Before embarking on a quest of exploring the world or hiking in and around the national parks, a little planning may be needed. Once one board the plane, one can't just go back to one's home and pick up that thing that would have made life easier. Conversely, if one has too much weight on a trip, what to do with it? Chuck it out? Here are some tips for how to pack for a backpacking trip and some for a travel hiking trip. One doesn't want to be carrying excess weight needlessly, while one must be prepared for it the weather turns south.



Backpacking is more involved and a more serious sort of traveling. With this style of traveling the backpacker may be going to travel across the country or going abroad for 2 weeks or maybe even two years. This type of travel needs the most forethought to get things right. As a general rule, most backpackers starting out take too much and are compelled to shed weight on the trip.

  • Tip: Carry As Least As Possible

Here are two big reasons why one should start out with less and not more. One is that almost everything is for sale everywhere. So if one actually needs something, it is easy enough to get it en route. The other reason everything thing is in the pack must be carried or discarded once the journey starts.

Related: 10 Things Everyone Forgets To Pack When Hiking

If one is planning to take buses and stay in hostels around the world and especially if one is going for an extended trip, it is generally advisable to take one's laptop. This also enables one to become a digital nomad - something that is quite easy in today's world. On the other hand, if one is backpacking for shorter periods and wants to focus on hiking, then the last thing one wants is to be weighed down unnecessarily by electronics!

The Backpack

  • Tip: For Hostel-Focused Travel, Take A Laptop

One of the best tricks for limiting the stuff carried is to limit the size of one's backpack. Under almost no circumstances should one's backpack be larger than 70 liters for men and weigh more than 20kg or 45 pounds. And women shouldn't generally get a backpack larger than 60 liters. These sizes are more for hostel living. These are too large for extensive hiking. One should not go on a hike with more than 15kg or 33 pounds try to keep it to 10kg or 20 pounds with camping gear.

  • Tip: Almost Never Get A Backpack Larger Than 70 Liters And Over 45 Pounds Loaded

Additionally, if one is traveling around in hostels, have a day backpack paired with the main backpack - they are extremely useful around town around the world. But if one is focusing on hiking, day-packs are unnecessary and cumbersome.

Travel Hiking

With travel hiking, one is only likely to travel for a day hike or maybe a couple of days. This is less serious hiking and so one's pack can be minimal (definitely no laptop). But as always minimal is the name of the game. Don't ever carry excess weight (like large bottles of shampoo, heavy food (like potatoes), too many clothes, etc.).

If it is just a day hike, then not much thought needs to be put into it. One can get a good day hiking pack, but a school pack may be sufficient. One just needs to carry enough water, and food (consider bringing nuts, cheese, muesli bars, chocolate, and other high-energy and low-weight foods - fried chicken is also good on the first day). Always prepare for the worst weather, so one's clothes need to be synthetic and/or woolen. Don't wear cotton if the weather could get wet. Don't carry too many changes of clothes.

  • Never: Never Wear Cotton Clothes Hiking In Wet Weather
  • Essentials: Thermals, Wind And Rain Proof Jackets, Sunglasses, Sunhats, A Bag To Keep Everything Dry
  • April Fools: To Save On Weight, Carry Bottles Of Dehydrated Water

Related: 5 Reasons Why Hiking Is The Best Family Vacation Activity (& 5 Reasons Why It's Not)

If one is going to be camping then one will need to carry all the camping equipment. Buy only gear designed for hiking - they are much lighter and smaller.

  • Tip: If One Brings Alcohol, Pour It Into A Plastic Bottle So Not To Carry Heavy Glass

While it is vitally important to keep weight to a minimum, remember to allow some niceties - like a power bank to keep the phone charged, a modest bottle of whiskey, and some food that tastes nice (like chocolate, coffee, and beef jerky). Don't just bring tasteless pasta, rice, or noodles. Good food, reading, and modest drinking can all be part of the experience that makes it enjoyable. See here for how to pack hiking meals.

Next: Everything You Need To Know About New Zealand's Great Walks