Travel with a backpack

Updated: Sep 30, 2019


Have you ever thought of travelling only with your backpack with minimal stuff. Try it once and you are never going back to carrying bulky baggages. I had myself always travelled with bulky bags but things changed as I started booking cabin luggage flights. You save 2K - 5K approx one way fare for cabin only flights


Planned my 30 days backpacking trip in 2017 across Asia & that's when I decided to carry minimal stuff. Post the confidence in the first trip, I did the same for my Europe trip in a much better way


This blog is the best practices which I followed while packing my bag. Hope it helps you do the same


Nope I am not going for a overnight stay or a short trip with that bag


That's me at Kochi airport starting my 30 days backpacking trip across Asia


Wanna know how I did it...


Keep reading :)


Why travel with a backpack?


Cheap fares on flights - Most low cost airlines have only cabin luggage fares which are much cheaper than normal fares which include 15-20 kg of checked in baggage


Ease of breezing through airports and not having to wait in long queues for check-in or for your baggage to arrive at your destination


Walk to your destination from airport/station and save few bucks on transport


What did I carry?


After searching much I drilled on a 40 litres backpack from Skybags.


Reasons I choose this bag

  • Opens full as a suitcase. Better access

  • Laptop compartment (Just in case)

  • Extra back padding & straps

  • Ample number of compartments

  • In-built rain cover

  • Water bottle compartment

  • You can buy it here (They discontinued this colour) https://goo.gl/5wgS3n

  • Small mistake: The bag weighs about 1 kg empty. I had to cut my things as I did not consider this factor (Lesson learnt)



Things to consider while packing


Weather


Check the weather conditions of places visiting on the days of your travel


For my travels in Asia the weather I would be facing was hot, humid and rains so added a raincoat and few extra socks (waterproof socks would be a added benefit)


Type of country or places visited


Was visiting China & Japan which had a lot of temples and had read on internet that temples don't allow entry with shorts hence a pair of pants were added


Washing of clothes


With minimal clothes I would be washing them as I travelled. Hence did not take my expensive clothes but took dirt cheap basic tees from Decathlon. Remember: You wound not have time to dry your clothes but will have to use dryers available at hostels/laundries. Those dryer damage your clothes


Few tees which I usually carry, bought from Decathlon. Link: https://www.decathlon.in/17107-men-s-t-shirts Starts @ 99 Rs and upwards. Choose as per ur budget


Plan your bag packing and also decide days you have to do laundry (You can't skip it trust me)


Day - City / Country - Hostel - Laundry facility available (Y/N)


This will help you plan on your clothes to pack


Do I carry everything from the start of the trip? - Problem


No you don't need to


For my Europe trip this were my travel destination temperatures


First 12 days

Germany / Budapest / Italy / Barcelona - 18°C - 22°C with occasional rains


Next 7 days

Oslo - Longyearbyen -4°C


Next 7 days

Paris - Amsterdam - Belgium - Netherlands - 16°C - 20° C


It would be foolish to carry stuff for -4° C temperatures for the first 12 days. That too from India all the way to Europe. I did have a flight with free 20 kg check-in luggage but then had many low cost flights within Europe. This would exceed my 7 kg baggage limit


What did I do? - Solution


I carried stuff for my first 12 days of travel only


Last city from where I flew to the minus degree temperates I searched and drilled down a Decathlon store. Their prices are almost same across the globe. Checked website for Barcelona stores and I was sorted. Added visit to Decathlon Barcelona on my itinerary. If Decathlon is not available search for stores in the last city from where you can purchase stuff


My list to buy from Decathlon Barcelona was

- Flee jacket

- Body warmer

- Wollen socks

- Wollen cap


Tip: Do check their websites & check for you sizes before visiting the store to avoid wastage of time


What to carry in the backpack?


There's the list of basic necessary items which you can't miss. Rest are optional as per your travel itinerary & personal use



1. Small backpack for your day trips. I carried this 10 litre backpack. Lightweight & super spacious https://goo.gl/pL3MKC


2. Micro fibre towel

Hostel charge you for towels on rent. Can be a costly affair for long backpacking trips.

https://goo.gl/yHtqPe


3. Rain Jacket (Optional as per weather)

4. Shoes - Choose them very wisely. They will be the only pair you will wear all you trip. Consider all your activities on your trip and choose wisely

5. One pair of jeans. Preferably the lycra mix ones which are light weights and not heavy. Dry also easily

6. One pair of convertible pants. You can skip the jeans also and carry these or a quencho pants can be taken https://goo.gl/AnVAuF

7. Seven pair of underwear. Get these running shorts which are ultra light weight and dry instantly. Sweat free. Wear them and get comfortable before the trip :D https://goo.gl/MRKs1k

8. Six tees. 4 normal 2 good branded ones. You can take all branded if you can afford to get them spoilt :)

9. Five pair of good hiking socks. You would not want blisters on your feet on your travels. I got these ones and have walked 20+ kms in a day in humid conditions https://goo.gl/wpdeCQ

10. Cubes. Mandatory buy. Will help you keep all stuff organised in a compact way https://goo.gl/BRnvGC

11. Two dial cable locks. From hostel cupboards to swimming pool lockers you will need them

12. Ultra lightweight slippers (Can even buy them from your destination and discard if don't want to carry them back)

13. Toilet kit with basic necessities

14. Water bottle - My saving on drinking water for Europe trip was approx. 3.5K by not buying bottled water. I filled my water bottle from hotels and taps available in gardens

(Water @ 2 euro. Beer @ 2.5 euro. Washroom @ 1 euro. Better to drink beer in restaurant @ 2.5 euro, pee and fill water for free :D )

15. Laundry bag


Tech stuff


1. One power bank. Gone are days of bulky power banks. Get the MI pro fast charging power bank. With fast charging on mobile phones you will seldom need to use it. Best part is the powerbank recharges on fast charge https://www.mi.com/in/new-10000mah-mi-power-bank-pro/

2. Universal travel adapter. Get a good one. Chroma had one @ 799 Rs. Check for ports you need at a time to connect all your gadgets

3. Necessary cables and wires

4. Headphones. Carry as extra pair of cheap ones as back up


Optional stuff


1. Gorilla Tripod. Travelling solo and this would be your best companion

2. Action camera (Optional)

3. DSLR (Optional)

4. Cap if you prefer wearing one

5. Umbrella


Phew !!!


