The Perfect Backpacking Packing Guide

Backpacking really is a completely different type of travel. Backpackers often need to pack lighter, and for longer amounts of time than your average tourist. To help you out on your next backpacking adventure, we’ve got the perfect backpacking packing guide (a tongue twister, we know).

A lot of things go into packing for a backpacking trip, that you don’t need to pack on just any vacation. (These guys have great guidelines for specialty gear.) Not only that, but you’ve got far less space in a backpack than you will in a suitcase. Here’s our list of items you won’t want to forget:

  • Towels. When you’re backpacking, you’ll often find yourself showering in places like hostels, which usually require you to bring your own towels. Since towels take up a large amount of space, which can cause some problems, we suggest thinner, fast-drying, travel towels specifically made for trips like this.
  • Padlock. Another important item to remember when backpacking is a padlock. When you’re out and about during the day, you’ll want to leave your bag at the hostel, if you’re staying at one. Most backpackers leave their bags with a lock on them to ensure nothing gets taken.
  • Outlet adapters. This one isn’t unique to backpackers, but if you’re traveling through Europe for a few weeks, you’ll definitely need to bring an adapter for where you’re going. Gotta keep that phone charged, right?
  • Bed Sheets. Random, we know, but let us explain. Many backpackers recommend bringing sheets with you on your trip to ensure you have clean sheets in your hostel. You can also use these on overnight trains since sheets usually costs extra.
  • Plastic bags. This one may seem more common, but it’s often forgotten. Since you’ll be traveling with just a backpack, you’ll want to bring plastic bags to separate anything from dirty clothes to swimsuits.

Packing Essentials

Now that we’ve got all of those covered, we’ve got a few packing tips that’ll help you out a little bit when you’re preparing for your big trip.

  • In order to get all of your clothes into such a tight space, packing cubes or similar bags can be very helpful.
  • Pack versatile clothing. You’ll get a lot more use out of a plain t-shirt than you will a patterned one, and you can wear it multiple times, with different outfits. We all want those instagrammable outfits, but packing light is the priority.
  • Limit the shoes. Out of everything you’ll need to pack, shoes are likely to take up the most space. Realistically speaking, you’re going to be walking around a lot, so it’s best to pack just some good walking shoes and sandals to save room.
  • Bring travel size toiletries. Backpackers, especially those going for longer than a few days, will sometimes try and bring larger toiletries to cover the whole trip. It’s best to just bring smaller containers, and if you run out, you can buy more.

Backpacking in the City

Hopefully, we helped out a little bit and opened up some space in your bag, too. Have fun packing!