The ease and convenience of any backpacking trip depend on what you pack and carry in your backpack. It is important to carry everything necessary, yet not overpacking.
I remember the first time during my initial few journeys, my backpack always looked like a 70L trash-bag. Obviously, overwhelmed with the idea of long-term travel, I always shoved in everything that I thought can be useful. This is one of the common mistakes that newbie backpackers do, and I was no different. So, avoid overpacking!
After years of full-time travelling, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned it is to Travel Light! And that’s pretty much the mantra I use while packing for my travels. Take as little as possible, perhaps half the clothes and other things you think you will need, and you’ll realize that it was the best thing you did.
I take only what is necessary, and if I really need something, I buy it on the way. It’s not hard to find medicine, toiletries, clothes or even an umbrella, anywhere in the world – and that’s pretty much all you need to survive while travelling.
The more I travel the more I realize I don’t need a lot of stuff while travelling. Everything I own fits into one backpack.
Packing light is a cliché, yet one that has a lot of truth to it. But then again, the question always remains to: What Should You Pack? And if you too are struggling with it, here’s my suggested list:
- 4-6 t-shirts | T-shirts because they’re easy to pack and easy to wash.
- 2 pairs of shorts or capris | Because they’re convenient and take less space in your bag.
- 1-2 pairs of khaki or cargo pants | No fancy zip-off pants but something lightweight, wear-anywhere, quick-drying, decent-looking pants for travel, hiking and relaxing.
- 1 long sleeve shirt or a T-shirt | In case you need to cover your arms or look more presentable.
- 1 pair of jeans or trousers | Again, to only look presentable.
- 1 swimsuit | Because you never know when you’ve to swim in public, and doing so in your underpants is not cool.
- 1 towel | Though I carry along a sardine cloth – that long scarf that Asian women wear around their head and shoulders. Because you can use it as a towel, as a scarf to cover your head under the sun, and unlike a towel, it even dries super-quickly.
- 5-7 pairs of socks, with at least one pair of compression socks, avoiding swollen feet on exceptional days.
- 1 pair of slippers or flip flops
- 1 pair of sneakers or trekking-shoes
- 1 Sun-cap
- 1 toothbrush and toothpaste
- 1 Electric shaver
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small body soap
- 1 small bottle of liquid shower soap
- Other items like Nail-cutter, plucker, scissor | Not only for their obvious use but to also use them as your hardware tools.
- Anti-allergy tablets
- Hand Sanitizer
- Mosquito repellent | You can also use some Tea-tree oil instead as it works equally well.
My Blogging Gear
- Sony DSLR
- Action Camera
- Small Tripod
- Universal power adaptor
- A few empty zip-lock bags (to carry unwashed clothes/wet towel etc)
- A padlock
- A small needle and thread
Also Read Travel Tips For A Savvy Backpacker
This is pretty much everything I carry on a trip. Additional items like a sleeping bag, tent, etc; and the type of clothes depends on what kind of trip you’re going for. Eg, you won’t need half-pants while trekking in the Himalayas, but perhaps an additional pair of cargo pants. So have your wits about it.
For more, here’s a list of 10 travel packing tips that will further help you reach your full travel ninja potential:
Take earplugs. Because snorers are everywhere and you need your sleep.
Skip the towel. As I said, rather take a long sardine cloth, because it is handy and multi-functional.
Always have an extra USB charger. To make sure you don’t run out of batteries.
Take a light rain jacket. To save yourself from unexpected chilly nights, light showers and even breeze.
Get good shoes and slippers. Shoes, because you walk a lot when you travel and don’t want to beat up your feet. Slippers because they make your stay comfortable and relaxing. Moreover, in unexpected dirty toilets, it always feels good to have something under your feet.
Carry a basic first-aid kit – especially a lot of band-aids. Because accidents happen, and you must be prepared.
Pack a flashlight. Always! Always carry a flashlight And this should be other than the flashlight on your phone.
Carry a book. Because reading and traveling is a great combination, especially if you travel alone.
An extra copy of your passport and important documents. Also, Don’t forget to e-mail a copy to yourself.
Always carry a lock. While traveling in Asia, use your lock rather than the one given by your guest house.
And last but not least… Remember to PACK LIGHT!
Looking for a backpack? Read How To Choose The Perfect Travel Backpack
Looking for recommended photography gear? Here’s My Recommended Photography Equipment
This post is a great inspiration! I always tend to overpack, so I am still learning how to pack smarter and your post was really helpful!
I always manage to leave things behind no many how many trips I’ve been on. Such a helpful list to follow!
Ultimate travel packing list! I’m definitely using this in the future. I often find that my photography equipment really takes up so much room in my case though!
great list! I have learned to pack light too. I used to pack boxes when traveling and it will be a hassle especially because I travel multi city!! I am assuming you only travel to warm places. I will be curious to see how the packing will change if its to a colder region. I have challenges with that. Thanks for sharing
These are good tips for a man who is backpacking! For a woman mostly traveling in cities it can be more complicated. But I completely agree about skipping the towel. I take my Brazilian sarong–the kanga–everywhere and it works better and takes up less room.
You forgot one important item- NINJA BAGS! haha where you put like 4-5 airplane bottles of alcohol in a ziploc bag and sneak them in your drink on the plane! No more $10 cocktails 😉 haha great post!
I agree with packing light. Recently we did a 3-week trip and definitely packed way too many clothes. Since we did laundry during our trip, I’d really wear again my cuter outfits LOL. It’s true about bringing a rain jacket and comfortable shoes. For blogging gear apart from gadgets, I bring a small notebook and pen with me!
It’s a great piece of advice – travel light! I always take only the hand bag and save a lot of money and time on the check-in baggage. When I see some people bring 2 or 3 huge suitcases for a few days away – I just can’t get it!
I always thought that travel light is as easy as ABC. But why is that males can do it right and am having a hard time to master it??
I need more practice to travel and pack light.
Nice post! I always over pack. Rrr. Not really a backpacker, never mastered that art but I’ll keep your tips in mind.
Can you recommend a really good 50L backpack to use? I’m yet to find a really good one. Love the fact that you travel full-time!