Backpacking is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to travel. You can travel when and where you want and with everything you need located right in your trusty backpack. Of course, one of the key issues with backpacking is – what exactly do you pack? I mean, you will need to carry your backpack around with you everywhere you go. It’s not like a regular suitcase on a regular holiday that is handled by the airline and transfer company, with the only thing required by you is to wheel it along from the coach to the hotel. A backpack must contain everything you need for your travels as well as essentials that cannot be bought locally, and you must pack it all into a couple of feet of space. A large bulky backpack can hamper you in your travels, so it is important that you carry as little as possible.
Clothing is an obvious need, but you should look to take with you the bare minimum. Here’s what you should look to have:
- 2-3 t-shirts – it is ideal to have t-shirts that are fast drying, this way they will be able to dry overnight.
- Two pairs of trousers – preferably cargo style and lightweight. You may also take a pair of hard wearing jeans – not your best ones though!
- Swimwear – You never know when you might get the opportunity for a swim!
- Two pairs of shorts – these are good for walking and trekking in.
- Fleece – a lightweight fleece top is essential for wherever you go. You are pretty much guaranteed to encounter a cold night and there is nothing better than a fleece for warmth.
- Underwear – another essential inclusion! Look to take 4-5 pairs of underwear and socks. You can wash them regularly so no need to over pack.
- Shoes – shoes will take up the most amount of space in your backpack. You should look to take a quality pair of sandals, some comfy trainers and some good walking boots. Remember though, walking boots are heavy so only take them when necessary.
Okay, so we have the clothing packed; now we need to a checklist for the essential items. These are the items that you cannot go without during your trip:
- Sleeping bag – modern sleeping bags can be rolled up tightly and can save you some money in hostels that charge for sheets.
- Water bottles – always worth taking. Pack more for warmer climates.
- Toiletries and cosmetics – only take what you need to maintain hygiene.
- Headwear – a hat, cap or bandanna will help to keep the sun of your head and the hair from your face.
- Swiss army knife – a must for every backpacker. Will always come in useful.
- First aid kit – for obvious reasons.
- Waterproofs – these can be packed up tightly and will keep you dry when the wet weather comes.
- Cutlery – a knife, fork and spoon will come in handy as will a plastic bowl.
- Travel towel – look to pack two of these.
- Mosquito repellent – always useful in foreign countries.
There you have it, everything you need for the perfect backpacking holiday. Obviously, if you have any room in your bag, feel free to pack an MP3 player, a book and a camera, just don’t overdo it or your back will not be best pleased!
Gray Montel is a writer and researcher for Sealskinz. He writes mainly about Cycling, Outdoor, Ski, Running, Sailing, Watersports and Team Sports.