20 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip


So you’ve decided to take the plunge and go backpacking, but what should you pack? It can be difficult figuring out what to take with you on a two week holiday, so what do you do when you’re planning an extended trip? Here are the twenty backpacking essentials every traveller needs to have.

Plastic folder for documents

Tip: Never take your passport out and about with you, unless its unavoidable.

It’s important to have your Documents in one place, I’d recommend a thin plastic folder as it’s easy to store in your backpack. This will keep your paper protected from being squashed or ripped whilst it’s amongst your clothes. You should keep your passport in here along with boarding passes and any booking confirmation print outs.  It’s always best to print out, just in case, oh and always take a photocopy of your passport, this is handy if you lose your original. If your backpacking you have to be careful, you will hear of people being pickpocketed quite regularly. Which leads me onto the next of my next backpacking essentials…

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Bum bag

Ok so it may look a little stupid, but if  you wear it under your clothes nobody has to know! This is easier for guys because they can usually wear a baggy t-shirt that helps disguise it well. The bum bag is ideal when you are planning to have a few drinks at night. You don’t want to be carrying a bag that’s easily lost or snatched from you. The most important thing about the fanny pack is to never wear it on display, this is asking for trouble! This is one of the most important backpacking essentials!

First aid

It’s always a good idea to have a small first aid kit at hand. It’s inevitable that you will get blisters on your feet! Take lots of plasters. It’s also important to have anti Diaraeah tablets to hand, you may get a funny tummy as your body adjusts to the food and drink in another country. Id also recommend paracetamol, lots of it, for the hangovers!

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Versatile clothing

There’s no telling what the weather might be, especially if you’re going to visit somewhere like Asia. It can be pouring with rain one minute then be excessively hot and humid the next. Make sure you bring light weight clothing like short, skirts and t-shirts but do not forget to pack at least one comfortable outfit that will keep you warm. You may get the odd rainy day and if you’re not prepared you will suffer. I recommend wearing this on the flight. This saves space in your backpack, hurrah!

Toiletries

Id recommend taking some toiletries, but don’t take everything.  You can now buy small toiletry bags complete with empty plastic bottles. Empty your, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and toothpaste into the smaller bottles to make room in your backpack. Lets face it nobody wants to carry around a 1 litre bottle of shampoo. You only need to take one weeks’ worth of toiletries, its cheap enough to buy the rest when you’re over there. Taking too much is unnecessary weight, trust me!

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Beach towel

You will need this for all those last minute trips to the beach. You’ll also want a spare shower towel. Nobody wants to do washing everyday whilst their away.

Neck pillow, eye mask and ear plugs

You will wants these items for all of your journeys.  There is nothing worse that waking up after long flight with a stiff neck and then having to carry a 20 kg backpack.

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

A spare mobile phone

If you have and old phone lying in a draw somewhere in your house, take this with you. You may still want to take your most up to date handset, but if for whatever reason you lose it or it is damaged at least you have a backup! If you think you can do it, I’d recommend leaving your good phone at home and taking two cheap handsets. It’s nice to stay off social media when you are travelling and fully take in the experience. You may say you need your phone to take pictures, bring a camera? You can buy some pretty cool waterproof ones that are ideal for travelling and they take better pictures, then just upload them when you get home.

Hostel world app

If you do take your phone, let’s face it most people can’t go anywhere without it, download the hostel world app.  As a backpacker you will find you don’t want to plan too much in advance, this usually just cause’s problems. Hostel world is great for last minute bookings, just quickly type in your location and find a place to stay. This is one of the backpacking essentials you need!

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Combination lock

Having a strong lock is very important, especially if you’re going to be staying at hostels. If you’re staying in a ten bed dorm you’re going to want somewhere to keep your belongings. I recommended taking a small combination lock, most hostels provide lockers, and this way you can keep your passport, money and electronics stored away safely.

Sim card

You’re going to want to check in with family and friends, so make sure you grab a local sim card. Most phones are unlocked so it’s quick and easy to swap your regular sim with a local one. It will save you money, you do not want to get charged a ridiculous amount for data usage.

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Cash card

You can get a Cash Card from most travel companies. Upload your money onto the card to save the hassle of carrying it around. It’s nice to have a small amount of cash on your, for emergencies, but never carry around large amounts. I’d also recommend taking a spare card, yours could be lost, stolen or swallowed at a cash point, this does happen!

Travel adapter

There’s nothing worse than travelling and realising you’ve forgotten your travel adapter. Make sure you buy a universal adapter, you never know where you’re going to end up! Its also a good idea to take an extension lead if you can make room for it, that way you can charge your phone and other electronics all at once. If you’ve been backpacking before you will know the struggle of there being one socket for a room of ten people, not cool!

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Notepad and pen

It’s always good to have a something to scribble on in your backpacking essentials. Weather your doodling on a long haul flight or keeping a journal of your ventures. It’s nice to keep a log of what you’ve done because it’s easy to forget. These are your memories you can read back over a few years down the line and laugh about.

A roll up day bag

Of course you have your main backpack, but you will need a small bag to keep all of your essentials at hand. I’d recommend taking  a shopper bag, the kind you can buy in Primark, there easy to fold up and pack.

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Laundry bag

You’re going to want to separate your dirty laundry from your fresh clothes, so make sure to take a few disposable bags and of course your laundry bag. Don’t worry about detergent, you’ll be able to get that anywhere. Most hostels will even wash your clothes for you, for a small fee. Definitely have this as one of your backpacking essentials!

Portable charger

We all know the struggle of your phone running out of battery. You do not want to get lost and have no form on contacting anybody, especially if you’re travelling alone. Make sure to bring a portable charger, that way you’ll never have this problem and you’ll always have enough battery power to take some cool shots. That’s why you need this as one of your backpacking essentials!

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Waterproof phone case

If you haven’t got a waterproof camera, buy a phone case. This will be one of the best investments you will make.

Trainers

You might be travelling to a hot country and think to yourself I won’t need trainers, but you’re wrong. Try walking in flip flops whilst lugging a backpack around, it’s not the best, especially when you’re walking for long periods of time. Make sure you have at least one sturdy pair of footwear.

10 Backpacking Essentials You Need To Pack For Your Trip

Mosquito net

In some countries you’re going to have those pesky bugs trying to get you at night. Nobody wants to wake up covered in bites, yuck! Take a mosquito net to throw over your bed at night, you’ll thank me later!

What backpacking essentials are we missing? What do you think are the best backpacking essentials? Tell us in the comments!
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Lauren Jacobsen

A recent graduate based in Liverpool. I have a passion for writing, travel and good food.

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