10 backpacking essentials you must carry on your trip

Backpacking is a cost-effective way to see the world that frees travellers up to enjoy richer experiences, connect more deeply with the locals and fellow travellers they meet, and gain a greater appreciation for the places they visit. Whether travelling through the cities of Europe or wilds of Asia, for a few days or several weeks, here are 10 backpacking travel essential items, including travel insurance, worth adding to your checklist.
  1. Backpack – The first “lesson” of backpacking 101, is to choose a backpack that will be durable, functional, and most importantly, comfortable based on whether you’ll be using it for hiking, camping or city touring. When trying it on, fill it with a weight equivalent to the amount you plan to carry. Your backpack that seems light when you’re rested can feel like a ton of bricks after you’ve been carrying it for a few hours. Be mindful of any pressure or friction points that might become uncomfortable over time. If your backpack will be your luggage, keep in mind airline baggage requirements, otherwise be prepared to check it.
  2. Clothing – What you plan to wear while travelling can account for most of your backpack’s weight, so choose items wisely. Dark coloured, comfortable and weather appropriate items that can be mixed and matched, layered if necessary, and are multipurpose can help focus your backpacking packing list. Any other clothing items you might need can probably be purchased while travelling.
  3. Shoes – Whether walking through wooded trails or along cobbled streets, investing in a good pair of comfortable and well-fitting shoes can help keep you, your feet, hips and back ready for every travel adventure.
  4. Travel towel – While a towel can add a lot of room in your backpack, leaving it behind could leave you all wet. Budget travel accommodations don’t always provide towels and there are none to be found in the great outdoors. A travel towel is compact, lightweight and quick to dry, making it an ideal backpacking travel essential.
  5. Dirty laundry – When it’s time to wash the dirt, dust and kilometres off your clothes, a river, pond, or sink may be all that’s available for getting them clean. To help speed up the drying process, tuck a travel clothesline with hooks and suction cups into your backpack, so that you can hang it from two trees or shower walls, as needed.
  6. Reusable water bottle – From long flights to city and trail hikes, dehydration can set in even before you feel thirsty. Drink enough water for your level of activity regularly throughout the day to help stave off effects such as difficulty speaking, fatigue, dry mouth and nausea.
  7. Sun protection – Backpackers spend a lot of time outdoors so sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm, and a hat are all must-haves for enjoying the positive effects of the sun.
  8. Basic first-aid kit – Minor medical emergencies such as cuts and scrapes while travelling can be cared for with the items in a first-aid kit. When putting it together, think small and opt for travel sizes to help keep your kit compact within your backpack.
  9. Notebook/electronic device – A notebook and pen/pencil and or a cellphone are useful for journaling about travel experiences and jotting down directions to a campsite or lesser-known tourist spots. A notebook is also handy if you like to draw; a cell phone can help you shoot and upload videos and photos to favourite social sites.
  10. Travel insurance – The electronic copy of your travel insurance policy takes up no space in your backpack, yet it’s like having a team of assistance and support experts on hand to help and assist you with the items covered under the travel insurance plan purchased. When booking your travel insurance, make sure you choose the coverage plan that meets your travel needs. Travel insurance could not only provide assistance during the trip but also before. Make sure you understand your policy in and out. Now that’s smart backpacking.
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