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There’s lots to remember when you embark on an adventure which is going to see you travelling for an extended period of time. There are things you need to pack and essentials when backpacking. It is important to make sure you have covered all the basic areas. This article is going to cover two main sections, what you are going to need to physically pack, along with recommendations (such as backpacks, travel accessories and other essentials). The other half of things is going to cover things that you are going to need to do either beforehand or during your travels. These can be things such as visa’s and vaccines before travelling or even things to remember about local culture etc. Here is the ultimate guide which covers in depth The essentials when backpacking, what to pack and what to remember. 

Documents and paperwork

  • Passport – An essential for getting around
  • Visa documents 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Airline tickets
  • Debit/credit cards
  • Local currency – helpful if needed upon arrival or purchasing local visa’s in the airport
When backpacking It is important to make sure that you, first and full most have all of your documents, make sure you keep these safe. I suggest always having a backup of all of your documents. I tend to scan all documents and save them both locally and on cloud on my phone and/or laptop.  
For documents i strongly suggest getting yourself a neck pouch, they are a cheap and effective way to keep documents safe and close by. You are less likely to lose any paperwork and its a clever way of keeping everything together and to hand. I suggest this neck wallet and travel pouch. It is small enough to keep on you discreetly and features several different pockets to fit everything in. Its water resistant, has high grade zippers and reinforced stitching to ensure it’s lasts the length of your travels. This one is really good value for money and I really suggest you get one.
backpacking hiker
Pick the right pack for you

Backpack

  • One of the most important things to include next to your travel documents is the backpack you’re going to be using. There is thousands of different shapes and sizes so it can sometimes be an overwhelming decision. I have had many backpacks over the years and while there isn’t really any right or wrong answer there are some pointers when it comes to picking the right bag for you. 
 
  • Size – There is no one size fit’s all and bigger isn’t always better. Generally you will need to work out how long you are planning on travelling and what you are planning on doing. Only then will you be able to work out what size bag is right for you. generally though, if you are travelling for longer than a month you would benefit from a bag size of between 60 – 80 litres depending on what you are planning on doing. 
 
  • Material – While most bags are weather-proof to some extent they are by no means equal. Again choosing a bag will come down to personal preference and what you are planning on doing. Be sure to always look at the specifications of the bag before committing to buy and make sure it is suitable for your needs.
 
  • Compartments – I try to go for a bag with more compartments than less, as long as there is still a good sized middle section the more compartments the better. I like to have separate compartments for my dirty clothes and also a compartment for my electronics. 
 
  •  support – comfort can be overlooked over functionality but there’s no point in having a backpack that’s going to leave you without proper support and potentially in pain. 
 
Here are my top three backpacks for travelling: 
 
  •  Osprey Farpoint Travel pack – Stylish and lightweight with a large capacity. This is a good base bag for those who are planning on travelling for extended periods of time but don’t have to pack any specialist or extra large equipment. 
  •  Berghaus Trailhead 65L pack – The perfect all rounder, good for pretty much as sorts of travel, a good size, not to big or small. Plenty of support as well side and bottom pockets. The pack also includes a bio fit system for comfort.
  •  Kelty Redwing 44L pack – Best all rounder for those who travel light, simple and uncomplicated this is suitable for almost every single traveller, if you’re just starting out this is a good pack to start with. 
Make sure you pack light

Clothing

Whatever article you read is going to tell you to take a different amount of clothes when backpacking, to be honest this is just what works for us. Use this as a guideline and just see what works for you. Use this as a basis and tweak. Depending on where you go clothing can be pretty cheap anyway so don’t fret if you feel like you’re not taking enough, you can always pick up more if you need too. 

For him

For her

  •  5 x t-shirts (3 short sleeve, 2 long)
  • 1 x tank top 
  • 1 x fleece style top/jumper 
  • 1 x waterproof jacket (needs to be high quality)
  •  2 x cargo style trousers
  • 2 x shorts (cargo style or similar, something light – NOT jean shorts) 
  •  1 x high quality hiking trousers
  • 5 x underwear 
  • 5 x socks (different varieties) 
  • 1 x trail shoes – make sure these are high quality, trail shoes are good all rounders. (my suggestion
  •  2 x headwear (1 light, 1 heavy) – too protect against cold weather and one to protect against sun
  •  1 x bikini 
  • 3 x sports bras
  • 1 x light dress 
  • 5 x underwear 
  • 5 x socks (different varieties) 
  • 5 x t-shirts (3 short sleeve, 2 long) 
  • 2 x high quality sports leggings 
  • 1 x hiking trousers 
  • 2 x other bottoms ( 1 heavy, 1 light to suit weather conditions) 
  • 1 x  waterproof jacket 
  • 2 x headwear 
  • 1 x trail shoes (my recommendation)

Toiletries and medical

Depending on where you are staying there may be basic toiletries at your disposal, if which case, fantastic. That being said though your not always going to be that lucky. As a general rule i try to make sure that we have these essentials with us. 

