Welcome to the ultimate backpacking packing list!
So you’re going on an adventure of a lifetime? We’re so excited for you!
Preparing for an adventure can be a daunting challenge, with so much to deal with before you head off into the world! Luckily we have you sorted with our backpacking packing list, the full guide you can read below.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following topics:
- What type of backpack to take with you
- The best footwear options
- What clothes to take with you
- The important administrative tasks you must complete before you embark on your adventure
- What technology you should take with you
- The key toiletries to take
- Some useful tips you might not have thought of
But before we dive into the backpacking packing list, there are three key things we recommend you do NOW before you leave on your backpacking trip!
1. Get Travel Insurance
You must have travel insurance for your trip! This for us is non negotiable, if you get sick or injured on the road (and we’ve seen it happen to others) you’ll need it. We use World Nomads insurance (recommended by Lonely Planet & National Geographic!). Click the image above for more details and a quote!
The Essential Backpacking Packing List
When you’re making your final decisions on your backpacking packing list, the key question to answer for yourself is:
“When it is 35 degrees and we’re running for a train/plane/taxi/tuk tuk/elephant, what do we want on our backs?”
Sharpens the mind towards the essentials, doesn’t it? We always take as little as possible with us on our adventures, why take stuff that you can buy en route for a fraction of the cost? With that in mind, here is our tried and tested travel packing list, and we’re delighted.
So what do we take? We’ve got two lists, one for Barry (male backpacking packing list) and Laura (female backpacking packing list). First up, Barry! A quick note to say that Barry carries the small carry on bag for planes which will be where we store our electronic items, thus the electronic items in this list are for two people! Read on for his comprehensive backpacking packing list!
My Backpacking Packing List
- 60 Litre Berghaus Backpack
We’ve used Berghaus for our main backpack for a couple of years now, and found them to be rugged and sturdy, even when we’ve exposed them to extreme conditions across the world from deserts to freezing mountains. They also cope very well being thrown into numerous cargo compartments of planes, trains and buses. We highly recommend Berghaus and find them to be considerably cheaper than other brands out there.
Choosing the size of your rucksack is a tough decision, you’ll be carrying this around on your back so we wouldn’t reccomend anything bigger than 60 litres. We take this size as we carry a lot of equipment to create our travel films and articles, so if you’re not planning on doing this, you could take a smaller backpack.
- 18 Litre Backpack (day use & carry on)
We also carry a smaller backpack which is primarily used to carry our laptop and cameras, and any items we need for a day hike or day out and about. This is especially useful when we’re on a bus, train or plane for a few hours and we don’t want to leave our valuables unattended in a cargo hold.
It also means when we arrive at a destination, we can put our large backpack on our backs, and our small backpack on our front so we can keep an eye on it as we battle through crowds at train and bus stations. We prefer an 18 Litre Backpack as it is small enough to put on our front, but large enough to fit our laptop.
An absolute must for hot countries and for those beach escapes. I’ve gotten through a lot of flip flops in my time, but these flip flops from Quiksilver have lasted me years now and are really comfortable.
- Light trainers
These trainers might seem like an odd choice, but there are times when flip flops just aren’t suitable and you don’t want to put on your walking trainers. I use these when we’re in cities, or the infrequent times we decide to go out for some drinks and something to eat in a nice place. They are light and fold away so take up hardly any space.
We choose to take walking trainers rather than walking boots when we travel. These Salomon walking trainers have taken me up mountains, across deserts and through rivers, and I couldn’t have done it without them! They are breathable, light and sturdy and take up much less space than a pair of walking boots.
- Underwear x 7 (I particularly like this clever type of underwear)
- White Trainer Socks
(you need to look after your feet when travelling so good quality socks
are a must!)
- Wool Socks x 1 (if you are heading to colder climates, you need some quality wool socks)
- 2 x Craghoppers Walking Trousers (I’ve found these trousers to be the most comfortable and best at allowing venitlation when it is hot, but they also work well in cold conditions with a pair of thermal underwear)
- 2 x Shorts
- 1 x Swimming Shorts
- 2 x Long Sleeve Hiking Top (cover your arms when you’re in the sun with these long sleeved tops – save on sunscreen!)
