Overburdend travellers at the Canadiana Hostel in Toronto.

How much weight does the average novice backpacker carry, you ask? Far too much is the simple answer. Experienced travellers know that travelling light goes a long way towards ensuring an enjoyable trip.

Modern backpacks have large capacities and and are ergonomically well designed for comfort. However, most first-time backpackers seem to feel the need to fill their packs to bursting and seem to travel with the proverbial kitchen sink.

Just today a young girl travelling alone and for the first time, arrived here on the first leg of a seven month world-tour. As well as her brand new rucksack, she had a large (extremely heavy) suitcase and a fully stuffed gym bag. She needed help carrying her bags to the second floor of the hostel. Her bag was so heavy, I felt dizzy on getting to the second floor. My hernia has not been the same since……but more about my hernia later.

What this, all to green, backpacker will have to do as she continues her round-the-world trek is jettison a lot of her baggage. I think she’ll find being so encumbered with personal possessions will be a lot of work and worry. There is one basic rule you should not forget when backpacking: “If you can’t carry it, don’t bring it!”

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