How to Pack Your Clothes in a Backpack While Traveling

How to Pack Your Clothes in a Backpack While Traveling

If you’re reading this post, then you must be looking for smart ways to pack your clothes when going out for camping, backpacking, hiking or simply bouncing from one European hostel to another. Now, a backpack is quite different from a suitcase and the two require a distinctly different skill of packing your clothes in them. 

While you’ll only need to drag your suitcase behind you, a backpack will have to be carried on your shoulders meaning you’ll have to mind the weight quite a lot. 

Something else about backpacks is their design. Since they have a large compartment that’s only accessed from the top, packing your clothes the wrong way can inconvenience you later if you’re not careful (after all, who would like to dig deep through the messy clothes just to find a passport or wallet?)

So, with that said, this comprehensive guide will now go straight to our main topic where we’ll discuss how to pack clothes in a backpack.

Part One: But First, You Need to Start With the Right Backpack

Before you can think of packing your clothes, the first equipment you need to think of is the type of backpack you’re going to use. Backpacks come in different varieties and can serve different functions depending on your backpacking needs. 

  • If you’ll be traveling out for prolonged hours, then a waterproof backpack is exactly what you need to protect your stuff from the elements.
  • In case you’ll be traveling from one European hostel to another and for a long time, a backpack with wheels can serve the purpose as you won’t have to keep carrying it around.
  • If you’ll be packing more clothes and personal stuff during your travel, then a backpack with multiple compartments can suit your itinerary and packing style. A backpack that transitions into a duffel bag can also be an option here as it gives you clear access to the main compartment with less effort.
  • For those that travel for short trips, let’s say a day or two in a friend’s house, then an ordinary backpack is the best as you’ll only need to pack a few clothes in there.

Part Two: Rolling and Folding Your Clothes

Now that you’ve figured out how much clothing you’ll be carrying for your upcoming trip, the next step is to organize the clothes. There are two main techniques you can use to pack your clothes. One is rolling them while the second is folding them. The best thing about organizing your clothes is that it helps you to save more space while reducing wrinkles in your clothes. 

  • Start with the shirts: To roll the shirts, you can use the military technique, which involves laying the shirt flat on the table and turning the bottom inside out a few inches. With the inverted part being flat, fold the left side of the sleeve towards the center of the shirt and do the same to the other side. Starting from the bottom, roll your shirt tightly up to the neckline.
  • Next, roll the socks: Rolling the socks isn’t that complicated. All you need to do is simply to lay two socks on the table then fold them tightly from the feet area up towards the ankles.
  • Now the underwear: Here, you need to invert the waistband about 3 inches then fold both edges of the underwear towards the center. When you’re done, fold the underwear from the bottom towards the top to form one compact bundle. 
  • Next, the skirt: Rolling your skirt isn’t that simple. That’s because skirts are prone to wrinkles as compared to shirts. So, to roll your skirt, the first step is to lay it on the table then fold it lengthwise. Fold it in half then keep it next to your clothes to pack it later.
  • Folding pants and shorts: Just like folding your skirt, your pants and shorts too require folding rather than rolling. To accomplish this, simply lay your pants on a surface then fold them lengthwise. Next, fold them in half along the ankle cuff then fold them one more to make them small and compact. 

Part Three: Storing Your Clothes Inside the Backpack

Now that you’ve folded your clothes, the next part, which happens to be the trickiest, is packing them inside the backpack. Remember, the main target in backpacking is to carry the lightest weight possible while keeping things well organized for easy unpacking. Here are five ways you can pack your clothes to save on space.

  • Sort them by weight: Once you’ve folded your clothes, you need to sort them by weight before you can start packing them. Lay everything on the table for easy access and to ensure that you’ve not left anything behind.
  • Pack light items at the bottom: For the purpose of convenience, light items, as well as those things you won’t use frequently, should go at the bottom. At least this way, such items will squish once you put heavy items on top.
  • Pack heavy items at the center: Most of the heavy items you’ll carry are your electronics and camping essentials in case you’re going out for camping. The reason why they’re placed in the middle is to keep them cushioned by the clothes below and those at the top.   
  • Place medium weight essentials at the top: Pack all your medium weight essentials at the top of the backpack. This can be your sun hats, jackets, umbrellas, or any other gears that you’ll need to use on a daily basis. 
  • Save enough space: Finally, try to save as much space as possible. You can do this by rolling some of your small essentials, such as socks and underwear, and then pack them inside your shoes and sneakers. 

Part Four: Organizing Your Backpack

Packing your clothes in a backpack isn’t enough. You need to keep things well organized to avoid any inconveniences during your travel. Depending on your backpacking itinerary, here are some of the ideas you can invest in.

  • Try a compression dry bag: If your backpacking idea is related to camping or something similar, then a compression dry bag is a great idea to invest in. These bags work by compressing your clothes to remove excess air. This mechanism helps to create more space where you can pack more clothes. 
  • Packing cubes: Unlike compression dry bags, packing cubes offer separate packing areas for your clothes to make it easier for you to locate them. Since they’re available in different sizes, all you have to do is simply select one packing cube for the shirts/t-shirts, one for your pants/skirts and another one for socks, underwear and other light clothes.
  • Find separate spots for bottles and blankets: As we mentioned earlier, if you’re planning to carry a lot of stuff, then a large backpack with lots of compartments will be the best. Here, you can take advantage of the extra storage space to fit your toiletries, liquids and other bottles. At least by doing this, you will prevent the possibility of any spillage accidents on your clothes.


Now that we’ve mentioned everything that’s needed to pack your clothes in a backpack, we hope that you’ll take advantage of these expert tips during your next travel. You see, one mistake most backpackers make when planning to travel is packing too many clothes, most of which are unnecessary. 

So, to avoid exhausting yourself with a bulky pack, simply spread all your essentials on the table then figure out what’s needed and what’s not needed during your trip. 

Once you make up your mind, fold or roll your clothes then follow the right backpacking procedure to ensure that everything fits snugly.

Finally, if you have any questions about this topic or maybe you’d like to add a point or two to what we’ve already covered, then feel free to share them out in the comments section just below. 

The post How to Pack Your Clothes in a Backpack While Traveling appeared first on Pommie Travels.

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