I have been continuously travelling this past year and there are some things that have NEVER left my backpack. Apart from carrying comfortable clothing I make sure I always carry these- The Must haves in any backpacking checklist.
1. Travel Towel
Travel towels are made of some strange fabric (microfiber I’m told) that gets them to dry quickly. Superb while travelling! You can buy one online for really cheap. An absolute blessing while backpacking.
I have ignored this advice in the past and gone from looking like a skin peeled raccoon in the Himalayas to a red baboon on beaches. Please always carry weather appropriate sunscreen and use it before getting out there. Since I have sensitive skin I use ANSOLAR Daily Use gel cream.
Tents are a great buy for any backpacker. They are easy to carry and you can save a ton of money on accommodation. I recommend this two person tent for your backpacking adventures.
4. Handy wallet
This wallet is what I hide in the depths of my backpack, in case of an emergency. It usually has copies of my Visa and Passport, in case the originals get stolen, these help with the embassy. This also has some amounts of spare cash. I always divide cash and keep so there are always backups, in case. I also put in my emergency contacts in there.
5. Sleeping bag
I always carry either a sleeping bag or a big, cozy stole. I feel more comfortable using these as blankets or under the blankets provided in shifty hostels and home stays. On long journeys in buses and trains too these are life savers.
Always carry a First Aid Kit. It is always good to have basic medicines around as well. I being an Indian, for the most time have a rock solid stomach but travelling can have strange effects on it. A must have in a backpacker’s checklist, especially if you have stomach problems.
7. Toiletry Kit
For the toiletry kit I always have a roll of toilet paper, nail cutter, tampons, hand sanitizer, razor and lens solution. The rest of the stuff like shampoo etc. I just buy when I get to a place.
8. Swimsuit and socks
However the weather of the place I am visiting is, these are always with me. You never know when you’ll spot a hot spring in the mountains or a cold storm in the desert.
9. A cotton vest with a pocket
It’s good to have these where robberies are common. Use these vests to carry your passport, spare cash and keys. These are available online on Amazon.com. Wear them under your clothes, they are quite thin. If you cant buy one, make one. You just need to sow on a pocket onto any t-shirt.
10. Swiss knife
These are awesome! From using them as self defence tools to bottle openers, there are so many uses to these you’ll be surprised! Make sure you keep this in your check-in luggage I have lost a precious swiss knife to an airline once!
11. Pocket belts
These are like belts with multiple pockets that you can keep anything in – cash, chewing gum, sunglasses and these are the most convenient while trekking so you don’t have to carry any bags. And you can get some funky ones in leather and crochet as well.
12. Scarves/ stoles
These are multi purpose, you can use them as towels, as pillows, to cover yourself in a slightly conservative locality (quite often when travelling in India) or wear them on that hobo outfit you have been wearing for four days now, people will never know!
13. A good camera
Even though sometimes I do like keeping the camera aside and just enjoying the moment, most other times I love taking pictures. I use an Iphone 6 to shoot since it’s easy to carry, people don’t feel intimidated by it and it doesn’t attract too much attention. It has an excellent camera, the only problem with it is that it doesn’t work too well in low light.
14. Eye mask and neck pillow
If you are like me and can’t sleep when there is even a little light you need these so you can sleep through the debauchery of the fellow hostellers. Make sure you buy a mask that has the nose flap, it cuts out even the slightest bit of light coming in. And neck pillows are a godsend on bumpy bus rides.
15. Data powered sims, power banks
Data enabled sims are very useful to have since a lot of remote places do not have wifi zones. It is advisable to carry power banks so your phone NEVER runs out of charge cuz we all have paranoid parents back at home that we need to be available for at all times.
Remember that you will always be tempted to buy things when you travel, so travel light and if required just buy an air bag to carry the extra stuff.