So, according to me, myself and I, I know a thing or two about packing. That is packing light though. I definitely know what travel and backpacking essentials I have to have in my backpack.
The other week I had to fill my suitcase with winter stuff as we’re staying in Andorra for the season. We went straight to Andorra from travels in South America. While you do need some clothes for the cold there too, it’s nothing compared to the mountain cold of the
So when I was home for Christmas, I had to fill my suitcase as much as I could, with stuff for my boyfriend and I. So we don’t freeze to death here in Andorra during the winter. Filling my suitcase like that, kind of stressed me out, cause I honestly prefer to travel with less. The saying “less is more” definitely goes for me when it comes to packing. I prefer to travel with my faithful backpacking essentials and keep my luggage to a decent amount.
Anyway, back to what this post really is about, the best travel essentials for backpackers. Because that’s what you came here to read right?
How to know what to pack in your backpack
So you might be thinking; “How can you know what I need in my backpack? This really depends on where I’m going and who I am”. Well, I do agree, but then there are some things that I always have to have with me. Like, backpacking months without them would be a nightmare. Through the last couple of years of backpacking, they’ve earned a permanent place in my backpack. So that’s why, I decided to make this post and share some of my must-have travel items with you.
If it’s the first time you’re backpacking it might be hard to know what to pack, but you’ll figure it out along the way. Let me tell you what backpacking must-haves I depend on having with me on my travels.
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Backpacking essentials for my backpack
Camera: Bring your camera. I love my Sony Alpha6000, especially for travel as its lightweight and compact. If you have an action camera you should definitely bring it too, perfect for footage in the areas with a lot of water spray. If you are so lucky to have a waterproof case for your normal camera device, definitely bring it! Check out this waterproof purse that fits various cameras as well as this one for Sony Alpha6000 water and diving proof case!
This is such a genius thing to have on hand. I’m currently on my second one, the first one was left on the beach in Rio one late afternoon after one too many Caipirinhas, that we made there, with the knife, sugar, fruits, cachaca, ….and sand. Those were the good days hehe. This exact multitool is the one I have now and it’s just great. It comes with a knife, spoon, fork, wine-opener and a couple of other things. You can divide it in two so that you actually have a really compact set of cutlery with you at all times. Compact practical cutlery and a wine opener You have no idea of how many times this has come in handy!
So I have to say, a waterbottle is not a thing that you have to buy in advance. But it’s something I always have to have with me when I’m out sightseeing. Even at the airport, I always bring an empty water bottle with me through security, so that I can fill it up with tap water when I’m though. Like, I stay hydrated and save money. It might not be a lot, or, honestly, you’ll be surprised, those
Anyway, I’ve tried out a couple of those foldable travel water bottles and haven’t been impressed so far because of the material and the fact that they’ve all been so small. This one though seems promising. It’s out of silicone and not “hard” plastic, and rooms more
Other than that I’ve only heard good things about the Lifestraw waterbottles. They’re not foldable, but they have a two system water filter. This makes it great for traveling in countries where you can’t drink the tap water! Lifestraw also sells the bottle with 1 stage filter, but the difference from the 2 stage filter is 5 dollars so I would definitely opt for the 2 stage filter one if I were to invest in one of these bottles.
I know this probably goes without saying, but headphones is an absolute must! Maybe it’s not essential for my backpack, but it is essential for my travels. I used to have these Bose headphones, that I love! And they are the best headphones I’ve ever had. Not that I’ve had too many of this quality. Then I got pickpocketed(happens sometimes) and since I’ve only used normal headphones. These headphones are also great because they are for sports, so they dot fall out if your ear that easily.
When I get the funds to invest in a set of new headphones though, I’m getting these ones again. Like, my sister always used to tell me how the sound quality in different kinds of headphones variated, and I didn’t believe her. If you haven’t had a proper pair yet, trust me. It’s an investment, but it’s worth it. It makes long flights, bus rides and even runs along the beach, so much more enjoyable.
