I’m going backpacking, what do I need to take??
Sure there are the basics like a sturdy backpack, clothes and toiletries. But, whether you’re interrailing around Europe or off a gap year adventure, there are a few travel hack items that you’ll be so glad you packed!
Before backpacking Europe last summer I did a tonne of research, watching Youtube videos and reading blogs like this. Figuring how to pack everything into a carry on backpack without leaving behind anything super useful was a fun challenge!
After 6 weeks on the road, I’m here with a whole bunch of travel hack items that will make your adventure more comfortable and organised so you can enjoy the experience!
(This post contains some affiliate links)
So, what do I need???
These fabric zip-up storage cubes will seriously change your packing game forever!
Packing cubes are super popular these days and you can buy them in a variety of colours and sizes. I personally like to separate day clothes into one cube, pyjamas and gym wear in another, and so on. They’re also great if you’re packing one case between two people or a family to stay organised.
Another plus for these cubes whilst backpacking is how easy they make packing and repacking at each location you visit. By my last hostel, in Basel Switzerland, I could pack the puzzle of my carry-on in a super speedy time.
You can fit so much more into your luggage with packing cubes, you simply have to try them!
This one sounds a bit random, but trust me, buying a flexible cable padlock was one of the best decisions for travelling solo. Having the ability to secure my carry on to the luggage rack on a train, or to the zippers on my daypack in a busy city meant I could relax. I wasn’t constantly thinking about my belongings and what would happen if they got stolen.
Choosing a small lightweight combination lock (see above left) and this was perfect for my travel needs. Have a look at your individual backpack and travel situation. You may choose to use a key padlock or require a longer cable to secure your stuff.
Cable padlocks are an inexpensive way to add a lot of security and peace of mind on the road!
You may be thinking “why on earth would I want to take that?!”. That was my thinking at least. But, this tiny washing line came in very handy.
I found mine on eBay but you can find travel washing lines all over the internet and in camping stores. I would recommend getting one with hooks and about 2m in length. In the hostels, I could do laundry and then (if on the bottom bunk) hook the line to each end of the bed and dry my clothes!
It’s also great to drape a scarf or towel over to create a little den if you need a nap or don’t feel like being social for a while!
You can find pegless clotheslines in all different varieties. Personally choosing one with hooks (as above) was super convenient for hostels.
You don’t want to be hauling around a big fluffy towel on your travels, and unless you’re at a hotel or Air BnB it’s likely that you’ll need to bring one. Hostels often offer towel rental at a charge, but who wants to pay for that? Travel Towels are a fab answer to this travellers problem.
A friend who frequently goes camping told me about these microfibre towels. They dry quickly after use and fold up into a tiny bag. As with all towels, you can find these in a million different sizes so check the measurements before purchasing.
Multifunctioning as a beach towel, gym towel and yoga mat, microfibre towels take up no room or weight in your bag!
Now, this is something that I hadn’t thought about before backpacking. But, several hostels later and I think about how much easier it would have been if I’d had food storage containers!
Unless you’re on a short break or money is no object, it’s likely that you’ll be doing some cooking and food prep on your backpacking adventure. It’s actually so nice being able to wander around foreign supermarkets to see what’s different, and then to go and cook ‘at home’ and relax. Often the kitchens in hostels are where you’ll meet the most people. Cooking is a fun social occasion and you always get chatting effortlessly with other travellers making their own dinner. And, if you’re staying in a home, such as an Air BnB, you can relish in the homely feel of cooking a meal and catching up on Netflix shows.
With cooking often comes leftovers. If you’re on a budget or conscious of the planet you hate to throw food away. Some hostels have containers in the kitchens (if you can match the lids!) but if not you’ll need your own.
A simple set of containers or a small lunch box means you can have yummy leftovers the next day. Just remember to label your food!
Another handy use is for snacking.
When you’re exploring all day or on the road you need to keep your energy up. Nuts, fruit, veggies etc are the perfect healthy snacks but you need something to put them in. I was using the produce bags from the supermarkets but taking your own food containers is much better for the environment and more hygienic.
Of course, the best part of all this? You save so much money! When backpacking on a budget I set aside a few places I know I want to eat at, but for breakfasts, lunches and snacks, I enjoy shopping and cooking like a local.
Now You’re Set For A Fab Backpacking Adventure!
So there you have it, 5 travel hack items you need for backpacking. Check out the ‘What I’m packing for a summer in Europe‘ over on my YouTube channel and say hi.
Do you have any other travel hack items that have revolutionised your travel? I love to hear about them.