Top 15 Backpacker Essentials
Seeing as the holiday season is approaching I thought it would be a good idea to share my Top 15 Backpacker Essentials. While this list is geared towards backpackers it is a useful list for all travelers. These are items I have purchased with my money so I 100% stand behind them. These items have made traveling easier, safer and more comfortable. Having traveled to over 30 something countries in less than 5 years turns you into a packing mavin. All these items would make great stocking stuffers or gifts for a traveler you know is about to embark on a travel journey.
Top 15 Backpacker Essentials
Backpack– This may seem obvious but I never realized how important it was to get a GOOD backpack. Ashley and I went to REI and got fitted to find our torso size. We also got to try a few different style of backpacks with weights to see the true feel. We both walked away with a pack that felt great on and was comfortable even with 40 pounds. I can’t stress how important it is to invest in a good pack, it will make or break your trip. We love our Osprey Fairpoint packs and the warranty that comes along with it.
Hanging Toiletry Bag– I am the queen of the makeup bags. I thought I had my bases covered until my mom got me a hanging toiletry bag and I realized how much better it was. Not usually seen on our list I knew then I had to include it in our Top 15 Backpacker Essentials. The main perk of a hanging toiletry bag is that if you are low on counter space no problem, you hang this bad boy up and away you go. Plus it keeps everything way more organized than throwing it all in a big bag and your stuff never gets soggy or wet.
Packing Cubes– I am an avid believer in the rolling technique but coupled with packing cubes my packing skill level has reached expert. These cubes not only make packing easier but un-packing as well. When I want to pull out one thing I don’t have to destroy my whole pack. I just pull out that one cube and away I go. It makes life so much easier and more organized. Plus the slight compression means you can pack that extra little bit. I love these Eagle Creek ones they are very sturdy and lite so they won’t bulk your pack.
Travel Towel w/Hook– Staying in Hostels means sometimes you don’t get a towel let alone two. This was the first item I thought of when creating our Top 15 Backpacker Essentials. I like to bring my own towel in case the hostel doesn’t provide one. I can’t stress how important the tiny hook is. I’m not even sure why anyone would make one without. I wouldn’t leave my towel on the floor of my bathroom let along a hostel bathroom. The hook ensures I never have to leave my towel on a dirt floor and lets it hang dry.
Backpack Waterproof Cover– If you’re caught in a storm or heading on a ferry you want to know your stuff will stay dry. A backpacker cover will protect your stuff from rain, snow or dirt. It’s small and gives you peace of mind. Be sure to get one that fits your pack, I like the osprey one that I attach to the outside of my pack for easy access.
PacSafe Protector– Your backpack will contain all your essentials while traveling. So, you’ll want to protect it. While most hostels do and should provide a locker, as an added protection I wrap my pack in this pac-safe anti-theft wiring.
Lifestraw Go Water Filtering Bottle – When I travel I always make sure to use a filtering water bottle. Water can be a main source of travel sickness. I took one with me when traveling through southeast Asia. While I did get a stomach bug for one day, I avoided the parasite that left many of my friends sick for days. I love my Lifestraw bottle especially since every water bottle purchased gives a child in Africa an entire year of clean drinking water at school. Win- Win.
Mini Umbrella– Now that your backpack is safe from the weather with you rain cover you can protect yourself. I love this umbrella because it’s a full-size umbrella but in a compact, mini travel size. I also like the bright colors because it makes spotting your friends in a crowd easy if you get separated.
Door Stopper– I am not a paranoid person but I like to aim on the side of caution when traveling. So it’s no surprise I had to include these in our Top 15 Backpacker Essentials. Sometimes bathroom doors don’t lock or door locks in hostels can be flimsy. Having the doorstopper makes it easier for me to feel safe in a space that is new and unknown. It’s lite and doesn’t take up a lot of room. I like this one because you can have it so it sets an alarm if someone tries to open the door.
Power Strip/Adapter– You’ll need to bring an adapter when traveling. I’ve been using this Tessan one with surge protection. Not as small as a universal adapter, I prefer this over more compact options and it fits more snuggling in outlets. Besides protecting my expensive electronics, it has a ton of plugs and USB slots. I can charge everything at once which is great. Plus it makes sharing with hostel mates or roommates easy.
Ear-plugs/ Eye Mask– When traveling it’s hard for me to fall asleep at times. Having ear-plugs and an eye mask has been instrumental in me adjusting to a new time zone. Ear plugs are especially important if staying in a busy city or hostel. I love this eye mask because it doesn’t put that uncomfortable pressure on my eyes and fits nicely around my face.
Combination Lock – The most basic item on our Top 15 Backpacker Essential is a lock. I prefer the combination option so you never have to worry about losing the key. Great for locking your hostel locker or locking up your backpack on the go.
How to Travel the World on $50 – One of the most important purchases I have made has been Nomadic Matt’s book. Besides giving great money saving advice he has a ton of info and is an expert backpacker. This book more than paid for itself, after my first trip. It’s no wonder it is a New York Time’s Best Seller.