Top 12 Travel Essentials for Backpackers

I have been travelling since January 2017, but I’ll never forget how difficult it was to pack travel essentials for my backpacking adventures. I now realise there are certain things I couldn’t be without! Here is a list of 12 travel essentials for backpackers.

camper van travel essentials for backpackers

1. Packing Cubes

Essential for keeping your backpack organised

Organising your backpack properly is essential for happy travels, and Packing Cubes are a great way to sort your backpack into different sections. I have my walking boots in the shoe bag (included in the link I’ve given you), wintery clothes in the large cube and more frequently used clothing in the smaller cube. I use the pouches for small essential items and there are laundry bags to keep dirty clothes separate (essential!). Instead of dumping 100 things from your backpack on the floor, you can access the cube you need easily to grab the item you need, before heading out on your travels. The cubes are designed to be ultra lightweight, so overfilling them can make them fragile. This set gives you more than enough storage space so overloading shouldn’t be an issue – remember you have to carry your backpack on your travels!

Packing Cubes: A travel essential for backpackers
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2. Reusable Water Bottle

An essential item for any backpack!

Everyone knows how essential it is to stay hydrated, especially when travelling in hot climates, but the price of water can sometimes be off putting (I have paid up to $6.50 for a small bottle in NZ!), especially for backpackers on a tight budget. Save yourself loads of money by packing a refillable one. This Camelbak water bottle has been perfect during my travels so far – lightweight, easy to refill, durable and a great size to fit in your backpack for the day.

Reusable Water Bottle: A travel essential for backpackers
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3. Microfibre Towel

Lightweight and quick drying – a real backpacker essential

Towels are an essential item for any backpacker, although a standard towel takes up way to much space in your backpack, takes forever to dry and adds unnecessary weight to your backpack. The perfect solution is a Microfibre Towel. These Trespass towels tick all the essential requirements: quick drying, lightweight, and come in their own pouch making them super easy to pack. I packed a large towel for showering and a small towel for drying my hair or to use at the gym. These are a travelling essential!

Microfibre Towel: A travel essential for backpackers
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4. Chargers

Keep charged whilst travelling

Keeping electronics charged when backpacking can be difficult, especially if you are camping. Long coach journeys or days out exploring often end with batteries running out – not what you need when you are in a new place! An essential item that I always carry in my backpack is a portable charger – My 20000mAh power bank (I couldn’t find the exact Energizer one I have, but this one is virtually the same!) is amazing – when fully charged it charges an iPhone up to 7 times.  It can be used to charge any USB powered device (I use it for my Fitbit and iPad). It has two ports, allowing you to charge two devices at the same time whilst out on your travels.

Portable Charger: A travel essential for backpackers
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You will also need a travel adapter to be able use plug sockets during your travels. I have the Twist plus world charging station, which fits all plugs worldwide. It also enables you to charge your macbook at the same time as four other USB devices. This is so useful as you often only have access to one plug socket at your hostel or campsite, so it maximises your charging ability at one time. If you don’t have a mac, then this World Charging Station would be a better option! 

Travel Adapter: A travel essential for backpackers
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If you plan to travel in a car or camper,  pack an in Car Charger, so that you can charge your devices whilst  on the road. An awesome playlist is essential for any road trip, so I also had an FM car transmitter so that I could listen to music from my phone through the radio.  A better option, if you are planning on packing both of these, (which I highly recommend!) is a device that does both of these, like this one!

In car charger: A travel essential for backpackers
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FM Radio Transmitter: A travel essential for backpackers
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5.Hanging Wash Bag

Essential for hassle free showers when travelling

Another backpacker essential is a hanging wash bag. During your travels you won’t always come across campsites or hostels with great facilities and many have limited space to store your things when showering. A hanging wash bag is essential for keep things dry! I was able to hook it up and access my toiletries without any hassle. This one folds up really tight and packs easily into your backpack. It also has a detachable compartment that is really useful to carry a few items into the bathrooms or to pack in an overnight backpack.

Hanging Wash Bag: A travel essential for backpackers
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6. Lonely Planet Guide Books

Essential travel reading for backpackers

Since I started travelling, my Lonely Planet guide books have had a permanent spot in my backpack!  Lonely Planet is a series of travel guides providing up-to-date travel tips and great recommendations, essential for making the most of your trips.  They also contain maps, budget advice and suggested itineraries too. I love being spontaneous with travel and I really value suggestions from locals, but when backpacking in new area, it’s important to know a great place to stay and eat, which Lonely planet does so well. In fact, each recommendation I have taken has been well worth a visit. I have found both my New Zealand and East Coast Australia books  essential to making the most of my travels and my guide book for South East Asia is ready for my next backpacking adventure!

Lonely Planet Guide Books: A travel essential for backpackers
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Booking Sites I Use

7. Tangle Teezer

Essential for tangle free travels!

I love my Tangle Teezer – for anyone with long hair like me this really is a travel essential! The backpacker lifestyle (…long periods of travel, beach days, getting windswept in a crazy adrenaline fuelled activities…)  often means my hair has seen better days! Thankfully I can always rely the Tangle Teezer to sort those knots out! They are compact and lightweight too and fit really well in a day bag, meaning they are perfect for carrying around on your adventures.

Tangle Teezer: A travel essential for backpackers
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8. Wet Wipes

A daily essential for your backpack!

Who would have known wet wipes would be such an essential item, I seriously recommend you pack some for your travels! I have used them for so many different purposes (cleaning things, eating on the go, de-sanding after a day at the beach, to freshen up on long journeys, to sanitise -hands and toilet seats…the list is actually endless!  I found these small pocket sized packs which fit comfortably in a small backpack for a day of exploring!

Pocket Wet Wipes: A travel essential for backpackers
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8. Dry Shampoo

A backpackers essential for feeling fresh!

Dry shampoo is such an essential item when travelling. You never know what the facilities are going to be like where you are staying, and  sometimes hair washing just isn’t a priority when you are backpacking! The answer to all these problems is DRY SHAMPOO! I really like the Batiste one, it smells great and brushes out really easily too. I found this was really expensive to buy in certain places, so if you have the room pack more than one can in your backpack!

Dry Shampoo: A travel essential for backpackers
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9. Head Torch

An essential for happy campers!

A torch is a travel essential, particularly if you are planning on camping. Many of the campsite toilets I have visited did not have light switches, so night time visits required a torch. Using a head torch eliminates any chance of dropping your handheld torch/phone in unfortunate places! You can also save yourself the hassle of having to change batteries by getting a rechargeable one like this one (I couldn’t find the link to the one I took, but this is very similar!) They are also so useful when looking for things in your backpack when its dark, or as a reading light too. 

Head Torch: A travel essential for backpackers
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11. Sarong/ Pashmina

The multipurpose travel essential!

A sarong really is the multi-purpose travel essential for backpackers. Simply roll it up, pop it in your backpack and enjoy its many uses when travelling! I have a simple black sarong and in addition so far I have used it as a scarf, as blanket on the plane, as a towel on the beach, as a pillow (on a long night at an airport!) and to shelter from the rain. I also plan to use it as a cover up when I visit temples when backpacking South East Asia.

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12. Spork

Essential for eating on the go!

Last but definately not least, a spork! As a permanent resident in my backpack, my spork has become an essential item on many occasions – and avoided many potentially hangry situations!

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I hope this post has been useful if you are preparing for travel. If you have any other travel essentials for backpackers, then please comment below, I would love to hear your ideas!

Thank you for reading,

The Healthy Backpacker x

By | 2018-02-14T09:50:10+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Comments Off on Top 12 Travel Essentials for Backpackers