10 Essential Items for Backpackers to Pack

There are countless blogs telling you how to pack your bag and how to think smart about the things you pack. You have probably read more times than you care to remember that you need to strip back your packing list and reduce the amount you originally planned to take, but what are the essential items you simply can’t leave without?


Sleeping Bag Liner

It goes without saying that you need a sleeping bag, but a liner is an ideal addition to your sleeping kit. Some of the options you get for bedding when you’re on your travels leave a lot to be desired and you’ll be grateful for the extra protection from your liner. It’ll also give you a boost of warmth, which can be ideal for camping or to see you through cooler nights.

First aid kit

Any smart traveller should carry a first aid kit with them absolutely everywhere. You just never know when you might need one and sterile items can be few and far between when you’re on your travels. As well as the usual suspects of plasters and bandages, you should also include some rehydration sachets and water treatment tablets.


Your kit will be left in lockers and unattended at various times during your trip, so a sturdy lock is well worth the investment. Keeping your pack locked away in a safety deposit box is an even more secure option when you add your own lock to it. Similarly, you might want to lock up your bag itself as well, just to be on the safe side.

Insect repellent

You never know what sort of bugs are going to think you taste good, so make sure you have a good insect repellent in your bag, particularly one that will repel mosquitoes. Remember that mosquitoes can carry malaria, so you need to ensure you’ve taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself. Shop around to find one that works best for you and ask other people who have already travelled what they would personally recommend.


You never know when you might have to get up in the night or try and find your way to your bus in the dark, so make sure you have a torch with you at all times. If you are sharing a room in a hostel, the last thing you want to do is wake everyone else up by turning the light on to find something; a head torch is ideal if you need to keep your hands free.

Plug Adaptors

You are likely going to be travelling to a number of different destinations with varying plug sockets, so make sure you have a couple of adaptors with you. They are probably going to be cheaper to buy before you go and will let you charge your phone, camera and any other electricals you need along the way.

Anti-Bacterial Gel

You will come into contact with some rather unsanitary surfaces on your travels, so make sure you have a bottle of anti-bacterial gel with you wherever you go. Use it before you eat anything and after you’ve used the bathroom, just in case there is no soap to hand. It’s handy to have a couple of bottles attached to your bag, so you have enough to see you through your whole trip.


Having a little penknife on you can be a lifesaver. You need to ensure you don’t try and get through customs with it because it could be classified as a weapon, but having a multi-tool Swiss army knife is incredibly useful. You can mend things with it, cut things and even use it to open food items and other objects. Make sure you have one that has a pair of scissors on it; you’ll lose count of the amount of times you need them.

Travel Towel

You may not be surprised to read that most hostels don’t offer towels with their amenities, so you will need to pack one in your backpack. A proper travel town is made of super absorbent material, letting it dry you quickly, but also meaning it dries itself at a rapid pace as well. They don’t go mouldy, some of them have an anti-bacterial coating and they can also be packed up into a very small space, giving you valuable room in your bag.

Ear Plugs

You might head off on your travels full of good intentions to party until dawn every day, but there will be times when you really want to sleep. Plane hopping and sitting on buses all day will start to take its toll, to the point where the slightest noise will disrupt your sleep. Pack a few pairs of reusable earplugs and drift off to sleep whenever you need to.

You will of course need to pack all the other essentials like clothes, passport, money and various electricals, but the list above will ensure your travelling experience is much easier and more enjoyable. Happy holidays!

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