- 2 x T Shirts
- 1 x Polo Shirt
- 1 x Fleece Top / Zipper (perfect for layering underneath your waterproof when in cold climates)
- 1 x Berghaus Waterproof Jacket (Combining a waterproof jacket with a fleece top has covered me for most situations on our travels. When it gets really cold you can layer up further with thermal underwear)
- Sun Hat (if you are prone to burning in the sun, take or buy a hat on your travels. I always wear one on treks in case my sunscreen sweats off)
- Travel Insurance (THIS IS IMPORTANT – don’t leave without it! We strongly believe if you’re going on an adventure of a lifetime, you should take out insurance to cover you. Use the form here to get a free quote from the insurer we use for our adventures! If you need persuading to take out insurance, click here for our reasons why you should take out insurance)
- Passports (and photocopies)
- Passport Photographs (for visas)
- Credit Card (with free cash withdrawals abroad – main source of cash with direct debit set up to pay off balance each month)
- Credit Card (for purchases and backup)
- Current Account (for cash withdrawals with small amount of cash in as a further back up)
- Flight Confirmations
- Proof Of Vaccinations
- Drivers License (for your road trips)
- 2 x Head Torch (these will be invaluable if you plan on camping, or go on any treks that start before sunrise. You will want to keep your hands free!)
Technology Packing List
- MacBook Pro Laptop Whilst we travel, we’re also working. As we document all our adventures on this very blog, we spend a lot of time on the road editing photos, writing articles and creating travel films. As a result we prefer this sturdy piece of kit and its not let us down yet! If you’re not blogging and just want to keep in touch with people and access the internet, then an iPhone would do the job very nicely.
- 1 x Kindle If you aren’t taking an iPad with you, then a kindle is an absolute must if you’re planning on spending a lot of time on buses and trains. The battery life is great, and if you’re planning on getting away from it all theres no better company than a good book.
- Panasonic GH5 Camera with 28-300mm lens
- Brilliant camera for video, and great for photos as well. For something a little smaller, check out the Sony A7.
- Go Pro Hero 4 Black
- Apple iPhone
We’re not Apple fan boys, but we do love the iPhone for quick internet access, photos and video. In fact, if you don’t want to bring a seperate camera then the camera on the iPhone might do a good enough job for you!
- Spare camera battery
- Manfrotto Camera Tripod
We debated whether to take a tripod with us but it has come in handy in many situations. When we’ve reached the top of a mountain and no-one has been there to take a photo, we’ve used it. We also use it to shoot stars at night and timelapes. I’ve used Manfrotto tripods for years and for the price there isn’t much better out there in terms of build quality and weight. (this we debated for ages but decided to go with a small, lightweight, cheap tripod)
- Headphone Splitter (to watch DVD’s together on laptop / listen to same music (unlikely))
- 2 x Travel Adapters (to charge all this equipment)
- 2 x Memory card (SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 16 GB)
- 1 TB External Hard Drive
- Camera, phone, kindle and video battery chargers
- Crystal Deodorant rock (lasts forever apparently)
- Razor (I want to grow a beard but Laura is having none of it)
- Hair wax
- Shower Gel
- Malarone malaria tablets First aid kit
- Silk travel sheet (for dodgy looking mattresses and sheets)
- Duct tape (will fix everything)
- Sunscreen (very important for my pasty skin)
- Combination lock (rather than a key padlock which we could lose)
- Compression pack (to reduce the size of our clothes in our bags)
- Sleeping mask
- Ear plugs
- Travel pillow
- Small waterproof bag (for electronics)
- Travel towel
Online Clever Things
- Spotify premium account (£15 a month for a constant stream of new music which we can download onto our laptop/iPhones. Friends can also share playlists with us to keep us up to date)
- Audio Books With Audible Free Trial (For all those long bus, train and plane journeys, there is nothing better than settling in to an audiobook to get through the hours fast! This is particularly good if you get motion sickness trying to read on buses! Highly recommended, and you get a free trial!)
- Photobucket pro account (£20 a year to store photos and videos)
- Prey for mac (to catch any nasty person who decides to steal our laptop)
- Skype on laptop and iPhones
- Twitter account – Worldly Nomads
- Facebook page – Worldly Nomads
- WhatsApp messenger for iPhone (great app that you can group message friends for free over wifi)
So thats it, all of my worldly possessions as we travel! What do you think? Anything we’ve missed or recommendations let us know in the comments below!
Plan Your Adventure
Book Your Accommodation
We recommend you use Agoda.com to check your accommodation options! Whenever we’re making plans for a new destination, we always research the accommodation options first to check what’s available, that’s just our travel style. We’ve booked hostels and hotels all over the world through Agoda.com!
Plan Your Journey
We always recommend that you book your journey in advance, so you have peace of mind that your seats are booked! We recommend using 12go.asia as they offer train, bus and ferry ticket booking online in advance! Check out your journey options and prices here and get your seat reserved!