Preparing for your backpacking trip is half the fun in traveling! For others, especially for first timers, it can be quite daunting as to how they’ll manage to fit all their belongings in one bag. Nevertheless, with careful planning and proper organization, you will succeed in the challenge of packing all the things you need in the nick of time.
What should you consider when packing for a trip?
First, research about your planned destination. Know the culture there. Basically, The Dos and Don’ts.
Second, check the weather forecast in those places. This will help you plan what type of clothes to bring and how many.
Third, you have to budget your spendings. From the moment you pay for your airline ticket down to your the mode of transportation you will take to get home.
Lastly, make sure you’re physically and mentally fit for your trip. If you have any physical ailment, get your doctor’s approval first before booking that ticket.
What are the must-have items you need to bring?
Never travel anywhere without having any card or document to prove your identity. For locals, it can be your government id or driver’s license. For foreigners, these documents are mostly your passport, airline ticket, and even hotel bookings. It’s best to place all your travel documents in one envelope or bag, making it easier for you to present them when asked.
Clothes & Footwear
When it comes to the clothes you will bring, you have to consider the climate, the common weather conditions, the activities you will be doing, and the duration of your stay.
There are three layers of clothing you need to have: Underwear, Insulation, and Outerwear.
Underwear – Base the type of underwear you will bringing to the weather condition of your desired destination. For cold conditions, bring ones that have thicker fabric. It’s best to bring ones that give you the most comfort.
Insulation – These are the apparel that will help you fight the cold weather. They can come in different materials, from high-loft synthetics to plain old wool. Jackets, vests, gloves, pullovers, and pants all belong to this category.
Outerwear – They serve as your first line of defense against the Earth’s elements. Bring ones that sure to not only repel the rain and snow, but exhales perspiration so that it doesn’t build up inside your layers of clothes, soaking you from the inside.
For your footwear, rubber shoes are your best friend. In fact, it’s part of any backpacker’s proper attire. Also bring a pair of slippers to not only allow your feet to breath and stay clean, but also to avoid contact with dirt in case an injury occurs.
When it comes to personal hygiene, it’s something personal and is rarely shared with other people. Hygiene not only matters to you, but also to everyone around you, which is why most backpackers provide their own grooming kits.
The common things found in a grooming kit are shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, towels, shaving products, isopropyl alcohol or sanitizer, wet wipes, tissues, sanitary pads (for ladies), comb, and other facial and hair care products.
Food & Drinks
You would want to bring food and drinks that will give you energy, strength, nourishment, and hydration. Just how much should you bring? The recommended amount of food and drinks to bring is from 1.5 to 2.5 lbs each person per day. Do not pack too much! It can lead you to endure unwanted bulk and weight. A good tip is to stick with lightweight and low-bulk packaging for your meals. Also, go with packagings that are resealable and don’t forget to label them.
There’s no need to follow a strict diet program. In fact, you will need calories and water to fight off fatigue. But that is not an excuse to bring unhealthy meals such as candies and junk food. You need to train yourself to rely on complex carbohydrates and protein to maintain your endurance and stamina.
The common types of food backpackers bring are fresh, dry, freeze-dried, and canned . As for drinks such as water and flavored beverages, it’s best to place them in water bottle’s that aren’t bulky and shape and easily breakable.
A smartphone is really all you will ever need in terms of gadgets. There’s almost nothing you can’t do with the help of a smartphone in terms of navigation, entertainment, and communication.
Be sure that you pack the wires such as charger and headphones properly. You don’t want cables getting tangled inside your bag. It’s simply an inconvenience. Be sure to secure your phones in a safe place inside your bag incase you accidentally drop or splash liquid into your bag. Gadgets are also very sensitive to extreme temperatures.
As for cameras such a DSLR, they are much more sensitive compared to other gadgets. One simple bump can do so much damage. Make sure that you keep it away from extreme heat, and avoid dropping or bumping it at other objects. You can check your camera’s manual on how to properly take care of it.
Before heading on to your adventure, you should always have a first-aid kit. It can either be a pre-packed one or a kit you’ve put together yourself. Keep in mind that your efforts to have a complete kit would be useless if you don’t know how to use them properly. You can also sign up for training sessions on what to do in case of an emergency.
The things found in an emergency kit are usually antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, assorted adhesive bandages, gauze pads, medical adhesive tape, blister treatment, insect sting relief treatment, antihistamine to treat allergic reactions, splinter (fine-point) tweezers, first-aid manual or information cards, hemostatic (blood-stopping) gauze, liquid bandage, standard oral thermometer, low-reading (hypothermia) thermometer, medical/surgical gloves, medical waste bag (plus box for sharp items), whistle (pealess preferred). Do also bring a small pocket knife to help you cut gauzes and other medical cloths properly.
Map & Compass
When you’re backpacking for a place that shouts NATURE, expect the signal levels on your smartphones to eventually disappear. So, unless you’re the world’s best cartographer, chances are you’re going to lose your way.
The essential items for navigation to bring would be a map (sealed in a waterproof case), a compass, an altimeter (if you’re on a mountain hiking trip), and a GPS. Your phones may have a built-in GPS, but a separate GPS device is always handy to bring in-case your phone’s battery runs out. You don’t really expect to find a charging port in the middle of the forest, do you?
Lights & Extra Batteries
Most backpacking adventures take days to complete and during that period you are expected to provide your own light during the night. Most backpackers bring a small and portable lamp with them to hang-in the branches or tents or place them on the ground as they set up their camp at night.
If the sun sets while you’re still hiking through somewhere, it’s best to have flashlights to help you watch your step. Either way, bring only lights that require battery replacements. Speaking of batteries, always bring extra ones. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Carrying an umbrella is just too much work for you and isn’t always the most advisable thing to open when going into the wilderness. Either way, the sun can still do damage to your skin. It’s best to bring sun protection items to make sure you don’t get a painful sunburn at the end of the day. Most of these sun protection items are sunscreen lotions, lip balms, hats, and sunglasses.
Another item to bring with you would be an insect repellant spray. You wouldn’t want bugs and mosquitoes bothering you day and night, right?
Backpacking is fun, but being prepared for it is better. We hope our list has been has been helpful in your preparation for great adventures ahead!