How to Pack for a Backpacking Trip

 

The art of backpacking is all in the name itself. What to pack on your back!? From our first multi-month trip, the contents of our backpacks has changed quite dramatically as we’ve learned what we need and don’t need on the road. It’s all a balancing act, making sure you have enough to live comfortably while you travel, while not overloading your backpack with junk you can do without. It truly is a SKILL!

 

Backpack for Backpacking

Pack as light as you can for all eventualities

 

So, here are our top 5 tips for that incredibly fun task of preparing & packing your backpack before hitting the open road!

1. CLOTHING

  • As a general rule, after you’ve laid out everything you WANT to take, remove about ¼ of it!
  • Don’t take too many ‘nice’ clothes because you’re going to be roughing it a bit & there aren’t too many places on backpacking trails to wear your pretty skirts & shirts!
  • Remember that you’re probably going to buy a t-shirt or two while your travelling as well… if you’re anything like us you will anyway!!
  • Big things count the most, so don’t go crazy packing three pairs of jeans & two jackets! One of each will probably do
  • A thin waterproof jacket is a good idea. You can get good ones that roll up smaller than your fist and weigh next to nothing
  • Remember that underwear & socks can be washed in hotel sinks to a decent enough degree, so definitely don’t pack more than a week’s worth… & socks are a rarity for us as flip-flops are the way forward!

2. FOOTWEAR

  • Flip-flops are a MUST. They’re light & easy, breezy for your feet!… & no socks means more space in your pack
  • Hiking shoes have become a stalwart in our backpacks, but this really depends on your own interests & where your going. But if you’re planning some adventure activities & a bit of trekking, this bulky addition may be worth it.

3. SARONG & A DRY-TOWEL

  • Towels are huge & heavy! We quickly realised that bringing a dry-towel (or sports-towel) significantly lightened our packs. Sure it’s not as cosy as drying with your big beach towel, but the lighter load makes it worth while
  • For beach days, & a bit of extra drying material, a sarong is the perfect partner for your dry towel. It rolls up equally as tiny & if you don’t have one at home you can pick one up for cheap as chips once you hit some tourist shops

4. FIRST-AID KIT

  • Make sure you have a BASIC first-aid kit. You don’t need a lot because there will be pharmacies along the way, but covering the basics is a good idea. On our first trip we had a bloody cabinet full & used next to none of it!
  • We always carry ibuprofen/paracetamol, immodium, anti-bacterial cream, & band aids

5. ELECTRONICS

  • Taking any electronics is always a bit of a risk when travelling through developing countries, but they are likely to provide you with a much more comfortable time travelling. Where to draw the line can be a tough call!
  • An MP3 is a must for us. I wouldn’t bring an iPhone 5 or anything, but a simple MP3 is going to make those LONG bus, train & boat rides all the more bearable.
  • A tablet is an option, especially if its replacing a laptop. Their obvious advantage is their size, their negative is their ease to be stolen. So if you do decide to bring one, be careful where & when you use it. Lots of hostels have WiFi these days so it is nice to hang out in the comfort of your room & connect with folks at home
  • We DO travel with a laptop, because of our blog, but it really isn’t necessary because there are internet cafes everywhere. If your just looking to surf the net & speak to family & friends at home, a tablet would be a good investment, or stick to internet cafes. If you do pack a laptop, make sure its in a good protective case.
  • If you’re into photography then a DSLR camera may be a valid sacrifice of space!… Though if you are in the market for a new camera before your travels, it may be worth considering one of the top-end point-&-shoots, preferably waterproof, to save weight.

 

Backpacking

The lighter the load, the more enjoyable the walk

We always have one LARGE backpack (55-75 litres), & one SMALL backpack we carry on our fronts. Our smaller packs always have our more important & expensive things, & they stay with us on all transportation.

So, before you leave for a multi-month backpacking trip, make sure you’ve got the right equipment, & try & keep your weight down!! You may miss wearing clean clothes everyday, but you’ll be happier walking around with LESS on your back!

 

 

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