Tuesday, 3 February 2015

(UN) Mastering the art of packing

I must advised you that if you have opened this post expecting to find “never disclosed before” tips on how to elaborate the perfect backpack for a long trip, then you better stop reading now and search the tips of those who really know what they’re talking about (meaning everyone else but me)

But if you have ever felt that packing for a “backpacking” trip has brought the worse in you, you have felt full of desperation and wanted to scream and send the trip to that place, then by all means, keep reading because you and I have lots in common and is not satisfaction derived from packing your life in it.

Seems that your last trip happened millions of years ago and from those memories, the living prove that it all happened for real is your beloved old dirty smelly backpack that has been cornered in your wardrobe for what it seems forever. Every time you see it you feel an intense desire of filling it up again and carrying it in your back for months to end. All bad memories erased, there it is what symbolises your freedom.

 We idolized the moment of packing; it is the beginning of better things to come, the adventure, and the unexpected.

And the moment finally comes and the preparation begins. It is that great moment Pre-trip; buying and gathering all the necessary items.

 It is now that you have to read me carefully because I can for real enlighten you with the following tips of what you should not do when packing just because I have done them all and then suffered the consequences too far and too late.
Here’s an easy list of my most memorable (read un-memorable) ideas when packing;
Underwear (this section may be of more interest to female readers for some reason…)

 Why oh why we feel like we can never take less than 10 pair of underwear? It may be your first time going away for a long period of time and well, too right you think that nothing can possibly be more necessary and used that underwear, right?

Not only you will realised soon enough that your underwear is taking a whole lot of space in your backpack but why you never thought that soap bars are a great discovery and they can be given multiple uses aka leaving you pristine and your underwear, too. You get the idea, right? It is called WASH your own clothes


 Here’s when you are most likely to notice how much the first world has influenced you unless you are now more time carrying a backpack around the globe than working.

What a dilemma…I can totally relate to it even now when I have a fair bit of travelling on my back. Backpacking and clothes happen to make the most laid back woman go bananas; space or lack of it, too much or too little, will be cold or hot or both? Beach or hiking? Dress to impress or not to care? I know, I know.

It is highly difficult to choose from when the space is so limited, the kilos adding up too quick but I promise you, it does get better with time and experience…slightly better.
I can promise you something; when the uncomfortable kilometres and weight become a burden and they will, you will start hating every single item in your backpack and regrets will appear every time you have to pack and unpack. You will, without a doubt, develop a strong love-hate relationship with your backpack.

Remember that in some parts of the world, like SE Asia, clothes are cheaper and even cheaper if you know how to haggle so there, now decide

Make Up

 Ah….Beauty and money make the world go round and you know it! OK, with the money there is no much you can do, you either have it or don’t but if beauty…let’s be honest, it can be created with little tricks here and there. Guilty, been there, done that

Of course depending of which destinations you are going to visit, then I would not advice you against make –up, of course a trip to Las Vegas is not the same as a backpacking trip around SE Asia or a Safari in Africa.

But if you are heading to a warm backpacking paradise, the last thing you want is not to see well a precious landscape because your make-up is melting in your eyes. Besides, the sun will tan you making you looks beautiful and wealthy, what’s not to like about natural beauty?


Please tell me that you are not thinking to take a pair of high heels or any uncomfortable beautiful pair of sandals for the matter for a backpacking trip? Just not a good idea, forget it.

Think laid back style, fitting with the crowds, beach and mountain and lots of kilometres to be walked in, occasionally, difficult conditions. Enough said; a pair of trainers or mountains shoes (my choice as I love hiking) and comfortable sandals for warmers weather and stony streets. Other than that and absolutely necessary, common sense applied, a pair of sandals to wear in any shower that is not your own, no more explanations needed.

Books & Guides

Long are the days when I used to take with me guides and books but, of course I have done it back in the days and I’m here now to tell you not to do it BUT of course, exceptions apply.

Are you heading to more than one country? Do you even know where are going to head to? There are two things that I can honestly advise you here and it goes for both guides and books; E-books and/or buying terribly old ones on the go. The magic words are “download for your life before you go” (I have bough a few LP guides for my upcoming trip in my Kobo, easy, simple, weight free except for the Kobo itself) Of course it has taken me years to do this, I have tried to live without technology but it wasn’t quiet working..

If you do not have an E-reader, that is absolutely not a problem as in your route, surely sooner or later you’ll be passing common backpacking spots and wherever a backpacker has put their feet, they have left a book and a guide. This will always be available sooner or later. Well, maybe the edition is really old but hey, who cares? Just add a few more dollars to the prices for each year that has passed since the edition has been published. 

 There are just some ideas, but I could come up with many more which I won’t not to bore you. Just think that no place in the world is so isolated that they have never seen  shampoo, toothpaste or soap and if you have been, then I would love to hear about it but until then, believe me and thousand of others, you do not need to carry your house in your back.








  1. Wow montse thank you for all these tips. Probably the most useful post so far, as at some point, eventually most of us will backpack in our life. Thank you xxx love it

  2. Monste :) This is my first read of your blog, I will be reading all of them :) its very interesting, I wish one day I will follow in your footsteps and maybe if I cannot manage a 6 months thing, I will definitely try for a month one day. xxxxx
    Sherin Lafta x

  3. Hey Montse, have you arrived??? Boglarka