A Backpacker Wannabe’s Guide to Packing Light


I have always been a heavy packer. I remember going on a three day tour in Bohol and bringing in a shitload of clothes, only to use a third of what I brought all throughout the trip. I also went to Boracay on that same year, only to realize that I was geared with a week’s worth of clothes for a three day trip. What a bummer.

Despite the fact that I have been travelling a lot since college, moving back and forth from my hometown up north to our campus in Laguna, I never really understood what packing “light” means. I hated baggage, sure, but I also didn’t know how to lessen the clothes that I’m bringing. It wasn’t until Mark and I’s trip to Cagbalete that I realized that I know how to pack light, I just kept on letting anxiousness take over.

Anyway, the trigger was actually pretty simple. We decided to have a rule that we would only bring one backpack per person for everything that we’ll need for the trip. That would actually include my bulky and trusty DSLR, my clothes, toiletries, towel, and everything else. At first, I found it hard to eliminate the clothes, but once I got the hang of it, I realized that it wasn’t as hard as I think it was. In fact, I was able to travel on a small backpack on my succeeding trips after that. I know most of us find packing a challenge, but here are some of the things that I learned from my previous experiences, which I hope would be useful for you guys as well!



A Backpacker Wannabe's Guide to Packing Light | www.jhanzey.net

Tip #1: Know what’s ahead of you.


One of the main things that would determine your baggage would definitely be your activities. List down what you plan to do on your trip and assign clothes for each activity. Know the weather as well and account all the needed items per day. If you would only bring what’s needed, it would be easier for you to eliminate unnecessary items. I bet you won’t be using that cute overalls on your surfing trip, hun.



A Backpacker Wannabe's Guide to Packing Light | www.jhanzey.net

Tip #2: Sachets are your best friend.


You don’t need that big ass bottle of lotion for a three day trip to the beach! If you are to pack, bring ample amount of the smaller versions of toiletries that you’ll be using. Ditch the bottles and stick to sachets as these would give you plenty more space for clothes. That three precious inches on your bag can still fit a shirt or two. Trust me.


A Backpacker Wannabe's Guide to Packing Light | www.jhanzey.net

Tip #3: Fold them properly.


There are various folding techniques found on the internet, depending on the type of bag that you’re using. I personally like rolling my shirts, as I feel like it’s the most efficient. Here’s one of the best tutorials that I’ve seen when it comes to packing, although it’s more for suitcases more than any thing else.

Watch here:





Tip #4: Know your gear and compartmentalize.


It is best to know all the zips and compartments on your bag when you’re packing for a trip. That hidden zipper can be a nice place to hold your ipad or other gadgets. That front compartment can be useful for your toiletries. Strategically plan on how you’ll fit your other knicknacks on those zips and pockets, and you can miraculously fit everything inside a small bag. Believe and it will happen (lol).

In case you’re not sure your bag can fit everything in, maybe it’s time to give it a go and invest on a bag that would make you happy. Zalora has a nice selection of Jansport Bags that you might actually be interested with!


Tip #5: For the girls, only bring make up that you’ll be using.


We all have our make up kits and pouches where we keep everything together, but you don’t have to let that bulky set take over on your whole bag. Again, bring what’s only necessary. Honey, you won’t be using those 20 shades of lipstick on your pouch, or those three different palette of eyeshadows for just quick getaway. Ditch the extra baggage and stick only to those  that you swear you’ll be using.

BONUS: Free Downloadable Thing-y!


If you feel like applying these “tips” and you’re being a little OC, I’ve created a free downloadable checklist / guide that you can print out! Just click the link below:



How about you? How do you pack light? Share it below and let me know! I’d love to learn more tips, especially if you’re preparing for bigger and longer trips!


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Zalora. All thoughts, words and opinions on this post are solely my own.

