So, you’re heading overseas on an amazing backpacking adventure and you need to fit your life into a 80 litre backpack or maybe less? No doubt you’re probably asking yourself, how the hell will I do that?
What to pack depends on where in the world you’re going and when. For example if you’re backpacking through Europe during Jan-March then you’ll need to pack the winter woollies. So establish what time of year and check the weather conditions, it’s still advisable to take a jumper and jacket even if you’re travelling in the summer months.
Remember you will carry your backpack around so it’s essential to pack as lightly as possible; the last thing you want is an over-sized heavy washing machine on your back and you’ll need room for the things you pick up along the way.
Here are a few simple tips on what to pack:
1) Passport, backpack, documents/boarding passes and your OE hat
2) A good sleeping bag, one that compresses easily in a small sack
3) Toiletries, just the basic things like tooth brush, toothpaste, deodorant
etc. (if you run out you can easily buy a replacement)
4) Two microfiber towels, perfect for travel and lightweight
5) Mosquito repellent and sun cream
6) A small first aid kit (with ear plugs & antiseptic cream)
7) Travel washing line and washing powder (travel size)
8) A few plastic bags, for dirty washing etc
9) Flip flops (thongs, jandals, slops, pluggers)
1) Camera (no doubt you’ll want to take photos), universal travel adaptor and some spare batteries or charger
2) Mobile phone, it’s worth buying a travel sim card that offers free international roaming.
3) Travel touch, very handy. Get a small mag light type that won’t take up much space.
4) Wet wipes, these are very handy and almost an essential in some cases
5) MP3 player, travel diary and a good book (some hostels/backpackers offer a book trade system, meaning you can
trade your book for another when finished)
T-shirts: 2-4 that are light weight and can be easily washed and dried.
Trousers: Not jeans (they take too long to dry when you have short stays in each destination), something lightweight like cargo pants/track pants that will dry quickly.
Long sleeve shirt: At least one long sleeve shirt or polo (good for wearing out or keeping arms covered)
Jacket: A warm jacket or fleece
Swimwear: Board shorts or bikini, nothing to heavy
Baseball cap: A cap of some description helps keeps the sun away
Socks & Underwear: At least 4 to 5 pairs
Shoes: A good pair of walking boots and/or a pair of comfy trainers is advisable. (These can be tied to your pack as shown opposite to free space inside your pack)
Remember to pack quick dry items, most hostels / backpackers or camping grounds will have washing machines or hand wash facilities and you’ll be able to dry clothes overnight. It’s a good idea to photocopy your passport and other documents and keep these hidden inside the pack and have $50 US also stashed away for emergencies, US dollars are widely accepted around the world. Try and leave a bit of space in your pack for souvenirs as you’ll no doubt come across something you want to buy.
Travel Insurance, it goes without saying but make sure you have travel insurance before travelling abroad and check your coverage in the countries you are travelling to.
See our General Advice page for more helpful information.
By: Nick & Jackie