Chances are, you could be living out of your backpack for several months. That rucksack may seem humungous at first but it is amazing how quickly it fills up. Going overboard and packing every bar the kitchen sink is an easy mistake to make. Aside from the usual clothing and shoes, there are certain items (many of which are multifunction) that you should never leave behind.
Unlike the oh so fashionable bum bag, money belts are a discreet and safer way to store your cash and small valuables. They are worn close to the body and can be disguised under clothes extremely easily. They are made with breathable backing, so no need to worry about irritation or heat rash. There are many different styles of money belt on the market but most reach for the traditional waist-fastening type
In some countries, you won’t require a mosquito net. However, in popular travel destinations such as Africa and South East Asia, it is essential. There are a multitude of different style nets to choose from but the wedge is most popular with globe trotters. It only has one hanging point and allows for a larger moving space inside the net.
Thieves are rife in the tourist areas of many countries. Those travelling on public transport aren’t safe from pick pockets either, especially when trying to catch a quick sleep. Ensuring your backpack has a sturdy lock on it will deter thieves and help keep your items safe.
Cable locks are the preferred choice amongst seasoned travellers as they allow you to lock pretty much any item, or attach your rucksack to anything.
Whether handheld or head, you cannot leave home on your adventure without a torch. They are essential for when the sun goes down and you are still out and about or trying to pitch a tent. Similarly, they are helpful for late night toilet trips or a spot of reading whilst your hostel buddies are asleep.
Lightweight Sleeping Bag
No matter how down to earth we are, the thought of snuggling up in hostel bedding makes our skin crawl. Even if your facility is modern and clean, chances are you’d much rather fall asleep in your own travel sleeping bag. Luckily, they can be squashed down into a small bag and are very compact, so no need to worry about them taking up space in your bag.
Sleeping bags for backpackers are available in different options to suit your destination. One season bags are ideal for those visiting tropical climates and the range continues to four season bags, for cold locations as low as -5°C.
Having an upset stomach seems to be part of most people’s time abroad. However, constantly treating your hands to a blob of antibacterial hand gel after toilet breaks or handling cash will definitely help with any nasty germs. You can usually get your hands on pocket size bottles which take up barely any room.
First Aid Kit
Having a basic first aid kit with a few handy dressings, bandages and plasters is an essential addition to your rucksack. You can treat minor cuts and grazes yourself when out hiking and cure most ailments with water and a couple of pain killers.
In countries that suffer with poor medical facilities, or if you are trekking somewhere remote, you may need a more extensive kit containing sterile needles and syringes. However, this will sometimes be taken care of by the expedition leader.
Also remember to pop some rehydration sachets, diarrhoea relief capsules and water treatment tables into your first aid kit.
Never take a regular home towel in your backpack. They take ages to dry and are heavy when wet, resulting in excess weight and an awful damp stench lingering from your pack. Travel towels are compact in size, as well as highly absorbent and quick drying. Some also come with an anti-bacterial coating which helps keep them fresh and mould free.
A worldwide plug adapter is a sound investment. Wherever you end up in the world, you will be able to charge or power whatever you need. The only countries that are an exception are South Africa, Israel, Switzerland and Italy. For these destinations you will need to purchase the correct adapter plug.
Mosquito Repellent & Anti-Malaria Medication
Mosquitos and biting insects are part of a backpacker’s life, especially in tropical countries. To experience your travels bite free it is imperative to arm yourself with a trusted mosquito repellent. The most common and popular type of repellent is DEET.
DEET repellents can either be spray, lotion or roll-on. You will find that they also come in a range of strengths; 20% for low risk areas and 50% to 100% for high risk areas.
Malaria is a tropical disease which can be contracted through a mosquito bite. Anti-malaria medication is considered expensive but is needed in areas with mosquitos and can be purchased before you fly.
Wherever you are travelling, it is important to invest in private medical insurance to ensure you are protected if you need medical assistance.