Yes, you can rough the backpacking trip and only bring 1 change of clothes and a Swiss Army knife like Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild but if you have the extra cash and prefer some comforts to backpacking, there are some items that will make a huge difference but not weigh down your bag. Most of these items can be found at the drug store, Walmart, bartering with friends or for those Canadians out there, Mountain Equipment Co-op.
- Ear plugs – to drone out a noisy hostelers, fighting geckos, snoring bed mate
- Quick-dry towel – when you don’t have time to properly dry your towel or if you’re visiting humid places, this is a must to keep your towel bacteria and odour-free. I have the Adventure Towl which has lasted me 3 backpacking trips so far.
- Travel wipes – shower replacement, wipe your hands, face, butt (although hopefully not all with the same one)
- Laundry detergent – just bring a small travel-sized bottle to wash your clothes along the way
- Sink stopper – you’ll have to eventually wash your clothes (at least underwear) so you’ll need to plug the sink. This will make any sink your personal washing machine. Find one that’s a flat mat to fit most sinks.
- Swiss Army knife or Leatherman multi-tool – I joked about this above but it is very handy to have in case you need to cut anything, open beer bottles, measure something? (why is there always a ruler?!)
- Head lamp – if you’re going to be doing any camping or be in areas with no electricity, there’s nothing worse than going to bathroom in the dark. Check out this awesome head lamp!
- Hostel sheet/sleeping bag liner – this is a MUST to prevent getting bit by bed bugs! You can either buy one or sew a bedsheet in half (very easy instructions here)
- Plastic and Ziploc bags – these will make it easier to find and pack your things since everything is compartmentalized (i.e. put all your clothes in one bag, toiletries in another, shoes in another etc.), also used to put wet bathing suits, shoes or laundry
As always, open for suggestions so please suggest anything you found that was helpful on your trip!