Pack Like a Pro

Is it a business trip with a bit of adventure on the side or a two-week dream vacation? It doesn’t matter much: you're taking too much. The following tips should help lighten your load.

Jan 20, 2011
Outside Magazine
Adventure Guide

Remember to pack only what you need.

SMARTER SHIRTS AND SHOES SAVE SPACE. If you need to keep up appearances, get a quick-drying CoolMax cotton/poly dress shirt like Dunning's Slim Fit Performance Woven Gingham ($98; It wicks like a base layer but passes muster at the white-tablecloth restaurant. And instead of packing both sandals and light hikers, split the difference with a versatile water shoe like Olukai's Kia‘i Trainers ($100; They drain and dry quickly and are plenty sturdy for day hikes but look normal—nay, sharp—with khakis.

STILL CAN'T FIT IT ALL IN YOUR BAG? We used to make fun of our anal friend's packing cubes. Then we field-tested Flight 001's F1 SpacePaks (from $30; Each has separate clean and dirty compartments, and, thanks to one-way vents, you can compress all the air out of your neatly folded clothing. Upshot: we were able to cram in approximately a third more stuff—and didn't have to pack a larger (and heavier) bag.

POWER, PACKED. For iPods and cell phones, our go-to portable charger is PowerMonkey's eXplorer ($103; It can store several charges' worth of juice at a time, has a battery meter to let you know how much mojo you've got left, and recharges via the wall (in 150 countries) or the sun. For all your other devices—avalanche transceiver, headlamp, two-way radio, GPS, digital camera, etc.—follow this simple rule: the more remote the destination, the more of your gadgets should run on easy-to-find AA or AAA batteries. (Try to find a CR123 in rural Turkey.) If you have some of each kind of device, buy reusable adapters for a few bucks that turn AAAs into AAs (

Filed To: Outdoor Skills, Luggage