A display of many backpacks, the first item on any backpacker's packing list

Backpacking: a complete packing list

posted in: Packing | 0

Wondering what to bring on your trip around the world? I’ve got you covered. This post contains a packing list of all the things you might need. It works for any trip length, whether you’re away for a month or a year. You will have to add or remove items based on personal preference. Items on this packing list actually were in my backpack when I finished my year-long trip — no guesswork.

Packing list basics

Choosing a backpack requires an entire post by itself. For now, we’ll just say you need one. I heavily recommend using packing cubes to organise your backpack; it’ll save you heaps of time on the road.

  • Backpack (I recommend a 60 liter (approx.) capacity backpack)
  • Daypack (10-20 liter capacity)
  • Packing cubes (I recommend one medium-sized and two small ones)
  • Reusable water bottle

Clothing, underwear & accessoiries

The amount of clothes to bring depends on personal preference and the kind of trip you’re going on. Obviously, pack for the climate you are heading into. I personally did not experience winter conditions throughout my trip, so this is mainly is a three-season list. If your destination is very rainy or if your trip involves lots of outdoors activities, consider bringing more clothes.

  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • Sweater
  • Wind jacket
  • Shoes
  • Flip-flops (thongs, sandals or jandals depending on your linguistic preference…)
  • Sunglasses
  • Earplugs
  • Swimwear
  • Towel
  • Money belt

Toiletries & healthcare

I included items for personal healthcare & hygiene as well as medicine for common travel ailments in this list. Men and women will have to adjust this packing list to their individual needs, but this should cover the basics.

  • Toiletry bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Nail clipper
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hair styling products
  • Sunscreen
  • Wet wipes
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Bug spray (DEET)
  • Painkillers
  • Allergy pills (antihistamine)
  • ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts)
  • Diarrhea medications

Electronics & photography gear

You’ll have to charge your phone at some point! Additionally, this packing list also accommodates for photography enthusiasts. I would recommend not to bring a laptop unless you really need it! It and its charger add a lot of weight and you can use your phone for almost all digital needs. Some hostels and hotels have computers for you to use. Regarding theft, not carrying a laptop is one less worry.

  • Phone charger
  • USB cable
  • Portable charger / powerbank
  • (Universal) travel adapter
  • Earphones
  • Electric toothbrush charger
  • Camera (DSLR, mirrorless or point-and-shoot)
  • Camera charger
  • Spare camera battery
  • Extra SD cards
  • Extra lens
  • Lens cleaning solution
  • Filters

First aid kit

Do not underestimate the importance of a first aid kit, even if it’s just a small one. It will benefit you and your travel company greatly in case of injury or emergency. These are usually bought as complete kits, just make sure to check the contents before you purchase.

  • Plasters
  • Sterile gauze dressing
  • Bandages
  • Small scissors
  • Antiseptic
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Sticky tape
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile needles
  • A pair of disposable gloves

Financial and administrative stuff

Dealing with visas and other official documents is boring but necessary. Therefore, bring the essentials so that you don’t have to worry about them. It’ll give you peace of mind and these items don’t weigh much anyway!

  • Wallet
  • Credit and debit card
  • Passport
  • Health insurance card or proof (Europeans: EHIC)
  • Proof of vaccination (if necessary)
  • Travel documents (bookings, visas, passport copies)
  • Passport photos
  • Notebook or diary
  • Pen or pencil
  • Emergency cash (U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere)

Optional packing list: camping gear

This list contains the basics for a camping trip or similar outdoor activity. However, if you’re (trying to be) an ultralight traveller, you could leave out some of these items.

  • Tent
  • Groundsheet
  • Inflatable sleeping mat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Stove set
  • Cutlery
  • Fire starter (some airlines don’t allow lighters)
  • Small flashlight or headlight

Miscellaneous packing list items

  • Padlock
  • Cable lock
  • Flight bag

Did I miss anything? Post a comment below!

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