I will admit, when I first started travelling, this was how I used to pack my clothes into a backpack. Nothing wrong with learning through trial and era and I’m happy to pass on my techniques to you to ensure you don’t make the same simple mistakes. After many years on the road I’ve downsized my backpack from 80 litres to a more comfortable 35 litre check-in sized, backpack. I’m able to pack down the large volume of my clothes mostly due to compression.
This can be done by using a packing cube or a dry bag also known as compression bags.
Use Air tight, dry bags. There is no secret sauce to this method. It’s simply down to pushing unneeded air out of your clothes and shaping your packing cube to fit more dynamically into the shape of your bag. That’s it! When rolling your clothes, you’re simply reshaping them, not compressing. Which won’t be using all the space in your backpack. Treat packing clothes into your backpack like playing Tetris. Make the clothes fit better into your backpack by controlling the space they will take up.
Plus a large majority of the unneeded air is still within the clothes. One great example of compact packing is by simply looking at why Japan harvests square watermelons? Funny example to use I know, but because they are square they fit better within a fridge. All you’re doing is taking this concept and applying it towards your backpack.
You want your clothes to fit perfectly within your backpack, allowing all areas of empty space to be used. Two round watermelons in a fridge create lots of unused space which you could use instead to pack other things. When using a compressed air tight dry bag, you can mould the shape of the bag to fit better within the space in your backpack creating more space for other items. You don’t need to purchase those cheap plastic Vacuum bags that you frequently see on the TV shops.
A simple outdoor branded dry bag that’s airtight will do the trick just as well. If a dry bag is waterproof, this is a good sign that the bag will be airtight. You should inspect the top of the dry bag and make sure that the rim and clip will do a good job of securing the bag and keeping it airtight to lock in the vacuum. In the picture above you can see a good example of a solid clip and rim on a dry bag, thats what you should look out for to ensure a good vacuum tight lock.
Another added bonus to dry bags are they keep your clothes waterproof as well. I’ve also seen backpackers use standard supermarket plastic bags and they don’t last long and make a lot of noise whilst packing which is not a great idea for your fellow backpackers trying to get some sleep.
Using compression dry bags and packing cubes for your backpack. Dry bags will also help to keep your items organized as well, making packing quicker and simpler. I like to divide clothes into different dry bags to make it easy to navigate around my backpack and to make packing more quicker. It’s a good idea to purchase multiple colours and sizes to make organisation easier and packing quicker.
It’s also a good idea to keep one spare dry bag to store laundry items so you don’t mess up your clean clothes and to stop your backpack from smelling. If you happen to be constantly jumping from one place to another on your travels, this type of packing makes everything simpler, quicker as well as saving a lot of space in your backpack.