  •  soap
  • shampoo and conditioner 
  • razors 
  • deodorant – roll on
  • sunscreen 
  • insect repellent – super important thank me later.
  • toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • hair clippers
  • hand sanitizer 
Again tweak this for your needs, if you’re only travelling for a month you can get away with not taking hair clippers for example. Keep all of your toiletries together in a travel style bag, this helps the clean up if anything leaks and stops it ruining other things you’ve packed – this is the pack we use.
 
A small medical bag is a great idea, i’m not saying you need to go crazy or over the top but there’s nothing wrong with people prepared. having bandages and plasters is a good idea as well as gloves, gauze and steri strips. A lot of the time places will sell a ready made kit so you don’t have to worry about making up your own kit. It normally works out cheaper buying a medi pack ready made so it’s a worth while investment, this 92 piece travel kit has everything you will ever need on your travels and i highly recommend it, especially due to how cheap it is.
Sunglasses... Check! Camera... Check!

Electronics

Most people will take several different electronics with them on their travels. I for one bring along my ipad and laptop alongside a few other things such as phones, cameras etc. But what else do you need to bring? these are the essential electronics i would suggest investing in before you venture on your travels. 

  •  Travel adapter – A travel adapter is a must, instead of investing in a single travel adapter that only works in a certain area i suggest getting a universal adapter. This adapter works all over the world and it’s the only travel adapter you’ll ever need
 
  •  Power Bank – There is nothing worse than being out and about and realising your out of juice on your phone, a power bank is a good way to make sure that never happens. The QTshine power bank packs a whopping 24800 mAh battery and can be used to charge your phone up several times over as well as tablets and other small electronics. 
 
  • Noise cancelling headphones – Depending on where you are planning on staying, a quiet nights sleep isn’t always guaranteed especially if you’re staying in a hostel. I suggest investing in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. It really can help you sleep if you put in your headphones and chuck on a relaxing playlist
 
  •  External hard drive – If you’re like me then your going to be doing a lot of work whilst on the move during your travels. I suggest investing in an external hard drive to keep all your files backed up as well as holiday snaps. The Seagate external hard drive is my go to hard drive. For the price i suggest going for the 2 Tb as it works out more cost effective.

Extras

  • Water bottle – Always going to be handy to have a water bottle with you wherever you decide to travel. We like the Sundried bottle as it is sturdy, BPA free and relatively inexpensive
  •  hairbrush 
  •  A towel and flannel – id suggest investing in a microfibre towel as they weigh a lot less than traditional towels and also take a fraction of the time to dry. 
  •  Ear buds – If staying in loud area’s or hostels this is a cheap method to ensure you get a good nights sleep
  •  Nail clippers – because clean well maintained nails are happy nails, right? 
  •  sunglasses – always good to have a pair.
  •  padlock – help keep your valuables locked away, we use a combination lock as it takes away the chances of losing the keys. Here’s the ones we use
  •  travel guides and local language book of phrases – It’s good to know at least a few phrases to get you by while visiting another country.

Visas and Vaccinations

Always do your research before travelling. Each country has different entry requirements, sometimes you need a visa, sometimes you don’t. The same can be said about vaccinations, just be sure to do your research before hand. Another thing to take into consideration is the local culture and the things you can and can’t do. Be sure to check out my article about the Maldives for a great example of this. I didn’t realise before I done my research before travelling that public displays of affection and consumption of alcohol was a big no no, it’s just not common knowledge so it’s always good to check out the way the locals live before visiting. 

Things to take away

Overall you need to tweak what you decide to take depending on many different factors. I’m never going to be able to give a one size fits all guide of things to take travelling and essentials to remember when backpacking because there are just too many factors. How long are you travelling for, how are you going to be living (hostels, camping, hotels?) what activities you are looking to partake in and so much more play a massive part in preparation for your travels. 

If you liked this article then please share it, drop a comment below and check out my previous post about the best things to do in Singapore.

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