What to pack for backpacking?
Are you going on a backpacking adventure and at a loose end as to what to pack? You will need to carry your backpack around for long periods of time and it must contain everything that you will need while you are away that can’t be purchased locally. It is essential to pack as lightly as possible; having a large bulky backpack can weigh you down, especially when boarding buses and trains. It will also tire you out to carry around all day. Read on for a list of handy backpacking items:
The size of backpack you buy really depends on how much you are prepared to lug around with you. If you plan on taking only the bare essentials, you could get away with a 35 litre backpack. But on average a 50 litre one might be a better choice, especially as it will leave some room for any souvenirs collected on the way.
A good sleeping bag or sleeping sheet is essential. One of the modern ones that can be rolled up very small is best. At many hostels you will be charged for sheets/blankets and they may be in a dubious state of cleanliness.
Check the contents carefully and consider customising rather than bringing items that you are very unlikely to use. Plasters come in very handy for small cuts and blisters if you plan on doing lots of walking. If you are taking prescribed medicine check for any restrictions on taking them through customs, and check that you can obtain replacements at your destination.
There are some really good travel towels on the market which are lightweight, take up a lot less space and are designed to dry quickly, which is great for travelling! However you may want to squeeze a bigger towel into your backpack to laze around on the beach.
If you are taking electrical items like your MP3 player or phone charger, you can buy a good travel plug adaptor at most supermarkets and specialist travel stores. Many hostels and fellow travellers have them to borrow so consider if it is worth packing if you will only use it occasionally!
Mosquitoes may be annoying, but in malarial areas they are also dangerous. Deet based insect repellents are the most effective and a mosquito net is another important way of protecting yourself against malaria. Check with your doctor before travelling to find out if you need malaria tablets.
Getting some sleep when backpacking can be a nightmare if you are staying in hostels with others, on a bus journey or even sleeping out in the open. Ear plugs can make all the difference to you getting a good night’s sleep.
A must have item for your backpack! Especially handy at night time where there are no lights or in remote areas where electricity is not used. No need to spend a lot of money, any torch will do the job!
Take a couple of padlocks with you. They are ideal for securing your backpack and for hostel/guesthouse lockers to store your valuables – which you may have to supply your own padlock for.
Take a good book to read on the plane or to read while lazing on a tropical beach. Resist the temptation of packing a whole library in your backpack – remember you can swap books with other travellers along the way!
Backpacking Travel Insurance
No matter how light you want to travel, travel insurance for backpacking is the one thing you should definitely take with you. If you arrange your backpacker travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, you will be immediately covered should you need to cancel your plans. Check your backpacker travel insurance cover limits for personal possessions including valuables and single items, and think carefully before taking expensive items with you on your trip (camera, laptops and so on). You should also check that the backpacking travel insurance policy covers you for any activities you plan on doing – like bungee jumping!