So now you know exactly what you want to bring on your trip and you have a pack to put it all in. But imagine how lame it would be to have to sift through your whole bag to find the last pair of clean underwear. Point being its not in your best interest to just throw everything in your pack like you would a garbage bag. No. The best way I’ve found is to organize everything as much as possible and this will make it much easier for you to find what you need from your bag.
Stuff Sacs for All
Stuff sacs, rat packs, ditty packs, they go by many names but essentially what they are are small bags to compartmentalize your stuff. At MEC they run for $6-$15 depending on how many liters you want to go. There are also waterproof bags and compression bags for those with tons of stuff to pack or if you’re going on a canoe trip. I managed to get a 3 pack from Walmart and an additional one from MEC. The idea is to tightly roll your T’s, socks, boxers etc into each bag so when you need a T, you can pull out the appropriate bag and not have to sift through your whole pack for one item. I found the best way to roll your T-shirts without having them come undone is to do a “ranger roll“. The link has a pretty good video on this easy technique. Having spent the last year of my 2 years at Esprit (when I was a teen) avoiding customers and folding clothes, I found this particularly satisfying to do! I would also add that one large stuff sac might be handy to put all your dirty laundry in as not to stink up the rest of your bag. However, a laundry bag from a hotel would do just fine. This is a great way to keep everything organized and its not too big an investment.
Too Many Damn Bottles
You might not think you use many creams, sprays and ointments, but that’s likely cuz they’re sitting in your cupboard at your disposal. You don’t realize how much you have until you try to pack! Personally, between contact lens solution, Off, suncreen and other crap, I had about 2 large Ziploc bags plus my personal toiletry bag stuffed to the brim. This did eventually get annoying but I just had trouble spending $25+ on what was essentially a nylon bag! Luckily, I found a brand (Lyceem) on eBay that sold larger toiletry bags that would fit all my toiletries for about $10. Get a larger bag that will fit all the bottles you have so you don’t have to look far for all your toiletries. The one I got in particular had a hook to hang onto your bed, wall, shower etc. Not too shabby at all! Sorry Ziploc, you just don’t cut it in this instance.
Being the hoarder that I am, I brought multiple adapters, various USB cables, memory cards, batteries etc. They all got dumped into yet another Ziploc bag which, although did fit everything, usually resulted in my just dumping everything out on my bed to find the right cable to charge my device. I decided to buy another smaller toiletry bag with different compartments. This one had enough pouches, zippers and bands to organize every last piece of electronic crap I had and more. The only downfall was there was no padding, which bothered me since I was planning to put my portable HD there. I got some flexible styrofoam sheets from the house, cut it into rounded rectangles approximately the dimensions of the bag, and taped them down to add the needed padding. Easy fix!
These are obviously not absolutely essential when you’re travelling but quite honestly, they are a small investment to make things easier for you when you’re on the road. The toiletry bags I got from eBay for $10 each. I spent ~$20 on 4 stuff sacks. All in all not too bad for $40!