10 Essential Items For A Backpacking Travel Adventure
Backpacking is an exciting and challenging experience that will leave you with some incredible memories for the rest of your life. However, you want those memories to be good ones, right?
That’s why you need to ensure that you have all the best essentials for your adventure. Packing for a backpacking trip can be quite overwhelming since you don’t have much space to work with.
Regardless of where you’re going, duration and budget, you’ll need to pack light. After all you will be carrying all your gear on your back for the entire trip.
You might not need the same gear for every trip, so take time to determine which items are unnecessary, and which will best suit your itinerary.
Related Article: If you’re traveling by air to get to your destination, you won’t want to miss these 5 Tips For Air Travel While On A Backpacking Vacation.
#1 Your Backpack
The obvious first and most important item on your list should be your backpack. You can’t go backpacking without a backpack, right? You will need a backpack that is proportionate to your body size and able to fit enough gear for the duration of your trip.
If comfort is at the top of your priority list, you’ll want to go for a pack that has sufficient padding. A pack with multiple compartments is also a great idea to keep your gear organized and easy to quickly find what you’re looking for.
#2 Backpack Add-ons
Adding a small day bag to your pack is a great idea if you plan to do some sightseeing in a local town where you won’t need to lug your full pack along.
A small, foldable and light bag that can easily fit into you pack taking up as little space as possible is an absolute must! Additionally, you want to add a dry bag that you can keep any electronics in to protect them from getting water damage.
#3 Water Bottle
A water bottle is an essential item no matter where you are traveling or for how long. Besides saving money, it is also an eco-friendly option.
Find a travel bottle that is lightweight but tough and can hold hot or cold beverages and maintain their temperatures, making them perfect for hot and cold climates. You might also want to take along some water purification tablets to ensure your water is safe to drink.
Since clothes can be bulky and will take up the most space in your pack, you’ll want to be very selective as to what you pack. You want to aim for comfortable and quality clothes that will see you through the entirety of your trip.
Pack according to the weather in that region. Pack plenty of underwear, thick hiking socks as well as cotton shirts. You can get away with a single pair of shorts, pair of jeans, a set of pajamas, swimwear, a cotton jacket and a rain jacket. Don’t forget your hat and sunglasses.
Keep your clothes organized in your pack with packing cubes that can be easily compressed. Additionally, a mesh laundry back can be very useful for storing dirty clothes without them getting too smelly.
As well as the relevant clothing, you also need to consider what type of accessories might come in useful. If you’re backpacking in a hot and sunny climate you need to stay well protected from potentially harmful UV rays. Pack a sun hat and prescription sunglasses that are suited to your needs. These additional items shouldn’t take up too much room in your backpack and they will protect you from sunburn and sunstroke when you’re out in the midday sun.
Comfortable shoes are another very important item. Depending on your trip you can simply take a pair of good walking shoes. If the trip involves walking and hiking, then a pair of durable and supportive hiking shoes are a must.
Don’t forget to wear in new shoes before your trip to avoid painful blisters. You might also want to add a pair of flip flops for communal showers and a pair of comfortable shoes for low-intensity days.
This list may look different for everyone based on your preferences but try and sift out the items that really aren’t necessary.
Your toiletry bag should include your toothbrush and toothpaste, a multipurpose shower gel (you can use it as a shampoo too), deodorant, a broad-spectrum sunscreen and after sun gel, tissues, cotton buds, condoms, earplugs, shaving gel and a razor.
Get yourself a quick-dry, micro-fiber towel designed especially for backpacking. It will not only be lighter than a regular towel but more efficient too.
#7 Medical Pack
A well-stocked medical kit is an absolute must to have just in case. Always have a pre-packed first-aid kit with all of the basics like bandages, safety pins, scissors, tweezers, cold compress, emergency blanket and CPR face mask.
Then add medicines like pain killers, antihistamines, anti-diarrhea tablets, throat lozenges, disinfectant wipes or spray, mosquito repellent and malaria pills if required. In addition, don’t forget your own personal daily medications.
#8 Camping Gear
If you are camping you will obviously need a tent, sleeping bag and air mattress or hammock. Additionally, the following items will be extremely useful too: a headlamp, Swiss army knife or multitool, sewing kit (you never know when your pants might tear), cup, spork and a compactable stainless-steel pot.
#9 Tech Gadgets
In the tech world that we currently live in, you obviously need to pack a few tech gadgets that you deem necessary. These can include a power bank, a camera or GoPro, a lightweight laptop (for the digital nomad entrepreneurs). Charging cables for all your gadgets and don’t forget a universal travel adapter.
