So, your route is roughed out, your flights are figured, inoculations injected, anti-malarial needs anticipated and your backpack bought; but the question of exactly what is going to go in your backpack still remains…
There’s so much great advice on what you’ll need for a backpacking trip that it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed over where to start. It can also get expensive if you buy everything suggested. However, by carefully kitting yourself out, your travels essentials need not cost the earth. Here are ten must-packs for any backpacker.
1. Sleeping bag inner
Unless you know you’ll definitely need one, a sleeping bag itself is a lot of weight and space for little gain, check out gearweare.com to get the sleeping bag sorted! And If it gets cold, blankets will be available. The handy inners, however, are indispensable and take up no space at all.
2. Gaffer tape
Great for pinning up a mosquito net, emergency repairs to bags, sticking up a washing line and 101 things you’ve never thought of. You’ll be eternally grateful to this strong, sticky roll, time and time again.
3. Head torch
The benefit of a head-torch over other torches is clear. Imagine using a toilet at night where there is no electricity, or reading during a frequent power cut, or exploring a slippery-floored cave where you need both hands to balance. The hands-free head torch wins every time.
4. Peg free washing line
Two twisted elasticised cords, with hooks at each end, act as the perfect travel washing line. Hang up in a bathroom or outdoors and the line grips your clothes in place – simple, yet effective.
5. Travel insurance
Many insurers, such as Insureandaway.co.uk, now offer backpacker policies that provide you with the essential medical cover you need, without the expense of additional cover you may not require.
Travel insurance is the safety net that gives you the freedom to really relax and enjoy your adventures. Make sure yours covers you for any sports or activities you are considering. If you’re wondering which policy is best for you, click here to find out more.
6. Zip-lock bags
Zip-lock bags are great for waterproofing your clothes and books, as well as for organising your backpack. There’s no need to waste time rifling through all your possessions to find something if everything is compartmentalised in its own bag.
7. Medical kit
A small first aid kit is essential: painkillers, Imodium, rehydration sachets, plasters and bandages are the bare minimum, but, for the space they take up, packing a few extras wouldn’t hurt.
Of course, you may well be able to pick up these on your travels but sarongs are great for many things. Lie on them at the beach, hang them up for privacy, use them as a makeshift towel and wear them for modest trips to the toilet at night.
Preferably a cutting-edge one with a corkscrew, tin opener, scissors, knife and more for every conceivable use in one tiny package.
10. Pack of cards
Despite the number of electronic gadgets now on the road, nothing unites travellers like a game of cards. Even when you’re on your own, there’s still solitaire to play.
One last thing: don’t forget your toothbrush!