Packing List

I’m always asked by friends “what should I pack?” Well, it all depends on the person but here’s a list of things to pack that I’ve finally pared down from my 3 major backpacking trips plus numerous side trips here and there.  The essentials are bolded.  Most of the items you can pick up along your travels depending on where you’re traveling.  Please feel free to leave a comment on things that you feel others would appreciate on a backpacking trip.

(read more about clothes here)

  1. 1 pair of shorts
  2. 1 pair of long cargo pants that can be folded up to capris or shorts
  3. 1 pair of flowy pants (fisherman/parachute/linen), two pairs if you’re going to a more reserved/religious region where you need to cover up (the second pair can double as PJs)
  4. 1 zip up hoodie
  5. 1 thin long sleeved shirt
  6. 1 or 2 t-shirts
  7. 1 or 2 tank tops (again, the second one can be worn for PJs)
  8. underwear to last a week
  9. For girls: 2 bras (1 light coloured and 1 dark)
  10. 2 pairs of socks
  11. a sun dress for girls or a light collared shirt for guys (you never know when you need to dress it up!)
  12. running shoes
  13. flip flops
  14. a scarf (or you can just buy one)
  15. bathing suit (2 if you’re planning on going to the beach a lot)
  16. optional: rain jacket
  17. sunglasses
  18. watch


  1. shampoo/conditioner body wash/soap/face wash
  2. sun screen
  3. bug repellant
  4. lotion
  5. deodorant
  6. contact solution/contact case/spare contacts/glasses/glasses case
  7. hair brush
  8. tweezers
  9. minimal makeup: eye liner, lip balm, mascara
  10. face wipes
  11. sanitary items (i.e. tampons/pads)
  12. razors
  13. eye drops
  14. small mirror

Medicine/First Aid
(read more about first aid here)

  1. Tylenol/Advil/whatever pain killer you fancy
  2. Dukoral
  3. hydrocortisone cream
  4. bandaids
  5. antibiotic cream
  6. hand sanitizer
  7. Cipro(floxacin)
  8. wet wipes/naps
  9. malaria pills
  10. over the counter antacid & anti-diarrhea
  11. anti-nausea medicine  (Gravol)
  12. allergy pills
  13. vitamins
  14. any other drugs you’re already taking (i.e. birth control pills, allergy medicine, etc)


  1. camera/camera charger/memory card(s)
  2. cell phone/charger
  3. ipod/mp3 player & charger
  4. alarm clock
  5. flashlight/head lamp

Home comforts
(read more about it here and here)

  1. rope
  2. duct tape
  3. laundry detergent
  4. sink plug
  5. hostel sheet
  6. water bottle (cheap tip: buy bigger quantities of bottled water and keep refilling your bottle instead of buying smaller ones all the time, plus more environmentally friendly!)
  7. Swiss Army Knife/Leatherman
  8. carabiners (they’re always handy for something)
  9. bag locks (enough to lock all openings in your bag)
  10. combination lock (to lock your bag up in hostels, on trains etc)
  11. mosquito net
  12. money belt
  13. ear plugs
  14. quick dry towel
  15. plastic and ziploc bags


  1. photo ID (other than your passport, bring student ID if possible as there are often discounts for students)
  2. passport
  3. vaccination certificates (for countries where this is a requirement to enter.  i.e. most African countries)
  4. contact info of people at home and in the countries you’re visiting if possible
  5. photocopies of ID/passport (really came in handy here)
  6. itinerary/travel book
  7. books to read/trade
  8. pen, sketch pencil, highlighter
  9. notebook/journal/scrap paper
  10. compass
  11. credit/debit cards
  12. US dollars (for emergencies, accepted everywhere I’ve traveled so far)

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