Backpacking Essentials

These are our tried and tested backpacking essentials. We've put this list together to make sure you don't forget anything and to make you aware of stuff you might not have realised you need!



First thing you'll need before anything else is something to carry it all in!

We do all of our backpacking with a 65L backpack.  Any bigger and it just encourages you to pack more and that makes it so much harder to get around.  We have also noticed that a full 65L bag weighs around 23kg, so any bigger and it would make airport baggage allowances harder to manage.

What we use: Karrimor Bobcat 65 Rucksack

Day Bag

A day bag is needed for just your everyday outings.  A space to put all your sunscreen, water, gadgets etc.  We use a bag that is great for everything, as it has a space for a laptop/tablet, a charging port and an anti-theft back pocket, whilst still looking fashionable!

What we use: Modernistlook LUXE - Smart Backpack

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Having a lightweight rain jacket is always handy to have.  Sometimes, not everyday is pure sunshine and in tropical climates especially, that rainfall can get pretty hefty.  Nice and easy to roll up and stuff at the bottom of your bag too.

What we use: Northface Gore-Tex Waterproof Jacket

Top tip:  if you're heading to Vietnam, you can get cheap Northface products!

Hiking/Exploring Trainers

If you're an avid hiker, hiking boots are obviously more suitable.  However, if like us, you just like to occasionally hike or just need some comfy shoes for days full of walking around, running trainers are great. We always have a pair of trainers, alongside our flip flops.

What we use: Adidas Running Shoes

Anti-blister Socks

Nobody wants their feet covered in blisters after a long day of walking around or hiking so anti-blister socks are a must if you want to avoid the pain. They were also really warm for those colder nights or early adventures too!

What we use: Yuedge Multi Performance Anti Blister Crew Socks

Travel Necessities 

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are the best things ever. Since you’ll be having to live out of a backpack for a while, it makes all the difference to be able to sift through it easily. We used ours for toiletries, clothes and underwear but the options are limited to the space in your bag!

What we use: G4Free

Packing Cubes

A money belt is great for two reasons. Firstly, it’s great for keeping your important items organised such as your passport and driving licence and secondly, it’s great for keeping those important items secure. You feel much safer knowing that it’s under your clothing and not open to any prying eyes.

What we use:  TravelGenixx for an everyday money belt and the AquaRoo Money Belt for a waterproof one, which is great for the beach. The colourful one is also great for festivals!

Travel Pillow

Always handy on any trip! We highly recommend the Trtl pillow. It's not your average travel pillow as it looks more like a scarf with a support beam in the side, which has been scientifically proven to support your neck whilst you sleep. It takes up way less space and gives us the best sleeps. We also have another one, which is perfect for hostels or the beach, as it inflates and deflates super fast and goes down to size of a coke can.

What we use: Trtl for everyday use and Trekology for hostels and the beach.

Travel Towel

A normal towel is way too big for backpacking, so unless you plan to hire them along the way, a travel towel is essential. We have two that we love.

What we use: Dock & Bay's for the beach and EcoDept for the everyday towel. We loved having both with us, and it took us further for laundry days too!

Backpack Rain Cover

Forget the fact that your bag might get wet in the rain, this cover will be your life saviour. When you've bought 5 too many souvenirs and can't fit your jacket, flip flops, flippers, *insert any other item that you can strap to your bag*, you will be so grateful that you can hide all your packing sins under this cover. Of course, if you're going to a place where it is going to rain it is handy too.

What we use: Aquaquest Sil Pack Cover


Padlocks are essential if you're going to be staying in hostels. Most hostels provide a locker to keep your backpack in but do not usually provide a lock so to avoid any items going missing, make sure you are equipped! There are many companies who sell good locks; we recommend getting one that locks with a code rather than a key, as that is just an extra thing to lose!

Waterproof Dry Bag

Dry bags are perfect for keeping your belongings super dry during trips to the beach or on boating exursions etc. Especially good if you want to keep your tech dry. Some even come with a free waterproof pouch for your phone!

What we use: Unigear

Eye Mask and Earplugs

Sometimes you just need a good night's kip and hostels, trains and coaches don't always help to provide that. This is where ear plugs and an eye mask can improve this.

What we use: Dormibene's set are made from silk and almost feel like you're not wearing anything at all.

Collapsible Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important, especially whilst travelling through hot countries and single use plastic is terrible for the environment and not necessary to use.

Collapsible water bottles are perfect as once they are empty, you can just fold them up and put them away.

We often buy 5+ litres of water to dish out and always have a full litre bottle in the freezer, so we constantly have fresh cold water for our busy days. A lot of accomodation's also have a water tank available to use.

What we use: Ohyo for a nice, cheap n' easy one and for a larger bottle, Chicmoda.

Sleeping Bag Liner

Helpful for any times you don’t quite trust the hostel bed or for an extra layer on those colder nights.

What we use: The Friendly Swede’s


Universal Travel Adaptor

It can get confusing trying to figure out what countries use which plugs, especially if you're travelling through countries that use different ones. Multi-travel adaptors have every type of plug on them so you're never caught short when you're trying to charge your phone.

What we use: Amazon.

Taking an extension plug may also be handy if you're travelling with a group who all need hairdryers, straighteners and irons etc.


You can be out for long periods of time whilst travelling and nothing is more annoying than going to take a photo and watching your phone shut down. Make sure all your tech stays charged by taking a power bank for those times in need.

What we use: Amazon


Headphones are great for any transit time.  Travelling can involve long bus journey's, long layover times etc and some music or a podcast can keep you occupied.  Also great for listening to music by the pool or just helping to get you to sleep.

We recommend ear buds to save trouble trying to untangle them.


A phone is a necessity for listening to music, watching movies, using apps needed whilst travelling and of course, for photos!

If you're a photography buff, you will probably want to bring along your DSLR too but nowadays, smartphones take excellent shots.

What we use: iPhone XR

Action Camera

Having an action camera is amazing for taking videos of your travels.  It is possible to attach them to your wrist, head, leg or whatever works to get the best shots whilst you're in action.  Waterproof ones are perfect for clear underwater videos/photos too.

What we use: GoPro HERO6 Black


What's better than chilling on the beach to some great tunes? A waterproof or resistant speaker is best whilst travelling. The one we use allows for 360 degree sound and it even comes with a carabiner, making it super easy to attach to luggage. You can even connect them to each other so if you and a friend have one, you can make twice the party!

What we use: COMISO 


Travel Wine Glasses

These glasses were one of our favourite things! We didn't have to awkwardly ask hostels for a 'glass of ice', nor did we need to drink from the bottle on the beach. Needless to say, we were envied by many. Make yourself the envied and not the envious! They come with a handle too so they can hang off your rucksack and connect together for easy carrying.

What we use: Kikkerland Stacking Wine Glass Set

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