Everybody has their own travel necessities. Some people need a neck pillow for the long journey. Others swear by having a trusty pocket knife to be ready for any situation. But, when you’re backpacking, every ounce counts. It’s important to have things that are handy in a myriad of situations. While I’m firmly convinced you’ll remember to pack your camera and underwear, I’m compelled to share the 10 not-so-obvious must pack items we can’t live without.
Don’t leave home without these must pack items:
1. SEWING KIT w/DUCT TAPE
They say you can fix anything with duct tape…it’s more or less true, but you’ll want a needle and thread too. If you’re on the road doing long-term travel, your gear is going to get some wear and tear. If you’re trying to stretch your money, mend your deteriorating gear, don’t replace it. From shoes to backpacks, we’ve sewn and duct taped countless items, extending their life and saving our money. They even sell travel duct tape rolls. If you already have a regular roll, wrap a bit around a golf pencil and create your own must pack travel friendly roll.
2. UNLOCKED MOBILE PHONE
This has been huge for our travels. We scoop up a SIM as soon as we enter a country, buy a prepaid plan of minutes and data, and we’re on our way. Plans are usually cheap, and save you from paying high roaming costs. Having access to the web allows us to make our travels spontaneous and fluid. We’re able to look up info, call ahead for availability or change plans on the go. It also keeps us from being dependent on that often elusive wifi. We just upgraded to a super sweet 128GB Google Pixel. Great camera, tons of storage. It makes screen time sooooo nice.
3. FIRST AID KIT
If you are on the go, hiking, climbing, or motor biking around the countryside, you should have a first aid kit. It’s important to have things to deal with blisters and minor cuts so these things don’t slow down your day, or worse, get infected. What you deem as must pack for your kit is up to you. At the very least you should carry band aids, some antiseptic, and pain reliever. We carry a bit more like anti-diarrhea pills, sleeping aids, and zinc tablets. We like to raid the cabinets before we go and build our own. If that’s not your style, get an already prepared first aid kit.
I know, everyone’s phone has a flashlight on it now, but everyone is also always running low on battery…at the end of the day…when it gets dark. Besides, a headlamp is hands free. Our headlamps get a ton of use, weather it’s trying to find something while others are sleeping in a hostel dorm or walking to an unlit bathroom late at night. Plus, if you wrap your headlamp around your water bottle and you have a homemade lantern for those late night card games. The Black Diamond Revolt is currently lighting up our nights
A knife, bottle opener, scissors, etc. are all things you’re going to need at some point. Weather it’s a Swiss Army Knife or a TSA approved Leatherman, you’re going to want one tool with many functions. If you’re a carry-on only traveler like us, this can be tricky. Yes, there are flight approved tools. However, that doesn’t mean airport security officers aren’t always aware of their own rules. We’ve had one confiscated, despite being TSA approved. It’s nice to have something when your sunglasses need tightening, you’ve bought a wedge of cheese, or need to snip that duct tape you’ve packed thanks to reading this blog post. Hell, Kari even cut her hair with one.
6. TRAVEL SPEAKER
Music makes everything better. We use our speaker at the beach, to amp up our glamorous laptop TV watching, or even at impromptu hostel parties (just throw it in a cup and it pumps up our tiny speaker’s capabilities). A sturdy and waterproof speaker with Bluetooth connectivity won’t just amplify your tunes, but also your travels.
7. UNIVERSAL CONVERTER (W/USB PORTS)
Travelers need electrical outlets. In a full hostel, or guest house, outlets can be scarce. A universal wall charger with a couple USB ports can turn one outlet into many. We’ve got a nifty universal converter that is equipped with 2 USB ports. If we’ve got our computer plugged in, we can charge up to 5 devices using just one outlet. Here’s a great adapter!
8. RAIN GEAR
You can’t control the weather, so be prepared for it. If you’re going to be on the road for long periods of time, you’re going to see some rain. If you’re just on a short vacation, you can’t lose days to foul weather. Wether you’re a rain coat or an umbrella person, having some good, packable rain gear can save those rainy days. Don’t forget a rain fly for your backpack too. Rob rocks a North Face shell. Kari, a Marmot.
9. DAY BAG
It’s key to have a bag that is versatile, comfortable and the right size to carry the things you need when you’re out sightseeing. For us, it’s important that the bag is big enough to hold our camera, but can also hold things like a selfie stick, sarongs, and other odds and ends. Our usual go-to is a nice uni-sex shoulder bag (so we can take turns). We also like our backpack that folds into itself for easy packability when not needed.
Not all must pack items are created equal. This single piece of cloth is our most used item. It’s a multi-tool in it’s own right. A beach mat, blanket, scarf, dress, sun shade, laundry sack, etc. Our sarongs have improved so many situations that we just won’t ever travel without one. Sarongs are extremely packable, versatile, easy to find, and cheap. For a few dollars you get an invaluable travel tool.
We want to know all about your favorite must pack items. What must pack items do you travel with?
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