Backpacking, Travel Resources

Awesome Travel and Backpacking Essentials for Any Trip

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
Andorranian Pyrenees.

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. Hopefully, you will find these must have travel accessories of mine helpful

The Ultimate Guide to Algarve - Travel guide, backpacking suggestions, low budget travel tips and Itinerary suggestion
A photo from my first solo backpacking trip to Algarve in Portugal

Julie from Why Not Ju is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

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!

Pocket Knife/Multitool

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!

Waterbottle

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 waterbottles at the airport are crazy expensive at times.

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 than 7dl.

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.

Headphones

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.

Speaker

In 2014 I did an exchange semester in Budapest as part of my sociology degree. We, like most people that have been on an Erasmus exchange, partied a whole lot. As we were all just staying in the city for 6 months, nobody really had proper speakers at their places. I invested in my Logitech Ultimate Ears speaker after a friend recommended it to me. It has been my faithful travel companion ever since.

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, affordable and portable check out the wonderboom also from Logitech. Like, I know there are so many other speakers out on the market, but I’m recommending this, as mine has lasted so long and the sound quality is amazing!

Adapter

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 my mistakes haha.

Powerbank

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.

Packing Cubes

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 I don’t go anywhere without. Like, if you need something at the bottom of your backpack, it isn’t really a problem. You just pop out the packing cubes, get whatever you need, and then put them back in. It’s done in no time.

Drybag

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.

Looking over at the active Volcano Fuego on my Acatenango hike.

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 don’t have enough surfaces to put your things on, so this is perfect. On our recent 4 months trip around the south of South America, my boyfriend jokingly said, that when I hang up my toilet bag in the room, we’re installed. I laughed, but it’s true.

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 soapbar format, I don’t think it ‘son Amazon, but now you know, those exist too hehe.

Sunscreen

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 waterproof, so this should definitely be your best friend while in Iguazu Falls!

Perfume stick

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 stick, and absolutely love it!

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.

Mosquito Spray

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!

Menstrual Cup

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!

Wearable essentials in my backpack

Wool underwear

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 I’m sure this wool strap top will do the trick.

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 red my arguments about wool underwear I don’t think I have to write anything here.

Sierra del hornocal All you need to know about Jujuy Argentina
Enjoying the view of Serranía de Hornocal in my Helly Hansen Jacket

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.

Travel essentials for backpackers
Bridge jumping in Banos Ecuador in my beloved Adidas tights
Adidas tights Travel essentials for backpackers
We got our driver to stop for a little bit so that we could enjoy the view, on our way from Flores to Semuc Champey in Guatemala. Like I said, the comfiest travel wear.

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.

Here I am, on my first volcano in South America. Cotopaxi in Ecuador. Wearing a buff, on my head, and i assure you, around my neck too, and my 2xu tights.

Buffs

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.


Packing for travels can be difficult, but get better with practice. Here are the travel essentials for backpacking that will make your packing easier

Writing this REALLY long post with stuff that might seem like super random travel essentials, I stand by it and conclude that I might be a bit weird. But now you know and you can take my tips into consideration, or leave it. Let me know if you have some must have backpacking items you think I should try out!

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