What to pack for backpacking?

Lots of backpackers carry a large rucksack and a smaller day bag. If you travel light enough, you can put the day bag inside your rucksack so that you only have one backpack to strap on when walking. Otherwise, you will have to wear the smaller bag on your front. The alternative is to travel with a small enough backpack (45L or less) that can be used as your day bag as well.

What to bring?When you are looking at loads of potential travel gear, neatly displayed on the floor next to your backpack, you will have a mental picture about what to take and what to leave at home.

  • Don’t ‘what-if’ yourself into carrying a lot of useless survival gear
  • You will not need many distractions while on the road – just take what you need to live
  • You can always buy goods locally

Remember the golden rule for packing a backpack – When in doubt, leave it out!

Unless you are going to a very remote part of the world like Antarctica, you will be able to buy most of what you need to survive on the road. If you are travelling to a developing country, you will probably find what you need cheaper and may help a struggling economy out as well!

Don’t take any priceless or irreplaceable belongings with you. Any personal items you take may be exposed to the elements, mistreatment, and even thieves if you are unlucky.

You won’t need to take a lot of clothing. Fashion will be a non-issue completely when on the road. You can wash laundry regularly in the sink or if you feel that you do not have enough to wear, buy some clothes locally for cheap.

  • Think ‘wear one, wash one’. You really only need 2 outfits, maybe 3 for backpacking.

Backpack SecurityNever pack valuable things in the outer pockets of a backpack. When it is on your back, it is very difficult to feel a deft hand reaching inside while you walk down the street or stand on a crowded train platform. Invest in some combination locks to secure zips on the outside of your backpack for that added security.
Some backpackers opt for a ‘pacsafe’ which is a metal cover that protects your backpack from being ‘slashed’. Unfortunately, to some thieves these covers attract attention and may imply that you have something valuable inside worth protecting.
Important items to keep secure in your backpack:

  • Copies of your credit cards and passport – in case they are lost or stolen
  • Copy of your travel insurance documents
  • Contact number secured on the inside (in case the outside tag breaks off or is removed)
  • Emergency contact information (in case you are hurt)
  • A valid EHIC (European health insurance card) if travelling within the EU

Remember to pack your backpacker travel insurance!You can purchase great value backpackers insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance.For a 2-month trip to Australia, will cost you just £18.93* – a small price to pay to really enjoy your backpacking adventure all the more!
* Premium £18.93 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 36 taking out a Standard Backpacker 24/7 travel insurance policy for 2 months in Australia. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (December 2009) and are subject to change.