Backpacking Essential Items

If you’re wondering what items you should pack for your backpacking adventure, you will no doubt have been amazed at how much is available – and how you are going to fit it all in your backpack? In this blog we will look at what essential backpacking items (along with your travel insurance) you should pack in your bag for your adventure of a lifetime…

Your Backpack
You will need to carry your backpack around for long periods of time and it must contain everything that you will need while you are away that can’t be purchased locally. It is essential to pack as lightly as possible; having a large bulky pack can weigh you down, especially when boarding buses and trains. It will also tire you out to carry around all day.

The size of backpack you buy really depends on how much you are going to lug around with you. If you plan on taking only the bare essentials, you could get away with a 35 litre backpack. But on average a 50 litre one might be a better choice, especially as it will leave some room for any souvenirs collected on the way. Check out Millets and Rohan who have a wide range of travel accessories.

Sleeping Bag
A good sleeping bag is essential. One of the modern ones that can be rolled up very small is best. At many hostels you will be charged for sheets/blankets and they may be in a dubious state of cleanliness. Try browsing through the Gap Year Travel Store for a selection of backpacks and sleeping bags.

First Aid
Check the contents carefully and consider customising rather than bringing items that you are very unlikely to use. Plasters come in very handy for small cuts and blisters if you plan on doing lots of walking on your adventure. If you are taking prescribed medicine check for any restrictions on taking them through customs, and check that you can obtain replacements at your destination.

Travel Towel
There are some really good travel towels on the market which are lightweight, take up a lot less space and are designed to dry quickly, which is great for travelling! However you may want to squeeze a bigger towel into your backpack to laze around on the beach. The Gap Year Travel Store has a good selection of travel towels.

Plug Adaptors
If you are taking electrical items like your MP3 player or phone charger, you can buy a good travel plug adaptor at most supermarkets and specialist travel stores like Millets. Many hostels and fellow travellers have them to borrow so consider if it is worth packing if you will only use it occasionally!

Mosquito Repellent/Nets
Mosquitoes may be annoying, but in malarial areas they are also dangerous. Deet based insect repellents are the most effective and a mosquito net is another important way of protecting yourself against malaria. Check with your doctor before travelling to find out if you need malaria tablets.

TorchA must have item for your backpack! Especially handy at nighttime where there are no lights or in remote areas where electricity is not used. No need to spend a lot of money, any torch will do the job!

Take a good book to read on the plane or to read while lazing on a tropical beach. Resist the temptation of packing a whole library in your backpack – remember you can swap books with other travellers along the way!

Don’t forget your Travel Insurance!
Even if you pack none of the above, travel insurance is the one thing you should definitely take with you. For just £11.18* from backpacker travel insurance specialists, 24/7 Travel Insurance, it could save you from a hefty bill after a medical emergency. Remember, lost luggage and theft is all too common these days, so check out 24/7 Travel Insurance now.

* Premium £11.18 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on an individual aged 18-35 travelling in Europe for 2 months purchasing a backpacker ‘standard’ policy. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (March 2009) and are subject to change.