Backpacking Checklist You Shouldn't Travel Without

Whether you’re a beginner backpacker or a seasoned traveller, this backpacking checklist can save you both time and money - as well as protecting your back from carrying and overstuffed backpack! Avoid overpacking and buying unnecessary extras and instead be prepared for your trip with our step-by-step list:

1. Practical items for your packing list:

• Backpack

• Day bag

• Bum bag

• Dry bag

• Lock

• Head torch

• Quick dry towel

• Water bottle with water filter

• Eye mask

• Ear plugs

• Sewing kit

• Clothesline and pegs

• Sleeping bag

• Inflatable pillow

• Sleeping pad

If you’re off backpacking, you won’t get very far without these items. They might seem obvious but they’re the most important part of your backpacking checklist. Put some thought into them. How big should your bag be? Is it waterproof? Can you carry it by yourself for long amounts of time? Will all your belongings fit? Ask yourself these questions and be sure of your answers before you splash out on an expensive new backpack that’s far too big to carry alone.

You’ll need a lock to protect your belongings while staying in hostels with shared dorms. Ear plugs and an eye mask will help you to get a proper night’s sleep too. If you’ll be camping on your trip, you’ll need a sleeping bag and pillow. A quick dry towel is a must too.

Tip: Travelling alone? Here’s our guide to solo travelling.

2. Shoes and clothing for your backpacking trip:

• An outfit for each day of the week consisting of buildable layers: t-shirts, shorts, jeans etc.

• Hoodie

• Pocket rain jacket

• Gym leggings

• Warm jacket if you are passing through multiple climates

• Swimsuit

• Durable underwear

• Sun hat / beanie

• Sunglasses

• Pyjamas

• Comfortable shoes / hiking boots

• Sandals

Packing lightweight clothing that can be layered up or down is essential for long term travel. Choose fabrics that are easy to wash and can be rolled up inside your backpack without becoming too creased. A good way to pack is to have a set outfit for each day of the week. Bring gym gear and hiking boots for activities and comfortable shoes for sight-seeing.

Backpacking checklist essentials you shouldnt travel without

3. Technology essentials for backpackers:

• Unlocked phone

• Charger

• Power bank

• Adapter

• Kindle

• iPad / tablet

One tip for travellers is to unlock your phone from your network so you can purchase local sims in each country you visit with an internet package to avoid any nasty roaming charges. Use a kindle instead of carrying heavy books and bring a tablet to binge watch a series while on those long bus and train journeys.

4. Packing suggestions for your travel toiletry bag:

• Sun cream

• Insect / mosquito repellent

• Malaria medication

• Antihistamines

• Travel size toiletries such as cleanser, moisturiser, eye cream etc.

• Hand sanitizer

• First aid kit

• Medications and prescriptions

• Spare glasses / contact lenses and solution

If there’s a particular product you like to use that might not be available where you’re going, transfer it into a lightweight travel bottle and bring it with you. However, most of the items you need will be readily available from any pharmacy or supermarket. Bring your prescription for any medications you’re taking in case you run out or need more.

It’s important to check in advance what vaccinations and medications you need to take while visiting certain countries such as malaria medication and antihistamines.

5. Important items for travelling:

• Light-weight journal

• Folder with travel documents such as passport

• Driving licence

• Visa

• Travel money

• Spare cash

• Debit card, credit card and currency card

When backpacking you need to have a backup plan in place for money and travel documents. Use a photocopy of your passport when possible and keep it locked in a safe at all other times along with your visas etc. Carry spare cash and have multiple cards that you can use. Bring a travel journal to record your thoughts and experiences throughout your trip.

6. Not forgetting the most important travel essential:

Travel insurance


Backpacking without travel insurance is never a good idea, here are some of the risks you’re taking by travelling without travel insurance. Protect yourself and avoid any extra hassle on your trip with backpackers travel insurance from AIG.

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