When you’re packing for a short weekend it’s a cinch to keep your gear organized. But packing packing for an extended trip through Europe or elsewhere, on the other hand, is a different story—especially when you’re packing everything in a backpack. But it’s possible to fit everything you need in a travel bag that you don’t even have to check; it just takes some organization.
How to Organize and Pack a Backpack:
Choose the Right Backpack
Your backpack could mean the difference between an enjoyable experience and a travel decision you may end up regretting. Choose one, like the Global Companion Collection, that’s comfortable and spacious, should you need the extra room. Both the 40L and 65L options (which come in women’s fit as well) feature a wide butterfly opening with dual interior compartment, meaning you can easily see everything in your travel pack. When picking the right backpack for travel, just say no to rucksack type top-loaders—reaching items on the bottom of your pack requires removing everything first, and without the ability to easily lay the bag flat, organization is just too difficult to consider on longer trips.
Then, to avoid the turtle look of having a backpack on your front and back, opt for a waist pack as your personal item—it’s ideal for days out exploring, and also keeps your important items safe on travel days.
Roll Everything You Can
One of my favorite, tried-and-true packing methods is the roll method. Rather than folding your clothes, roll them up tightly and then put them in packing cubes to organize your bag. It may not seem like it at first glance, but rolling saves pretty significant space. Try it once, and you’ll never look back.
Use the Pack-It™ System
As mentioned above, organize your clothes using the Pack-It™ System of packing cubes. These not only help organize your belongings by category, but use Compression Cubes to expel any unnecessary air taking up precious space in your backpack. For pieces that don’t roll well (think: pants), use the medium garment folder, and put that on the backside of your backpack, against the back panel.
Separate Your Shoes
Sure, shoes take up a lot of space, and it can be tricky trying to fit them in your bag and isolate them from your nice, clean clothes. But with a shoe sac, you can toss your shoes right on top of your clothing cubes (and the lightweight silnylon material won’t add bulk or weight).
Keep Your Undergarments Together
Underwear and socks get so easily lost in backpacks—and when they’re loose, it’s also easy for pieces to fall out of your bag without noticing. The great thing about packing cubes is that they come in all sizes and shapes, so you can use slim cubes to fill the spaces around the edges of your backpack, keeping like things with like, while also keeping the main compartment of your backpack perfectly organized. Slim and smaller cubes also perfectly fit your undergarments. Use a slim cube for socks, and an extra-small cube for other underwear, undershirts, and bras.
Organize Your Electronics
Keep your electronics—like a small camera, memory cards, cables, and other accessories—together in packing sacs. The Pack-It Isolate™ Sac Set comes in three sizes to fit all of your odds-and-ends. To pack them in your backpack, place them side-by-side along the edges where you see gaps, or toss on top for easy access.
Use a Toiletry Kit
The Pack-It Specter™ On Board will hold all of the toiletry items you need to keep you looking and feeling fresh on your trip, with a convenient hook so you can hang it on a door or towel rack at every stop. The lightweight silnylon is water repellant, so you don’t have to worry about your shampoo leaking onto the rest of your gear.
Gather the Excess
Everyone has those miscellaneous items (think: razors, extra sunglasses, or bandaids) that usually end up in random nooks and crannies of their bags, never to be found again. Instead of tossing those items wherever you can at the last minute, gather them together and put them into a medium sac. Toss a clean/dirty cube in your backpack to corral any dirty clothes as you go, and you’ll never have an unorganized mess of items floating around your backpack.
Final Backpack Organization Tips
In order to stay hands free and mobile, sport a travel pack—it’s the best way to keep yourself mobile on your trip and able to nimbly face anything you meet on the road. Then remember, when packing your travel pack:
● Watch Your Pack Weight: You're going to be carrying this on your back, so leave unnecessary (or heavy) items at home. And pack neutrals to keep clothing items to a minimum.
● Organization is Key: Use different colored packing organizers so you can quickly identify where your stuff is in your backpack.
Often times technical packs are lighter in weight. However, with a travel pack you get lockable zippers, reflectivity, and the advantageous characteristics of luggage. Need proof? What more are you waiting for? Watch the entire video above.