Packing list for backpacking

The Perfect Packing List For Backpacking 2020

This post may contain some affiliate links. We’ll get a couple of quid if you use the link – at no cost to you of course. We’ll also always be honest and only suggest companies, hotels or products we actually think are worth it!

This packing list for backpacking is everything you will need to make the most of your backpacking experience. Don’t leave it to chance, and don’t spend more money than you should!

Let me tell you straight away, this packing list is not for climbing mountains and living in the woods. Backpacking, these days, has two meanings; one, trekking long distances with a tent and stove on your back and two, backpacking around countries in different parts of the world on buses, trains and anything else you can afford.

This is where the biggest problem comes in, the packing list for the two activities is completely different. Whilst travelling around the world, the vast majority of backpackers, I have come across, have amazing $250 hiking bags filled with socks and t-shirts.

They nearly always have a sleeping bag capable of going -10 degrees and wearing boots that wouldn’t look out of place in the Antarctic.

So, ask yourself, are you going to be staying in the wild for multiple days at a time? If not then let me save you some money, with this budget packing list for backpacking, so you can maximise your backpacking experience.

An Honest Cost Saving Packing List For Backpacking

No Backpack?

Straight away, you might be thinking, ‘there isn’t a large backpack in this guide’. I will go on to recommend a backpack in a minute but the vast majority of people don’t need one so I haven’t included it in my essentials.

The reason for this is very simple, I have been travelling for 4 years now and I literally hate my backpack.

  • Before I go, I have to make sure that all of the loose ends are taped up so they don’t get caught in the conveyor belt at the airport. A lot of people don’t do this but there’s no way I’m risking losing my bag before I get to my destination.
  • I get off at my destination airport and go to put my bag in the overhead locker on the bus or train. These places were not designed for this shape so I’ll have the bag on your lap or in the middle of the floor for large portions of your trip.
  • Maybe it’s colder than I thought so I go to get a sweater out of my bag. It literally takes me ages to find anything because I’m basically rummaging around trying to guess where something is.
  • After all this, I realise that I could’ve bought everything else in my whole packing list, except technology, for the same amount as the bag cost.

You, also, definitely don’t need a large backpack for day trips. Just use the foldable daysack in the list above.

If you simply cannot stand the fact that you will be a backpacker without a backpack then I recommend this – the Osprey Volt 60. This really is a fantastic bag and will handle anything you throw at it and more.

Also, if you are going to be hiking and camping a lot on your trips then a backpack would also come in handy.

Back to Top

Essentials List

Back to Top


I could sell out and tell you to buy some breathable, microfibre super clothes that will keep you refreshed and alert throughout your backpacking experience but I won’t.

A backpacker simply does not need expensive clothes designed for experienced and serious trekkers.

The majority of this list will be things you’ll have in your wardrobe right now, but if you don’t you can grab a cheap pack before you go. This packing list for backpacking is all about saving money!


I recommend taking the following quantities;

  • 7x Socks
  • 7x Underwear
  • 7x T-Shirts
  • 1x Shorts
  • 1x Trousers/Shorts

This is enough for one week of travelling and you would have to be very remote to not find a laundrette in this time. Even then, just wear the same thing twice, you’re a backpacker, not a glamper.

Back to Top


Getting unnecessary technology is a really good way to waste money before you go on your backpacking trip. I see many packing lists for backpacking that include; laptops, DSLR cameras, portable WiFi boxes, etc.

The main thing to remember is why you are going on the backpacking trip and what you can make the most out of. If you are dead set on staying in touch with family and friends wherever you are, then a strong portable WiFi box is probably not too bad an option. In my experience, however, many of these things become gimmicks and you hardly ever get them out of the bag.

For me, cameras are a big deal. I hate it when I see something beautiful and the camera that I have doesn’t capture it how I want. For most people, a simple point and shoot, or even a camera phone will suffice on capturing those precious memories.

Back to Top


These a few odds and ends that I think are essential, in your packing list for backpacking, but I didn’t know what section to put them in.

Read More: Fun Campervan Accessories You Should Buy!

Back to Top

If I come up with anything else that you definitely need then I will add it to the list. Just REMEMBER, there are so many things that you will read about that you are told that you need for your backpacking trip. Don’t be fooled into spending hundreds of dollars that you could be spending on an amazing diving experience or excursion.

If there is anything in this list that you don’t agree with or anything that you think is completely necessary, then let me know in the comments above. I’m all about saving money so if we can take something off or replace a product with something better and cheaper, then let’s do it.

Click on the image to repin this post!

Packing List For Backpacking - Pinterest 2


  1. These are great suggestions, thank you! I feel like for each trip I learn something new, and even after traveling to about 20 countries I definitely can improve on packing!

    1. Author

      Yep we definitely learn something new everytime we pack!

Leave a Comment