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Going hiking?

Unless you can charm a couple of hefty footballers to travel with you, or spend each day lifting gargantuan backpacks at the gym for practice, keep your luggage light. To travel like an adventurer, you must pack like one.

* Don't get conned into buying a backpack big enough to transport your family and their cows. Bulky bags are not only difficult to carry, but they'll also make you rather unpopular on crowded buses and trains. * Remember the wise old saying. When you pack, "lay everything out that you absolutely must take, halve it and take twice as much money." Don't worry too much about packing every item on your list. You can buy almost everything from most typical backpacker destinations.

* Take just two T-shirts. Yes, you read that right. One typical cotton one to sleep and travel in, and a nicer one. It might seem gross now. But, when you're hiking from town to town, with all your possessions piled on your back, you'll be a lot less fashion conscious. Besides, you can always pick up a couple of souvenir T-shirts on the way.

* Don't take anything too valuable. Or anything to which you attach a lot of sentimental value. Do, on the other hand, remember the little essentials: mosquito repellent, ear plugs, plastic zip lock bags, elastic bands, a torch and — if you're going to be travelling for while — pictures of your family, so you don't get too homesick.

* However, even with just the bare essentials, your pack will — inevitably — be heavy. After all, backpackers typically travel for a month of more. So, when you pick it up, always do so with a straight back and bent knees.

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