Wherever you are headed you need to think about the security of your valuables, and especially your passport and travel documents. Padlocks are a must-have, particularly if you plan to stay in a hostel where you need to lock your bags in a locker.
You can also use them to lock your bag to ensure your possessions are safe in a crowd or if you need to be separated from your bag for a period. Use the padlocks that have a code combination lock, so you don’t need to worry about losing keys.
Additionally, you might also want to invest in a security belt that you can hide cash inside for safe-keeping, discreetly on your body.
Get, Set, Go!
Packing for a backpacking trip doesn’t have to be too overwhelming. In fact, it can be pretty simple if you narrow down the items you think you’ll need to the items that you know you can’t travel without. Try to stick to lightweight items and don’t pack unnecessarily based on your itinerary.
Have you ever been on a backpacking adventure? Let us know if you have any other travel essentials that we should add to this list.
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Great list! Easy to follow and see exactly what you need.
Wonderful list. I keep forgetting about how times have changed and we need to be more cautious with our things and surroundings. Thanks for the reminder on security.
A great, thorough list!!
never thought about a padlock before
Great list! A printable checklist would put this over the top!
Great list of items..I have backpacked most of my life and you are right it is an amazing experience if you are prepared!! Love your blog!
Great tips! That hammock looks awesome!
Nice list – being prepared is very important
Great list! Backpacking is a whole other kind of travel, one that requires more thought than throwing it all in a suitcase!
Padlock is genius! I need to add one to my travel supply list! Thanks for sharing! Your photos are gorgeous!
I think toiletries would be the most forgotten thing on this list. I would remember a small medical kit, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc., but curses if I forget to grab the darn toilet tissue!!!
I am so glad you put a great backpack as #1. I had a backpack that apparently was not proportionate to my body (didn’t know it then) and I carried that backpack for 3 days. I had the WORST neck pain I had ever had because of that darn backpack. Great tips!
oh yes, the minimalist life of a backpacker… i remember that life well… good times
Great reminders! I’ve learned to keep a good hiking/camping/hunting supply list saved on several computers. Very handy!
Awesome list. I haven’t been on a good backpacking trip in a long time!!!
Great tips! I would think the shoes can make or break the trip.
Great list! I have not thought about the padlock.
I think that would be my biggest fear… not having something I need. This list is great! thanks!
I’ve never done the whole backpacking thing, but you make it sound like a lot of fun!
Great list. Especially for water. We just hiked Grand Staircase Escalante and ran out of water. Not fun!
When I think of what we carried when I first started backpacking back in the early 80’s and the packs these days are luxurious!!!! This is a good list.
Great post! thank you for sharing!
you’re our kinda tribe – we love hiking, backpacking and adventuring. If you haven’t already, look at my recent post on 12 Safety Rules Hiking With Kids https://perfectdaytoplay.com/12-simple-safety-rules-every-parent-should-follow-when-hiking-with-kids
Great list of items for backpacking!!! I often find that the medical kit is overlooked, but missed when needed. Thanks for the reminders.
I just bought my first backpack that wasn’t for ‘school.’ It’s an Osprey Dyna 15. I got it on the recommendation of my sister who has the same pack. We’re headed out for a 500K across TN. Let’s hope it holds everything I need…many of which you talked about!
This is a very comprehensive list. Definitely a must have when in the back country as you can’t just run to the store!
Great list! We are hiking in Montana in a few weeks, LOOOOOOVE hiking! 🙂
Great post! Everyone who is thinking of backpacking should read this. Thanks for sharing.
A backpacking trip would be so fun! Your suggestions are awesome.
What an awesome list! Great information! We haven’t been camping in years but always love getting outside!
LOL ~ is it crazy that I love the tech you listed? I’d be all about making sure I had my GoPro, laptop, camera, charing cables, etc. I would probably pack all that before I packed the medical kit – lol, not really, but I love capturing our adventures.
We just got back from backpacking. I think we overdid it on the food. I think next time I should pack that instead of my husband. Also, some type of water purifying system is essential. I use the Lifestraw Go.
Ha!!! I packed way too much food for my Kilimanjaro trek and ended up giving 80% of it away to the guides and porters. I agree about needing a water purification system of some sort. The Lifestraw has always worked well for me too.
I agree with your list and especially the flip flops. I always like to take my shoes off at the end of the day and being able to just use flip flops is so comforting at the end of a long hike.
Yes! Flip flops are a must!