(Back) Packing reality check

Look at any travel blog and you’ll see a packing list and, being me, I started working on mine ages ago. It was a lovely list, full of suitable clothing and equipment for the trip of a lifetime. Fabulous! I was feeling pretty pleased with myself so, flushed with my success, I decided to do a practice pack. That was when my problem began…

It’s all very well having a great list, but no use at all if you can’t actually carry the things that are on it! Now, I will say that I didn’t have a huge list by any means and that part of the problem is the bag that I was hoping to take, but it has caused me a little bit of a packing dilemma. ‘Stuff’ is really heavy, my bag is very cumbersome and the combination of the two is not going to make for happy travelling.

Step 1 – List reduction
So, step one of my plan to be a happy camper starts with reducing my list. Obvious, isn’t it? I need to take less – but which items should I keep and which should I leave? Well, I took a scientific approach and got out the kitchen scales. Yes, I ended up weighing all of my clothes and discarding the things that weighed more. Although there are some heavy things (denim shorts) that I’ve kept because I like them! In the end I’ve managed to reduce my weight by 2.8kg. Pretty good, huh?

Step 2 – The bag
I bought my bag ages ago. I decided that a duffel bag would be the best option because it will pack down flat when not in use and that will probably be really important in the camper van where space is going to be in short supply. The bag I bought looked great: big, light and tough! The only problem (aside from weight) was the bulk. I couldn’t manage the bag using the cross-body strap – it just stuck out too much. Anyway, I’ve got a solution to that too. The lovely people at Cotswold Outdoor have said that I can return the bag, which thankfully still has all its labels attached, even though it is out of the normal returns period. They have let me swap it for a North Face one which has added backpack straps. Top marks for customer service. The new one arrived this week and it’s fabulous, so I think the luggage issue is solved too. As an added bonus the new bag is also 70g lighter than the original.

I’m feeling much happier already…

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