The Ultimate Backpacker’s Checklist

Photo by  Jake Melara  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jake Melara on Unsplash

Everyone has their unique preference of traveling – whether that be choosing one destination and staying there for the entire duration of your holiday, staying in beautiful hotels and ticking off your bucket list by visiting iconic tourist attractions or hopping from city to city on foot with a rucksack filled with your bare minimum essentials. Backpacking from one country to another is becoming more and more favorable because of how affordable and cost-effective it is, the friends you make that join you for the ride and the proximity of the culture and local lifestyle that you are inevitably immersed into.

If this is either your first-time considering backpacking or if you’re a seasoned traveler by this method, you’ll know that a well-prepared trip is bound to set you up for an incredible time. Here is the ultimate backpacker’s checklist to make sure you get the most out of your travels without the stress of forgetting any essential items. The key to backpacking is that you are packing the bare minimum, carrying a light rucksack with sustainable items to last you for the duration of your holiday.

  • T-shirts and singlets – for day time and night time versatility. Great for sunny weather, humidity, and layering for cooler evenings

  • Baggy shorts – preferably not denim or tight and restrictive. Great for long walks, trekking and day to day city exploring.

  • Yoga pants/sweatpants – Comfortable and great for cooler nights

  • Packing cubes – for the organized traveler. You can find these at any department store. These are soft zip-up compartments that come in different sizes to help you arrange your items by categories which come in handy when trying to locate specific pieces in your rucksack. It’s definitely not fun having to turn your entire backpack upside down looking for that one item of clothing. Arrange and group your items, place them in a cube, zip it up, so they don’t get lost at the bottom of your backpack, so you know exactly where things are when you need to look for them. Super convenient and highly recommended.

  • Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, creams, deodorant and travel sized shampoo and conditioner. Bonus points for a 3 in 1 body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Make sure you place this in a ziplock plastic bag to ensure nothing leaks out of your bottles.

  • Towel – Not every hostel will provide towels. You’ll want to pack a thin medium-sized towel if you’re going to be dipping in beaches, pools or for every-day use.

  • Protective sun-wear – Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Chances are you’ll be exposed to the Sun and experiencing a different type of heat and humidity from what you’re used to backing at home. Make sure you’re well prepared for unexpected weather conditions!

  • Light jacket – Choose a versatile coat that is thick enough to keep you warm during colder nights, light enough that won’t become a burden in carrying it. Having a light enough layer is great too so that you can tie it around your waist for seasonal weather changes throughout the day. Bonus points if you can find that one that is waterproof and doubles up as a windbreaker or a rain jacket.

  • One pair of sturdy running shoes, one pair of sandals or flip-flops – Your running shoes are going to get you to places because you’ll be traveling mostly on foot. Depending on where you go, you’ll be trekking, hiking, walking, running – you will get them dirty, and you will need a pair of comfortable and sturdy runners to withstand all conditions. Bring a pair of casual sandals for shorter strolls or if you’re visiting beaches or heading to tropical places.

  • Plastic bags – Your clothes may get wet, and they will get dirty or muddy. Make sure you have a few plastic bags handy to separate your soiled gear from your clean clothing.

  • Essentials – passport, travel cards, cash, ID, emergency contacts, camera or phone, portable chargers, earphones. You want these to fit nicely in a little every-day bag that you take everywhere.

The key to backpacking is to pack lightly, because you will be carrying your rucksack everywhere with you as you hop onto buses, boats, and trains, walking from one hostel to another, and everything in between. You’d be surprised with how little you can live on and what a minimal and simple life you can lead by just packing the bare essentials. Challenge yourself to under-pack, rather than the common habit of over-packing, and go out there and explore the world with just a rucksack on your back, an attitude of adventure and an open mind.

You won’t regret it, I promise you!