The perfect packing list …

Getting ready for a backpacking trip:

An almost perfect packing list

Going on a backpacking trip to Asia, Australia, South America, the USA, Europe or Africa means a bit of preparation. A good backpacking packing list can help not to forget the essentials like good hiking shoes, flip flops, travel towels, camera, smartphone and first aid equipment.

But the most important thing is for me to travel with light luggage. It’s just not realistic to go on a trip with 30 kilograms weight on your back. So, forget about most of the interessting things, that you can buy in outdoor shops. Probably you won’t need it as long as you don’t do extreme things. I went traveling for more than two years in a row. The first things, that I chucked out of my backpack was a travel hairdryer followed by unnecessary cosmetic products. I had the best times in the warm months, when my backpack was lighter than ten kilograms.

That’s why I  just put the most necessary things on the backpacking packing list, that I really needed while traveling or felt comfortable with.  Traveling around Asia, I met people traveling with just two shirts and a pair of shorts. That was not realistic for me, when I started my trip, but my backpack became constantly lighter and lighter. Many things, I also bought on the trip. Always remember: You are not leaving our globalized planet. There are always solutions. But sometimes, you won’t get the products/ clothes/ medication, that you are used to – or these things are a lot more expensive.

The backpacking packing list


  • Lightweight good quality raincoat

  • Fast drying hiking trousers with a belt (you might loose weight on the trip)

  • Lightweight hiking shoes and good quality socks

  • Flip Flops

  • Fleece top

  • Hoodie

  • Long sleeve shirt or light jacket and long cotton or linen trousers for chilly nights and for traveling in countries with a more conservative public dress code

  • Swimming wear

  • T-shirt and shorts

  • Skirt and leggings

  • Cotton underwear

  • Party outfit or summer outfit plus shoes (trainers or sandals or ballerinas) and maybe a small light bag

  • Fast drying travel towels

  • Sarong, that can be used as a scarf, blanket at beaches or in night buses

  • Light and small sleeping bag


Technical equipment

  • Digital camera plus memory cards, charger and charging cable

  • USB stick

  • External hard disk drive (to store your pictures)

  • Smart phone plus charging cable and/or small notebook

  • Adapter

  • Head torch plus batteries


Medical equipment

  • Sun screen (in some countries, sun screen is hard to get and very expensive)

  • Aftersun lotion

  • Mosquito repellent

  • Tiger balm for insect bites

  • Disinfectant

  • First aid equipment (including band aids, bandages, antiseptic cream, pain killers).

  • When I was in remote areas in Asia for longer periods, I also carried a small bag with medication against sickness at high altitudes, cystitis, diarrhea, as well as syringes, malaria prophylaxis, strong painkillers and antibiotics (all prescribed by a specialized travel doctor). I felt good having it. But I didn’t need any of that. Well, I got altitude sickness once, but forgot, that I carried medication with me. I started with the malaria prophylaxis in Asia, but after a while forgot to take the pills every second day and finally stopped it. And when I broke my ancle in Australia, I needed to go to a hospital. The one time, I got seriously sick for a few days because of food poisoning in Malaysia, I had to see a doctor anyway. And when a friend of mine got bitten by a wild dog in Mongolia and needed some rabies vaccination, nothing of the travel medication could help anymore – just the adventurous and long way to the next hospital.


Important Documents

  • Copies of your passport, flight tickets

  • Copy of your vaccination record

  • Passport pictures, that you might need for example for visa applications when traveling to multiple coutries

  • Medical insurance certificate and contact number

  • Data to reactivate your email account in case it gets blocked by your provider (it happened to me in Thailand and Myanmar and I didn’t know why)

  • Carry copies and safe the documents online


and more …

  • Pocketknife with integrated bottle opener and can opener

  • Spoon, fork and cup

  • Padlock
  • Mosquito net

  • Mosquito repellent

  • Nail scissors

  • Tampons (as they are hard to get in some countries or remote areas and you won’t want to start explaining to a non English speaking person on a market, what you need)

  • Cotton bags to separate clean and dirty clothes

  • Toilet paper

  • Two pens

  • Empty notebook/ travel diary


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