Four Tips for Packing Light

January 04, 2012
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Whether trekking Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail or birding in Borneo, nature travel often requires you to be able to readily grab your bag and head off to the next adventure. Large, bulky suitcases can make it difficult to meet the luggage restrictions imposed on small, in-country flights, so the best way to pack for these expeditions is with as little as possible.

Packing lightly is easier said than done, especially when you’re traveling to a foreign country or for a long period of time. However, in addition to making life easier during your travels, packing light will also help you save money at the airport. As more and more airlines charge for checked baggage, packing light has become increasingly important.

Doug Dyment, a master packer who developed OneBag.com, a website devoted to teaching travelers how to pack light, told National Public Radio offered four tips to help nature travelers lighten their loads.

  1. Stick to your packing list
    "If it's not on your list, it shouldn't be in your bag," Dyment advises. "What happens with people is that they pack before their trip, and that packing activity consists mostly of talking to yourself and saying, 'Well I might need this and I might need that and what if the queen invites me to dinner?'” International Expeditions includes a packing list with every reservation full of items necessary for your tour.
  2. Bundle wrap
    Dyment explains that a technique called bundle wrapping helps use space more efficiently and prevents clothes from wrinkling. To do this, lay a shirt flat on your bed and stack all other clothes on top of it in alternating directions — one pair of pants goes out to the left, for instance, and one to the right. Then, wrap the shirt sleeves around the pile of clothes, bringing up the bottom and wrapping it around the top.
  3. Select one color scheme
    Selecting a uniform color scheme when packing ensures that everything matches, maximizing the number of available outfit possibilities with the minimum number of clothing items. Be sure to avoid any clothing that is camouflage-print or Army green, since those color combinations are outlawed in many countries. Be sure that your clothing is culturally appropriate, and your IE pre-travel material will help you determine the appropriate dress for your activities.
  4. Pack clothes made from synthetic materials
    Natural materials such as cotton tend to wrinkle more easily, wick poorly and are generally heavier – NOT something you want to deal with while exploring a tropical rainforest!

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