Backpacking around the world? Spending a gap year in Southeast Asia? Take these seven essential items with you.
When backpacking, it’s often far too tempting to simply buy a bag, stuff it full of clothes and books and hit the road. Over the years we’ve come to learn that packing a little bit of order into your backpack, and preparing for certain scenarios can be a life-saving endeavor. So we’ve put together a little list of backpacking essentials–taking into consideration, of course, modern whimsies and conveniences and space issues.
All too often overlooked. This is your wardrobe, your storage box, your diary holder, laptop protector, best friend, and pillow. Choose your backpack wisely–do you need lots of space? What about pocket storage and comfort? If you intend to do a lot of trekking for days or weeks at a time, then you’ll need comfort and durability–as well as good suspension. If you’re off to the city make sure you get a backpack with a good locking mechanism. The rainforest? Make sure it’s waterproof!
One of many essentials that one hopes to never need and so leaves behind. In reality, this should be stuffed in your bag and packed with plasters, dressings, water treatment tablets, rehydration sachets, antihistamines, mosquito patches/ repellents and whatever may be relevant to your trip. Don’t discount this one–we recall a story of how a first trip incurred a broken toe from diving, a mild allergic reaction to an exceptionally amorous mosquito and cuts to various degrees while jungle trekking–a basic first aid kit is a backpacking necessity.
Universal travel adapters are great lil’ things. Basic but endlessly useful. They ensure continuity of all your devices no matter where you find yourself–making sure you can tweet, type and blow dry your hair no matter where in the world you end up. You’ll even learn a few things. For example, Italian sockets often need plug adapters too as there are several varieties of plugs in Italy…because…you know, Italy. Here in Asia things are little simpler. You’ll just need the European rounded style two-pin plug, the American flat style one, or occasionally even the British three-pin one. We suggest you make life easy and get yourself a universal travel adapter with USB slots for your gadgets.
The torch is such a simple and elegant device. If I need a light, I use a torch. The most basic of primate needs to be realized in a simple device. Don’t imagine yourself lost in the wilderness trying to build a fire under torchlight–think long train journeys, everyone is asleep and your only means to see your way around your backpack is by shining your torch inside. Thinking of staying in a nature reserve where electricity is restricted to the daylight hours? Then you may well need your torch to find your way back to bed at night. The possibilities are endless…and well-lit.
The unfortunate truth about travel–from Bangkok to London–is that pickpockets and petty thieves are everywhere. You can either hope not to become a victim or do something about it before it’s necessary. Snap your backpack with a good quality padlock (useful for handbags too when you’re deep in the heart of an unfamiliar city) and use a cable lock on your bike if you’re cycling through Asia.
Have a story to tell? From discovering hidden gems to crossing out must dos, share these tales with us to be featured on our website and inspire others to explore Southeast Asia!