Written by: Nigel Ong
Soldiers are probably travellers on steroids. They are always on the move. They have a small bag, and yet they have to pack so many things (remember that they are going to war?). To make it every more interesting, they are always neat, with cleanly pressed uniforms, shiny shoes – not to mention always looking calm and in control!
When I get frantic searching up and down for my powerbank or shoe laces, deep inside I always wanted to be as cool a traveller as a military man.
I worked up some time, and found out secrets about their packing skills. Here are 8 that we can ‘steal’ and use for our next packing trip!
1. List it out
Before the trip, start listing out the items will you need for the trip. Plan out the amount of clothes, shirts, shoes, socks needed. Plan ahead too on items such as medication, consumables, gadgets needed as well.
Soldiers usually have a list of this in their mind, thanks to their constant travelling, plus provisions given out to them. As a result, when they pack, they pack only according to their list, and so its so easy for them!
For us mere mortals, coming out with a standard ‘list’ n then referring to it all the time will help make out packing sessions much easier!
2. Lay it out
Once you have got yourself a list, now allocate an area of the house where you will ‘stash’ all the items from the list. Print out your packing list, and stick it somewhere visible in the area. Start stashing. Have 5 pairs of socks listed? Then leave 5 pairs of socks there. Listed a travellers power plug? Get one and put it there too. Have an item prepared? Cross it off the list.
Take your time with this, in fact, start days, even weeks before for trip. The main reason to do this is to ensure that you have the time slowly work your way down the list, taking away the pressure and allow you to spread out the effort needed.
Having a ‘staging base’ also ensures you will have everything you need in front of you when you actually start packing things in.
Which takes us to… packing itself!
3. Using them first? They go in last!
Now everything is in front of your eyes. Your suitcase is opened and empty. Time to till it up!
One golden rule you should always follow is that the things you need the most should go in last into your bag. For example If you know you are going to arrive late in your hotel, the last thing to go into your bag should be your pajama and toiletries.
The first thing to go into your bag should be items you doubt you’ll even use, like a spare jacket, or business shirt for your holiday trip to Taiwan. This way, you will avoid having go through your whole bag just trying to look for that toothbrush!
4. Group and Bag them up!
Small, easily lost items such as your toiletries, charging chords contact lens case, jewellery should be put together and kept in a small bag. Any bags are good here, from ziplock sandwich bags, cloth bags all the way to the casual plastic bags.
The idea here is to make these items ‘bigger’, by grouping them up and having them stored in a larger bag. Since larger items are harder to go missing, bagging up will help immensely.
By categorizing the items and bagging them up, it will also allow you to find the items much easier. Charger chord for your iPhone? Go to that black ziplock bag where all your cables, powerbank and adapters are it!
5. Arrange By Weight
Ever notice how some luggage bag tips over the moment you leave them standing by itself? Or that some are very difficult to bring around because they seem to be ‘heavy on one side’?
Chances are it is from bad packing.
When packing, try to visually separate your bag into 3 parts. Put the medium heavy items in first, followed by the heaviest item, and the lightest go in last. This will make your luggage bag easier to lift, reduces awkwardness of movement, and prevents the bag from tipping over unexpectedly.
6. Roll’em like a sausage!
Rolling your clothing items squeezes out the air from them, allowing you to pack more into your bags. Tight, solid packaging also will ensure you bag feels ‘solid’ when being carried around, and that things don’t move around too much in the luggage bag.
Rolling also reduces wrinkles compared to folding, as rolling does not bend the clothing into a sharp angle, reducing folding and hence, the likelihood of creating wrinkles.
Consider rolling everything that is possible, from your shirt to jeans, jackets, boxers.
7. Pack soft items around hard ones!
This will require a little bit of explaining, but once understood, will turn you into an amazing bag packer!
The idea here is to first put in bigger, harder objects into the luggage bag, and then put the small, softer items around or in between these bigger items. For example, when you put in your shoes into the bag, stuff the inside with socks.
By creating this tightly packed environment you reduce the risk of items being broken, lost, damaged, or even shifting around in transit. This will also make the unpacking process simple and amazingly fast
Nigel Ong is a Malaysian that enjoys mountain hiking, long walks, and jungle trekking.He is also the co-founder of FlyMe360 Travel & Lifestyle Magazine.
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