Checklist: Backpacking Essentials For Your Next Adventure
If the taste of freedom is calling your name, then backpacking is the obvious choice. Whether you’re a gap year newbie, hostel-dweller, glamper or day-hiker, there is one thing you all have in common - and that’s being at one with nature.
Whatever your reason for choosing to backpack, one thing’s for sure, you need to be prepared. If you’re not sure what to add to your backpacking checklist we’ve got you covered with our ultimate guide.
The checklist covers everything you'll need for travelling - from the backpacking essentials for short-haul trips to all the extras needed for long-haul getaways.
The Absolute Backpacking Essentials
If your next adventure is a short but sweet one, then you have to be tactical with your luggage while being conscious of the weight of your gear.
When backpacking, the base weight you carry should not exceed more than about 20% of your body weight. This baggage weight should reduce further when you are going on a day-hike as you don’t want to make your trek too strenuous - a good guide weight to follow is sticking to around 10% of your body weight.
For short getaways, these are the essential items you need to pack for your trip:
- Lightweight Dry Sack
- Light Backpacking Tent for ease of pitch and waterproofness
- Sleeping Bag - Compact and cosy. And depending on where you’re travelling to you can purchase by temperature requirements
- eVac Dry Sack (To keep your sleeping bag dry)
- Sleeping Mat
- Ultralight Pillow
- Compact Bowl
- Compact Mug
- Transport Kettle
- 700g - 1kg food per person, per day
- Compact Sink
- Wilderness Wash
- Pocket Towel
- First Aid Kit & Dry Sack
- LED Headlamp & Batteries
- Camera & Case
- Watercell Water Storage (each of which is filled before making final camp for the night)
- Trail running shoes plus short gaiters
- Baseball Cap
- Personal Wash and Hygiene Kit
- Pocket Trowel and Toilet Paper
- Trek and Travel Hand Sanitiser
Packing for a long backpacking trip?
When preparing for a longer trip, you will have more considerations to make and you will have to increase the number of essential items you bring. For a 6-month backpacking voyage, for example, you will need to pack all of the items in the essentials checklist, along with many more.
You will likely be stopping in a range of different places, including hostels, hotels and campsites - so the items you bring will need to be adaptable.
For a longer backpacking trip (using 6 months as an example - increase/decrease the number of clothing items accordingly if needed), you will need:
- Duffle Bag
- Neck Pillow
- Lightweight Jeans
- Hiking Boots
- Flip Flops
- Slip-On Shoes
- 1 x Warm Hoodie
- 6 x Vests / Tank Tops
- 8 x T-Shirts
- 3 x Buttoned Shirts / Dresses
- 3 x Shorts/Bikinis/Swimming Costumes
- 3 x Day Shorts
- 2 x Pyjamas
- Travel Adapter
- Swimming Goggles
- Combo Lock
- Compression Bags
- Washing Line
There are also some items that you don’t have to bring but they may provide some light entertainment on the nights you need some me-time.
- Notebook & Pen
- Deck of Cards
- Light Laptop/Tablet & Flashdrive
- Portable Speaker
What NOT to bring
It’s easy to get carried away when it comes to packing for a travel adventure, but with limited luggage space, you need to be careful to not be bogged down with non-essential items. So, what should you not bring backpacking?
- Valuable/Sentimental Items
- Lots of Extra Clothes
- Duplicate Items
- Bulky Towels
- Items that you can purchase when there (sunscreen, toiletries, etc.)
The considerations you need to make
Weight, durability and water resistance are all important features to look for when purchasing items for your backpacking trip. But, you also need to consider the limitations and functions of your products so they serve their purpose when you’re travelling. Each backpacking trip will vary - so, you need to think about the environment you’re staying in, the temperatures you could be facing as well as the activities you will be experiencing.
Not all backpacking gear is created equal, at Sea to Summit we manufacture to the highest possible standards using the best-sourced materials, but this does not mean items will survive under improper usage.
Before your travels, make sure you thoroughly research your trip, the country and the region you’re visiting. When purchasing products for your backpacking adventure, get familiar with terms such as R-Value, hydrostatic head (in mm), tensile strength (in kg) moisture vapour permeability (in g/m²/24h) or fill power (in cu in), so you know which products will work best for you. Or, of course, you can get in touch with our team who can offer expert advice.
Feeling inspired and ready to start planning your next adventure? Our experts are here to help, and we would love to hear any questions, so please get in touch with us on Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to also share your adventures with us using the hashtag #SeatoSummitUK.
If you’re missing anything from the checklist, you can also browse our full range of camping accessories and essentials here.