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Essential Traveling Check List for Backpackers

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When you are organizing a trip abroad, there are so many things to remember. You want to pack all the things you need to keep you comfortable while you are away, but at the same time, if you pack too much, you are just burdening yourself with a heavy backpack.


When you are backpacking, learning to live minimally is actually rather freeing. You only have the essentials with you, and that is all you need. If you do find that there is an item you want, it can often be bought reasonably cheaply nearby.


If you are getting ready to go backpacking, this list of essentials will make sure you have everything you need, while still traveling light.



The clothing that you take backpacking will differ depending on the climate of your destination, so to this list, you might need to add some warmer layers if you are going somewhere that gets chilly.


Essential clothing includes:

  • Underwear: Pack five pairs, and handwash them as you use them. The good thing about underwear is that is it quick to dry, so there is no need to pack enough for your entire trip.
  • Socks: As with underwear, pack a few pairs that you can wash and wear again. If you plan to hike distances, a couple of thick pairs of walking socks will help prevent blisters.
  • Light Layers: Take three or four t-shirts, two long sleeved button shirts, and one or two thin sweaters that won’t bulk out your backpack too much. Shorts are essential if you are going somewhere hot, but it is also a good idea to pack some cargo-style trousers.
  • Footwear: A good pair of sneakers or walking shoes are essential for traveling around, yet keep a pair of flip-flops handy to change into if you need to. Rubber soled water shoes are also a good idea if you plan to visit coastal areas.



  • When you are traveling, you want a safe place to keep your essential documents. A zip-up folder is a great place to keep your passport, insurance documents, and emergency numbers.
  • It is also a good idea to take a photo of all of your documents on your smartphone, so should they get lost, you can still see the information you need and what numbers you need to call.


Health Care

While you will be able to get more items in your destinations, these essentials are ideal for packing in your bag. What’s more, you can get travel-sized to save space!


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush and hair band
  • Small bottle of shampoo (to save even more room, go for an all-in-one hair and shower gel!)
  • Soap
  • Moisturizer
  • Mini cosmetic bag with essentials only
  • A small pack of handwash laundry detergent
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit, including plasters, antibacterial wipes, and antiseptic cream
  • Over-the-counter painkillers and any regular medications



Other items you might like to have with you when backpacking are:


  • Phone: A smartphone is your camera, note taker, and internet access all rolled into one. If you want to get from A to B, then looking up ‘cheap car rentals near me’ is something you can do from your phone quickly and easily.
  • One book: A paperback by your favorite author is a way to pass the time while using transport or sitting on a beach.
  • Notepad and pen: Journaling is a great way to document your travels.


When you have the essentials with you, you begin to realize that you don’t need a lot of things to get by. Give minimalist traveling a try and you’ll never over-pack again!


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