Best Backpacking Essentials & Items For Your Next Trip
When packing for your next grand tour of Europe, Asia, or wherever else you scored a cheap ticket, you have a few main goals for packing. First, you want to be comfortable, healthy, and practical. Second, you want to save money. Third, you want to keep your pack weight down.
What you pack will depend greatly on your destination, planned activities, and personal preferences. That being said, the following items are cost-effective, light-weight, and will vastly improve your backpacking experience.
Water Purifying Tablets
Unless you’re bushwhacking in the backcountry, you probably don’t need a bulky and expensive water filtration system. But let’s face it: many backpacking destinations lack potable tap water. While many backpackers purchase bottled water in such regions, it’s worth adding an extra layer of resiliency to your gear. After all, many situations may arise that leave you unable to purchase water. You don’t want to choose between dehydration and diarrhea.
Tablets are cheap to pick up and take up as much spaces as a few credits cards. If you find yourself in a pinch, water purifying tablets can be a lifesaver–literally.
Backpack Rain Cover
When living out of a backpack, having that backpack get soaking wet is a real bummer, not to mention expensive if your electronics and passport get water-damaged. Many backpacks already come equipped with a rain cover. If not, spend a few bucks to pick one up. Much like a sarong, rain covers pack up tiny. For a small financial investment and little space in your bag, you can protect your belongings and stay dry and comfortable on the road.
For sunny days, you need some kind of head cover to avoid sunburn and heatstroke. Fortunately, you don’t need to shell out for a fancy hat that will take up space in your back. Opt instead for a bandana. Bandanas pack up small and work just as well to keep the sun off your head.
Don’t bring a regular towel. And don’t shell out money for a fancy travel towel, either. Instead, spend a few bucks on a classic beach sarong. Sarongs serve double duty as a swimming cover-up and a towel. Yes, it’s true: sarongs work just as well as a fancy travel towel to dry off after a shower or a swim.
Made of thin fabric, sarongs are easy to wash in a sink and will dry out quickly. Sarongs are lightweight and pack down to fist size. This will save you space and weight in your pack.
Earplugs and an Eye Mask
Earplugs are a must when backpacking. You probably won’t always score the quietest of sleeping environments, and earplugs can be a real lifesaver if your neighbors or hostel-mates want to stay up all night. Earplugs cost next to nothing and are the size of a thimble, yet give you a lot more comfort and flexibility when it comes to where you sleep.
Both small and affordable, eye masks are just as critical as earplugs for improving your sleep environment. Packing an eye mask can vastly improve the quality of your sleep, especially if you’re particularly sensitive to light.
Whether in a tent on the beach, a hostel dormitory, or an Airbnb above a busy, well-lit street, the power duo of earplugs and eye masks will improve the odds of good sleep, making your days of exploration far more enjoyable.
You can wash clothes pretty much anywhere when traveling. Even if you don’t have access to a laundry machine, you can wash your clothes in the sink. However, you need somewhere to dry them afterward. Packing a stretchy cord will allow you to dry clothes overnight in any lodging situation. This will keep you clean and comfortable on the road.
Don’t bother packing body wash, shampoo, face wash, hand soap, and detergent. Pick up one bottle of soap that can do it all. This is one of the best moves to save on weight, as well as costs. Keep in mind, you may sometimes have access to shampoo and laundry detergent, depending on where you stay. For the times you don’t, an all-purpose soap will have you covered from every angle.
Packing for a backpacking adventure can be a fun puzzle. Between weight, cost, and comfort, there’s a lot to balance. Fortunately, there are many cost-effective solutions that will help you maintain a light pack and high-level of comfort as you tour around the world.