This past trip gave me a good chance to refine how I pack my backpack and what works best where whilst out on the road. Even though the trip was short I took everything which I inventoried in the last 100 Thing Challenge, just in case I wound up changing plans along the way. I wanted to see if what I packed would work and how best to pack it all for convenience and ease of access. Here is how I did…
My Marmot backpack has 2 main compartments, 3 back side pockets, 2 side pockets, and 1 underneath.
In the first main compartment, I packed my laptop and hotspot in a laptop sleeve and slid it into the laptop pocket inside. From there I can easily get the laptop out when needed and put it back in without having to move anything else. In the main part of the pocket I packed one of the Ziplock travel bags with my pants and shorts. Along side I stuff in my jacket and hat. In case of bad weather or if I get cold, I can grab the jacket quickly without having to move anything out of the way.
In the second large pocket I use the other Ziplock bag filled with shirts, socks, and underwear. I still have some room in this pocket if I want to pull out a change of clothes to get to quickly or if I want to add something else later on.
As I use and change clothes, I move all the clean clothes to one Ziplock bag, and put the dirty clothes in the other so as to not stink up the rest of the pack.
I should mention at this point the Ziplock bags are pretty useful. Once you have them stuffed and compressed they take up little room and are easy to get in and out of the pack.
In the top back pocket which has a lot of little sleeves and pockets I keep my mail box key, some paper work, checks, pen and sharpie, my external hard drive, extra glasses, sunglasses, electric shaver, and maybe a few other small odds and ends.
In the middle pocket I keep cosmetics like toothbrush, deodorant, and similar stuff. The third pocket I throw in some snacks for the trip like candy or trail mix, some cough drops and aspirin, or anything else I might need on the trip. All of it is handy and easy to get to.
The bottom pocket underneath I keep my boat shoes. I wear the hiking shoes on the trip.
On one side pocket I keep a bandanna and the waterproof phone case. The other I use for tickets, boarding passes, or other travel documents.
None of the pockets is so full as to not be able to get something out or add something in. I try not to over stuff anything so it can’t be readily accessible. Once packed I cinch down the compression straps on both sides and the bag is ready to travel. It’s not too heavy, and fits either in the overhead compartments on the bus/train/plane, or at your feet so you can get stuff in and out quickly. In a pinch it works rather nicely as a pillow.
Whilst traveling I carry my iPhone and charger, a pair of reading glasses, and money in my pants and shirt pockets so I can grab as needed. And should I lose the backpack, I still have communication and cash.
As I said, I am still refining things but for now, this pack is working quite nicely and serves my needs well when traveling. I can usually get a good year out of pack depending on the make and how much abuse I put it through. Hopefully this one will last awhile until I am ready to replace it.
Traveling light does have it’s advantages.