There are a few things I take backpacking, that aren’t always on your typical backpackers packing list. But they are things that I find essential and super helpful, so are definitely worth adding to your packing list if you want to make your life a little easier.
- Lush Solid Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
I used to work for Lush while I was a student, and never really got the point in these. I’ve always used liquid shampoo & conditioners. This has now changed when I’m on the road. If you’re like me, these solid shampoo & conditioner bars are brilliant when on the road. I tend to squirt a big blob of shampoo or conditioner on my hair, and use way too much. This obviously became a problem when I was travelling, as it becomes a pain keep going to find some decent shampoo & conditioner. There’s also the downside to weight, and bulkiness. Unless you buy the small shampoo & conditioner bottles, which are pointless if you’re backpacking for months on end, the bottles take up quite a bit of space in your wash bag, and weigh a lot! These solid shampoo & conditioner bars last months. They’re tiny, hardly have any weight to them, and they cost the same amount a decent shampoo & conditioner would cost you. It doesn’t matter if you have fine, long, thick, curly, dry, or oily hair. Lush have a bar for every hair type! Buy one here.
Top Tip: Buy a Lush Shampoo & conditioner bar tin, as it saves them getting messy in your bag.
- Extension Cable
This sounds a bizarre one, but everyone I’ve shared a room with on my travels, have been slightly jealous that I thought of this. There’s nothing worse than when your phone has died, you want to straighten your hair, and your camera is dead, and you’re doing an excursion the next day. It’s a pain keep swapping adapters over. So what’s easier than having an adapter attached to an extension cable the whole time? It’s a no brainer. Pick up a cheap one from the pound store, and you can be using 3 plugs at once.
- Microfibre Towel
When I first went backpacking, I took an ordinary, thin beach towel. I soon came to regret this. It takes up loads of space, and they take ages to dry. There’s nothing worse than having to pack a damp towel in your backpack. It stinks! The second time I went travelling, I invested in some microfibre towels, and I regret not doing it sooner. They pack up so small, and weigh next to nothing. They dry really quickly, so no more packing damp towels and smelly backpacks! They feel strange at first, as they are microfibre. But they’re soft, and do the job they’re supposed to. Buy one here.
- Dry Bag
Sometimes you head to the beach, and you have a damp towel or wet bikini/costume, and there’s nothing worse than packing it in your daypack with your camera, and everything else. There’s also nothing worse than heading to a new destination and still having wet clothes or a damp towel, so a dry bag is really handy. If you’re doing any water activities, and didn’t want your camera/phone to get wet, it’s also super handy. The one I bought is a Karrimor 15 litre. You can buy one here.
- Travel Wash
Yes, there’s usually a laundry service that will wash & dry your clothes for you, but they also usually shrink them! I’ve had so many clothes ruined on my travels, by putting my trust in someone else. There’s nothing easier than cleaning your clothes with some travel wash, either in the shower or sink. It sounds grim, but it works, and you save yourself a few pennies. Give yourself a few days to let your clothes dry, and then you’re good to go again.
You should be padlocking your bag anyway if you’re on a flight. But also take a spare padlock, as some hostels provide a cage/safe to keep your valuables, but you need your own padlock to actually lock it.
- First Aid Kit
Injuries can happen whenever. Blisters, cuts etc. So it’s definitely worth taking a little first aid kit with you on your travels. Pack it with some essentials such as plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, paracetamol etc. In some places you won’t be able to find a lot of stuff, especially if you’re in the middle of nowhere. Not everywhere is as “equipped” as the UK.
- Mini Sewing Kit
I don’t sew, and only know the basics to sewing. But it’s really handy to have a mini sew kit in your backpack. A couple of needles, some small scissors and some thread. The straps on my daypack completely snapped off when I was half way round Thailand, and I still had a few weeks left of travelling. Turns out one of the girls in the hostel knew how to sew, so she managed to repair it as best as she could, so I didn’t have to buy a new one and waste money. The needles also came in handy when I was swapping countries, and needed to swap the sim card in my phone.
- Portable Charger
Because you never know when you’re going to be without electricity, and you need to charge your phone.