Backpacking Essentials For Your Next Big Adventure
Living out of a backpack for a few weeks can be difficult - you need to think carefully about every single item that’s packed inside. If you’re heading off on your first backpacking adventure, whip out your checklist and get ready to take down these backpacking essentials from One4all’s travel guru Ola Dybul.
Ola is jetting off for 6 weeks to explore Asia – with Thailand, Vietnam and Japan all on the itinerary. Here she discusses what’s in her backpack and the first thing you need to know is ‘pack light – you do not need 20 tops, 10 pairs of shorts and 5 pairs of shoes. Backpacking isn’t about being glamourous, it’s about embracing nature and new cultures so only bring the essentials.’
Read on for a list of Ola’s travel must-haves.
Whether you’re island hopping or going from city to city, forget the suitcase and choose a backpack. Why? Firstly, depending on where you’re travelling to, the roads might not be as good as at home – this means wheeling a suitcase around will be a nightmare. Secondly, a backpack is easier, more comfortable and offers more flexibility when it comes to transport. With a suitcase, you’re limited to public transport but with a backpack you can rent a scooter or bike and explore the country in the best way.
However, one type of backpack does not fit every travel itinerary. For my trip, I’m bringing the Osprey Fairview Women's 55L. The main bag is 42L and it comes with a detachable day bag which is 13L. I picked the backpack because:
- It’s very light, only 2.23kg.
- It’s designed for women, making it more comfortable to wear.
- It opens like a suitcase.
- It has a lightweight peripheral frame which adds additional comfort.
- It has lockable zippers which makes it a safe luggage option.
Inside the backpack
Packing cubes are suitcase/backpack organisers that ensure your luggage doesn’t get messy while you travel. As someone who likes things neat and clean, these are an important part of packing. I have organised my cubes into:
- Cube 1 – shorts and trousers
- Cube 2 – t-shirts and tops
- Cube 3 – dresses
- Cube 4 – lingerie and nightwear
- Cube 5 – shoes
- Cube 6 – electricals
- Cube 7 – medicines
- Cube 8 – toiletries
Trust me, packing cubes will change your life.
A simple essential that many travellers forget. A lock will keep your backpack secure while you travel, making sure the only person that has access to your belongings is you. Most hostels have lockers but no locks so make sure to pack one in your backpack.
*If you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, don’t worry, hostels are safe and on all my travels, I’ve never heard of anybody’s belongings being stolen but it’s better to be safe.
Most travellers are guilty to over-packing, I am no exception to that group so carabiner clips are really handy. They’re great for attaching extra travel equipment and gear to the outside of your backpack. Even if you don’t think you’ll need them, bring a couple anyway, you never know!
Gadgets & Tech
Do you spend a lot of time researching what plugs different countries use? With a universal travel adapter, your plug research days are over. This amazing creation makes it so much easier to travel across many countries – one adapter that fits in all the plugs around the world? Incredible.
On your travels, your phone will become your map, your camera, your research and your entertainment. Even the greatest phone battery will not stand the usage. Always carry a power bank with you and avoid disappointments when your phone dies.
Even if you’re travelling with a group of people, there will be times when you’ll want some alone time – whether it’s simply listening to music or a podcast to unwind or watching a movie or TV series. A good pair of headphones are also a good idea to have on a plane – don’t rely on the free ones provided by the airline, they’re often uncomfortable and definitely not noise-cancelling.
As a professional photographer, I’m always asked what camera I bring with me on my travels. About two years ago, I purchased a mirrorless camera – the Fujifilm TX-100 and it’s been a great investment for my travel photography. It’s compact and light which makes it easy to carry around. If you want to document your adventures in lovely photographs or video, I suggest you invest in this camera. If you’re travelling solo, you might also invest in a tripod – you won’t have to ask strangers to take your photo and you’ll be much happier with the result!
First Aid Kit
*No matter where you go, you should always have a basic first aid kit with you. Not all countries have the same medicines and many doctors/pharmacists don’t speak English which makes it difficult to buy what you need. In my first aid kid, I’ve packed:
Getting cuts while travelling is common; avoid infections by bringing plasters with you and keeping those scratches covered up.
Whether you’re heading to Europe, Asia, America or any other part of the world, hand sanitiser is a must. Keeping your hands clean is very important to prevent catching infections and viruses. Stay healthy and regularly sanitise your hands.
Insect Repellent and Bite Relief Spray
Some parts of the world are more vulnerable due to their climate and hence become a home for mosquitoes but bugs like bed bugs are everywhere. Some bugs can carry diseases so protect your skin and buy insect repellent with a high DEET level. Insect repellents aren’t 100% effective so it’s also good to have a bite relief spray in case you get bitten.
It’s a good idea to carry painkillers with you and I always choose paracetamol over ibuprofen or aspirin. Paracetamol is gentle on the stomach, meaning it can be taken on an empty one and I feel it’s a very versatile drug – if you’ve got an ache, it reduces pain or if you’ve got a fever, it brings down your temperature.
Imodium and motilium
When we travel, our health can become vulnerable as our bodies adjust to a different climate, culture and/or time zone. As a result, our immune system drops so it’s important that you’re prepared for all scenarios. For example, certain foods can cause stomach issues such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting but Imodium and motilium are great for easing your discomfort.
Some hostels have laundry facilities so you’ll be able to wash your clothes as you travel but some don’t so a laundry bag is handy to have to keep your backpack clean and organised.
Eye Mask and Earplugs
Not only handy for the airplane but also for hostels. If you’re sharing a room with other travellers, they may act loudly or switch on the lights in the middle of the night, disturbing your slumber. Get your beauty sleep by packing an eye mask and earplugs in your backpack.
If you’re travelling long distances, I suggest you purchase a good, comfortable pillow. They’re great for journeys on planes, buses and trains. I suggest you pick one that can fold into a small bag as it makes it much easier to store.
Refillable Water Bottle
The planet is in trouble so do your part to help save it by bringing a reusable water bottle. I recommend you go for one that’s insulated as it will keep your drink cold for about 12 hours, which is great if you’re travelling in hot countries. A lot of hostels offer free filtered water so save the world and your money!
Most hostels provide free towels but it’s always a good idea to have your own. I have invested in a microfibre towel because they are compact, sand resistant and dry very fast.
Handy Items (but not essential)
As a petite person (5ft), I struggle to reach the footrests provided on planes and this is very frustrating when I’m on a long flight. For this trip, I decided to buy a foldable footrest. It can be used on planes, trains and buses and doesn’t take up much room in my backpack!
Many people decide to do a tech detox when backpacking, I admire those of you that do but it’s not for me. I like being busy so I always make space in my backpack for my iPad or laptop to edit photos and/or videos, or write blogs.
I never travel without a book – it’s amazing to simply sit on a beach, waiting for the sunset, a mango juice in one hand and good book in the other. Backpacking isn’t just about moving from place to place, it’s also about experiencing different cultures, cities and nature so I suggest packing a book (or Kindle if you prefer) and taking the time to slow down and simply relax.
And that’s it! With these items, you’re good to go on your backpacking adventure.
This post was written by One4all’s Graphic and Web Designer, Ola Dybul. If she’s not creating trendy social graphics, working on quirky photoshoots or designing brand assets, she’s off travelling the world, learning new cultures and traditions, and meeting new people. She’s been all around the world but is not ready to stop. Stay tuned for more top tips from this expert adventurer.
Instagram: @heyitsoladybul // Website: www.oladybul.com // Youtube: heyitsoladybul
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