Own a backpack? Well, a recently published article on essential backpacking gear has some helpful hints for packing it. The author, Maggie Hobbs, emphasizes packing gear that’s light, compact, multi-functional, and quickly dried.
First, Hobbs covers clothing, noting that this is something most people tend to over-pack. “Sure, a backpacker may be gone for months at a time, but there is probably no way that an entire wardrobe will fit into a backpack — and leave room for everything else,” she writes.
Hobbs says the first thing to do is look at the average weather temperatures of the region. Eliminating obsolete articles of clothing (like a bulky winter jacket) is a real space-saver. She recommends a good sweater, particularly those made of wool or synthetic fabrics. Avoid cotton because it takes longer to dry. (This is a general rule for all your clothing.)
Next, Hobbs talks towels. “Not all hostels will provide linens,” she says. “Renting a towel can start to wear a little thin.” She recommends microfiber towels because they are compact and dry easily.
Finally, Hobbs labors through a list of “Things That The Backpacker Might Not Think About.” Her list includes items like water purifying systems, small clotheslines, and soaps that do everything (clothes, dishes, hair, etc.).
She concludes her list with perhaps the most important essential of all, the flashlight. Pack a reliable LED flashlight, as they are far superior to power-sucking, incandescent bulb flashlights. There’s no need to carry extra batteries or bulbs, saving you precious space in your pack. LED headlamps are also highly recommended as they provide an added hands-free convenience.