With less than four weeks to go till I fly to South America, and most of my preparation and shopping done, I’ve started to think about how I’m going to pack all my new gear. I’ve been browsing the web for packing tips and advice, and came across a brilliant recommendation from a fellow travel blogger Travel Fashion Girl, who suggested using packing cubes to help organise your luggage. So, I decided to trial a few different packing options from the great range at Lifeventure, a travel accessories provider who specialise in backpacking, camping and adventure gear.
Ultralite Packing Cubes
I’ll be living out of my backpack when I’m on the road, and since I like everything neat and orderly I was intrigued to see how the packing cubes from Lifeventure might help to keep my backpack organised.
When you’re trying to travel light, every millimetre of space in your backpack counts – not to mention the need to keep the weight down – so I was worried that these cubes might take up unnecessary space. But the aptly named Ultralite Cubes are super lightweight and made from a really thin material, which is perfect for backpackers. Not only is the fabric lightweight, but it’s also very durable – with a tough mesh front panel – so I can be confident that they’ll stand the test of five months travelling.
Initially, I had some doubts about how useful a set of packing cubes might be. But after testing them out I can see they’ll be a godsend. When I backpacked in Malaysia, the biggest pain was trying to find things in my luggage; especially underwear, which seems to have a nasty habit of slipping to the bottom of a backpack and hiding there. But now, I can simply fill one of my cubes with pants and socks, and every time I need them I can fish the cube straight out – almost like having a portable sock drawer!
The 5L medium packing cube (150 x 210 x 70 mm) was perfect for this! I managed to fit 10 pairs of knickers (standard, not itsy-bitsy ones), 10 pairs of balled socks, and a set of pyjamas. Alternatively, I also got two small pairs of shoes (some canvas ‘plimsolls’ style trainers and some flip-flops) into the same cube. No more tunnelling into an open backpack to find a clean pair of underwear! It really is ingenious.
The larger 12L packing cube is pretty big, so it’s perfect for larger items like jumpers or jackets, and, at 300 x 400 x 100 mm, once full it could easily fit long-ways into my pack. Into this cube I fit 2 dresses, 1 pair of trousers, 1 pair of shorts, 7 T-Shirts, 1 pair of leggings, 2 vest tops (rolled) and 10 pairs of balled socks. In short, it fits a lot! This larger size is also great for keeping clothes together, and since you can fit plenty into it folded flat it will really help to keep away dreaded creases, too!
There’s also a small 3L option, which I didn’t bother with, but which could be really useful as a space-saving wash bag or for keeping lots of very small items together, so they don’t get lost! Buy yours from Amazon now.
Compression Stuff Sacks
Another great idea for backpackers is the very clever compression stuff sack. Not only does it come in handy with organisation to stick all your t-shirts/jumpers/pants or whatever into the sack so you know exactly where they are, but it’s also a really handy space saving tool.
Again, made from a really thin and lightweight material which is also super durable, the compression sack comes in a range of sizes (5L, 10L and 15L) and fits a lot in. I used the 10L and literally stuffed it full; the sack easily fit 13 balled pairs of socks, 13 pairs of pants, 1 jumper, 1 pair of pyjamas and 1 pair of shorts, or alternatively there was enough room for my rolled sleeping bag and a small jumper.
Once full, the stuff sack closes up into a neat little cylinder with an anti-snag drawstring. Then, you simply adjust the four straps around the sack to compress it down to about half the size. Once I had the pack, stuffed with all the clothes listed above, compressed as small as it would possibly go it was just about 10 inches in length.
Although the stuff sack maybe isn’t ideal for clothes, as rolling/stuffing them may cause serious wrinklage, it’s perfect for condensing down bulky items like jumpers and fleeces, mosquito nets, blankets, or towels. The smaller stuff sack could also be really handy to compress your sleeping right down. The perfect way to really make the most of every little inch of space in your backpack! Pick one up from Amazon today and get packing!
So, I’m now a total convert to packing cubes and luggage organisers. I hate chaos, so I’m delighted that I’ll be able to really organise my backpack as neatly as possible. It’s a pretty small step, but one that should make life on the road much more simple!
What are your packing hints and tips for long-term travel? Comment below – I’d love to hear from you!