Packing Tips 101

packing tips 101The Canadian climate can be very harsh to those unaccustomed to it. Packing for your backpacking trip across Canada isn’t exactly the easiest trip to pack for. The weather can go from a sweltering 35 degrees Celsius in summer, to a frigid -45 degrees Celsius in winter. The way you pack will really depend on when you’ll be in the country. Check out the Ultimate Packing List for Backpacking Canada if you need some suggestions. Once you have all the items you need, fitting them into a 60+L backpack can be like Tetris level 30, it’s just plain tough. But like in any game, there are cheats, tips, and pointers to help get you through. Class shall begin, now!

Address Labels – Perfect for tagging those expensive valuables you’re still unsure whether you should bring. Laptop, iPod, that $1200 Nikon Camera. Should you have the misfortune of losing it, my good friend Karma may help you out and allow that item to find it’s way back to you. Zing!

Book Covers – The ultimate in James Bond-esque disguisery, allowing you, the lost tourist, to mask the fact that you are a lost tourist. Keep your cool, gradually flip to your hidden map page, and walk on like nothing ever happened.  Pah!

Plastic Wrap - Keep a couple sheets with you at all times. Works wonders in placing over shampoo bottles before closing the lid. Adds that extra security that is sometimes needed if you’re afraid to put on that fancy shirt only to find out it has a dirty goo stain. Goo!

Water Bottles – If you hoard your flight tickets, maps, postcards, but always find you rip and tear them to shreds. Try rolling them up inside a waterbottle. They’re kept airtight, and can be cut open when you get home, allowing you to cherish torn free photos, maps, and what-nots. Kablahm!

Roll them clothes – If you’re new to travel, this may come as a shock. But rolling your clothes is the best way to squeeze more clothes in, while keeping them relatively wrinkle free. Not only do you save room, it’s a lot more easy to organize as well. Keeping structure in your backpack is essential, unless you like digging 10 minutes to find a clean pair of socks. Smack!

Plastic Bags - Keep a few spare bags to put your worn and stinky clothes in, keeping the rest of your wardrobe fresh and stink-free. Toss in some dryer sheets for some added smell security. Wiff!

214759009_75d436cddc_bSplit up your money – You wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, so why keep all your hard earned cash in one pouch? Hide some cash in random places, don’t worry about forgetting where you put it. If you really need it, you’ll find it. Even if you don’t, what’s better than finding money you forgot about? Bling!

Plan the weight of your items - When packing items into your backpack, place all lighter items at the bottom of your bag, work your way up to medium weight items, followed by the heaviest items.This technique works as it causes your back to take more weight than just your shoulder. If you’re going to be wearing that pack for a while you might as well be comfy. Oof!

Flip the batteries – If you have a flashlight or headlamp, flip the batteries around so the proper contacts are NOT touching, this way, if during transportation that button gets hit, you’re not going to grab your flashlight only to discover it has since turned into a pale dead glowstick. Click!

Don’t carry gifts and souvenirs – If you find something that you know your friend MUST have, don’t bother carrying it around wasting your space. Ship it away ASAP. No sense having to throw away your third favourite t-shirt in lieu of that stupid wooden ornament. Stupid!

Photocopy security details – Keep some photocopies hidden of your passport, flights, or any other important documents in the off chance you lose something. Having those photocopies can speed up this unfortunate kick in the butt. Thud!

Congratulations grasshopper. You just passed Packing Tips 101!

Students, should you find anything worthy of adding to your Sensai’s list, please comment. Type!


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12 Responses to “Packing Tips 101”

  1. Dave and Deb
    September 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Excellent advice all around. I like the book cover idea. I think that I will try it.
    .-= Dave and Deb´s last blog ..Bali, A “Beginners” Surfers Paridise =-.

  2. Inge
    October 19, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    About the “structure in your backpack”, I tried dividing my clothes etc into categories and put everything belonging to one category (e.g. T shirts, underwear, etc) in a separate plastic bag. So for the clean pair of socks that you mention, I would search for the bag that contains socks. Way easier to find that a single pair.
    Plus, the plastic bags keep my clothes dry if needed :)

    (No idea if it will work, I only thought it up today when packing for my Canada trip that will start Wednesday)

    • Corbin
      October 19, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

      @Inge – Congrats on making the trip! If you make it to Halifax, Nova Scotia send me an email. I’ll buy you a beer! As for the structure, that’s a great idea. This girl I was traveling with for a while had her backpack arranged just like that. A zipper bag for shirts, another for underwear, another for socks. She was a good smelling traveller, and could pack her bag extremely quick, even if it looked like it was spread out all over. So I assume it works. lol. Best of luck! Remember to find some earplugs to get through sleeping with snoring dorm mates. I’m traveling with a snorer, and honestly if it wasn’t for ear plugs I would have been on the news for murdering him. Have fun!

  3. Sari
    February 27, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    Also regarding the important documents (passport, credit cards etc) you can always scan them and send the image files to your email. They will always be around for you to get!

  4. Kate
    April 6, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    LOL!!! This is everything I do when I backpack – and when I do all this my man thinks I’m quite nuts and rather fussy – but this makes me feel soooo normal!! Thank you!

  5. Jane@KeltyBackpackCarrier
    June 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Great tips – especially the one about splitting up your money. We routinely do that on all of our trips whether we are backpacking of flying or even driving. Hopefully, we will never find out how great of a tip that is, but better safe than sorry!

  6. Becky Inch
    May 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    thanks for the tips! going in september vancouver and toronto! x

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