection. Sweat is absorbed into the materials where bacteria eats away and eliminates odors. Choosing which type of material is best is up to you as there is no right answer. It is all about finding that delicate balance.
For cooler climates, the key is to balance weight and warmth. Though it may be warm, the big trendy Canada Goose parka probably wont be the best option if you are trekking long distances where temperatures wont fall far below zero. Many product lines from outdoor stores like Eddie Bower or MEC will help to balance the weight to warmth ratio. If you are looking for the best of all worlds, looking for products made from Merino wool is ideal. They are super warm, lightweight, and dry in an instant. Icebreaker is one of the best brands, and can be found at most outdoor stores or HERE on amazon.
The ultimate luggage organization tool! A bag filled with loose clothes, cords, socks, and underwear is one to surely get on your nerves. Packing cubes will keep everything contained and organized so when you have to go searching for one item they all don't come crashing down! They range in size allowing for the ideal suitcase configuration! We use Gonex bags for our trips and absolutely love them. They are tough, durable, and have water resident fabric sides but a mesh top allowing for great ventilation. They are quality bags for low cost and are always available with Amazon Prime! We swear by these.
Roll Your Clothes
The first thing that anyone worth their salt will learn is the importance of rolling your clothes. We guarantee that it saves more space than you expect it does. Rolling and using packing cubes in combination will make you unstoppable! You will soon be rolling all your potential clothes while shopping before you decide to purchase it just to see if the size is the "make or break" aspect! Surprisingly, rolling can also stop wrinkles if you do it properly!
While many already know the benefit of rolling their clothes, it can sometimes be challenging to keep them from unrolling every time you reach in for an item. Adding an elastic around each will keep it together offering easier access to each piece. Getting things from your bag won't seem so grueling!
Long term travel can be damaging on your hair especially if you are using the hotel provided shampoos. Unless you are awesome enough to stay in luxury suites every night (send us a message if you are and I am sure we will be best friends!), you will notice the quality or even access to conditioner will be poor. Bringing enough to keep your hair moisturized is simple and your hair will thank you! Check out GoToob, our go-to containers for any travel liquids or creams. They are TSA size-approved, have a tight seal and the silicone is easy to wash.
Mini Laundry Detergent Sheets
If you are planning on going on a long term trip you may think to bring either liquid or powder detergent packs to do laundry on the go. While they may work, the liquid often leaks or the powder package explodes. A much better option are these mini laundry sheets. Essentially they are sheets of soap that activate with water and make suds on the go. They are small, light and don't get on everything if they fall out of the case. The only downside is the entire case needs to be kept dry but that is an easy fix with a ziplock bag.
Keeping costs down is one of the major focuses for most of us long term travellers. Preparing your own food is one of the best ways to do so. We rely on sandwiches a lot as they are always easy to make and last a long time out of the fridge. While it may be strange, a small roll of (unused!!!!!) doggie poop bags is perfect for taking sandwiches on the road. We recommend the biodegradable bags as they are better for the environment!
Filtered water bottles
Access to clean drinking water is extremely important when you are travelling. Many countries throughout the world do not have potable water from their taps requiring you to either buy water bottles or further treat your water. While bottled water is inexpensive in some countries like Bulgaria (20 cents per 2L bottle), it can be very expensive in other areas, especially when they are remote. A filtered bottle like Life Straw can be great for treating almost any water while also saving disposable water bottles from entering landfills. If you think you will only need to filter your own water a few times, you can always go with water treatment tablets like these which take up less space but do not filter out any matter that may make it into your bottle. A shirt can easily be used as a makeshift filter- just be sure to add the tablet AFTER filtering!
Attachable Hand Sanitizer
Many people may think to bring hand sanitizer on their trips but the key is to get small attachable ones that you can carry on the outside of all of your bags. This prevents you from having to dig through your purse or bag when your hands are dirty! They are not only great for hikes but also roaming around a city.