In 2014 I did an exchange semester in Budapest as part of my sociology degree. We, like most people that have been on an
From being in my pocket while running around in Budapest’s streets(yes I have big pockets haha), to a hostel table in Peru. It’s actually sitting on the table right next to my computer as I write this. I have the first version, and after 4 years of traveling the world, it still works. Trust me, if you don’t think you need it, you probably do. Every time I’ve left it at home, I’ve regretted it. Mine is only water resistant, but the newest Megaboom 3 is waterproof, shockproof and has about 15 hours of battery time.
If you’re looking for something slightly more compact,
I’ve used to buy adapters as I go. Like, I usually arrive in a country, check in to a hostel and then notice, oh, my electronics don’t fit the electric outlet here. Great. NOT GREAT, having to wait until the next day to charge your stuff, relying on a power bank, or having to ask the reception to lend me something so I can charge all my stuff. I really recommend buying one of these universal adapters, it’s compact and that way you’re always prepared. Like, learn from
This isn’t a must, but it can be a practical thing to have. If you’re about to run out of battery, just when you arrive in a new city and have to look up directions to your hostel for the night. Trust me, it has happened, more than once. I’ve had a couple of solar panel ones, but honestly, they haven’t worked that well for me. It is a smart thing to have available when traveling through. I seem to lose them quite frequently, so I never invest in a really expensive one though.
First of all, to organize my clothes, and other stuff I depend on packing cubes. Like, I swear by them. I’m really sure I would go crazy after a week if I didn’t have these lifesavers. You see, I’m not very organized, and I don’t think anything in the world can change that. But with packing cubes it gets easier to deal with that part of me. I’ve been using these packing cubes since I got on a plane on the 4th of January 2017. I currently have them in blue and pink, and I got my boyfriend a set of military green ones.
They come in sets of 7 pouches. I usually use the two bigger ones to organize my tops and bottoms. One for my work out clothes, one for underwear and socks and one for wool underwear, cause
If you want to go for the full Iguazu experience, there is no way of getting around it. You’ll get wet, probably soaked. But don’t worry, you’ll dry quickly in the sun. The same can not be said for your electronics and other belongings. A dry bag is definitely nice to bring! The one on 5 liters is perfect to have in your backpack.
This waterproof fannypack is also genius, be it for days at the beach or hiking in the rain:)
Toilet essentials for my backpack
Hanging bag for toiletries
So this is a new one, by new one I mean, I got it about 5 months ago. I used to have my toiletries all over the place. In different pouches and in no pouches at all. When I fund a bag similar to this one, lying around when I was back home for a short visit in May. It just makes it so easy to stay organized, and you can bring it with you to the toilet and hang it there. I find that hostel bathrooms
Shampoo bar & travel sized soap containers
Save yourself the trouble of having too many liquids. This is especially great if you want to travel with carry-on only. The shampoo bars are so durable too and come with a metal container(though let it dry before you store it in the box). I’ve even had a facial cleanser in
And lots of sunscreens. The sun is so strong in South America, and you might not feel the heat of the sun as you will be walking though rainbow filled mist, but mark my words, you will burn if you don’t apply sunscreen regularly throughout the day. This sunscreen is biodegradable, eco-friendly, and even water resistant, so this should definitely be your best friend while in Iguazu Falls!
This was actually something that my mum initially brought me home as a gift after she’d been to South Korea. Ever since, I’ve been using perfume sticks, especially when traveling. I have this orange little bunny perfume
A good travel towel
And by good I mean, big enough and made with quality fabric. When I started out I bought a cheap travel towel off of ebay, and it ended up being horrible. Too small, really bad drying ability and a horrible texture. You know those microfibre cloths that just get stuck on your skin(cringe)?. Anyway, while volunteering in Peru I got a hold of this travel towel, check it out here, where it comes with a small one included too. Anyway, a travel towel is such a good investment, it dries quickly and takes up very little space in your backpack.
