The backpack is the travelers’ most important tool. As a result, it’s often up to much debate and speculation over what we should bring with us on our trips. For the easiest travel, it’s best to pack as light as possible. This reduces decision making time and the weight on our shoulders as we backpack the world.
That means it’s important to only keep the most important things. So, at minimum, what does every backpacker need in their pack? Every backpacker has their own set of essentials, but here are my thoughts on what the backpacker can’t live without.
1. A Medical Kit
A medical kit should be the first thing you put in your pack. Included in a compact kit you’ll find: anti-itch cream, salve, many types of band aids, alcohol pads and gauze. These basics will help you with cuts and those pesky blisters from walking!
2. Phone + Travel Apps
In our modern age, it’s impossible to think of traveling without a phone, but you should load it up before you go. There are so many amazing travel apps out there that can be serious tools for your trip. A few great apps are Couchsurfing, Google Maps and Memrise.
Cozy, comfortable and easy to carry? Count me in.
For those days when you want to carry a water bottle and not the other 45 lbs in your pack. Daypacks are revolutionary for hitting a half-day of museums or a day excursion. It’s best to find one that only weighs a couple ounces and doesn’t take up space.
5. Scanned Extra Copies of Everything
You never know what will happen when you’re traveling, so prepare for the worst. Bring two copies of your scanned passport. Then bring one scanned copy of your birth certificate, any medical paperwork, and plane and hotel reservations.
6. Extra Tech + Universal Adaptor
If you’re a blogger, you likely want your laptop, an extra hard drive, a professional camera and any other gear. If you’re not a blogger, you still probably at least want a laptop and your phone charger. In order to make sure all these goodies work you need a universal adaptor. These can be bought pretty cheap online and will work for just about any plug around the world.
Having tissues, tampons and even extra toilet paper is always a good idea!
8. Small & Compact Travel Towel
Do you remember that crazy ShamWow guy? Believe it or not, those towels he sold are actually super useful. Thankfully, you don’t need to go through him to find one. Any good outdoor store should carry three different sizes of dry-wicking towels. These are great for cleaning off gear, cleaning up a mess, and even drying yourself after a shower. The best bit? They typically dry out in about an hour - or less!
9. Water Bottle (Preferably Collapsible)
Never travel anywhere without a water bottle (well, unless you can’t drink the water). They’re especially lifesavers in airports. This will help you to cut down on environmental waste and save a few dollars in the process. If they’re collapsible it will make for easy storage.
10. Duct tape
Duct tape can be used for anything. Fixing your tent, a hole in your bag, and even a good remedy for a blister until you can get some salve and a bandaid on it.
11. Ziplock Bags
One of the most frustrating feelings is trying to a phone charger in your bag when all you want to do is crash. To keep your bag organized put everything in individual bags. Bring a couple extra in case one breaks or you want to store some food.
Unless you want to look like a lobster, it’s probably best to get some quality sunscreen.
13. Extra Food
Food is always important, but it’s good to keep a reserve supply made up of Cliff Bars, Belvita Biscuits or something else that can sustain you for awhile. These shouldn’t be used unless you’re in an area where there is no food or the food is crazy overpriced.
To be a savvy traveler you need to pack like one. By packing these necessities you can ensure that you won’t be left without something you need!