13+ Light Backpacking Tips + Airport Carry-on Tricks

The less you carry, the further you go – not a new statement for most of us. But all of sudden, when we have to distinguish between needs and wants, we simply fail to become minimalists. Then it gets to the point when we would love to toss everything out of the backpack before crawling up the hill to catch the breath-taking view.

Prices of flight tickets are ridiculously low, although the prices of checked luggage are unduly growing. Therefore backpackers and budget travelers are unwillingly pushed to pack wisely. Money is not the only reason. The comfort of traveling and moving through the terminals with a light backpack than pulling behind an excess suitcase is worth the effort to think twice what to pack.

You might be also interested in article: 12+ Most Useful Websites for Backpackers

We put together a list of proven and well-tried backpacking tips how to lighten the cargo and pack smarter..:

Do I really need it?

This question should be a mantra for all those notorious over packers. If you really care about matchy-matchy outfits plan them before and don’t carry clothes you only might need. Regardless unwritten rule says you won’t wear them at all.

Next time try to think about things you essentially need and definitely won’t survive without instead of the things you might need. It saves a lot of space for more useful gear – trusted and verified!

TIP: follow up this complete travel packing list in order to not forget something important!

Choose the right backpack

The compact backpack that will carry all necessary gear and don’t get soaked when it rains is very important part of traveling. There are many factors you may take into consideration but the first above all is your comfort while traveling. Nomadic Matt has written a detailed post about characteristics of a long lasting backpack and what to look for in a good backpack.

Plan ahead of time and make a checklist

You probably guess what activities you want to do during the trip so force yourself to make a list of necessary attire. Also, check out the weather forecast and take it into account. If not activities the weather will determine the essential clothing.

Winter jacket and pants for Indonesia may seem out of sense if you plan to spend your trip enjoying beaches and hopping on and off islands. Unless your plan includes hiking volcanos where the temperature is just a little above zero degrees Celsius.

Learn how to layer

Instead of carrying 3 bulky sweaters and a coat learn how to wear more layers of lighter attire. There are different materials that protect the body from the cold which are still lightweight.

One-third of your body weight

Backpackers should carry up to a third of their weight without complication. When stuffing things into your super lightweight backpack, always remember that each kilogram less can bring you 5 kilometers further.

Share, share, and share

Admittedly, traveling alone brings along an extensive scale of advantages, like stumbling upon people and places easier or pure meditative and purgative effects. But if this is not the issue, travel with a peer for ease can share some of the gears.

Stay hydrated wisely

To drink enough water while traveling is essential for your health, but carrying a plastic bottle doesn’t seem as a wise solution (also mind environmental reasons). Instead, go for a rolling bottle that saves space when you’re not using it. These bottles are designed for outdoor adventures and can be easily attached to the backpack.

Bugs are your friends, and so is a tarp & mosquito net!

Name the bugs nature and call it a friend. Based on this newly sealed relationship, a simple tarp will substitute a tent. For genuine ultra-lightweight and high resistant tarps, check the fabric called Cuben fibers or CTF3. In tropical countries you will always deal with mosquiotos and even sprays and cream won’t always help 100%. That’s why it’s good to carry mosquito net.

Handle shoe packing

It’s time to get over a shoe obsession. Too many shoes can mightily minimize a space so the fewer pairs, the better. Pick two or three pairs of versatile shoes that can serve any occasion and also don’t forget to wear on a plane those which are the bulkiest one.

Don’t fold it, roll it

Have you ever tried to roll up your clothes instead of obviously folding them? You will be surprised how much space you will save.

The bulkiest items go first

Always start to roll the heaviest clothes first and try to stow them into the corners. By doing this you distribute weight evenly. Then come the lightest goodies like cosmetics. The practical reason is also a fact that it has to be taken out during a security check at the airport especially when carried in hand luggage.

You can also save a room by wearing heavy clothes on board. If it’s too warm just place them in overhead storage.

E-books rulez it

Books, in general, are kind of popular entertainment during travels and it’s highly annoying when you want to carry an exciting book but its hard cover just doesn’t fit in your luggage. Say no to conventional books and travel with e-book reader which is so savvy to luggage. If you’ve never tried kindle, go for it!

Lesson learnt

Finally, make a list of unused or thrown away things of your last trip. That will be the best personal guide for ever. And never forget: Mobility rules.

Airport Carry-on Tricks?

backpacking tips for carry-on

When backpacking around the world you will need a bit more things than for a “short term” trip. Most likely, you will be using low-cost flight companies and they will often try to charge you for 2 extra kilos or size of your backpack. Companies like ryanair or wizzair might ask you to pay 50 euros for that! Here are few tricks to pass without extra charge:

  • in most of the cases, camera bag & laptop is considered as separate (for example: like woman’s handbag). Take it out of your backpack!
  • in tropical countries, wear the most heaviest pair of shoes and keep flip flops inside!
  • put more clothes on.. wear your hoodie, jacket, long pants, 3x t-shrits if needed.
  • fill up your pockets with heavy things! (gopro, chargers, etc..)
  • get rid off things you don’t need.

Keep in mind these tips to enjoy your upcoming trip with peaceful ease. Your back will be thankful and fewer things minimize a change you may forget or lose some of your belongings. If these tips are too strict try to make your own strategy and optimize packing habits with each trip.