Since publicly announcing that on my trip to Germany I plan to backpack, as we'll be moving to a new city or town practically every day, I have gotten many responses -- Jenny offered her backpack for my use, Kristin suggested I visit OneBag.com for ideas and tips on packing, and Brendan just makes fun of me.
I think my first step may be to borrow Jenny's backpack and do a dry run. Take the backpack home, and see how many pairs of shoes I can bring to Germany with me. Then see if I can lift it and take it up a flight of stairs.
But what to pack and how to pack it? I had heard about rolling clothes of course, but One Bag talks about "bundle wrapping". I am not 100% on board yet, but apparently this technique reduces wrinkles and creases in your clothing. There's a diagram and everything. One Bag also suggests practicing "buddy packing" or packing half of each person's things in the other's bag. If one bag gets lost, each person will at least have half of their stuff. Dana doesn't know it yet, but I actually WAS going to suggest that one of us bring a shampoo bottle and the other bring the conditioner. I think that's totally practicing good buddy packing.
One Bag has checklists for what to pack, but it also links to a website called The Universal Packing List. This website will customize a packing list for you based on criteria such as the dates of your trip, the temperature highs and lows, your gender, accommodations, and mode of travel. I apparently can't leave town without a sarong, medication against yeast infection, my malaria tablets, a swiss army knife, and a corkscrew.