10 Things to Take With You in Your Backpack Trip
No matter how many times you have gone on hikes or camping, it is always a good idea to have list of important items to take with you. A required items checklist can save you from a lot of frustration in the time of need. On the other hand, too many items can sometimes just get in the way of travelling by being dead weight. So, choosing the required items based on the travel plan is the best course of action.
Below, I will list 10 essential items that are very useful to have in the backpack in all travelling situations. Hopefully this article will help you in figuring out how to be a better traveller when it comes to backpacking.
Be it a foreign country tour or a week long mountain hike, navigation is the foremost thought that comes to mind. Without proper navigation, travelling can turn into a nightmare. The essential items for navigation are:
- Map: Even if online maps are becoming more & more popular, it is still a good idea to keep a separate traditional map with you in case of sudden accidents, like your phone dying or you losing it. When you have one physical map with you, you will automatically feel more confident and sure of your footing.
- Compass: A compass is especially needed for mountain hikes or wilderness trekking, to find your way if you lose it. Without a compass, you may remain lost for hours or worst yet, not being able to find your way at all. A compass is also useful when navigating using a traditional map. Old school travelers always carried one for a purpose and even after the surge of technology, it remains true.
- GPS Device: A GPS device is useful for determining you exact location, when you cannot figure it out using a map & a compass. It is also very helpful when you require rescuing, since the authorities can easily locate you. Even if you can’t afford one to buy it right away, you can always download a resourceful app by doing research on the internet.
Ear Plugs & Eye Mask
This may sound like an odd suggestion, but in tours & travels, this duo can give you peace & quiet when you need it. These two things are especially useful when traveling, but can prove useful when out camping as well. While traveling on a bus or a train, the eye mask can block the blazing lights & the ear plugs isolate you from the distracting noises of the surroundings, enabling you take some well-needed rest. The eye mask will be helpful in countries where the days are longer than nights as well.
Bed Sheets or Sleeping Bag Liner
This item probably will not be that much important for people who do not care that much about sleeping hygiene, but it is definitely an item that should be included in your backpack for any trip. The main reason is: hostel or hotel bed sheets can be dirty; moreover, some cheap hotels do not even supply bed sheets in the hotter climates. Carrying a bed sheet or sleeping bag liner in this situation can prove to be very thoughtful. These also come in handy in sleeper trains, where you usually have to pay extra for sheets, saving you the expense. It might seem like a hassle while you are packing. You might be thinking why you have to carry one with you while you could save my precious space instead but trust me on this, you can never be too prepared for your backpack trip.
Universal Travel Adapter with USB
A universal power adapter while on the go is a must have item in any backpack. In the current world where USB has become a standard for powering & charging electric & electronic gadgets, a travel adaptor with USB ports is a must have. Having the USB ports means you can charge your electronic gadgets while using your hair dryer. The adaptors will need local socket adaptors in some foreign countries. Also, the adaptors do not up-step or down-step voltage, so make sure the appliance you plug into the adaptor supports that voltage.
Crime records in some countries are not very assuring. Tourists who go to such countries often get their money & other valuable items stolen by thieves. Using a money belt is a viable solution in such cases. You can use a money belt to store cash, passport, credit cards and other valuables safe, without attracting the attention of snooping thieves. Also, use this place to keep your passport with you at all times. But keep in mind you should not use money belts to store all of your money. If you keep exposing your money belt to pay for your purchase, the whole purpose of the belt is lost, since the thieves will figure the plan out very easily. The belts are meant to hold emergency cash, credit cards, passports and other valuables for safekeeping. You should keep your walking about money in your pocket or wallet and the valuables in the money belt. For the ladies, there are bras that have secret pockets in them to keep valuables safe. Some companies also sell strap on secret pockets for bras so that you do not need to buy new pairs.
Dry Sack & Zip Lock Bags
These two items may seem redundant & dead weights at first, but these are immensely helpful in adverse weather conditions. A dry sack keeps your electronic gadgets dry in case of sudden downpours or very humid weather. Zip lock bags are useful to store wet clothes or items inside, to protect the other items in the bag from getting wet. You can also use zip lock bags to store medicine to protect them from the moisture in the air. These multipurpose zip lock bags can also double as food containers to store leftover snacks on the go.
