Many Knackpackers are excited about the possibility of traveling again in 2021 once enough people are vaccinated against the COVID virus. But after over a year of staying home, we may be a little rusty when it comes to one of the nitty-gritty aspects of travel: how to efficiently pack our Knack Pack. So, to refresh our collective memories, we thought we would share some of our team’s favorite efficient packing tips (as well as some great ones submitted by the Knackpacker community).
Start with a Plan
One of the key no-no’s we’ve learned the hard way is packing immediately before we leave the house. Under the pressure of leaving on time, we tend to over-pack “just in case”. We actually find it much more efficient to lay out, the night before we travel, every item we might want to take and then think hard about whether each item is necessary.
Some of the criteria we use to decide what comes and what is left behind include:
- Can I Carry This On? We look at what we laid out and run it by this TSA guide to ensure that what we want to bring can come on board with us.
- Is this a “Must-Have” or a “Nice-to-Have”? We only include must-have items that are versatile and will allow us to use/wear them more than once during our trip.
- One Color Scheme: We want all the clothes we pack to work together so that things can be worn multiple times. The easiest way to do this is to eliminate anything that doesn’t belong to a single color scheme.
- Are Extra Shoes Really Necessary? Shoes eat up space in our Knack Pack. Before we bring an extra pair, we make sure we will wear them at least twice during our trip. When we have to pack two pairs, our rule of thumb is to bring a comfortable pair for walking/working out and another pair that can be dressed up or down.
Use Packing Accessories
Packing cubes and shoe bags are your key allies in the battle to pack efficiently. They help you be much more organized and they make both packing and unpacking your Knack Pack’s travel compartment much easier (they’re like packing a chest of drawers!). Of course we’re biased, but we think that the best packing cubes and shoe bags to help you pack efficiently are our Knack Cubes and Shoes Bags. We’ve designed compression functionality into all our Cubes, Inserts and Shoe Bags so that you can pack more into a given space. We also designed them to fit exactly into your Knack Pack’s travel compartment. We couldn’t agree more with Shep B. from Clarksburg, MD who wrote us to say “packing cubes are GREAT and fit the bag perfectly. Highly recommended.”
Roll, Don’t Fold
The old rule of thumb is to roll soft items (like underwear and tees) and fold stiffer ones (think collared dress shirts). But with today’s wrinkle-resistant fabrics, the consensus among the Knack team is to roll everything you put in your Knack Pack to maximize space. Our suggestion, if you do bring stiff items and roll them, is to either pack a small spray bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser or get comfortable with a quick iron or a steam in the shower at your destination.
Pack by Weight
We found that proper weight distribution when you pack is the key to comfortable carry. First, mentally divide the travel compartment in your Knack Pack into quarters going from bottom to top. In the bottom quarter, (the part of your bag that will rest on your hips) pack bulky, but lighter-weight items like sweaters or fleeces. Then in the middle half, (the part of your bag that will rest against your back) pack the heaviest items like shoes (always stuffed with socks or underwear!) and toilet kits. Finally, in the top quarter of your Knack Pack, pack your lightest items like tees and shirts.
One of our favorite efficient packing tips is to be creative. We really like some of the following out-of-the-box ideas shared by Knackpackers:
- "I used the bottom compartment to put wet tissue, soft pad and some diapers. It is quite convenient when my baby has to change diapers." -Angus F. (Hong Kong)
- "I use the bottom pocket for an umbrella." - John C. (Rockaway Park, NY)
- "The bag it came in doubles as a laundry bag." - Connie J. (Ontario, Canada)
Pick the Right Size Knack Pack
We offer several size Knack Packs for you to choose from. For the average person, the Small works well for 1 day trips, the Medium is perfect for 2-3 day trips and the Large is designed for 3+ day trips. If you’re trying to decide between the Series 1 Large and Medium Knack Packs, check out this detailed packing blog and video by One Bag Travels. It does an amazing job of showing you how one Knackpacker packs each size.
Finally, if you think it can be a bit overwhelming to efficiently pack your Knack Pack, take inspiration from what Marco D. from Rome Italy was able to fit in his Knack:
“This is what I was able to put inside the medium backpack (expanded): 7 Lacoste, 7 T-shirts, 7 pants, 7 socks, 1 trousers, two swimsuits, 1 bermuda shorts, 2 shirts, 1 pajamas, 1 medium toiletry bag, 1 iPad, 1 Kindle, 1 TomTom car GPS, 2 mobiles, all the cables and battery chargers, 1 Hobonichi mega weeks, my small kit for calligraphy (...yes, I'm learning some calligraphic alphabets), 1 Knack black water bottle (btw, it is a really a good bottle: beautiful design, very good quality material, keeps liquid fresh for many hours), 2 earbuds, 1 Cord Mojo DAC, 1 small bag (15x10x3 cm) containing small items I always bring with me (pen, sd card reader, a battery pack, foldable shopper bag, Kleenex, etc), 1 book, travel papers, keys, some snacks and few other things. It is amazing how many things it can contain.” Wow!
We’d love to hear your tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Knack Pack. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share your comments with fellow Knackpackers in a future blog. We’d also love it if you could tag a pic of you and your packed Knack Pack with #knackbags and post to social media!