backpacking canoe on a lake

Heading off on your first backpacking adventure is so exciting. You’ve probably got it all planned out already – where you’re staying, how you’ll get there, what you’re planning to see whilst you’re traveling and how much it’s all going to cost. But one thing that many new travelers struggle with is knowing what to take with them.

With such limited space available and so many things to consider, it’s no wonder that many travelers take years to get their backpack itinerary just right. So, with that in mind and to make it a little easier for you, here you’ll find 5 backpacking essentials you shouldn’t leave home without!

Good luck on your travels!

Something to back up those photos

SD backup cardLet me tell you a quick story. Clinton once jumped from a cliff in Guatemala and lost our GoPro in the water (!!!). I cried. True story. Why did I cry? Not only because I need a GoPro to film our family adventures for souvenirs and for this blog, but also because of all the photos and videos that were on it.

After hiring a guy who dove to get it back for us, the first thing we did is a backup. Why? Because we weren’t doing it before. Now? We ALWAYS backup our footage every other day when traveling. I strongly suggest you do the same, otherwise, you could lose precious moments. We never know what can happen!

You might be intending to take a laptop, a camera and your smartphone with the hope that all your images can be stored on one of the devices. You’ll want plenty of pictures to enjoy when you get home of course – check out hellocanvas for the latest in photo printing ideas and prices – however, it’s always a good idea to take a backup.

After all, you want to have the luxury of taking more photographs and videos (that are notorious for taking up valuable storage space) without having to delete others. Do some research into the best mini hard drive or SD card (that’s what we use because it is so tiny) that fits your requirements.

Keep those devices alive

We all know how power hungry smart phones and laptops can be, especially if we’re using them more than normal. You’ll be sorely disappointed to trek through the middle of nowhere for an entire day, only for your smartphone not to make it to the final destination. Purchasing a portable charger or two and taking them with you for the journey is ideal. They’re usually budget-friendly, lightweight and can even be the size of a lipstick!

Personally, I like the ones with multiple USB slots, that way we can charge more than one device at the same time!

Keeping your valuables secure

Backpack with a wrap lock


Staying in hostels, you’ll soon realize that you need to be able to secure your property to prevent any potential theft. You should try to book accommodation that provides things like safes and security boxes however if this isn’t possible, then a strong padlock should do the trick – ideal for the lockers in the hostel and also your suitcase!

You can even get a stainless steel bag protector that wraps around your backpack and then you can lock it so you can secure your luggage anywhere you want.


Staying healthy

travel first aid kit


You might not be medically inclined, however, having a first aid pack in your travel essentials is a good idea. Especially if you’re heading off on hikes away from cities or civilization.

You can buy a ready-made first aid kit, or create one of your own – plasters, sterile dressings, something to clean wounds with, pain relief, antihistamines etc will certainly come in handy whilst you’re on the road.


Light it up

Camping with a head lamp


Some of the most common backpacking destinations don’t always have the most reliable electricity supply. Or if you’re planning on getting up early to see the sunrise from a beautiful mountain top then a head torch, or headlamp, is a must-have item. Whether you’re cooking in the dark or trying to find your way back to your hostel, you can keep your hands free and rely on this little gem to guide the way!


Now, are you packing for an RV trip? Click here for an extensive RV camping checklist so you won’t forget anything and be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest!

What is your favorite backpacking essential? Please let me know in the comments below!

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