Not long ago, I had to go on a short 5-day trek to Poon Hill, Nepal and one of my concerns before that hike was how to pack my clothes and gears the best way possible for such a very challenging trek. What I learned from such a trek made me a better backpacker. So I am imparting, in this article, the exact tips I’ve learned about packing clothes.
Best Techniques on Organizing your Clothes in your Back
Proper packing of clothes, of course, will help you save on space. You can use packaging cubes, containers, compression bags, and other tools to maximize your backpack spaces. Moreover, you can learn the following techniques on how to best pack your clothes in a backpack:
1) Keep Your Backpack Light!
One of the pioneers in keeping light when hiking is John Muir, the Father of National Park. He brought only bread and tea when he went to the wilderness. But I don’t encourage you to emulate John Muir. Yet, there is so much wisdom in going light when you hike.
Never mind the trend decades ago about those backpackers who would carry up to 70 pounds when they travel. At present, a growing number of backpackers espouse the philosophy of John Muir, believing in the idea that “less is more.”
What I’m point out is that you should carefully consider if you would need this or that item or not. If you are going for a hike to Poon Hill, for example, or Appalachian Trail, you don’t need to bring your hair dryers. Moreover, it will help to decide whether several pairs of shoes are necessary for the hike.
2) Roll and Fold Your Clothes the Right Way!
The military men are the best when it comes to packing their clothes. So, you should learn their “so-called” military roll method when storing your shirts inside your backpack. This method is quite simple. First, place your shirt face down on the table. Then, fold the sleeves back so that they form an X behind the garment’s back. Don’t let any part of the sleeves hanging over the sides.
Then, smoothen the wrinkles out. Fold the bottom edge of the shirt upward. Afterward, begin to roll out the bottom toward the neck. Then, place the rolled shirt inside your backpack.
On the other hand, packing your jeans and shorts wrinkle-free requires a different type of folding. They are not easy to roll. So, instead of rolling them the way you would roll your shirts, you can hold them along the waistband and slowly fold them.
You can fold them in the middle with the one back pocket facing the other back pocket. Then, lay them flat on the table. Fold in halves from the ankle cuff. Then, store them at the bottom part if you will not use them soon.
3) You should Use Containers
You can minimize your clothes’ wrinkles and maximize space in your backpack if you use containers like packing cubes and compressor bags. Moreover, you can utilize packing folders when folding shirts.
A packing cube, for example, is a mesh box and comes with a lightweight frame. Cubes also come in various sizes and are designed for tightly holding rolled clothes.
Packing folders, on the other hand, are ideal for folding clothes that don’t roll well. You can use these packing folders to fold items flat. Then, close the sides up to compress the shirt from wrinkling. On the other hand, you can use compressor bags to compress clothes by removing the air inside these plastic bags.
4) Employ the Jigsaw Puzzle Approach!
Even if you have carefully stuffed your clothes and things inside your bag, movements and friction may still cause your clothes to wrinkle and crimp. So, it will help to device a Jigsaw puzzle arrangement for your things to prevent movement and wrinkling.
Later you will read about weight organizing. But for now, you need to imagine your bag like a jigsaw puzzle. In doing so, you can fit all the things together, arranging them according to weight like bricks of Tetris to ensure that there will be minimal movement inside your backpack.
You can fit the packing containers together like bricks with minimal space in between. Fill the gaps with small items to minimize movements.
5) Employ Bundle Storing
You can also employ the bundle storing method to arrange your things in your backpack. It is quite simple. You just need to bundle together your socks, shirt, and underwear to save space. You can do bundle storing by laying your shirt on the table. Then, put your folded underwear along with your socks on the chest part of your shirt.
Afterward, you can fold the shirt’s bottom up to four inches from the bottom. Then, fold the shirt’s sides towards the shirt’s middle covering the socks and underwear. Afterward, you can tightly roll the shirt downward from the collars and use the shirt’s inside out section to enclose the entire package.
6) Use Compression Dry Bags!
If you pack your things well, you can stuff all your things inside a backpack, and you can carry all your stuff without needing another bag. You can better pack your clothes inside if you use compression dry bags. As mentioned above, compressor bags come as plastic bags that you can connect to a vacuum to zap the air inside and compress your clothes tightly inside.
With the use of compression bags, you can maximize every space inside your backpack. With no in-between air spaces, you can compactly pack everything inside your backpack. Moreover, the use of compression bags is perfect if you will tackle a trail during the rainy season.
7) Organizing Your Things According to Weight!
Backpack sizing usually depends on your torso length. However, when you pack your things inside a backpack, you should be mindful of the weight of each item you put inside it. It will be advantageous to divide your backpack into the bottom, middle, and top portions.
Your sleeping bag, pillow, and the tent should be at the bottom. However, if your sleeping bag is a Therm-a-Rest Z lite, for example, it will take much space in your backpack. So, it is better to strap it outside your backpack. You can also put some of your clothes that you will not readily use at the bottom of your backpack. As a rule, your camp gear should go at the bottom, save for the flashlight and headlamp. Remember also to distribute the weight of your items evenly across your backpack.
When you’re done with the bottom part, begin stuffing the backpack’s middle. You can put the heavy gear above your camping gear and sleeping bags, such as your vital equipment like pans, stoves, and pots. They will get ample cushioning when they are in the middle. Moreover, your bag’s center of gravity will fall in the middle.
Once done with the middle portion, you can put the less heavy items on the bag’s top. You can set the things you would often need, such as hats, coats, and umbrellas on the top portion of your bag.
You can store the toiletries in separate pockets if your backpack has extra pockets. Most hiking backpacks would usually have outer pockets with zipper for storing smaller items. Do not store your toiletries and liquids near your clothes, for they may spill over to your clothes.
Correctly packing your clothes can save you much space in your backpack and can keep your clothes wrinkle-free. Yet, when packing clothes, it will help if you carefully consider whether you will need a piece of clothing or not. In this way, you can go light for greater convenience during your hike.
The trend nowadays with backpackers is to go light as possible. By eliminating the items you will not need, you can maximize your backpack’s space and make the most of it. You should also maintain the right center of gravity when you pack. Ensure that you will get the maximum comfort possible when carrying your bag. Lastly, aside from going light when you hike, it will also help if you pack for convenience.