So you want to go backpacking, but you are not sure what to pack? Forget about ready-made packages or scrambling through your stuff at the last minute, as we have compiled the ultimate backpacking checklist for you.

It’s pretty annoying when you arrive at your dream destination only to find that you forgot several essentials at home. While it is most likely something you can easily replace in most countries – such as a plug adapter – some things are not so easily replaceable. Either way, going through this list will help you travel more at peace since you know you won’t be stressed out upon arrival.

If you are having to sit through a long flight to get there, check out these tips first; or if you need to find cheap flights to anywhere in the world, check out this post.



Without further ado, here is our backpacking essentials checklist.


  1. Backpack – make sure you buy a good one to fit all of your travel essentials.
  2. Daypack – for day use and valuables.
  3. Sleeping bag – if you are planning on camping on your trip.
  4. Sleeping mat – this makes sleeping on the cold, hard floor a little easier. You can even use a good yoga mat for this.
  5. Clothing and undergarments – make sure this is weather and location appropriate, and moisture-wicking if possible.
  6. Waterproof jacket(s) – because you don’t want to get caught out in the rain without one.
  7. Footwear – bring versatile footwear that withstands all weathers and that goes with all of your clothing.
  8. Refillable water bottle – to refill throughout your trip so that you reduce your waste.
  9. Your passport, visa and travel documents – make sure that you don’t forget any of these!!
  10. Travel insurances – make sure that these are valid throughout your whole trip and save all your important contacts on your phone.
  11. Universal plug adapters – make sure that they work in your destination country.
  12. Portable travel battery – if you can, take several of these as you never know when you run out.
  13. Headlamp or flashlight – or both.
  14. Compass – optional but useful, especially if you run out of phone battery or signal. Check out this guide on how to read a compass.
  15. GPS – you may have a GPS in your phone, but make sure that you have one that works without internet such as the TomTom app.
  16. Towel – for those impromptu lake swimming sessions.
  17. Matches or a lighter – for emergency fire kits.
  18. Inflatable pillow and/or mattress – your neck and back will thank us later.
  19. Repair kits for inflatable pillow or mattress – so you don’t have to sleep on a hard surface for half of your trip.
  20. Water filter or Steripen – or any kind of water filtration system of your choice.
  21. Blanket – take a lightweight, easy to pack blanket.
  22. Ear Plugs – for noisy hostel or camping environments as well as flights.
  23. Eye Mask – to avoid waking up too early while camping due to natural light.
  24. First aid kit and medicine – make sure to take your basics (headache and nausea tablets) but also location-specific medication such as malaria tablets.
  25. iPad – these can be a good replacement for laptops and the battery tends to last longer than your phone’s.
  26. Swiss Army Knife – make sure to choose a good one that is not too small. Be careful not to pack it in your carry on though as it will be taken away from you.
  27. Insect repellent – pack enough of this and invest in a heavy duty one if you’re going to a warm location.
  28. Backup batteries – for your Steripen, phone charger, camera, you name it.
  29. Toothbrush and toiletries – make sure you pack enough for your whole trip.
  30. Female hygiene products – very important if you are a woman.
  31. Hand sanitiser – this can be a multipurpose product if you get any cuts and scrapes, or to make sure your hands are clean before meals.
  32. Sunscreen – make sure that it is strong enough for your skin type.
  33. Lip balm – with built-in sunscreen as your lips are usually the first place to get sunburnt.
  34. Camera – because you don’t want to miss out on capturing your backpacking adventure memories.
  35. Duct tape – you never know when this can come in handy.
  36. 1 extra day’s supply of food – for emergencies. Pack things like granola bars, nuts and instant meals that don’t require refrigeration.
  37. Pre-paid cash card or low-fee card for international use – check with your bank what your options are as fees can really add up.
  38. Unlocked phone for use with local sim cards – make sure the package includes enough internet data for your navigation.
  39. Useful travel apps on your phone – these can include a good GPS as well as food guides or emergency apps.
  40. Sunglasses – make sure you get a pair with good UV protection as you will be wearing them a lot on your trip.
  41. Extra plastic or fabric bags – for dirty clothes, to protect your stuff from shoes or to portion out food. These are always useful
  42. The Leeeta app! – travelling in a group? Make sure everyone is up to scratch with the Leeeta app.



What is your number one travel tip? Let us know in the Facebook comments!

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