It’s not easy deciding what items to put in your backpack. Especially, if you’ve never experienced extensive, independent travel before.
When you don’t know what lies ahead, and when you’ve read and received countless pieces of advice, the natural reaction is to try to cover every eventuality.
There are some items that no backpack should be without. But most are filled with useless stuff! Our advice is simple: ruthlessly remove items from your packing list. Begin your cull with these:
Contrary to popular opinion, there’s no need to carry your own. In places where mosquitoes aren’t dangerous, rooms won’t have the hooks and fixings you need to hang your own net. In places where they are, nets are generally provided or easy to hire. Save yourself the space and pack insect repellant instead.
One of the biggest items travelers ever try to stuff into their backpack-a sleeping bag-is a real drag to carry. Gone are the days when hostel and hotel bedding was nothing more than a plank of wood on stilts – most accommodations worldwide provide decent bedding. Instead, pack a silk sheet or sleeping liner – it’s lightweight, washes easily, and makes a light cover in hot climates.
For every item you’re thinking of traveling with ask yourself this: ‘Can I afford to loose this?’ Most backpackers will answer no when clutching their laptop. In many ways backpacking is about freedom. Don’t shackle yourself with worries over damage or theft to a laptop. The exception here is, of course, anyone who needs to work on the road.
Hiking boots take up as much space as a sleeping bag and are three times as heavy. Unless you’re going on a serious trek through Nepal, opt for a sturdy pair of runners or hiking shoes that can be worn for both city walking and gentle hiking.
‘I wear jeans all at time at home, so I’ll definitely need a pair while traveling’ you tell yourself. They may seem like the natural choice, but in reality jeans are really not traveling material. They’re thick, relatively heavy and take forever to dry. For hot climates, opt for light, quick drying fabrics like cotton and linen. For cooler ones, invest in those snazzy modern materials – like Gore-Tex, Capilene and polypropylene – that keep your body heat in, and the elements out, all the while weighing nothing.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…