As a wanderlust addict and backpacker, it’s important for me to have the right travel gear. I do hours of research before purchasing a new item, and when I find something I really love, I use it for years. Packing minimally for an adventure is a challenge, but it’s the only way to go! Find out what I pack for my travels by reviewing the packing lists below.
Backpacking Travel Gear Essentials
- LARGE BACKPACK: Osprey Aura 50 AG Backpack. I’ve been using this backpack for over a year now, and it has already traveled with me to Iceland, France, Mexico, Thailand, China and Taiwan. I love it! It’s durable and the perfect size for long trips, or cold weather trips that require more/heavier clothing items. I used to have a 65 liter backpack and it was just too huge. The Aura 50 is designed to carry up to 50 pounds, which is plenty for my minimal packing routine.
- OR SMALL BACKPACK: Recently I’ve started to pack even lighter. When I do, I love my Gregory J28. I used this pack for hiking the Inca Trail in Peru (4 days) and for travels around Guatemala and El Salvador (10 days). With a second smaller bag, such as the day pack I listed below, this bag is plenty for hot weather regions which require smaller/lightweight clothing.
- DAY PACK: Codura TravellingLight 20 liters. I love this teeny tiny lightweight day pack. No frills here, but it packs so small it’s hard to beat this minimal day pack.
- COMPRESSION SACS. Great for organization and space saving. I use three clear compression sacks. One for shirts, one for pants, and one for my underwear, bras and socks. I also use this sac for dirty clothes.
- HANGING TOILETRY BAG. Must have for hostels and community bathrooms.
- RFID TRAVEL PURSE. Protection from identity theft. I like this style and brand.
- WATER BOTTLE. I pack my lightweight Vapur for domestic travel and my LifeStraw for travel abroad.
- QUICK DRY TOWEL. Most hostels will not provide a towel for you.
- FLASHLIGHT and/or HEADLAMP
- EAR PLUGS. Essential for sleeping on trains, planes, buses and hostels.
- EYE MASK. Essential for sleeping on trains, planes, buses and hostels.
- TOILETRIES. I tend to pack light when it comes to toiletries – just the necessities. I can always purchase items as needed at my location.
Women’s Backpacking Clothing – The Basics
- BRAS X 2: One regular and one sports bra
- WOOL SOCKS X 2. One thick and one thin.
- UNDERWEAR. Exifficio Underwear can be washed in the shower and dry by lunch. For ultralight, I pack two pair.
- BATHING SUIT X 1
- HIKING PANTS X 1. Choose a pair that will zip off into shorts, like these.
- JEANS X 1
- QUICK DRY SHORTS X 1. For sleeping, running/working out and as a bathing suit cover up.
- T-SHIRTS X 2. Or I buy t-shirts as I need them at my destination. They make great souvenirs.
- LONG SLEEVE SHIRT X 1
- SARONG X 1. Great to wear in temples or as a bathing suit coverup. I bought mine in Thailand.
- LONG DRESS. Lightweight and conservative for both temple/church tours and fancy nights out.
- SWEATSHIRT or FLEECE X 1
- BUFF. Great for keeping warm, repelling bugs, wiping sweat and covering up greasy hair!
- SNEAKERS. I use shoes that double for running and day hikes
- FLIP FLOPS. For the beach and public showers. I like these for comfort.
- TECHNICAL SANDALS, for day hiking in hot climates, or HIKING BOOTS for long hiking trips.
FOR COLD CLIMATE TRAVEL:
Swap out hot weather items for the following:
- JACKET. Depending on where I’m going, I pack a puffy coat or rain jacket.
FOR HOT CLIMATE TRAVEL:
Swap out cold weather items for the following:
- SUN HAT
- TANK TOPS X 2
- LINEN or COTTON PANTS
Technical Travel Gear
- MACBOOK AIR 13″ with Photoshop and Final Cut Pro editing software.
- IPHONE 6S with Spigen case and tempered glass screen protector. Downloaded with my favorite travel maps and aps, such as Google Translate. I’m thinking of upgrading my phone / camera soon.
- GOPRO with underwater housing and scuba dive filters. For rugged or underwater photography.
- FLEXIBLE TRIPOD: This lightweight, flexible tripod is perfect for my camera and GoPro.
- SONY RX100 iii. For high quality photos and video, this minimalist point and shoot is great.
- TRAVEL ADAPTOR
- HEADPHONES. Small and durable pair.
Disclosure: Some of the travel gear links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission. Regardless, I only recommend products I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.