Your Outdoor Packing List: Travel Backpacking

In another installment of Your Outdoor Packing List, we presented a packing list for backpacking, which was geared more toward the weekend trip through the mountains with the intention of camping outdoors. This week’s post is for those who wish to embark upon a backpacking trip through a country (or continent!) where they intend to utilize hostels, hotels, trains, and other such travel accommodations. Although the idea is the same for both styles — keep it simple — there are vastly different items that will be essential for each trip. If you’re looking to see the world with your world on your back, here are our suggestions for must-have items for your journey. Bon voyage!

Today’s Packing List: Travel Backpacking

  1. Adapter/Converter Set
    If you’re getting ready to head out to the great beyond, it’s probably not news to you that other parts of the world operate differently than yours does. One very important example of this is use of electricity. Plug-ins vary around the world, not only in shape, but in voltage. A converter set with adapters will ensure that almost all electronics you bring from your home country will be viable in the country you visit. It is important to note that adapters themselves are different from converters in that they will accommodate various plug-in styles, but they do nothing to change voltage. If you know the country you are visiting has the same voltage as the appliances you want to bring, perhaps you’ll find you just need the adapters.
  2. Travel Bedding
    The stories that abound of various hostel conditions and train cars along many backpackers’ travels are enough to put some off of the idea altogether, but there are ways to work around this. Having a personal sleeping system can help reassure you that your sleeping area is confined to your cooties only. Grand Trunk makes an awesome line of travel bedding made from bamboo materials, super soft, easily washable, and lightweight, including sleep sacks, pillow cases, and bed sheets.
  3. Organization
    Any travel backpacker will tell you that organization is key. It’s the key to not losing things, to not being relieved of your valuables by a clever thief, and having ready access to the things you need most in your pack. Instead of rolling or wadding up your clothes, get an organizer set, like the Pack-It from Eagle Creek. This zippered 3-piece set keeps your pants, shirts, socks, toiletries, or whatever else neatly contained, and even comes with an illustrated folding board to get the maximum space efficiency from your wardrobe.
  4. Water Filtration
    Although bottled water may be available in areas where the tap water is not considered to be safe for drinking, you may not have immediate access to a place to purchase one, and even then, it will run out eventually. We’d definitely take some kind of water filtration/purification agents, like a water treatment, purification tablets, or a water bottle with a built-in, replaceable filter. The kinds of illnesses that come from a water-borne bacteria or parasite are simply not worth the risk of drinking questionable water.
  5. First Aid Kit
    There’s hardly a packing list that we don’t include some kind of first aid kit, but it’s not for nothing. Small injuries can often turn into bigger problems if you’re not appropriately equipped to handle them. An untreated infection is the last thing you want to deal with on a transcontinental journey. There are literally thousands of pre-made first aid kits out there, or you can assemble one of your own. But it is vital that you have a contingency plan for situations that may arise, many of which you could handle on your own, thus saving time, money, and hassle.

Photo via kokorowashinjin


  1. Also, save weight by not packing full size towel. Just bring or cut a towel so its a little larger than a facecloth.

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