Headlamp & Flashlight
A headlamp or flashlight can prove to be mighty handy when out on a hike or exploring. You may think that why you should need to buy a separate flashlight or headlamp when you can just use your smartphone’s flash. But you never know when your phone’s charge runs out, and if that happens, you are going to be in a sea of trouble. So, it is always a good idea to carry a flashlight & headlamp in your pocket. A headlamp may seem redundant if you already have a flashlight, but it really is helpful when you need to use both of your hands & need light. The compact sizes of both of these make them easy to carry around both of these together, without making them a burden. This becomes even more necessary if you plan to do some daredevil sports while you are at your trip, such as mountain climbing.
Travel Clothes Line
Wherever you go on an adventure, you need to wear the proper garb for the weather. Otherwise, the whole trip can turn into a nightmare. Analyzing the climate of an area at the travelling time is a must have skill for any traveller. Picking the right clothes for the right weather is mandatory if you do not want to scavenge for warm clothes in cold areas or cool clothes in the tropical areas, which may prove to be difficult while travelling to under developed countries. Packing in the right clothes can also save you from wasting money on buying unnecessary clothes.
First Aid Kit
This is probably the most important item on the list beside the navigational items. This can help immensely in an emergency medical situation. Any type of disaster or accident can occur in a tour or adventure, and without quick primary medical treatment, a simple scratch or a wound can turn into a much more dangerous infection. Carrying a bandage can remedy this problem in an instant. So, a first aid kit is an essential item in any backpacker’s list. However, when carrying a first aid kit on a tour or adventure, you should only carry the absolute necessary medicines, such as paracetamol, aspirin, band aids etc. Carrying medicines for uncommon and complex diseases is cumbersome, since in most of those cases you need proper medical treatment at a hospital. Packing the right medicines in your first aid kit will reduce the weight you will have to carry & ease your travel.
Additionally, you can put in some bite creams and repellent creams in the first aid kit, especially if you are packing for a tropical or humid country.
The Bare Necessities
Last but not the least, here comes the essentials. These will include virtually anything from cloths to toiletries and from basic supplies to your gadgets. When it comes to cloths, make sure to pack light. I personally do not think your vacation photos need a hundred different outfits. Pack light because in my opinion, for 9 out of 10 cases you are not going to be wearing all those seven shirts in your five day trip. In case of toiletries, take the things which will not come with your hotel room. Some of such things are sunscreen, lip balm, razor with blades, deodorant, hair bands, comb, sanitary kit, nail clippers, tweezers etc. For gadgets, I guess it goes without saying to take your mobile phone with you. For the very reason, do not forget to pack your charger. And also pack some spare batteries just in case.
Additionally, you can take your iPod or MP3 player. This will come in handy if you plan to travel a lot in between the cities, especially while taking the public transport. You will see how quick the commute becomes mundane. Other than that also take your camera but kudos to you if you don’t do things for likes and comments on your social networking sites. Take a cheap digital watch with you so even if you end up getting robbed, at least you will not be mourning for it for the rest of the trip.
And some other essentials that might seem mundane will come really handy if the situation arises. For example, a pair of sunglasses, a hat and a scarf will prove to be immensely useful in a ridiculously sunny day. Also take a small sewing kit with you with at least one needle and some basic color yarns. You never know when you end up needing the assistance of these things.
Some people like me love to take books and magazines with us as well so if you are the reader type; take some with you as well. Also, I have found out that it is always handy to have some pen and paper ready, or at least some sort of journal or diary. And if you are the social type, take a pack of playing cards as well. Who knows, you might end up becoming friends with your hotel mates. You will definitely have fun playing and bonding while there is nothing to do at night.
All in all, your backpack trip should carry stuff which will come in handy to you while you are at it. The main idea is to not come across any trouble while you are travelling. Chances are you will be miles away from home so it is better to be overdoing it rather than under. You know how they say ‘Prevention is better than cure’? That line goes one hundred percent with the backpacking scenario. Take all your essential stuff with you even if you know you can easily buy them from the place you are visiting. It is better to have some stuff with you at all times. Even if there is no need to take a bunch of cloths with you, I will suggest you to take some essentials with you anyway. Hopefully this article will come in handy while you are planning for your next backpack trip