Gear Planning Tips

Hacking The Packing Tips

Hacking the Packing Travel Packing Tips
Written by Kirstie

Hacking the Packing Tips

Kirstie Profile SmallIf I had to list the most tiresome parts of travelling, packing would be up there in my top 10. No matter how big the bag, there’s always more stuff than space so I’m always open to some packing efficiency tips. For this post, brought to you with support from Holiday Inn Express, I’ve been finding out what their suitcase czar suggests, and getting the kids to see if they can make his tips work for us…  

Packing for Camping

Packing for camping and expeditions is definitely an acquired art

Meet the packing efficiency engineer

So Holiday Inn Express has appointed Dave Hax as their first ever ‘Efficiency Engineer.’ His job? To consult on services and facilities. And to revolutionise the way people pack their suitcases. Really? We just had to check this out. Packing for our outings and expeditions is about as much fun as a waterlogged camp site so we are so open to any ideas that ease the pain.

The 2 second shirt folding challenge

And yes, his top tips and life hacks solve the problems of fitting everything in without spillages, breakages, or half the holiday wardrobe being left…well, in the wardrobe…

Our turn

We were impressed. So impressed that we decided to make a little video of our own, trying out some of Dave’ tips. And as luck would have it, we had to put together a bag for a half term camping trip in The Lakes. But we don’t possess a suitcase. Or a business suit. And Stuart hasn’t shaved much on holiday since he discovered the Latino look on our cycle trip of Chile and Argentina in 1999. So our pack went a little differently…

If you’re wondering why we needed seventeen cables to go camping then you’ve probably never travelled with teenagers! Ok, so we need to practice the disappearing shirt trick a bit more and make sure someone empties the coffee cup next time, but it was definitely faster and more efficient than before!

10 Hacking the Packing Tips for an Outdoor Trip

And then we got to thinking; we have lots of tips of our own we could share with you, particularly about packing for long bike or walking journeys. So here they are. We’d love to hear yours in the comments.

1. Keep electronics away from food and drink for obvious reasons. But use cheap plastic food boxes for both. It protects the fragile stuff and stops leakages.

2. A box of self sealing sandwich bags are really useful. At airports use them to put your liquids in to go through check in. On campsites use them to store food so animals don’t smell it.

3. Baby wipes are essential. We don’t have a baby but we do have wipes. They’re particularly good for giving the tent a clean in the morning, wiping away fluff, feathers, leaves and crumbs.

4. If you want to invest in a bag for family adventure, splash out on a Vaude or another brand that makes tough waterproof sacks that you can bungee to a bike, sling into a canoe or carry on your back.

5. If you get caught out in the rain, a roll of binbags can work as coats.The teenagers will hate you but they’ll stay dry.

Bin bag rain coat

Not the height of fashion, but bin bags are a lifesaver if caught out in the rain

6. If you don’t have waterproof socks, and it’s likely to rain all day, line your shoes with supermarket shopping bags. Or for babies use the little clear sandwich bags we mentioned earlier.

7. If weight is an issue, save those little shampoo bottle from hotels and fill them with washing up liquid, baby oil etc.

8. Supermarket dish cloths make great face cloths if the weather is hot and you need cooling down. Don’t use the dishcloths first though!

9. Share bowls and cutlery and stagger dinner.

10. Take one bath towel and share it. Take a tea towel instead of a bath towel for drying the tent before you put it away. Less moisture means less weight.

Teaching Kids the Art of Packing

Click on the image to check out our post on Teaching Kids the Art of Packing

Want more packing tips?

For more useful packing tips, especially on helping kids to pack light and right, check out this post in which our own packing efficiency engineer looks (with horror) inside his sister’s suitcase and then gives her a lesson in what and how to pack right.

Disclosure Note: This post has been brought to you thanks to support from Holiday Inn Express. The views, opinions and experience (at least in the second video) are entirely our own.

About the author


Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.


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