We know packing can be stressful. It can even be the least exciting and most daunting part of any trip. But when packing for a backpacking trip, the most important thing to remember is that less is more. And unless it’s something like sunscreen or painkillers (both unreasonably difficult to find and very expensive if you do), you'll be able to find everything you need in any major city.
We’ve put together a list of everything we think is necessary (or sometimes just really handy) to have with you for your next adventure. We've kept this list generic so that it can apply for your epic trip hiking in Peru to your relaxing trip chilling on a beach in Thailand. Starting off with the most important stuff, hygiene.
Look, you’re not going to be as clean and spiffy as you are back home. The tropical climate in Thailand will have you sweating from places you didn’t even know you could sweat from. You will fall in the mud while trekking through the jungle, you will pass by durian (the world’s stinkiest fruit) and the smell will somehow stick to you. It’s a fact of backpacker life.
But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to forgo showering all together (this is truly a shocking fact for some travelers). Keeping yourself looking and smelling decent will make sure your hostel mates don’t hate you before you even speak to them.
Here are the hygiene items we strongly recommend packing for your upcoming trip to Thailand:
- Deodorant. For obvious reasons but it also serves as a great product to rub between your thighs before setting out on a hike. Nobody wants to chafe while walking for two and a half days through the jungle.
- A toothbrush and toothpaste. If you’re traveling for longer than a week we recommend bringing a full sized tube of paste. You don’t want to roll up to breakfast with breath that can kill.
- Nail clippers. Everybody seems to forget to pack nail clippers. Don’t be one of these people. When you're traveling for multiple weeks or even months at a time, your nails grow!!!
This isn't the time to pack for every single ailment you could potentially get while traveling. That takes up unnecessary space and you won't even touch the majority of stuff you pack. So here are some of the things we consider must pack items.
- Pepto pills. You may be tempted to bring Immodium, but we always strongly recommend against taking it. Unless you've got a long travel day ahead and won't have access to a toilet, you're better to listen to Shrek "it's better out than in". Pepto will keep your tummy at ease for any mild aches you have.
- Painkillers. They're not always easy to find in parts of the world, so it's best just to bring your own. Even if you're not someone who typically takes painkillers back home, you never know what's gonna happen while traveling, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
- Cold meds. If you're someone who often gets head colds back home, you''ll almost definitely get a cold while traveling. You'll be introduced to a bunch of new germs and, like you mentioned earlier, hygiene takes a major back seat when you're traveling. Cold meds will prevent you from hating your life when you're supposed to be having the most fun.
Everything listed below is up for debate. We think these are great things every backpacker should travel with, but to each their own.
- Sarong. Whether you're looking for a blanket, towel, bathing suit cover up, a way to hide your sunburnt skin from the sun, or an array of other things, sarongs are always a good thing to pack.
- Playing cards. Make those long travel days less boring with an epic game of cards.
- Portable speaker. Get the party started anytime, anywhere, with a portable speaker.
- Headlamp. Many of our trips include hikes that last a couple days, which means there will be plenty of times where you may be in complete darkness. Don't rely on a phone with a dead battery. Headlamps can be lifesavers when you're trying to find somewhere to pee in the middle of the night.
- Sunscreen. Buy it, bring it, use it, don't forget it. Preferably in the highest SPF you can find. You may be thinking to yourself "but I never burn!" If you're from Canada, your skin will burn!!!! The sun is so much stronger in other parts of the world than it is in the Free & Easy homeland. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself.
- Bug spray. They're everywhere and they will suck your blood. Bug spray won't stop this from happening but it can lessen the damage they're capable of doing.
- Reusable water bottle. Plastic is a major problem. A lot of the places we stay in have water coolers so you can reduce your waste and consume as much water as possible (water should be your best friend, especially when traveling)!
So you made it to your destination. You've brought the essentials and you're ready to rock and roll. Our advice doesn't end here.
- Have a toilet paper roll on you at all times. A lot of public washrooms don't supply toilet paper. As travelers, major stomach issues are to be expected and there's nothing worse than getting the job done only to find out that there's no TP. So we repeat, bring. It, With. You. Everywhere.
- Tiger balm. If you're going to Asia, this product will be your holy grail. You can find this stuff everywhere, and it can help with bug bite itches, muscle aches, and more. Buy a couple jars because you're sure to want to keep using this stuff back home.
- A speaker. There’s no better way to get impromptu parties started than a portable speaker! Be the life of the party, anytime, anywhere.
So there you have it. Our must-bring items and our nice-to-have items all in one place! You’ll never be unprepared for another trip again!