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I pack quickly..

Over the past 3 years I’ve left Australia on 7 different backpacking expeditions to various places in the world. I’ve never taken more than carry-on (except when taking a bike) and, with experience, I’ve mastered the art of packing for a trip. It never takes more then 10 minutes. Here’s how I do it:

1. Attend to your flight costume

I wear heavy clothes to the airport so as not to weigh down my bag. This means wearing socks, shoes, trousers, a t-shirt and merino top and then a hoodie on top. I’ll then put a hat on my head and put a pair of sunglasses in my pocket. My iPhone and Passport also go in my pockets. Because I’ll usually be leaving Australia in the winter as a bit of extra clothing keeps me warm. I make sure that all my gadgets are fully charged, including the Power Bank. I’ll also check that my Kindle has some fresh books to read and that I’ve downloaded a selection of music and Podcasts on Spotify.

2. Heavy stuff goes in the bag first

I always travel with a sleeping mat and sleeping bag. Because I usually won’t be using these for a few days they get put into the bottom of the bag. If I’m taking a tent this also gets added first. Next I toss in my jacket, wrapped in a pouch and a pair of thongs. I probably won’t be touching any of this stuff until I get to my accomodation at my destination so there’s no reason for it to be blocking access to stuff in the bag that I might actually need.

3. Clothes and electronics and other stuff

Then I add the clothes that I’m not wearing. Since this isn’t all that much I don’t need to use a packing cube or anything like that. This’ll include some more underwear, a couple more socks, some t-shirts, light track pants, swimming trunks, and a light towel. My electronics pouch comes next and this contains:

  • Power Adaptor
  • Power Bank
  • Earphones
  • 3 charging cables (for my Phone, Smart Watch, Power Bank and Kindle)
  • Amazon Kindle with lots of books loaded up
  • Earbuds

Then comes the toiletry bag, and this contains:

  • A bamboo toothbrush
  • Medical tape
  • Insect repellent
  • Earplugs
  • Small Toothpaste tube
  • Small roll-on deodorant
  • Band-aids
  • Some shampoo bars

I’ll throw in a journal book and pen for writing notes about the trip. This usually goes into a little bag along with copies of my passport and any extra credit/debit cards and cash that I might need to be taking.

4. The bag

I use a large Aarn Peak Aspiration backpack that can hold up to 47 liters. It can be used as a brilliant hiking pack and also as a travel backpack when I’m simply traveling from place to place. It’s only got one pocket, which can be a little annoying but it’s light, waterproof and is super comfortable on long distance hikes. Mine is now 12 years old and when it finally gives up the ghost I’ll be buying the latest model as a replacement.

5. How much does it weigh?

This simple setup weighs in at a grand total of 5.5kg. I’m easily below the 7kgs carry-on limit. Additionally, I’m wearing 2.2kg of clothes, shoes the phone and passport. Here’s the breakdown for the carry-on gear, including the bag:

Clothing 1055g
Towel 160g
Thongs 235g
Sleeping Mat 515g
Sleeping Bag 700g
Waterproof Jacket 235g
Toilet Bag 305g
Electronics Bag 245g
Journal and Kindle 575g
Backpack 1505g



The end result

Loaded with everything I need for 1 week, 1 month or 1 year worth of traveling this backpack weighs in at 5.5kg. It could easily take twice that weight if I decide to go hiking and need to pack a tent, food, water, and some extra hiking gear.