What do I do with the additional stuff I bought on way?


So what to do with the additional baggage that I had added on my trip. The last destination I flew from back to India I discarded the tees. I washed and gave them off to beggars.


Additional for my winter wear I wore my flee jacket on my way back. Also had 20 kg check-in luggage so bought a small foldable duffle bag from my last destination. (Yes again it was from Decathlon)


I had spend so much less on Decathlon than what I had saved taking cheap fare flights. So was worth it


How to pack your backpack?


This requires some basic skills and you will be able to pack easily or rather efficient. Layer your backpack well and think about your requirements for the next day or rather the next destination if you're moving


Roll the jeans / pants and they go in bottom of the backpack if you're not wearing it. I always wore it for my cheap flights to save on baggage weight


Fill up the big cube on one side with tees rolled up. Rolling up saves space.

The other part of the cube can contain your laundry bag and a few tees.

Basically the other side of the cube is for used clothes storage


Get a smaller cube for you undergarments. You would not want to open all your things in the morning when rushing to the bathroom. Keep them seperate


Roll up pair of socks inside out and pop then in the backpack


Get your tech stuff. Wires/cables camera etc between the two cubes in the middle of the backpack. Helps as a cushion and also its safe in case someone tries to rob you on the way


Once done topup the bag with a rolled towel on the top. I used to roll a underwear and a tee in the towel each time I had to shift hostels so I was ready for going to bath in morning without opening all stuff


Store your power bank in the side compartment. I suggest getting a longer cable for your trip so you don't need to remove the power bank each time. Just pull the cable and you are sorted


All remaining stuff goes in the front compartments or arrange them as per your convenience


Keep your passport and other important documents in the laptop compartment which are always close to your back and separated from rest of the things


Layers:

Jeans

Cube of tee and pants

Cube of undergarments

Sweater / rain jacket if you carrying one

Towel

Toiletries



Points to note while travelling with a backpack


While it was all good stuff that you read. Lets see some cons and how to handle them. I don't shy from telling colleagues, family members that I had gone backpacking hence could not get anything back :D


Souvenirs

I did not buy any. None. Replace them by sending postcards to your loved ones and yourself. That will be the best and the unique souvenirs. Once back you would love to recieve them. The postcard I had send to my loved ones from Longyearbyen is the unique one they have got from any location


Liquor

No one can resist liquor shopping at Duty Free. Neither can I. Buy them as you can carry them in cabin. Just take care to see if you have connecting flights within India. You would have to check-in the same


Buying a duffel bag comes handy here. Transfer your extra clothes in duffle bag and put the liquor in your backpack wrapped in clothes. Mark the bag fragile. Domestic flights have 15-20 kgs check-in so you are sorted



Here's what I packed for my 30 days Asia backpacking trip


Make cubes your best friend

That's how I packed my bag. BTW I always click pic of my bag once packed. Helps if your bag is lost and you need to file a claim



Updated 1 Nov 2019


I had shared the above picture of contents I pack in my backpack. Got many requests to give details of each product. So here are all the details


(Ignore any typos and the language as this blog is written waiting for my flight at the airport lounge on a tablet)


  1. Main bag: https://amzn.to/2mmM6x5

  2. Cubes: https://amzn.to/2o32p2v

  3. Underwear: https://bit.ly/2nb59uL The black ones are @ 249 Rs.

  4. Socks: https://bit.ly/2o1yXda Get them and you will never go back to the normal ones

  5. Flip-flops: https://bit.ly/2oE9pmN

  6. Raincoat: https://bit.ly/2Iqe4QL If you prefer a zipper one get this https://bit.ly/2oEWsJr

  7. Towel: https://bit.ly/2o1GLvu

  8. Travel Inflatable Cushion: https://bit.ly/2o1JfKk

  9. Fleece inner: https://bit.ly/2n2vivX

  10. Multi purpose Headband: https://bit.ly/2n3rf2q

  11. Combination lock: https://bit.ly/2mnfOC8

  12. Shoes: https://bit.ly/2mufSjK


Electronics/Gadgets/Others


  1. Laptop: IdeaPad D330 25.6cms - BronzeModel Number: 81H3009TIN - https://lnv.gy/2n2dL75 Use code "48HRS2500" to get Rs. 2500 off

  2. Spring steel wire rope: https://bit.ly/2nV6rdx

  3. Headphones: Jabra 65T

  4. Cable organizer pouch: https://bit.ly/2mnk2K0

  5. Gimbal: Moza Mini-S

  6. Camera: M6 Canon

  7. Day backpack: https://bit.ly/2oCkPaG

  8. Portable weighting scale: https://amzn.to/2mugA0o

  9. 10L compact bag: https://goo.gl/pL3MKC

  10. Water bottle: https://bit.ly/2n0l9jj

  11. 1TB Harddisk: https://amzn.to/2nWgJdg

  12. Mini tripod: https://amzn.to/2nVgBLd

  13. Travel adapter: https://bit.ly/2mpbLW5


0 views