Living out of a rucksack can drive you mad – it’s the constant rummaging and looking for stuff that will drive you nuts. It’s not just what you pack, but how you pack. Having the right items in your rucksack can make all the difference to keeping your warm, fed, healthy, and happy.
No More Rucksack Rummaging
Here are 12 tips that will end rucksack rummaging and ensure your trip goes smoothly, no matter where your adventure takes you.
1. Lucky Charms
First thing I always pack are my lucky charms. I always take with me my lucky Lego lady that my kids made, and a little llama. They make me smile when I feel homesick.
Photo: Sarah Williams from Tough Girl Tribe
2. Badges Or Ribbons
Make sure your rucksack stands out from the crowd and is easy to spot. Sew on badges or attach ribbons so you can spot it in a pile of 25 other rucksacks. When packing, the key is to be super organised and pack in sections. Lay everything out on the floor and group it into piles. Use compression sacks or packing cubes to keep your organised. Use a sharpie to label each bag of contents.
Top Tip: Roll everything and use elastic bands to keep them rolled up (you will thank me for this one!)
3. We Love A Sarong
Pack a waterproof poncho (they fold up super small and can be worn over your rucksack) and flip-flops for all those shared showers and tired, wet, stinky feet.
My favourite item is a sarong: don’t underestimate this simple piece of cloth. It can have multiple uses on your travels: towel, sunshade on a long journey by bus (attach with duct tape to the window), eye mask, blanket, shawl, bag (tie the ends together), beach mat, emergency sheet (if hostel bedding is a little dodgy), rope, and in a medical emergency you can turn it into a sling or tourniquet. Use it as head protection against foul weather or insects (this can be a godsend when the mosquitoes come out), and, if you are feeling sophisticated, use it as a picnic blanket.
Top Tip: Buy multipurpose legging (made from swimsuit material) that can act as spares, pjs, sun protection, stops chaffing and can be worn in water activities. Plus, they dry super quick. I use RubyMoons Multi Sports Leggings
4. Mini Meal
I never travel without at least one mini meal in my bag. So many times I have been caught out because I was too late, too tired, nothing was open, or it was pitch black!
Pack one freeze dried meal. There are so many delicious ones of the market. My current favourite is Summit to Eat – Custard Apple Crunch. Handy to have are protein bars, nuts, crackers with sachets jam and always carry a water bottle or bladder pack.
If you fancy a luxury item, pack a little immersion heating element that clips to your cup and gives you hot water for your brew.
Top Tip: An aluminium lightweight flask is worth it’s weight in gold! A cup of tea after a long day or cold drink after a long hike will revive you immediately!
5. Download Apps
There are so many useful apps for travelling – Currency Converter plus, Google translate, Google maps, My3 words plus apps for your flights, tours, and accommodation. You can try AirTags to track bags, or your travel buddy!
Take a cheap spare old phone to use in case of emergencies, plus a spare plug and spare cables. Mark them all with a sharpie so no one can pinch them.
Top Tip: Take a portable solar charger.
6. Forty Winks
Pack a pillow case, eye mask, ear buds, and travel pillow. This will ensure you will be ready to sleep anywhere and anytime. A good night’s sleep will keep you sane and make those long hours of travelling fly by in no time.
Top Tip: Pack a tiny night light with spare batteries – a godsend in shared rooms or strange accommodation with no electricity.
Aim for fragrance free (so you don’t attract bugs) and environmentally friendly toiletries. Use soap and shampoo bars as they take up less space. Use roll on deodorant as its smaller and last longer than the cans.
Top Tip: Don’t forget a universal sink plug, travel wash, and washing line.
The key here is to develop your own way of managing your period and create your own DIY travel pack. Add in bio-degradable nappy bags, wipes, hand wash, sanitary products, and heat pads. Period pants are a game changer and can add an extra few hours of comfort and confidence. Practice in them first!
As long as you have your DIY pack, you can cope with any environment, whether you are on a long-haul flight, hiking up a mountain, crossing deserts, or running across glaciers.
Top Tip: Add pain killers and chocolate to your DIY pack. A little treat will lift your spirits.
Before I go on adventures, I always get a check-up at the doctors to check blood pressure and replenish prescribed medications. Book a visit to the dentist for a check-up. I once had a loose filling on a glacier at -10 and it was horrible.
Pack probiotic tablets to keep your tummy happy when things go south! Keep a copy of any prescription medication in your Dropbox file and know what the medication is called in the local language.
Top Tip: Pack rehydration tablets – these can be a game changer when you are ill.
10. Beware Of The Mossies
Take this one seriously! Lots of mosquito bites will ruin you day and stop you from getting a good nights sleep. Depending on where you go, they can transmit diseases such as Dengue Fever or Malaria. That makes is extra important to protect yourself! Pack a mosquito repellent, long sleeve top, hat, cotton scarf, and trousers with elastic on ankles. Or use an elastic band or hair scrunchy to gather excess material at the ankles. When things get really bad you can wear a mossy netting over your head.
Top Tip: Use Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
11. Go Old School
Pack a book, a sharpie, penknife, duct tape, tweezers, head torch with spare batteries, and a pack of cards. Cards are a great way create a natural social connection with your fellow travellers.
12. Top Tip
In case of emergencies keep in your bra or wallet: medication, painkillers, Piriton, Imodium. This has saved me on several occasions on packed boats and trains when you can’t get to your bags.
I hope these tips ensure less rucksack rummaging, ensure you are one step ahead instead of two behind, never hungry and ready to face those travelling curve balls which will always come your way.
Photo: My lucky Gingerbread Lady is sewn onto my Rucksack and goes with me everywhere for good luck.
My very first adventure was on a Tall Ship called The Sir Winston Churchill when I had just turned 18.
I have loved adventures ever since. Although I still get seasick 30 years on!
I would describe myself as an everyday adventurer. I try and squeeze adventure into my every day from walks, swims and runs to film, podcasts and books. I am always on the look out for communities to connect with and adventures to be found.
I have just hit 50 and my adventure journey has changed so many times over the years, from a 20-year-old canoeing and sailing instructor, to a Mum with young children teaching them to embrace the outdoors through camping, building dens and cooking on open fires, to a mum of young teens when we surfed, coast steered, climbed Ben Nevis and swam in the North Sea!
My boys are in their late teens now and are slowly flying the nest, it is here I find myself now, ready to embrace the next stage of my adventure journey.
Embracing my new found freedom and loving being outside, I am ready to do some exploring!
My adventure journey has included Moonwalks, marathon walks along Hadrians Wall and the South Coast, firewalks, abseiling down castles, coast steering, a cross country ski marathon in the Arctic Circle, a wing walk and training in an Environmental Cold Chamber at the University of Sussex at minus 20!
I have just come back from running a 1/2 marathon in Greenland – the biggest and most extreme event I have ever taken part in. This Arctic adventure has definitely left me with a fire in soul for more adventures.
This year I am off trekking in Peru, visiting the Amazon Rainforest, hiking around the Isle of Wight and organising a mega sea swim for over 500 “mermaids” to celebrate International Women’s Day.
When I am not on an adventure I am working with my beautiful VW Camper Van called Daisy on photo shoots – if you want you or your business to stand out from the crowd then its time to book a branding shoot with Daisy.
Photo Shoot Dates: Private shoots also available on request
Check out The Big Mermaid Dip for International Women’s Day in Brighton 2024 – March 11th – Watch out for March 2024 Dates