What to pack in your Backpack?
Deciding what to take and how much to take on a trip can be one of the hardest things to do when planning.
The first step is finding a good backpack. A small one is best, or you will find a way to fill it up.
My first time backpacking was a disaster of getting a backpack that was too big, and then I had no real idea of what to pack in my backpack and over packed. I took some ridiculous things. A whole bag of fish oil tablets anyone? Seven pairs of underwear? I can’t even remember half the garbage I packed for that trip, I left some of it with Couchsurfers and sent three boxes home during the course of my trip.
So, what to pack in your backpack?
A definitive list is almost impossible to decide on. You will need Malaria medication for some areas, extra insect repellent if Dengue Fever is in that area, extra warm clothes if you are going somewhere polar or high altitude etc etc.
My current list seems to be good for me so far, although it was packed with cold temperatures in mind and I’m nervous because my new computer is bigger than my old one. I’ll see how it goes.
In my backpack:
Passports (I have an NZ one and an Irish one)
Chinese yuan (RMB)
Driving licence and international drivers licence
Scuba Diving log book
Copy of ticket for flight/train/bus
Credit cards ect
Spare passport photos
Certified photocopies of passports and drivers licence.
Combination lock, two for the two bag compartments
Combination lock with metal cord for locking pack to one place.
Very small day backpack – room for money, computer, passports, water bottle, map and jumper
Compression bag – saves space
Waterproof sealable bag – for electronics
Laptop + charger
External hard drive
Camera + charger + extra battery + extra photo card + camera case
Phone + charger
Ipod + charger
Don’t Forget: Universal plug adaptor – China has the same style as New Zealand so I don’t have one.
Pocket sized notebook
Camera Tripod – small flexible Gorilla Pod
Hiking shoes – heavier than I’d like, but important for the cold and tramping.
Thick Socks x 2
Thin socks x 2
Sandals x 1
Black flats that are light and fold-able for anything formal
Merino wool jumper
Thermal top x1
Thermal leggings x1
Thin trousers x 2
T-shirts x 4
Underwear x 4
Bras x 2
Small flip open pocket mirror
Razor + spare blades
Moon cup – great alternative to tampons
Hand sanitizer – small 50ml bottle
Shower caps x 3 – great for long hair in the shower
Freshette – wonderful invention that allows women to urinate while standing. I tried a similar product called GoGirl but I found that it usually overflowed.
Don’t forget: Sunscreen
Panadol – pain killers
Naprogesic – pain killers
Water purifying tablets
Multi vitamins – one small bottle
Ciprofloxacin antibiotics – for stomach illnesses (Azithromycin can be a good option as some microbes are becoming resistant to Ciprofloxacin)
Electrolyte sachets – for dehydration if it is hot or if I get diarrhoea
Charcoal Tablets – help absorb bad stuff after you’ve gotten food poisoning.
Imodium – it is a good anti-diarrhoea medication for long bus trips, or any type of long no toilet trip
Thrush treatment – I don’t wish to play charades with someone who does not speak English.
Don’t Forget: Anti-malaria medication, or anti motion sickness medication if you need it.
Tiny sewing kit
Tiny micro-fibre towel that clips on to my shoulder strap. Great for mopping up sweat on my face.
Duct tape – this has a gazillion uses
Plastic bags good to separate dirty clothes from the rest of your bag.
Toilet paper – needed in many countries
Practical Packing tips
Remember 100ml or 3oz is the maximum volume of any one gel or cream you can take with you if you want to take your bag as a carry on. All of my stuff like the acne cream was this volume or under except shampoo and conditioner which I bought 100ml bottles for.
If you don’t want to bother with this another option is solid Lush shampoo bars
GET A SMALL BACKPACK.
Get a second camera battery. You’ll need it.
I don’t currently have one as I normally sleep in dorm rooms, but if you are travelling alone a door stop could be really useful for a little extra security. It will slow down anyone trying to get in and force them make a noise and alert you. I’ve heard one story when a staff member barged in to demand a tip. This would have stopped him.
A whistle could also be useful to draw attention to yourself in awkward situations.
When picking what clothes to take, consider hidden pockets and security features such as zippers.
For stability pack the heaviest stuff close to your back, not on the outside of it. It is more likely to make you feel unbalanced. Also pack it near the centre. Mediumly heavy stuff should be packed at the top and light stuff at the bottom.
Of course you also need to take into account accessibility of items and think about anything you don’t want to be squished.
Expensive Jewelry or watches – makes you such a theft target
A tent – unless definitely hitchhiking remotely or camping for the majority of your trip.
A Sleeping bag – unless hitchhiking remotely or camping
Camping equipment – unless hitchhiking remotely or camping
Multiple guide books – unless they are in kindle form
Redundant clothing – You don’t need 7 pairs of underwear and don’t take multiple pairs of shoes. Take one good solid set of walking/hiking shoes. If you take another pair make them small and lightweight like sandals or fold-able flat shoes. You will not need multiple pairs of shoes; they are not worth the extra size and weight.
If you are travelling long term consider not taking something white to wear. They often don’t stay white.
A huge beauty bag – far too heavy. Take a couple of essentials like a comb or moisturizer if you are like me and have terribly dry skin.