Whether you're heading out for a weekend camping trip or six months backpacking through Europe, there are a few fundamentals about packing that you have to learn. Having the things that you need is certainly important but so is making sure you're not lugging around a whole pile of things that you won't need.
#1- Less is always more. Over packing is by far the easiest mistake to make. Do you really need a complete head to toe new outfit for everyday that you're gone? No, probably not. A couple of warm flannel shirts, a rugged pair men's or women's jeans and a couple of t-shirts are often more than enough. If there are laundry facilities nearby or along the way, you can pack very lightly.
#2- Multi function items save you tons of room. Those terrific travel pants with the zippers that let you wear them as pants or shorts are a huge score as are things like rain jackets that have removable inserts for warmth when needed. Another great one is shampoo that doubles as body wash. The more functions your clothing or personal items can perform, the less you have to pack so look for things that can do more than one job.
#3- No matter what type of suitcase or duffel or backpack you are using roll your clothes, don't fold them! They take up significantly less space this way and will also wrinkle a lot less. Try to pack smaller items like socks or underwear inside of other things like shoes.
#4- Make sure you know where you're headed and what type of services that will be available to you when you're there. Why bother taking a blow-dryer if you're not going to be able to use it?
If you are a first time camper or backpacker there are a few essentials that you may not be aware of but will regret not having. Trust me on this, none of it is very big but it really will come in useful more often that you imagine!
No matter where you're going, just remember the most important rule……. Never pack more than you can carry.