The article you will always come back to for advice on what to pack in your backpack.
Diego goes to India for three months. Cristina is taking advantage of her holidays to go on a two-week trip to Brazil. Fernando has just finished school and is going camping in the mountains of Cordoba. How do their luggage differ, and how are they similar? What to take in your backpack for these trips?
This question is well answered with some experience, so this article will help you settle those doubts definitively.
A well-prepared backpack is not the same as a backpack made for a backpacking tour of European capitals, adventure sports, camping in the freezing mountains, a concert trip or a cultural holiday in the city.
You should adjust your luggage according to the climate and the activities you will be doing during your trip and be as selective as possible.
Remember the two maxims of backpacking:
– Be ultra-selective
– Pack ultra-compressed.
However, don’t forget that you will probably be walking for hours with your backpack and sometimes long distances. It is not advisable to overstretch one’s carrying capacity. Exaggerated weight without proper precautions can cause lower back pain, hernias, injuries to the feet and knee joints, and unnecessarily strain the shoulders.
Consider the benefits of investing in a quality backpack for this.
Rules for deciding what to take in your backpack:
– Eliminate redundant and unnecessary things. What’s good for a week is good for a month.
– Once your backpack is heavy, it will become the main burden of your trip. Make your weight as light and comfortable as possible.
– If you have personal hobbies such as photography, playing the guitar, crafts, reading books, listening to music or playing video games carry your equipment and accessories but don’t forget that you will pay the price with more weight on your back. Ask yourself if it’s really necessary.
– Weather dictates. If it’s cold, bring a coat. If it’s sunny, bring sunscreen. And so on. Find out about the weather in each city by asking other travellers on the backpackers.org forums or reading the local news.
– You’ll be carrying things for common use and distribute the weight according to the capacity of each one of you. (cookers, tents, utensils, food).
– Avoid carrying liquids or delicate items. Carry an extra small backpack for such things.
– Put your clothes neatly compressed in plastic bags so that it is easier to get what you need out of the backpack. Roll up your clothes and put everything that fits into small bags.
Backpacking Packing Checklist
Use this list to get an idea of what you will need on your trip. You don’t have to bring everything on the list, but it will remind you if it fits your trip. If you are 110% sure you will need it: take it. If you think it might be useful, but you’re not sure, don’t take it. Having extra space doesn’t mean filling it with just anything.
What to bring in your backpack: Basic clothes.
It depends on the weather and that you have enough to rotate and wash during the trip. Change of clothes for the upper part, clothes for the lower part, underwear, swimwear or clothes for special activities (e.g. snowboarding).
– Underwear changes are essential as they are changed more often than outerwear (min. 7 – max. 15).
– Light layers: T-shirts, light shirts, blouses and similar (7 to 9).
– Lower leggings: Trousers, shorts, leggings. Avoid heavy fabrics (denim).
– Interchangeable insoles (if you are not going to change shoes often).
– Light sleeping clothes
Calculate clothes for one week. This way, you can wash them on the way, and the same amount of clothes will last you for a month or a year.
What to pack for winter:
In addition to the basic clothes you should take:
– Second top layer: flannel shirts, hoodies or light sports jackets.
– Third top layer: a waterproof, windproof and rainproof jacket. Enough to withstand all kinds of cold.
– Bottom warmers: clothes that go as a first layer under trousers.
– Thick wool or synthetic socks.
What to bring as camping equipment:
– Insulating matra
– Sleeping bag
– Inflatable mattress
– Inflatable pillow
– Gas cooker
– Pots and pans
– Can opener
– Plastic bags.
What to take as trekking equipment
– Water hydration pack
– Instant food
– Sun hat
– Hat for the cold
– Trekking shoes
– Trekking poles
– Breathable non-cotton clothing (gets wet and doesn’t dry)
Exploration and survival equipment:
– Notepad and pen
– Water bottle.
– Lenses and cleaners
– Flash, lights and lighting accessories
– Batteries and chargers
– Memory sticks or portable disk
– GoPro and accessories
– Drone and accessories
Health and first aid:
– Travel insurance
– Hand Alcohol
– Allergy medicine
– Moisturising solution
– Wound dressings
– Medical mask
– Small bandage
– Medium microfibre towel
– Small mirror
– Laundry bar soap
– Dental floss
– Sanitary napkins, cups or tampons
– Toilet paper
– Shampoo sticks
– Deodorant sticks
– Shaving razor
– Moisturising cream
– Nail clippers
– Expendables: gels, perfumes, conditioners, creams, etc.
Remember that you can get most of these things worldwide; they don’t always have to be in your backpack. Also, don’t forget to remove sharp items from your hand luggage when boarding a flight.
– Portable or plastic cutlery
– Aeroplane eye cover
– Video games
– Musical instrument
– Laptop or tablet
– Mobile phone
All of these are expendable and optional.
Electronics and technology:
– Memory and disks
– Socket adapters
– Power transformers
– Wi-fi antennas for increased range
– Socket extensions.
– Travel insurance
– Vaccination certificate
– Driving licence
– Itinerary (you may be asked for it at some borders)
– Accommodation reservations
– Tickets, tickets and transport tickets
– Special permits (filming or activities)
– Student identification or discount memberships
– Tickets, reservations, tickets, vouchers.
– Credit or debit cards
– Cash in various currencies
– Coins for public transport machines
– Coupons, vouchers, discounts
– Bitcoin wallet
– Wallets, envelopes or cash stashes
– Different wallets to avoid mixing currencies from different countries.
What to take in hand carry luggage for a flight:
– Hand alcohol
– Earplugs or hearing aids
– Eye cover
– Powerbank or mobile phone charger
– Downloaded music, films or reading material
– Small hygiene and health pack (toothbrush, toothpaste, pills, etc.)
– Small blanket (depending on the airline)
– Energy bars or snacks
– All valuable and fragile items (documents, money, electronics, etc.)
Travelling to India for several months requires flexible, all-terrain luggage. A big trip involves travelling through all climates, from extreme heat to intense cold. On the other hand, travelling to the capitals of Europe does not require you to carry a tent or mountain gear. And if you’re going to do a single activity like outdoor camping, you’d better be fully prepared with food, shelter, and what you need to be self-sufficient, and that’s no small feat.