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I’ve had my Osprey backpack for both international travel and camping. This article will focus on packing a backpack for an international trip. I have used my Osprey backpack as my primary carry-all and only piece of luggage on six international trips, including a backpacking trip through thirteen European countries, four trips to Italy and Greece with students as a chaperone, and a trip to Spain with friends with graduate school. Each trip was around two to three weeks long. This summer, I will be chaperoning another trip to Italy, and will once again be using my favorite Osprey backpack. In this article, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about how to pack a backpack Osprey, the best ways to pack your Osprey, and some of the benefits of traveling with an Osprey pack as opposed to a standard suitcase.Budgetary Reasons For Packing Light 

If you are a budget traveler, there are financial reasons to consider packing light. You will save on airline luggage fees, which can easily add up. Packing light also increases your options for ground travel. Even on subway and bus systems where large bags are permitted, getting them on and off the vehicle and finding a place to stow them can be next to if not actually impossible. You might be limited to expensive and sometimes unfair taxis instead of being able to use much cheaper public transit. With a backpack, you can easily fit in with the rest of the passengers. The only issue you need to worry about is not backing into other passengers with your backpack on (sorry to everyone I’ve ever accidentally hit).

Pack Light For A Great Trip 

Packing light also helps keep your travel experience organized and reduces stress, helping you better enjoy your trip. Knowing exactly where all your belongings are is a great feeling when you are in another country. Using an osprey backpack is especially useful if you are going on a vacation where you will stop at multiple destinations. Packing up in the morning will be a quick process, leaving you more time to enjoy your breakfast, and when all your possessions are in one place, you will be less likely to leave something behind. If you are on a group trip, packing light is also a courtesy to other travelers. They will not have to wait for you to struggle to load eight suitcases onto a bus, for example. Instead, when your hands are light, you can be ready to lend a hand to others, helping to smooth along the journey for everyone.
Pack Strategically

First of all, you need to be disciplined about what you pack. The best way to do this is to make a list and pack only what you need. Without a list, it becomes very easy to throw in a few bulky just-in-case items that will only weigh you down. You might also forget something important for your trip. Make a list of essential toiletries and take the smallest portion you can. Sample products are great for this purpose. Some places you stay might have shampoo, so you could be able replenish your supplies at some point during your trip. Minimize your beauty routine as much as you want to or can. Next, determine what outfits you will need for your trip. On group trips where the itinerary is set, I actually make a list of our daily activities and destinations, and plan my outfit based on the day’s events and environment. I pack each day’s outfit in one or two ziplock bags. Even if you are more of a freeform traveler, you can still use an activities template to help you pack strategically. Just make a list of activities you have planned, and coordinate your outfits accordingly.

How To Save Space 

To save space, pack items that coordinate that you can wear more than once. Basically, you are building a capsule wardrobe, but just for a short period of time. Ideally, choose items that are comfortably, that you don’t mind being photographed in, and that you wouldn’t be heartbroken if ruined. Pack socks, undergarments, and accessories in other bags, and fit them around your main wardrobe. You can fit a lot of clothing in an Osprey bag by folding each item, placing it in a plastic ziplock bag, and by gently pressing the air out of the bag and sealing it all or most of the way. Even if an article of clothing sticks slightly out of the bag, you can still press most of the air out and the item will still be fairly well compacted. I iron some articles of clothing before I put them in the bags, and they stay wrinkle-free. Place your compressed bags of clothes up and then add miscellaneous travel items. I find that pairs of shoes fit well down the side of the bag. Place anything delicate or potentially damageable at the very top. Some people roll their clothes to compress them. This works best with items that are wrinkle resistant. After a few trips, you will discover the technique that works best for you.

How To Pack a Backpack Osprey Tips: 

• Many travelers sew patches on their bag, to show which countries they have visited. This is a fun way to personalize your bag, and is also a fairly budget friendly souvenir idea.

• Make copies of your important documents, seal them in a plastic bag, and stow them in the flap that stores your backpack’s rain cover (if your Osprey has that feature, of course). This is both a convenient and secure (because the access point is behind your back) place to stash documents. Of course, you should still keep your most important travel documents in a money belt, especially your passport.

• Take advantage of every compartment and pack them strategically. Keep a few dollars in local currency in the hip pockets of your bag. That way, when you are dashing around a train station or metro to get to your next connection, but want to grab an espresso, you won’t have to unbuckle your pack and waste valuable time. Use the outer pockets to store items you’ll need during transit, so you can easily get them out without taking your whole bag apart.

• If you pack anything electronic, with metal parts, or that just in general might look strange in the metal detector at the airport, put this item in a handy part of your part. This can save you time and trouble when going through security.

• You can wash your clothing while abroad. If you pack a small bottle of laundry soap, you can easily wash garments in a hotel sink and dry the items overnight. You could even pack a small clothesline and a few pins to help your clothes dry efficiently. You might also experiment with your own clothes to see what dries quickly before you decide what to pack.

• Take time to adjust your backpack before your trip. You want to make sure that you have a comfortable fit before you need to wear your bag for a long period, such as standing in the security line at the airport. Your pack should sit on your hips so that your back is not bearing the brunt of the weight. Straps should be straight and comfortable. Walk around for a while with your pack on once you have it fully loaded. Once you get an idea how heavy it is, you might want to reconsider what you have packed.

• Before you pack your bag, find out what amenities will be available at the hotels where you will be staying. If they all offer hairdryers, for example, you can leave yours at home, freeing up more space in your Osprey bag.

• If your pack is on the larger side, weigh your bag before you head to the airport. Check your airline’s website for information regarding baggage size and weight limits and fees before your trip so that you can plan accordingly and you won’t run into any nasty surprises at check-in. If your bag is close to the weight limit, consider wearing your heaviest, bulkiest items on the airplane. This works out well for me personally since airplanes are often chilly and my heaviest items are my warmest.

• Coordinate with your travel mates so that you do not pack redundant items. You can share toiletries and electronic chargers, for example.

But What If I Can’t Fit Everything I Want In My Osprey Bag 

Checking a mostly empty suitcase or a duffel bag is an option, even if you use your osprey pack as your main bag. An empty duffle is a good way to keep your load extra light. Since my osprey pack is small enough to be considered a carry-on by most major airlines, I don’t have to worry about my luggage getting lost. If your airline loses an empty or nearly empty bag, you won’t be facing nearly as much as an inconvenience as you would if your primary bag was lost. Another tactic is to purchase a bag once you reach your destination. In major cities in Europe, street venders and stores commonly sell suitcases. Depending on where you visit, buying a bag at your port of call can be cheaper than playing airline baggage fees. This is a great solution if your issue isn’t fitting everything you need for your trip into your pack, but needing extra space to bring home souvenirs.


Osprey also offers an excellent warrantee program. Once when returning from Europe, the baggage equipment caught and ripped my bag, spilling the contents all over the baggage carousel. This was my fault and not the bag’s, because I had not tucked or shortened my straps (another pro-tip!). The airline offered me nothing in the way of compensation for my unusable bag, but I sent it to osprey and they repaired my bag for free and returned it to me. It was great having my back pack, and we have enjoyed several more trips together.

Bon Voyage 

Traveling is one of the most meaningful activities in life. Meeting people from other countries, who are both different from you but still share your fundamental humanity can teach us powerful lessons, and the art and culture of other nations can illuminate our imaginations. Spend time before your trip begins learning how to pack a backpack osprey and coordinate your activities ensures that you can truly engage with the wonders around you, and you will not be distracted with as many as of the minor hassles and headaches that make traveling a chore instead of instead of a life-altering event.

* Photo credit Osprey.com