Do you also enjoy a good backpacking trip? I have been to over 15 countries with just my motivation and my backpack and have learned that some items are indispensable!
I remember my first backpacking trip to the Vosges in France, gosh I wish I had these items at the time! These are the 15 backpacking essentials you need to make your next trip easier.
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Why opting for a backpacking trip?
Backpacking is one of my favorite ways to travel because of its different aspects. My first reason when buying my first backpack was to enjoy a new adventure on a small budget, but while doing some trips I noticed even more upsides to this traveling style.
You have everything with you all the time
While backpacking, it’s like having your house on your back. Everything you need is in one backpack and it feels good. We tend to buy too much irrelevant stuff and caring that along with us, but when backpacking all the essentials are in one place. It brings you back to a more natural way of living and enjoying the small things in life.
Choosing your lifestyle comfort
Backpacking is a broad term, yes it always consists of you having your backpack on you along the way but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have luxury.
Some people backpack in nature and choose to take their tent, cooking supplies, and everything you need on a daily basis with them.
Others backpack during the day and find a backpackers hostel at night to rest and have a good meal. Backpacking is based on the fact that you travel from one place to another, mostly on a small budget, to see the most things during your stay.
If you have ever traveled with your backpack you will get this. When you see another backpacker a bond is immediately founded, you have similar interests and often go to the same places.
Backpackers' hostels and meeting points are amazing. This worldwide community has given me a lot of beautiful friendships and even if you travel alone, you will never feel lonely. There are also a lot of backpacker groups on Facebook where you can meet other travel enthusiasts.
But whiteout further due, let’s check out these backpacker’s essentials you need to make your trip easier!
Why these items are important
All the items below are important because they offer a real solution to small and annoying problems you might have during your trips.
These are challenges you didn't expect to have in the beginning but unfortunately happen a lot, such as running out of water, having a splinter, needing to rest, having wet and cold clothes due to weather problems, and so on.
These items are a gamechanger for me during my trips and helped me in a lot of situations across the world. I hope you will enjoy them as well!
The backpacking essentials
1. Water bottle with carbon filter
If you have a water source near you, such as a river or a lake, you can have drinkable water. This water bottle with a carbon filter filters 99% of all bacteria in the water and is perfect for those who want to hike or travel in nature for a few days.
You will not have to fear anymore that your camelback is getting empty or that there are no stores in the neighborhood. You can enjoy a multiple-day hike while staying hydrated.
This water bottle is from the brand Katadyn and is available in the ASadventure stores. It is very flexible, so it doesn't take up any place in your backpack and is very lightweight. It can contain 1L of filtered water.
A very important travel gadget to have on you at all times is a charged headlight. It is so much easier than a normal light because both of your hands are free.
Has it ever happened to you, that you wanted to set up your tent but the night was already falling? Well, no better way to set up your spot than with a headlight.
3. Swiss knife
You want to open a good bottle of wine, but forgot you had no corkscrew? Don’t you worry because the Swiss knife has everything you need!
I would suggest getting one with at least 15 functions because otherwise, you will still feel like some items are missing.
The functions that have already saved me a lot of times over the years are the knife, pair of pliers, corkscrew, scissors, can opener, tweezers and the wood saw (when making a good old fashion fire).
4. Hammock with mosquito net
So this one is not really a gadget but I think it’s necessary on every good backpacking trip. Even if you choose to stay at hotels or prefer sleeping in a tent, a hammock is an amazing item that will make your trip easier.
If you are tired of hiking and want to rest for a moment, you can easily hang up your hammock and enjoy the view of the forest or any place with two trees.
It is also a lovely way to enjoy a good fire in the evening, hang up your hammock, and no need to sit on the ground or directly go into your tent.
I have my hammock everywhere with me, I have a simple one from the Decathlon store for my everyday chilling.
The cheapest one is 10 euros but I would recommend buying the 20 euros one because it has 2 strong carabiners and the ropes can connect any trees as they are very long.
If you want to sleep in a hammock for the night, as I do. I would recommend buying one with a mosquito net, to make sure you are not bitten by those little insects at night.
5. Bottle light
Reusing your “cerveza” bottle? Check! This bottle light gives you a cozy vibe to continue your evening or to make a camping spot even lovelier.
My rechargeable bottle light is from ASadventure but you have multiple options. I especially like this one because you can charge the lamp on your computer and reuse it for many occasions.
6. Secret wallet
I always use this while backpacking! You have so many options nowadays, such as scarves, belts, for around your waist and so on.
It’s handy because you never know what can happen while traveling and money and your passport are so important that you just cannot lose those during your trip abroad.
7. Tick-remover or insect gel
This is something I always recommend having with you when traveling to European countries such as Belgium. There are so many of these annoying little insects, and they are so hard to get rid of. A tick-remover is always welcome when traveling in nature.
If you are going to more tropical places I would suggest mosquito gel or spray. Anyhow, always have something with you against insect bites!
8. Solar-powered battery
Have you ever recharged your phone in a café or MacDonald? Hell, I did this a lot of times until I discovered this beauty!
The solar-powered battery is so handy, it can recharge your phone 4 times during your trip or even more depending on which brand you choose. And if it is empty? Just let the sun recharge it again.
You will never have an empty phone ever again, you can take as many pictures as you want! Just put the battery on top of your backpack in the direction of the sun and you are good to go.
9. Packing cubes
I didn’t use them for a long time because I thought I was “organized” enough. Well, I was so wrong. With the packing cubes, I can order my clothes just the way I want whiteout having to unfold them all and rage like a lunatic through my backpack to find THAT specific dress.
I just organize them on activities so one cube is for swimwear, one for dresses, one for hiking, and so on. Also, I was quite impressed with how many items one cube can contain. They look small in the beginning but you can fit a lot of items if you fold them right.
Always handy when you want to make a campfire! You can also use a lighter of course but I feel like this is more authentic and it is always a WOW moment when the fire starts burning.
This is super handy and small to carry. It’s a clothing line specially to carry along with you when backpacking. Easy to dry your swimwear and towels before hitting the road again!
If you are cooking in nature or you are ordering some street food, it’s always handy to have a fork, knife, and spoon with you. So why not have them all in one!
13. Adjustable underwear
Ok, this is maybe a weird one but let me explain! Nothing is more annoying than having the wrong underwear during a long hike. The seams can start irritating your legs and give you little burn wounds. That’s why it’s very important to have some thermal underwear. It is perfect for long distances, it keeps you warm and nothing will irritate you!
14. Travel bracelet with international signs
Maybe you have seen the t-shirt with the international signs, but let’s face it wearing the same t-shirt every day is not ideal. That’s why I like to use these unisex bracelets. They are handy when someone doesn’t understand English and you want to ask them something. Just point at the symbol and maybe they can help you out using their hands and feet to pinpoint you in the right direction.
I got this travel bracelet from Jeroen from "Ikgaopavontuur". He also likes to backpack around the world and found out that in a lot of countries it was difficult to communicate in English so he invented this travel gadget, which is amazing.
One of the most used items during my backpacking trips is the carabiner. It can be used for so many things such as attaching things to your backpack, as a key holder, to tighten tent ropes, to attach grocery bags or trash bags, to attach your wet shoes to your backpack, and many more occasions!
When choosing a carabiner it is always handy to check that they have a screw lock on them, so they don’t accidentally open.