How to Organize Your Backpack for Travel?

A backpack is one of the essential tools for any traveler.

If you plan to go on a hiking trip, you should know that carrying a lighter bag and having your hands free of load will help make your journey more enjoyable. 

A well-organized backpack saves you time looking for items because everything has its place.

Also, it makes your valuables safe and secure from bumping around when you move.

Man hiking with a backpack

Pack your things and get ready for your trip! You've been planning for weeks, maybe even months.

Now that you're about to go on a journey of a lifetime, there's one last thing you need to do -  organize your backpack.

12 Tips to Help Organize Your Backpack

Make a List of Things You Need

Make a list of everything you usually put inside your backpack, so you know what items should go in there before leaving home. 

Making a list of items inside the backpack

You must include pens, notebooks, electronic gadgets, phone chargers, toiletries, first-aid kits, and more.

Also, have a change of clothing in case there’s a delay in travel or canceled flights

Part of organizing is having an idea of how much space each of these items will take up. Having everything written down is helpful when you're packing your backpack.

Designate a Space Inside Your Backpack for Each Item

Designate a specific compartment inside your bag for each item on your list. It will be easy to take out an item if there is a designated place.

Backpack travel items

Put a label on each container inside your backpack to quickly identify items, mainly if you use Ziplocs.

Make Sure That Each Compartment Has Its Zipper

You need to ensure that each compartment in your backpack for travel has a zipper so you can close it completely.

Man with a backpack at the airport

You won't have to worry about someone stealing your cash or mobile since the compartment is zipped up.

If you don't organize one pocket at a time, and if you want to pull out your passport, other content might spill out and MAKE A MESS! That would not be very pleasant at all.

Remember That Some Items May Be Bulky When Placed Together

When organizing your backpack, remember that some items may be bulky when placed with one another.

Man packing clothes into his backpack

For example, we usually keep clothes inside stretchable fabric bags to pack efficiently.

However, putting too many clothes in one bag takes up more space because of their shape.

Organize Your Backpack in a  Comfortable Position

For the sake of organizing backpacks for travel comfort, arrange your bag while standing on both feet instead of sitting down!

Standing increases blood flow to all parts of your body and makes it easier to manage your stuff without discomfort or pain, setting in after a few hours/days/weeks into that trip. 

Young woman packing her backpack while standing

However, if standing is tedious for you, have someone else do it! Or organize over multiple sessions, so it's more enjoyable.

It's worth doing anyway because backpacks are significant purchases that can be useful - plus they look fabulous!!! A thrashed-out backpack after a two-month trip is not so cool.

Use Packing Cubes to Organize Backpacks for Travel 

Packing cubes are mesh bags that zip open and closed. You can use them in your backpack or suitcase to separate clothes from each other inside a zipped-up compartment of your bag instead of just throwing everything in their willy-nilly! 

hobo packing

Packing cubes have multiple compartments to make it easier to find things by placing them side by side like this: Shirt (on top), Underwear (in the middle), and Pants (at the bottom).

If you place them inside one another like this: Shirt > Underwear > Pants, you'll only be able to see the one you're currently trying to organize.

Use a Bunch of Ziploc Bags to Organize Your Backpack

Another thing you can use to organize backpacks for travel is a bunch of Ziploc bags.

They are perfect ways to separate things that shouldn't get wet from something that will - like electronics and documents!

The plus side of using Ziplocs is that they're transparent and allow you to see what's inside each bag at a glance instead of having to open everything up and check (which could be problematic if your backpack doesn't have an easy access pocket!). 

Packing cubes offer this as well, but not as much as Ziplocs do - plus, seeing through them means you'll have an easier time reorganizing your stuff when you arrive at a new location.

Get a Backpack with an Electronic Device Compartment

If you plan to go paperless during your travels, get a backpack with an electronic device compartment placed either at the front or top.

Man putting laptop in his backpack

You will have a place to put all the electronic devices that you don't want getting wet - like smartphones and tablets!

Your electronic devices will be in a safe place instead of just being tossed into a side pocket where they could get damaged by other items inside your bag.

This electronic device compartment protects your gadgets from impacts against the wall or floor during transport.

Even if you don't keep your gadgets in cases, there's no pressure on them due to the compartment's protective pads. It's like they're in their protective bubble!

Organize Stuff in Your Backpack Every Time You Use It

Remember to organize your stuff inside your backpack every time you use it. After all, it's not very pleasant to open up a bag and find items just slid out of place because they mixed up with each other.

Well-arranged clothes and other items inside a backpack

 It makes it harder to find what you're looking for because we should place these items side by side - shirt, underwear, pants.

The same rule applies when removing things from your bag - remove one item at a time so that it won't mix with other items.

Organize Your Stuff by Category

 If your backpack doesn't have a ton of different compartments, organize it by category. One area for clothing, one place for gadgets, and more!

You can spot what you're looking for among everything else quickly and easily, rather than having to search through all your belongings inside the bag to find something specific.

Packing backpack by category

It will also help prevent getting lost because everything that you want for a specific section gets put into that section.

If your backpack has a ton of different compartments, consider organizing organize your belongings by category.

Sorting by type is essential because not only is it easier to find items, but it could also help you reduce space usage and prevent having to dig for things inside the bag!

Buy a Backpack for Travel with Accessible Compartments

When buying a backpack for travel, buy one with accessible compartments that are easy to see into or remove stuff.

Couple have backpacks with accessible compartments

You can open up your bag and get whatever item you need out quickly and easily without having to dump everything out of it.

Having a backpack with no easily accessible pockets could take forever to take something if there's a lot of stuff inside the bag.

Put Your Electronics in a Ziploc Bag When Traveling by Train or Plane

 When traveling by plane or train, put all your electronics into a Ziploc bag - then place that into your backpack's electronic device compartment!

They will be safe from getting wet and won't get damaged as easily, even if the container itself gets tossed around inside your bag.

Traveler's electronic items and accessories

Do not pack heavy items on top of sharp objects because it could puncture the other thing.

Instead, fill them side-by-side, so one doesn't create a hole in the other. Don't pack them with cumbersome stuff because it could crush or puncture the fragile item!

Final Thoughts

When you're packing for a trip, it is crucial to organize your backpack so that you can easily find whatever you need.

It's also vital to keep the weight of your pack as light as possible so that carrying it's not too heavy moving it around.

Man closing backpack ready for travel

If you follow these steps and include some of our best travel tips, you will have an organized and easy-to-carry bag.

So, don't waste time; go ahead, organize your backpack now!

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