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.
THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL BACKPACKER ESSENTIALS…
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 World Nomads Travel Insurance for cover against the unexpected. It’s really easy – you can customise your trip, itemise your valuables, and renew your insurance even if you’re already travelling! You can quickly get a quote using the below form.
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.
First things first. Before packing for your big adventure, you’re going to need something to put it all in.
We both carry a 55L backpack and aim to leave some room for any purchases we might make along the road. You are going to want a backpack that’s reliable, comfortable to wear, and has plenty of compartments.
Our Top Choice: Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack
On a Budget: Loowoko Hiking Backpack, 50L Waterproof Travel 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.
Our Top Choice: Berghaus TwentyFourSeven Plus 15 Litre Rucksack
3. PACKING/ORGANISER CUBES
An absolute necessity for long-term travellers! Stay organised and separate your laundry, toiletries, cables etc with these super handy dividers.
We Recommend: Luggage Organizer Packing Cubes, 6 Pcs
4. 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.
We Recommend: Waterproof Dry Bag-10L/20L/30L
Keep your belongings secure with a good padlock!
We Recommend: TSA Approved Combination Cable Lock – 2 pack
6. LUGGAGE TAG
Our luggage has been lost within airports a few times, thankfully our bags were always returned to us.
We Recommend: Kandouren Luggage Tags 2 Pieces Set
1. VERSATILE WALKING SHOES
When going on any backpacking adventure, we always carry some versatile walking shoes with us. We love these 2 in 1 shoes by Aleader as not only can we wear them hiking, but they act as water shoes too! Comfortable and stylish, we can rely on these shoes for all kinds of adventures. Click here to get 15% OFF with this code OURTASTEFORLIFE15.
2. LIGHTWEIGHT RAINCOAT
Handy for waterfall treks, scooter rides and the obvious, rain! So take your packet jacket with you everywhere for those ‘just in case’ moments!
We recommend: Lightweight Rainwear Active Outdoor Jacket
1. WATERPROOF PHONE CASE
Tubing in Laos, drunk on the beach, or simply an accident by a waterfall, it is so easy for your phone to become the victim of water damage. Thankfully, by carrying your phone in these waterproof pouches, these accidents can be avoided!
We Recommend: Universal Waterproof Pouch Cellphone Dry Bag Case
2. QUICK DRY TOWEL
They really do dry fast! They also take up little space so you can take to the beach easily.
We Recommend: Microfiber Travel Towel
3. REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
It is no secret that single-use plastic is causing irreversible damage to our ecosystems, it is therefore imperative that as travellers, we try to minimise our consumption as much as possible.
We always carry a reusable water bottle and you will find that most hotels or hostels have a refill station. Not only is it better for the planet but you’ll save cash too! TIP- Carry a Steripen or iodine tablets to sterilise tap water.
We Recommend: Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottles
4. TRAVEL WALLET
To keep your passports, credit cards, medical and travel documents together and safe.
We Recommend: Travel Wallet, Security Neck Pouch
5. MONEY BELT
A perfect little accessory to carry your money on nights out, or to keep it safe and close to you while travelling.
We Recommend: Willwell Sport Money Belt
4. ANTI BED BUG COTTON SLEEPING SHEET
Unfortunately, we have experienced bed bugs twice during our travels. Thankfully they did not spread into our bags and we had these anti-bed bug sleeping bags to keep us bite-free. They are really light and compact and come in super handy if you find yourself in a less than desirable room!
We Recommend: Hypoallergenic Sleeping Bag Liner Sheet
5. TRAVEL COMFORTABLY
Not just for travel, these are great for those cheap and dingy accommodations too!
We Recommed: Comfort Travel Kit
1. INTERNATIONAL POWER ADAPTER
A MUST! This handy adapter also has 2 USB ports, so you can charge multiple devices at one time!
We recommend: All in One Universal Power Adapter
2. 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. With more than 3 USB ports you can charge multiple devices at one time.
We Recommend: RavPower Power Bank 26800mAH3. PORTABLE SPEAKER
Light and Loud! We’ve been using this for years portable speaker for years. It’s easy to carry, reliable and can go hours without charge…
We Recommend: Sony SRSX11 Ultra-Portable Bluetooth Speaker
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.
We Recommend: Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite – Includes Special Offers
These are a necessity in any travellers carry on bag. Noise-cancelling headphones come in extra handy on those long bus journeys.
We Recommend: Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
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.
We Recommend: Fitbit Inspire Fitness Tracker, One Size
7. PORTABLE WIFI
A pocket-sized personal WiFi hotspot to keep you connected!
We Recommend: Tep Wireless
No packing list for backpackers is complete without some photography gear. We recommend travelling equipped with a little more than just your smartphone for taking pictures. Thankfully, you can pick up photography gear relatively cheap these days, and every penny spent will be so worth it when you come home with treasured memories to last a lifetime. For a list of what photography equipment we travel with, you can check out our article here.
For more backpacker essentials including toiletries and day to day attire suggestion, you can download our free checklist below!
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:
1. 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.
2. 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!
3. 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.
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.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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Last Updated on November 5, 2021 by Our Taste For Life