So you want to go backpacking…

Me too! I love backpacking and I’ve got my first extended backpacking trip planned for later this year. I have done some travelling with only my rucksack before, but this hasn’t been for more than two weeks, by which point I have to admit I had worn all of my clothes much more than they maybe should have been (spaces to dry clothes are essential if you’re going for a long period of time)!

However what this has taught me is a list of essentials for backpacking. A comfortable rucksack is an absolute must. The rucksack you need will really depend on your type of travelling – if you’re taking a sleeping bag and trangia you’re probably better off to go with a DofE style one. If you’re travelling around a lot and staying in hostels, a much lighter, smaller rucksack is better. You may end up having your rucksack on your back for a long period of time on travel days depending on when you can check into hostels so one of your priorities here does have to be comfort.

I would highly recommend the Mountain Top 40L Hiking Rucksack. This was the one I took to Costa Rica as carry on luggage It fits within most airline restrictions (I think even Ryanair as long as you upgrade to 2 cabin bags but double check your airline before you buy). You can have a look at this backpack here.

Different trips will require very different items, however some have helped me so much while backpacking and I would recommend for any trip. So, in no particular order, here are my suggestions of what you need to get before you backpack.

Travel Wash Bar

This means you can wash your clothes wherever you are. And I mean wherever. I’ve washed clothes in a lake in Sweden, dry bags in Korea and sinks in Costa Rica. For any kind of travel wash/shampoo/conditioner etc, bars are great as you can take them on carry on without a limit. I also cannot recommend Ethique enough for their sustainability practices and how good the bars actually are. An post will be coming out soon on them, but in the meantime please do check out their website – they even have some smaller bars you can buy to try.

Solar Powered Charger

The charging stations aren’t always great, and you can never be sure when you’ll find your next one. Long lasting solar powered chargers mean that you can still use your phone and keep it on. I swear by a solar powered charger over a regular one. If you’re flying, do check it is a permittable battery size before you take it on a plane. However, I haven’t had any issues with mine at all.

My travel journal for my next trip

Travel Journal

Before you hit me with the comments about how it might not be essential, I’ll admit you can survive without it. Of course you can. But I love getting home and able to look over the memories of my trip though the travel journal. It’s also really useful if you like to plan things while you’re there and want somewhere that you can record your itineraries. I advise that you also write down the address of your hostel in there in case you need to show it to someone to help you get back to where you’re staying.

Zip-off trousers

These are awesome if you’re short on space as they double up as both shorts and trousers. They are lightweight, very quick drying and excellent for hiking. Mountain Warehouse is a good starting place, but there are plenty of other sellers.

Packing Cubes

These aren’t necessarily something that you’re going to use everyday, however they are going to save you so much space while packing. It’s also really useful to have full outfits in each cube – don’t pack one full of trousers and another full of jumpers. In a hostel you’re staying in for one night, it means you can get out only one packing cube and save yourself time in the morning.

Foldable Rucksac

Foldable rucksacks are an absolute lifesaver! If you don’t want to take your whole gear with you on a day trip, you can unload into your smaller rucksack and take this with you – leaving your larger bag in your hostel. Foldable rucksacks are also good for bringing anything extra back that you might have bought if your airline allows you another extra carry on bag (many do!).

Refillable Waterbottle

I know the tap water isn’t drinkable in some countries, however many countries have springs or drinking water stations. To be a more sustainable traveller, stop buying single use plastic bottles of water – this is so much easier if you have your own water bottle. Even if you do have to buy bottled water, you can buy bigger bottles (6 litre ones) and tip these into a reusable bottle.

The amazing ethique travel wash bars

There is going to be plenty more of advice coming out for backpackers so keep an eye out on my blog; you can follow me at wanderlust_and_a_rucksack on Instagram for updates on blog post releases, travel tips and inspiration for your next trip.

If you’re wanting more travel tips, check out the posts below!
How to Plan your Summer for 2024
Travel Essentials – What you need to take on any trip
10 Phrases to Learn Before you Visit a Country