Since making our initial packing list and packing (and repacking) our bags meticulously, we have found some things that we couldn’t do without, and some things that we just haven’t used. And we thought we would share this with you as it may help some backpacker somewhere along the way!
Top 10 most useful
1. Some form of Wifi enabled gadget. Ideally a small laptop or something with a USB and big storage. This has multiple uses: can download and watch movies, music, travel guides, upload and store photos and skype loved ones. And update travel blogs obvs (hehe). In the long run, it will save money on using dodgy internet cafes which can and will corrupt your USB or memory card at some point.
2. A compact digital camera. Unless you know how to use an SLR style camera, do not bother bringing one as you will look like a douche and you will attract unwanted attention. We have seen too many people taking exactly the same quality picture, if not worse, than the ones we are taking on our compact digital camera. Just make sure you have good zoom!
3. Kindle/Kobo. Even if you are not a big reader, you probably will be as you have a lot of spare time. Books are heavy and big, a Kindle is small and light and many books are free!
4. Pocket Knife. Multiple uses from unclogging a drain to cutting fruit on a long journey to popping bottle caps. Obviously it is cleaned between uses. That would just be gross.
5. Travel sink plug. Hand washing clothes has to be done at some point and most sinks in hostels or guesthouses do not have a plug for the sink, so in steps the universal travel sink plug. Perfect solution to an annoyingly simple problem.
6. Travel washing line. Sticks to almost any surface or can tie round handles, holds loads of clothes and you don’t need pegs. We would be lost without this simple amazon bought product!
7. Head torch. Great for many situations, reading in the dark, walking home of a night with no street lights,or searching for items dropped where the naked eye cannot see.
8. Silk liner. When you don’t trust the sheets your sleeping on, in steps the silk liner. Its cooling on the skin and compact. No bed bug bites for us!
9. Mosquito net. Even if you are not in a malarial zone, if your room is full of mosquitos its bloody annoying. This has happened a few times to us, and the nets have been a god send.
10. Pillow case. Again, for use in those hostels or guesthouses where the pillows are mouldy or covered in questionable stains, putting your own pillow case over eases your mind that you are not inhaling anything too toxic.
Top 10 most un useful
1. A guitar. We have seen many blokes lumbering around a guitar who can only play a few cords. Unless you are a master don’t put yourself or any unsuspecting listeners through it.
2. A camel back. We bought one especially and haven’t used it once.
3. Jeans. There is no situation where jeans are needed, its just too damn hot most of the time and they are heavy to carry around.
4. A boat load of makeup. A few bits is great to have, but you honestly never wear it but for the odd night out. Even then I can’t be arsed most of the time. Travelling makes you lazy. A tan makes you think you look better then normal.
5. Hairdryer. Its hot, go outside and let nature do its job.
6. Travel iron. Everyones clothes are creased, don’t bother. But if it worries you that much, pay for it. But be warned, as soon as they go into your backpack, they will go back to being creased. It’s generally not worth the hassle.
7. Compass. Unless you are trekking the Andes without a guide or trying to find the North Pole there is no situation where you will need it. If you are following the banana pancake trail, you will not need it.
8. Hiking boots. Obviously this depends on where you are going but you really don’t need them unless you are doing some extreme hiking. We have trail shoes with us which are lighter to carry, thinner so they dry quick and they still have ample support and comfort. Hiking boots are the opposite. Bear in mind if Sherpas can scale Everest in flip flops I’m sure you can trek to a waterfall without hiking boots.
9. Sleeping bag. They are too big and bulky and hot. Use a silk liner instead.
10. Someone who has seen it all and done it all. If you manage to find one, run as fast as you can in the other direction. Of course meeting people is key, but dont let someone who thinks they know it all to put you off going to a particular place or tell you its rubbish. We all want different things from travelling and they probably have different ideas to you.
So…this is what we have experienced ourselves so far. If anyone has found anything else to be particularly helpful of unhelpful, we would love to know about it. It is great to hear about other peoples experiences.
—Love to all—