Backpacking is an inexpensive way to see the world. It’s also a very social and compact way to visualize it. Your life is on your back and it needs to get you through weeks, months or sometimes years. It’s pretty obvious you need a backpack but what other items will make life on the backpacking trail more comfortable and fun?

Aloe Vera Gel

The message has sunk in for most people – if you’re going somewhere sunny you need sunscreen. The problem is many people forget to put it on or don’t reapply after a swim and then doze while getting a tan. Regardless of how you get sunburnt, you’ll be relieved when you pull a tube of Aloe Vera gel out of your pack and are able to sooth the pain after a misspent day in the sun.

Aloe Vera is a plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. It helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity on our cells.

Duct Tape

Replacing broken items in the midst of your travels can be expensive. A roll of duct tape though, is the ultimate repair kit for those with no actual skills in repairs. Find a hole in your backpack? Tape it up. Your shoes are leaking? Duct tape should keep your feet (relatively) dry. If you find yourself hiking and your water bottle is leaking. Duct tape! It won’t take up much room in your pack but will be a big help.


Backpacking is generally, but not always, a young persons game. Let’s be honest: when you were young, consequences were the last thing on your mind. They’re certainly the last thing on your mind when you’re partying late into the night with your new best friends. Travel insurance is a safety net to keep you covered when unexpected accidents or losses happen. Chances are, they won’t - but you do need to be prepared.

Tote Bag

Basically a reusable cloth bag you can fold up and fit in the corner of your backpack. Makes life easier when you’re bringing food and drinks back to the hostel. As we’ve said backpacking is a social experience so you’ll be buying for a group. Also, they’re perfect for daytrips and more environmentally friendly then plastic bags.

Helpful apps

You’ll no doubt have your smartphone or tablet with you so load up these apps before you leave.

HostelBookers allows you to search and book low priced hostel accommodation. It also features user reviews so you can tell if that price really is too good to be true.

This takes a bit of preparation but Jet Lag App helps you sync your body with your destination’s time zone. Tell the app where you are, where you’re flying to and what time you’re leaving – it determines a sleep pattern to prepare you so you can hit the ground running on arrival. The cheapest way to explore any new city is by bike.

MapMyRide lets you plan your route beforehand so you don’t get lost.


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