44 thoughts on “A Backpacker Wannabe’s Guide to Packing Light

  1. I've followed these tips before but nooo I still end up bringing a lot of extras and carrying a lot of stuff to my trips. 🙁 I'm always thinking too much what-ifs and I feel I can't leave the house unprepared. +1 to that sachet tip. Kaso in other countries, parang hindi ata uso ang shampoo and conditioners in sachets? I haven't seen that in any Watsons-like stores where I've been.

    The only progress I've made about this, though, is that I've left my DSLR and only do all the photography~ work through my phone instead.

  2. I've followed these tips before but nooo I still end up bringing a lot of extras and carrying a lot of stuff to my trips. 🙁 I'm always thinking too much what-ifs and I feel I can't leave the house unprepared. +1 to that sachet tip. Kaso in other countries, parang hindi ata uso ang shampoo and conditioners in sachets? I haven't seen that in any Watsons-like stores where I've been.

    The only progress I've made about this, though, is that I've left my DSLR and only do all the photography~ work through my phone instead.

  3. They don't have those sachet on other countries ata, but you can buy the smaller bottles which would still save a lot of space. I mean, mas okay na yun kesa sa malalaking bottles of lotion hehe. 🙂

    Don't think too much! Kaya yan. I guess I became more comfortable with bringing in less clothes during trips when I realized that I have soooo many shirts with me, and then I end up straining my back with these unused/untouched shirts and dresses. hehe. 🙂

    I still bring my DSLR (would you believe that it fits inside my backpack)

  4. They don't have those sachet on other countries ata, but you can buy the smaller bottles which would still save a lot of space. I mean, mas okay na yun kesa sa malalaking bottles of lotion hehe. 🙂

    Don't think too much! Kaya yan. I guess I became more comfortable with bringing in less clothes during trips when I realized that I have soooo many shirts with me, and then I end up straining my back with these unused/untouched shirts and dresses. hehe. 🙂

    I still bring my DSLR (would you believe that it fits inside my backpack)

  5. Dan always scolds me for bringing shitload of clothes that I don't need. I'd rather have extra clothes than panic if my top got wet accidentally and I don't have an extra one. Pero as much as possible, I'm trying to practice light packing kasi kawawa din si Dan pag nagdadala ng gamit ko hahaha. Great tips btw!

    Aneth // Summer Babe

  6. Dan always scolds me for bringing shitload of clothes that I don't need. I'd rather have extra clothes than panic if my top got wet accidentally and I don't have an extra one. Pero as much as possible, I'm trying to practice light packing kasi kawawa din si Dan pag nagdadala ng gamit ko hahaha. Great tips btw!

    Aneth // Summer Babe

  7. Dan always scolds me for bringing shitload of clothes that I don't need. I'd rather have extra clothes than panic if my top got wet accidentally and I don't have an extra one. Pero as much as possible, I'm trying to practice light packing kasi kawawa din si Dan pag nagdadala ng gamit ko hahaha. Great tips btw!

    Aneth // Summer Babe

  8. Dan always scolds me for bringing shitload of clothes that I don't need. I'd rather have extra clothes than panic if my top got wet accidentally and I don't have an extra one. Pero as much as possible, I'm trying to practice light packing kasi kawawa din si Dan pag nagdadala ng gamit ko hahaha. Great tips btw!

    Aneth // Summer Babe

  9. I never succeeded in travelling light. But then, since I didn't book plane tickets with luggage, I reckon I shall follow your tips up there to travel light to Indonesia next week. But then, I'm kinda worried that my DSLR would take up so much space and I would ended up not bringing any other important things! hahaha XD

  10. I never succeeded in travelling light. But then, since I didn't book plane tickets with luggage, I reckon I shall follow your tips up there to travel light to Indonesia next week. But then, I'm kinda worried that my DSLR would take up so much space and I would ended up not bringing any other important things! hahaha XD

