I blundered in the previous trip. I packed half my home in that backpack. My alibi was that I didn’t know for how long I’d be gone. But that’s nonsense.
Rule 1 of packing as a backpacker is to let go of hang ups. That’s the central idea of backpacking. Daring to live with only what you can carry on your shoulders.
But settled life triggers a kind of this clawing on to things. Holding on to all that you own and associating some kind of sentimental value to it all. I re-realised this the hard way.
So this time, irrespective of how long I’d be gone for, I’m going to pack light. Given I didn’t use half of what I took the previous time, it shouldn’t be such a problem.
What should you pack for a backpacking trip?
- Clothes: Depending on where you are going and no more than a max of 5 pairs. It’s enough for a month. So if you are going for a weekender then one or two would be ideal. Roll these up as small as you can. Put all clothes into a separate bag – I use a crazy pink khadi jhola. This just helps you keep the rest of your bag organized.
- Toiletries: For a short term trip where you don’t need to journey two days in a train, it’s best to buy your supplies at the location. Else, it’s better to pack a toothbrush, a 10 rupee toothpaste and soap bar. If you are really particular about what shampoo you use (I suggest don’t because it doesn’t matter) then you can consider carrying this extra load instead of buying those one rupee pouches at kirana stores.
- Footwear: One on your feet and if there’s going to be drastic change in temperature then one tucked at the side of the bag. Else, just one. And make sure you take what you are sure is comfortable. Else you’ll regret it. Of course, you can always buy from where you are. For those travelling from metropolitans, this is great because you’ll get a cheaper deal elsewhere.
- Gadgets and chargers: Laptop, camera, batteries, chargers. Check check check. Genuinely for all the while I’ve been frowning at Mac, I must say it’s the best machine to travel with. It’s hardly there. Also, it’s a very good idea to invest in a power bank. That’s one thing I really regret not having bought yet.
- Important documents: Id proofs, tickets, ATM card, etc. Don’t forget the basics.
- A book and a notebook for scribbling (optional): Ideally not a bulky one.
- Music and headphones (must)
- A smaller bag: I use a waterproof satchel to keep all that I might need to access frequently or at short interval. Such as – money, ids, book, notebook, headphone, phone charger, printed ticket, munchies and a gamchha.
- Shades: India has harsh sun. Mostly. But if you dig crowfeet then you’re good.