What to pack when backpacking

Published February 11th, 2013

After carrying our lives in our school bags for 12 years, most of us will know that when it comes to backpacks – less is more. Well the same goes for backpacking. It may be hard to imagine carrying your life on your back, but once you rid yourself of the unnecessary lotions, objects and copious amounts of clothes, minimal living can feel quite liberating. The trick is to only pack the bare minimum. You can always buy more while travelling. And remember – less is more!


Firstly you’re going to need a backpack. When backpacking, your pack is your life so be kind to it. Invest in a good one and don’t make it too big. A bulky bag is never fun for anyone.



The first thing to pack inside your trusty bag are the essentials. And unless you’re going to be backpacking around a nudist colony, those essentials are clothes. Pack for the climate you will be travelling in. If it’s summer, you won’t need much. Just a few t-shirts, a pair of quick-dry shorts/wrap around skirts, a smart-looking shirt/dress, a pair of pants and a cardigan. For winter, pack similar items in warmer fabrics that can be layered, along with a thin wind-proof jacket. Anything too thick and it will take up way too much room in your pack.


Other than walking boots (which you’ll probably wear for most of the time) the only other pair of shoes you’ll need to store in your pack is a pair of sandals for warm weather and to wear in showers.


Don’t bring jeans. We may love them at home but jeans can be rather bulky and bothersome when backpacking. Particularly in warm weather.

Don’t forget your underwear too! And a few socks! When backpacking, a nice pair of clean socks will be luxury.

Once you’ve packed your clothes, it’s time to slide your toiletries in. Remember that it’s easy to buy most items overseas so just stick to the bare minimumand pack your toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, sunscreen, soap and brush into a small bag and into your pack.  If you have some room left, some other handy backpacking essentials to pack include a small towel, a lock, bandaids, nail clippers, paracetamol, bed liner, travel adaptor and your phone charger.


At the top of your backpack or a handy compartment is where you should store your travel essentials such as you’re passport, travel information, phone, wallet and of course – camera!


The last thing you need to pack is nothing. Leave a little room for your overseas purchases.


Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.