Those who are just starting out in the area of backpacking must start with the basics, and that is to pack well. Many new backpackers find themselves swamped over the sheer number of backpack packing tips that they get either from friends, travel guides or the internet telling them that everything is important, but that some things are more important than others, leading them to pack way more than necessary!
Remember that as a backpacker, there is only one generally recognized rule, and that is to pack light. It is possible that you will be traveling a lot more than what you have originally mapped out, and mobility is paramount — would you want to travel on a small bus (a popular mode of transportation across towns in some countries) when your pack is heavy and bulky cannot be slid underneath your seat?
Here are 11 helpful packing tips for backpack travelers:
- Take twice the amount of money with you and half the amount of clothes. This helps if you are planning to tour your destinations on foot, leaving you with more room to maneuver.
- Take a light jacket and a rain jacket where you go, even if the country you are going to is hot and humid. Nights can often be cool.
- Take lightweight material clothes. Lightweight material reduces weight and allows you to dry your clothes faster.
- Roll your clothes. Rolling instead of folding your clothes saves room and can keep your clothes wrinkle free.
- Footwear can be scaled down to a pair of good hiking boots, a pair of dressy shoes (if you plan on going out), and a pair of sandals or flip-flops for wearing in the hostel bathroom.
- If you plan on visiting ancient cultural and religious sites, take a conservative top and bottom that covers bare shoulders and knees.
- Take an adapter if you plan on visiting countries with 220V. There is no need to bring a converter if the voltage in your country is 230V.
- Take a lock or two. Locks can stop thieves getting into your backpack and can be used to secure hostel lockers.
- Buy a waterproof backpacker cover. Backpack rain covers waterproof your backpack, keeping your clothes and valuables dry when it rains. In addition, carrying around a wet backpack is not at all fun.
- Consider taking a small first aid kit. Your kit should contain a 30+ lipbalm for your lips, sunscreen, insect repellent, pain relievers, decongestants, medicine for upset stomachs, a Swiss Army Knife, antibiotic ointment, and motion sickness medicine.
- Only take essential toiletries. Save weight by only taking the toiletries that are essential such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and soap. Everything else can be bought inexpensively at your destination.