My Inability to Pack Light

The night before I flew out. A wee big disorganized and a lot of stuff to cram into my bag.

The night before I flew out. A wee bit disorganized and a lot of stuff to cram into my bag.

I’m a good packer. I’m thorough and choose well-thought out, compact items to take with me, and it’s all stuff I use throughout my trip.  The only problem is – I seem to overpack. A lot. And I can’t help it. Six months is a pretty long time and 5 tank tops (to me) seems like a reasonably small amount of shirts to bring. Of course I have a few other things as well such as two layerable shirts for hiking, two shirts for a semi-nice night out, a cardigan, a rash guard, and a sweater, but otherwise, I don’t really take a whole lot. But, according to my bag, it’s too much.

My backpack is roughly 70 liters and when I was done packing it all (mere hours before I needed to catch my flight), it weighed a hefty 17 kilograms. I was hoping for 15 but it just didn’t seem to work, even after I threw out as much stuff as I could. I also carry a couple kilograms of basic diving gear (watch, camera housing, mask and snorkel) so I can blame that as it takes up quite a bit of space and weight.  But I still can’t seem to figure out how some people can jaunt around the world with only 10kgs of stuff in a much smaller bag than mine.

There’s the opinion that you can buy whatever you need wherever you are, which is true. But I also think it’s nice to go prepared and carry everything I will need with me. Sometimes you can’t get the brands you prefer or the items aren’t tailored for you (I don’t really need any skin whitening lotion) so I like to take the things I know work for me, and I try to take them in small, travel-sized containers.

Cost is also an issue as sometimes those items are quite a bit more expensive than they are at home (sunscreen in Australia was very pricey!). These items are all things that will get used up as I go along and lighten my load, but my pack still seems to be too heavy for a little woman like me.

I’d consider myself an expert packer, and everything I take does come in handy, but am I missing something in the world of packing for a long-term, diverse weather and activities style trip? How do you manage to pack what you need without overweighting yourself or carrying unnecessary items? Anyone have any tips or tricks you use when packing, whether it’s for a weekend getaway or a several week trip

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