  11. Nice tips Jhanz. I am also a heavy packer. I am still learning how to pack light. I wish I'll be able to apply most of your tips the next time I'll pack. What I have right now is a form (which also downloadable on my site) where I write all the usual stuff I bring on a vacation and a space where I can write my outfit for the day, so I'll be certain that the clothes i'm bringing are the clothes that I actually want to wear.

    http://www.hintofglitter.com

  12. Nice tips Jhanz. I am also a heavy packer. I am still learning how to pack light. I wish I'll be able to apply most of your tips the next time I'll pack. What I have right now is a form (which also downloadable on my site) where I write all the usual stuff I bring on a vacation and a space where I can write my outfit for the day, so I'll be certain that the clothes i'm bringing are the clothes that I actually want to wear.

    http://www.hintofglitter.com

  13. It took me a while to learn to pack light. These are good tips! Knowing what's ahead and only packing what you need is very useful. I also like owning small travel sized containers that I can fill with shampoo, soap, etc. That way I don't have to keep buying the small versions of toiletries.

    I liked the tips in that video! I'll have to try some of that next time. I also try to plan laundry days ahead of time by looking up laundry services or laundromats. You can carry way less if you plan to wash them during the trip!

  14. It took me a while to learn to pack light. These are good tips! Knowing what's ahead and only packing what you need is very useful. I also like owning small travel sized containers that I can fill with shampoo, soap, etc. That way I don't have to keep buying the small versions of toiletries.

    I liked the tips in that video! I'll have to try some of that next time. I also try to plan laundry days ahead of time by looking up laundry services or laundromats. You can carry way less if you plan to wash them during the trip!

  15. This is so cool of you, kahit next year pa ako magtatravel, itong mga tips na ito ay important to keep everything handy! 🙂 i love the informative pro bag packing video!

  16. This is so cool of you, kahit next year pa ako magtatravel, itong mga tips na ito ay important to keep everything handy! 🙂 i love the informative pro bag packing video!

  17. This is so timely for me since I have an upcoming trip next month! Even though I'm not that much of a heavy packer (I just bring 1 set of extra clothes just in case something goes wrong) because I hate carrying shitload of things whenever I'm on a trip I find this really helpful because I'm the type of person who often forget things.

    I might download the printable because nga I always forget things whenever I pack. Hahaha! Thank you!

  18. This is so timely for me since I have an upcoming trip next month! Even though I'm not that much of a heavy packer (I just bring 1 set of extra clothes just in case something goes wrong) because I hate carrying shitload of things whenever I'm on a trip I find this really helpful because I'm the type of person who often forget things.

    I might download the printable because nga I always forget things whenever I pack. Hahaha! Thank you!

  19. I'm still not good at packing light lol. Whenever family go out for a trip, I always end up bringing unnecessary clothings, and my mom too. Huhu It's a hassle, a burden especially when you know it beforehand that you won't be using them. Haay This very helpful, Ate Jhanz.

    Lou | wander-soul.net

  20. I'm still not good at packing light lol. Whenever family go out for a trip, I always end up bringing unnecessary clothings, and my mom too. Huhu It's a hassle, a burden especially when you know it beforehand that you won't be using them. Haay This very helpful, Ate Jhanz.

    Lou | wander-soul.net

  21. This is a very informative guide. I know a lot of people who are having hard time on packing light. My friends would bring twice as big as my bag, just because I pack light. I totally agree with everything you've mentioned!

  22. This is a very informative guide. I know a lot of people who are having hard time on packing light. My friends would bring twice as big as my bag, just because I pack light. I totally agree with everything you've mentioned!

  23. This post is very helpful. Honestly, I’m not a good packer. Even the bag for my everyday use is ‘always’ heavy.
    The crazy thing is no matter how I tried to pack lightly, I always end up with a heavy baggage. Hahahaha! It’s like bringing the entire house with me.

    1. Haha! I used to pack the same way! You really need to let go of some things that won’t be helpful for you along the way. 🙂

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