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Gifts for Travelers & How to Pack a Rucksack

Updated on February 2, 2020
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Giovanna is passionate about adventure travel and leaving no footprint. She is hopeful, but a few years seems too short to save our planet!

Image: Macs Adventure
Image: Macs Adventure

Walking Holidays are Liberating

One of the most liberating things in the world has to be going on a walking holiday with everything you need to be warm, comfortable and safe tucked into your rucksack.

With all the state of the art lightweight equipment that is available these days it is perfectly possible to go on long distance walking holidays, hikes or treks with your home on your back, and there are plenty of gifts for travellers to be had.

Knowing exactly what to buy a backpacker, or indeed what you should pack if you are one, depends on many things; the time of year, things will be heavier in the winter than the summer; where you are going, you may need specialist equipment that will add weight or bulk to your rucksack; and how long you are going for.

In my experience, there is nothing better than knowing that you are carrying not only everything that you will need, but that you are not carrying anything unnecessarily.

I love going on long walking holidays (Please write where you have walked in the comments box below)

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How to Pack your Rucksack

Once you have decided what you’ll need you’ll have to make sure that your rucksack is properly packed because an uncomfortable, badly balanced rucksack will, after a certain amount of time, cause problems with your back, shoulders, and legs.

It really isn’t that difficult, just think ABC and you can’t go wrong:

Quick Tip

If you are buying a present for a walker always go for lightweight and functional or something that will save them weight and space but do the same job.

A for Accessibility

There are certain things that you will need during the day and others that you’ll only need when it’s time to pitch your tent. There’s nothing more annoying or potentially dangerous than having to empty the contents of your rucksack onto the wet ground to find your waterproof clothes in a sudden rainstorm, for example.

To make things easier you should pack your rucksack in the same way every time you pack. You will need to work out a system before you leave home and stick to it every morning while you’re on your travels.

You will need to access certain things quickly, like your first aid kit, or your snacks, your penknife or lighter, maps and compass. So these things should all go on the outside pockets of your rucksack so you can put your hands on them quickly.

If you are mountain or hill walking you will need to get your waterproof clothing out at a moment’s notice, too. So make sure you pack those at the very top or in the bottom pocket of your rucksack.


Quick Tip

Your drinking water should be carried on the outside too, or you could buy a water bladder and store that at the top of your rucksack and attach the drinking tube to your shoulder straps so that you can drink as you walk along.

Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack
Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack
These are perfect for keeping everything dry. Rucksacks aren't completely waterproof in very wet weather.

B is for Balance

Even with the most modern equipment rucksacks can be heavy and that can make walking difficult. Also, they tend to feel heavier at the end of the day. To help with this problem it is important that you pack your rucksack in the right way, making sure that it is properly balanced.

The very bottom layer should be light, so put some lighter stuff in first. Like your sleeping bag, pack this at the bottom on its side. Then put your tent next to that so that it leans in towards your back.

Pack the heavy items next so they are low in the sack to help you with balance. The reason this lower area of the rucksack should hold the heavier stuff is because the rucksack is designed for your lower back to carry the weight. So that’s where your cooking equipment should be packed and your fuel bottle. Don’t forget to fill your pots and bowls with things. Leave nothing empty. Your fuel bottle goes here also so that it is below your food or toiletries in case there’s a spillage. Wrap it in a plastic bag.

Next you can add your sleeping pad and folding chair. The very top layer of the sack should be for things that you need quick access to.

Stuff your extra clothing for the night-time into the sides, around the stuff you’ve already packed. The rucksack should be packed tightly with no loose things. Fill the dead space with clothes. Put them in a stuff sack or plastic bags. Put your toiletries in a waterproof sack too.

Quick tip

To keep your warm clothes dry just wrap your waterproof jacket around them. That way they are all in the same place and easy to find.

C is for Condense or Compress

The name of the game is to try to turn big things into small things, and stuff bags are perfect for doing this. They will turn big things like sleeping bags into very small things quickly and easily by compressing them. If you can buy a jacket with a stuff bag do so for you will never regret it. Goose down jackets compress amazingly well. Use stuff bags for your extra clothes and anything that can be squashed down. Buy waterproof stuff packs – you won’t regret it!

Quick Tip

Dried food is lighter and easier to cook. Porridge is very good for you, cooks in a few minutes, and is delicious.

Here's an article I wrote about filtered water bottles and straws these also make very good gifts fro travelers.

© 2014 Giovanna


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