Definitely bring a mosquito repellent as you’ll be walking in the humid jungle. The last thing you want ruining your day is having to worry about insect bites. This insect spray is eco-friendly and perfect for those with sensitive skin too. They even give you a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not happy with i
This insect permethrin spray is perfect if you have sensitive skin, or just never remember to apply repellent before it’s too late. You can spray it directly on your clothes, fabrics, plastic, and other surfaces before you head off on your trip. It’s supposed to stay on for up to 6 weeks or 6 washings!
One absolute travel essentials for women is the period cup. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, and you are most likely very skeptical. I was too, but let me tell you that it’s such a great invention. Using a menstrual cup not only produce way less waste, but it’s also a long-term low cost alternative. It’s made out of a silicone material and reusable up to 5 years. I dare you to try it, I did, 4 years ago, and I’m never going back to tampons again!
Sleeping mask and earplugs
You never know where you’ll end up sleeping when you’re out traveling. I always have at least one sleeping mask and a set of earplugs with me. Always having these two things handy, really help when it comes to being sure about getting a good nights sleep. This affordable sleeping mask is made out of 100% silk that is breathable and soothing for the skin too.
Wearable essentials in my backpack
I’ve already mentioned it, but I never go anywhere without the basic wool underwear. That’s how my mom raised me(no joke), and I always seem to get use for it. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I’m from Norway, and you know. It gets cold during the winter, so wool has been my beloved companion since before I can remember. Janus is one of the brans of wool I swear by, cause yes, I have quite a few sets. What’s even cooler(or not) is that the Janus factory is right outside my city in Norway. Here is a really nice Top and Bottom sett from Janus. Cause wool underwear doesn’t have to look ugly.
You might think I’m wierd for raving about wool underwear, but you will thank me when you’re traveling and looking fasionable and feeling warm at the same time.
I also try to bring a wool top with me, for those days when I feel slightly cold. That is every day in Europe except during the summer. But honestly, it has saved me so many times. If you just want to wear a nice shirt or whatever, but its too cold. One of these wool tops really is a life saver. Couldn’t find you a nice one from Norway, but
A little “fun fact” at the end of this wool promotion*honestly just me and my wool obsession*, there are even wool-panties out there. I haven’t found the need to use those yet, but you never know right… I have something similar though, that I love to use underneath skirts in the winter and fall when it usually is too cold to wear skirts, but not with this little thing underneath!
Thin wool socks – If you
Rain and windproof jacket
These kinds of jackets are amazing, for many reasons. They don’t take up a lot of space in your backpack, you can bring them with you in your daypack without much hassle and they are wind and rainproof, and breathable. For the first part of my trip, I had a jacket from Mamut, much like this one. It served me well. Now we’re swearing by jackets from the Norwegian brand Helly Hansen. I have this jacket in green/blue and my boyfriend had it in blue. What I love so much about them, is that they are foldable as well. So in addition to being lightweight and super wearable, they are easy to pack away too. And, before you say anything else, yes, we have couples jackets haha.
These super comfortable Adidas tights. They have been my faithful companion on almost every long bus ride from Mexico to Argentina, and trust me there have been many. They are really well worn and I think its time to invest in a pair of new ones this upcoming spring. But trust me, a pair of comfortable pants or tights cannot be overrated.
Some good compression tights for working out and hiking.
I’ve been swearing by these 2XU tights during my travels in Latin America. I have them in aqua, and I love the simple design, but what I love even more is the compression part of them. Also, they don’t take up much space, and they are super stretchy. I have mine in xs, and they are very tight. I have though, occasionally used them with the wool underneath for hiking. Without a problem. Hiking pants have just never been my thing and the more stuff I can multipurpose while traveling, the better. Compression tights also help with the blood circulation and improve warm up and recovery of your muscles. This sure came in handy when I did hikes over multiple days.
I know, they are not too stylish, but they are lightweight and multi-purpose. I traveled with two though out all of Latin America. The ones I have, I’ve taken from my mom’s collection, She lived and worked in South Korea for a couple of years and really stocked up on design. Found these really cute designs on amazon though.
Writing this REALLY long post with stuff that might seem like super random travel essentials, I stand by