10 Essential Things to Pack for Backpackers

10 Essential Things to Pack for Backpackers

When you go backpacking, it's usually for a number of months. Therefore, you'll want to ensure that you squeeze everything possible into your backpack so that you are comfortable on your travels.

You'll need to minimize the amount of gear that you have because you only have the one bag, but there are some essentials that you should pack for every journey. Here is our list of 10 essential things to pack for backpackers. 

Travel Towel

Travel towels are amazing and definitely first on the list. They come in very small and compact sizes, are extremely lightweight, very absorbent and quick to dry. They are great for saving space and better for backpackers than standard towels. They are usually very soft, which is quite different from normal towels, so they can take a while to get used to.

Plug Adapters

For some reason, we have standard cables for pretty much everything. Most cables we use are standardized and they should work pretty much anywhere. However, electricity still hasn't caught up with standardization and you'll need an adapter for pretty much every country that you visit.

The UK, for instance, uses 3 pins, USA has 2 flat pins, most European countries have 2 round pins and Australia has 2 angled pins. So you'll need a very versatile adapter to cope with nearly every type of electrical socket around the world.


At some point on your travels, you'll need a torch. Even if you're not planning on camping or trekking, you'll still need one. You might want to find something in your bag late at night in your dorm room and not disturb the other guests, or you might need to find your way around a city at night during a power cut. Either way, you'll find a torch an extremely helpful thing to pack. They come in all shapes and sizes, so try to find something small but powerful.


Unfortunately, there are a lot of opportunistic thieves around world, so you'll want to get a small travel padlock. Although most of these small locks are easy to break, including the better quality ones, they do act as a deterrent.

Another option is to pack cable ties. These can only be used once as you'll need to cut them when you want to get inside your backpack. They are much stronger and nearly impossible to break with your hands.

Most hostels will have a lockable safe for guests to use. When you're out and about without your entire life on your back, make sure it's locked securely away back in the hostel.

First Aid Kits

Make sure you pack a small travel first aid kit. You never know when you might need it and you'll be very happy if you actually do need to use it. For most places, you'll just need simple first aid gear including bandages, plasters and antiseptic cream. For other countries, you'll want sterile needles, water treatment tablets, rehydration sachets and diarrhea medication.

Mosquito Repellent

At some point during your travels, you're likely to come across mosquitoes. These devilish insects can cause life threatening diseases such as dengue fever and malaria, so it's always a good idea to protect yourself.

There are many types of mosquito repellent available on the market, but DEET is by far the most popular. It comes in a range of strengths from 20% up to 100%.

Mosquito Nets

Using DEET the whole time isn't always pleasant. Depending on where you are going, you should pack a mosquito net. If you are travelling to South America, Africa, or Southeast Asia, it's a must have. When backpacking, you don't always know where you are going to sleep. Most hotels and hostels will either have mosquito screens on the windows and nets in the rooms, but not always.

So make sure you have a net because you'll definitely need it at some point and you'll be extremely happy that you packed one, especially if you are visiting tropical countries.

When putting up your net, ensure that you haven't trapped any mosquitoes inside the net. If you get one caught inside, it will be feasting on your blood all night. 

Hand Gel

Packing hand gel is also an absolute must. Cleaning your hands regularly, especially before eating or after visiting a toilet, will help to reduce the chances of getting a stomach bug.

These anti-bacterial gels come in small travel size bottles and are perfect for keeping in your pocket when exploring a new place.

Money Belt

Money belts are a very safe way to keep your valuables safe. They're big enough for cash, credit cards, passports and other small items. Most belts are discreet and is worn around your waist and under your clothes. Many also have wires running throughout the straps which prevents them from being cut by devious thieves.

Sleeping Bag

You might be planning on staying in hotels, guesthouses or hostels during your travels, but a small lightweight sleeping back is a must. Some cheap places to stay aren't always the cleanest. You may check into a room after a long day of travelling only to find a dirty bed or bedsheets. If you're travelling on a small budget, this is almost certainly going to happen and you'll be glad you packed it.

These are the top ten things to pack for backpackers. Each item on this list is a must for people who are planning on backpacking for at least a few months.

When travelling with only one bag on your back, you need to save space where you can. Most of the items on this list are very small and don't take up much space, and at some point during your travels, you'll be glad you packed them.

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