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Top 6 Travel Essentials For Backpacking (2024)

April 22, 2024
Nathan Parker

#1 - Portable Charger

Without a doubt, when traveling, you’ll be spending many an hour on overnight buses or in transit without any plugs or time to charge your phone. Whether you have a smartphone or a brick Nokia, you’re going to need to keep your phone charged to ensure you can get in touch with people in an emergency and make sure you know where you are on a map to get you to your hostel or wherever you are going.

Here’s the Amazon link to the one I have and would highly recommend: Pebble Portable Power Bank

#2 - A Kindle is a must

Many will say that the traditional book is a lot nicer to have on a beach or wherever you enjoy relaxing and reading, but as I have been a sheep of technology, the Kindle has changed the game for me. I wasn’t much of a reader before but when I took one away with me to Brazil, I became obsessed with it. It meant I could download books on the go, wherever I was, and it didn’t weigh down my backpacking at all.

My Top 3 Books

  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
  • The Power Of One by Bruce Courtenay
  • Andes by Michael Jacobs

#3 - Download

The main benefit of using MapsMe is that the maps app is completely offline. This means you can download maps offline and all of the maps will be stored on your device so there is no need for an internet connection once you have downloaded the map. This can be incredibly handy when you don’t have access to 4G in a different country. When I travel, I always preload the maps to my phone of the places I’m heading to; it really doesn’t take up much space and means I always have access to my location and can find hostels, cafes, ATMs, whatever.

Download the app here.

#4 - Buy yourself a metal water bottle

Water-to-Go produce refillable, reusable filter water bottles that are able to eliminate up to 99.99% of harmful contaminants from any non-salt water source including bad tap water, rivers, lakes and mountain streams. This means no matter where you are in the world, you’ll always have access to clean safe drinking water. Our bottles use a unique 3-in-1 filtration technology combining 2 nano-technologies with carbon filtration to provide clean, safe drinking water.

Use Water-to-Go products and you’ll be healthier, wealthier and helping to make the world a better place!

Use discount code ‘STT15’ to get 15% off all products here.

#5 - This Eastpak Bumbag/Shoulder bag

With a low-profile and being lightweight this bag is perfect to keep all your daily items such as a phone, headphones, money and travel documents. You can wear it under a shirt and the clip on the back is on the side of the bag so cannot be removed easily. This bag can even fit your Kindle!

As you can see below, the bag never left my sight… apart from leaving it on an island when we got stranded in Ubatuba, Brazil. Turns out it was just at the bottom of my big backpack the whole time. One could argue it blends in with its surroundings, evading the eyes of pickpockets, a chameleon almost.

Buy yours here.

#6 - First Aid Kit

It may not be as kitted out as one at your school GP but having a little bag of things to keep you illness-free and other problems, it’s certainly one of my travel essentials. Here’s what you have to have inside, apart from the obvious hygienic essentials:

  1. Diarolyte are rehydration tablets, which ensure that whenever you’re feeling ill or you’ve eaten a dodgy street empanada and start feeling it in your stomach, Diarolyte seems to have been the only thing has pulled me through to the other side.
  2. Earplugs – Nothing really needs to be said here, they are absolutely backpacking essentials for overnight buses and even hostel dorms. Sometimes you’ll be in a 20+ bed dorm and a couple of travellers may be feeling romantic or there’s a snorer. I really like these wax ones.
  3. Travel Wash – We’ve all heard the rumours that travelling can get a bit smelly, bit dirty and there isn’t always access to a lovely washing machine and/or dryer, let alone a local laundrette. All hostels provide access to washing basins and lines to hang your clothes. What’s the missing ingredient? The soap itself. I’ve never been so appreciative of a few pounds worth of travel wash from the local supermarket when I’ve got no boxers, dirty socks after a 4-day hike in Peru. Definitely one for the packing list.
  4. Paracetamol… obviously.
  5. Eye mask – Fellow backpackers are never really bothered about turning on the dorm light at 5am to get to their morning bus or activity. Some hostels give you the luxury of curtains but many others do not. Eye masks are pretty essential items for travel for overnight buses as well. You’ll notice I’ve mentioned overnight buses a lot… it has been the bane of my travel obstacles.

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Written by

Nathan Parker
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