Backpacking is an art in itself. Fitting everything you need on your back, makes you have to think and rethink every single item. Is it absolutely essential? Can I live without it? Will it greatly improve my life and experience when I am out in the world?
Layover Guide put together our top most essential items for backpackers. Of course, this list is subjective but here’s the ten items that we can’t live without when all our earthly possessions are located on our backs:
1) Headlamp (traditional or a smartphone version)
Okay, so a lot of the times when you’re backpacking you need a good light source, but your hands are occupied. Whether trekking through paths at night, or reading in your bed, a headlamp has tons of great uses. These are some great traditional headlamps including these Black Diamond ones, and there’s always the new GoPro version for your smartphone (which also works for taking video).
2) Cell Phone and Accessories
A good smart phone is the best items to travel with. Not only will it provide you with phone, maps, email, and all that jazz, but it can also be your flashlight, camera, music, and so much more. But here are a few items that we believe you MUST have while traveling with your phone: lipstick battery pack to attach to your phone charger, a universal adaptor so you can be sure to charge it wherever you travel, a good protective case or for water destinations even a waterproof phone case. Also, we enjoy iPhone camera lenses when the basic camera needs a little help.
3) Swiss Army Knife
Often times, you need random things. A good Swiss Army Knife has it all. Scissors? Check. Tweezers? Check. Knifes? Check. Nail file? Check. There are a lot of Swiss Army knives on the market with great reviews. We like the new ones, like this one, which offers more than the traditional Swiss Army knives including features such as a magnifying glass, ball point pen, and Phillips screwdriver.
4) Compact, Quick Drying Towel
Every backpacker knows – you need your own towel. And the lighter and quicker drying, the better. We love the microfiber DryLite towels.
5) First Aid Kit
Safety first! When disappearing into the road less traveled, it’s good to be self-sufficient and be able to treat an injury or unexpected situation. These light, waterproof AMK travel medical kits have it all.
6) Backpacking Travel Sheet
For one thing, sheets at hostels often times cost money, and after numerous stops you’ll find that you could have saved a lot of dough. Second, they often have stains or smell funky. Our pick is the silk sleep sacks, since they are ultralight, can keep you warm, and feel nice.
7) Clothesline and Woolite
Lighters can come in handy in lots of unexpected ways. But of course for campers, it’s a no-brainer. This Zippo Chrome pocket lighter is hard to go wrong with.
9) Combination Padlock
For locking up your gear, a good set-your-own combination lock is essential. We like the regular padlocks, as well as the newer TSA locks that have a lock alert where you can instantly know that TSA inspected your bags.
10) A Good Jacket
Even for warm destinations, a good jacket is essential for cold planes or terminals, and over air-conditioned places. Jackets like these North Face ones can flip inside a front pocket and condense into a small pack. Then we just clip it to the outside of our pack with a carabiner clip, and we’re good to go!