backpacker essential items

The Ultimate List Of Backpacker Essentials

So you’ve planned your big trip.  You paper aeroplaned your notice (or holiday request form) into your bosses office and you’ve got your itinerary all planned out.  Nothing left to think about other than sun, sea, and adventure.  But wait a minute, you still have to pack?  Don’t worry, this ultimate packing list will make this arduous task super simple while ensuring you leave none of the backpacker essentials behind!

*Tip – Remember, when packing for any backpacking adventure, less really is more. You are the only one who will have to carry your luggage around so keep this in mind before you bring your entire wardrobe with you.

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The Most Important Of All Backpacker Essentials

Travel Insurance

Before you think about packing, make sure you get travel insurance sorted. Many people travel with the attitude that ‘nothing will happen to me’, and hopefully that is the case. However, if for any reason it isn’t, you are going to wish you had insurance.

We use Heymondo Travel Insurance for cover against the unexpected. It’s really easy – you can customise your trip, and protect your gadgets too. Use our link for 5% discount! (discount applicable for non-American citizens).

Travel Card

With so many travel cards out there offering different perks and rewards, which one is really the best one for you? Well to keep it simple, we recommend you check out this awesome comprehensive breakdown of travel credit card options.

coastline in amed bali

Backpacker Essentials - Luggage

First things first.  Before packing for your big adventure, you’re going to need something to put it all in.

  • 55L Backpack –  You are going to want a backpack that’s reliable, comfortable to wear, and has plenty of compartments like this one.
  • Day Backpack – As well as our backpacks, we both carry a smaller carry-on backpack. This holds all of our valuables when we travel and also comes in handy to store belongings on days out.
  • Packing Cubes – An absolute necessity for long-term travellers! Stay organised and separate your laundry, toiletries, cables etc with these super handy dividers.
  • Waterproof Dry Bag – You just never know where your adventures might lead you and we never go anywhere without our waterproof bag. Spacious enough to fit your phone, camera, clothes and more, this will keep your belongings dry, even when fully immersed in water.
  • Padlocks – Keep your belongings secure with a good padlock!
  • Luggage Tags – Our luggage has been lost at airports a few times, thankfully our bags were always returned to us.
backpacker essential electronics

Backpacker Essentials - Electricals

  • International Power Adapter – A MUST! This handy adapter also has 2 USB ports, so you can charge multiple devices at one time!
  • Compact Power Bank – One of our most frequently used backpacker essentials, this device is honestly a saving grace. We carry our power bank with us everywhere. From awkwardly positioned sockets in hostels, google maps draining our battery on adventure days, or overnight camping trips, we always have a reliable power source.
  • Speaker – Light and Loud! We’ve been using this portable speaker for years. It’s easy to carry, reliable and can go hours without charge…
  • Kindle – If we were to be deserted on a desert island and could take one device, it would be our kindle. This lightweight pocket library downloads books in any language and also has a super long-lasting battery etc. Perfect for those long hour bus or boat journeys.
  • Headphones – These are a necessity in any travellers carry on bag. Noise-cancelling headphones come in extra handy on those long bus journeys.
  • Fitbit – We like to keep fit on the road and this little gadget is great for tracking our steps and letting us know how many calories we’ve burned.
  • Portable Wifi – A pocket-sized personal WiFi hotspot to keep you connected!
backpacker essential clothing

Backpacker Essentials - Clothing

  • Versitile Walking Shoes – When going on any backpacking adventure, we always carry versatile walking shoes with us. By versatile we mean waterproof and suitable for hiking all while being super lightweight.
  • Rain Coat – Handy for waterfall treks, scooter rides and the obvious, rain! So take your packet jacket with you everywhere for those ‘just in case’ moments!

Backpacker Essentials - Other

  • Waterproof Phone Case
  • Quick Dry Towel
  • Reusable Water Bottle 
  • Travel Wallet​
  • Money Belt
  • Travel Kit 

Travel Responsibly

As travellers, it should always be a top priority to travel responsibly.  We already leave a substantial carbon footprint just by flying to our travel destinations, so that’s even more reason to make a positive impact when we get there. There are many small steps you can take to becoming a responsible traveller, check out the Eco-Travel essentials. Here are some things you can do to minimise your footprint:

  • Do not leave any rubbish on the ground: You would think this would go without saying;  however, there are some questionable humans who think it’s ok to throw trash on the ground.

  • Carry a Steripen or iodine tablets to sterilise water: This not only limits your usage of single-use plastic but also saves you money too!

  • Respect the local culture: Be courteous of the local culture and act in such a way that leaves a good impression.  Learn a little of the local language (hello and thank you is the minimum, you can use Google Translate), greet the locals in a polite manner, and respect dress codes & traditions.

travel insurance tips

End Of Backpacker Essentials

Well, that includes our ultimate packing list for backpackers. We hope these backpacker essentials will help you to prepare for a safe and enjoyable adventure! If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out below.

Planning a trip? Check out our Destinations for more travel tips and advice. 

Stay adventurous and Happy travels.

Charlotte & Natalie
If you enjoyed our free guide, you could support us by buying us a coffee! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we share more travel advice and inspiration. Charlotte & Natalie x


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Charlotte & Natalie

Hi There!

We’re Charlotte & Natalie, a British lesbian couple with a passion for travel and adventure.
Here you will find everything from LGBTQ+ travel & lifestyle advice, to comprehensive guides and itineraries designed to make your travel planning easier.
We want to inspire you to live the life of your dreams.


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