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Everything you need for travelling can be bought on Amazon. Here’s a packing list to get you sorted for your trip.
Best filtered water bottle ever. You can literally put swamp water in here and drink it. It removes 99.999% of bacteria, parasites, and microplastics from the water using their award-winning 2-stage filter that is good for up to 4000L or 1000 gallons. I bought this bottle in 2016 and I’ve been using it since. I think the bottle will break before the filter needs replacing. I bring this with me everywhere; it’s been to 10 different countries including the Phillipines, Cambodia, and Thailand where I filled it up with tap water. Normally you have to buy bottled water in those countries because the water is not clean or treated like in Western countries. Never got sick from contaminated water, never once regretted purchasing. I use this thing EVERY GODDAMN DAY. You’ll love this thing, buy it.
Nothing like a French-press and an insulated coffee mug in one compact package. My ex-girlfriend has this exact one in red and loves it, hell, I love it too. I have a Kathmandu one that I got here in New Zealand for $45 NZD and just like the Lifestraw above I use it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I actually think this one is higher quality than mine with its all-aluminum body and silicone grip, plus, it’s cheaper and shipped right to your door in 2 days with Prime shipping. Use the link to buy this now.
Some would say the 3 outlet one is too bulky and unnecessary but I disagree. I want to charge my laptop and my phone without having to rotate which one gets priority. But that’s not the only reason why this converter is good. The real reason you should buy this one is that this item down-converts 220 voltages to the more commonly used 110 voltages for US electronics. This is important so you don’t ruin your electronics or the power grid you’re connected to. Before plugging your electronics into a socket make sure to check the input voltage. It should say a range 110V-230V or something similar, that means it’s OK to plug into that range. If it’s a strict 110V you need a down-converter like this. Don’t be a fool, use this tool.
Pretty self-explanatory. Without a sleep mask I would never have slept in Norway, Sweden, or Iceland because in the summer, it doesn’t get very dark. Without earplugs I can’t sleep in noisy 16-bed hostels. There’s nothing special about this particular brand but I picked it because it’s a combo pack and the eye holes go around the bridge of your nose so no light gets through.
ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH A FIRST-AID KIT! I cut my toe on a piece of coral while swimming and I was thrilled I had this first-aid kit. This particular first-aid kit is the one I had when I cut my toe in Cambodia and I bought it because it’s super lightweight and waterproof, which other first-aid kits in this price range are not. I used nearly everything in there and then, guess what? I bought another one to replace it. Then when we went hiking in Oregon and got lost in the woods, we patched ourselves up with the antiseptic wipes, ibuprofen, and bandages. It won’t get you laid but you can be “the guy with the bandages.” Whatever your adventure, you need this first-aid kit.
6. Day Pack
Something you might not think about when travelling is to always carry a smaller lightweight day pack with you. When you drop your stuff at a hostel or a hotel and are staying there for a week you will want a small backpack to carry things back from the grocery store or to carry around your wallet or whatever. A nice small, lightweight, packable bag is perfect. I used to have a drawstring bag for this purpose but now I use a Macpac brand backpack (New Zealand equivalent to REI) similar to the one I’ve recommended here.
Notice I said backpack and not luggage. There’s so many benefits to using a large hiking backpack versus rolling luggage. The main benefit is putting everything you brought with you onto your back for easier transport. There are many brands to choose from, from the many I would stick with the most popular brands (Osprey, Gregory, Deuter, REI Co-Op) as they tend to be longer lasting, have better features, and are more comfortable to wear. These backpacks have their capacity measured in Liters (L) and usually denoted by a number: 50L, 65L, 22L, 40L + 10, etc. As a backpacker I think 50L would be the smallest I would consider and 80L would be the largest. My first backpack that was stolen from me was a Gregory Stout 65L and I think that was a good size for me and my needs. The Gregory Stout included a rain cover and a day pack with a space for trekking poles which I enjoyed. “You get what you pay for” applies to backpacks; the more expensive they are, the lighter, more comfortable, and higher quality they get. On a final note, make sure you measure yourself correctly and get a bag that fits your size. See this article from REI on how to measure yourself for your backpack.
If you’re doing any water sports like kayaking or going on a boat, a dry bag will keep the water out, obviously. However, dry bags have added benefits and those are their ability to compress the contents and keep smells in which makes them perfect for storing dirty laundry! When the bag is not in use keeping my things dry I use one to store and compress my dirty laundry. I have an 8L size and it’s pretty big so stick to between 5-10L capacity. I haven’t used the one linked but it’s an Amazon bestseller and I tend to think the review are honest in this case. Any brand will likely be good, I’ve used a Sea to Summit brand and they were great and now I use a Macpac brand bag. They’re all pretty much the same PVC plastic, roll-top bags.
Kind of in line with the Dry Sack mentioned a moment ago, compression sacks are very similar in their use here. You can put dry clean clothes into them and compress them into a smaller package for your backpack. What differentiates them from the aforementioned dry bag is the straps on the sides that compress whatever is inside more efficiently. Like I said, these things are amazing for clothes and keep them all in one place. I have not tried the linked product but it is an “Amazon’s Choice” item with many credible reviews. We used a Sea to Summit brand compression sack and it was great.
You should probably get a kindle or similar e-reader with a battery that lasts weeks and doesn’t need constant recharging loaded with your favorite books. You’ll always have downtime or a chance to read while travelling so pick this baby up, the benefits are obvious. I actually prefer paperback books while travelling because I can leave them in a hostel and pick up something else to read from the free bookshelf. You do you.
11. Packing Cubes
My German girlfriend uses packing cubes and loves them so much she’s convinced me to give them a try. She uses them to keep her clothes sorted, separated, and neatly folded in her bag and it’s hard to argue with that level of German efficiency. I bought a 3-piece assorted size to try out from Kmart and was disappointed with the quality, not to mention the large size was way too big for a backpack. I would consider buying the linked AmazonBasics brand ones and trying them out for myself but again, the large sized one is just too big. If you consider paying a bit more, these Eagle Creek compression cubes look to be pretty legit for compressing your clean clothes.
Headphones are a no-brainer to bring with you and you probably have a favorite pair already. I only wish to comment on the type of headphones best for travelling. Wired in-ear/earbud style headphones are the best for obvious reasons. They are small and compact and never need charging. On my trip to Norway I brought a pair of earbud Bluetooth headphones and once they ran out of battery I never used them again because I never had an opportunity to recharge them. On-ear or over-ear headphones are simply too bulky. My recommendation here is to stay in the $15-$30 range for the perfect price:quality ratio. The market is so saturated with headphones that I don’t want to recommend a bad pair and get blamed but here’s what I use. They are the same brand as my phone so that’s why I bought them. Pack smart, get a pair of wired earbuds.
I currently use a OnePlus 3T smartphone and love it. Does everything I need it to and takes pretty good pictures. Before that I had a Samsung Galaxy S5 which didn’t take as great of pictures. If you need some suggestions on the best travel smartphones, check out this article by the travel technology guys over at Too Many Adapters.
It probably doesn’t need to be said but it wouldn’t hurt to remind you, you should bring your sunglasses. Get some dope-ass shades bruh!
15. Microfiber towel
The Packtowl Deluxe is the crème de la crème of backpacking towels. Lightweight and packable just like a microfiber towel but soft and absorbent like a cotton towel. I currently have a microfiber towel and I’m planning on upgrading to this “deluxe” towel because I’m tired of the flat microfiber towel that everyone uses. Microfiber towels dry quickly but they just don’t dry your skin as well as a cotton towel. Even for budget backpacking I think a travel towel is one of the best ways one can splurge for more comfort so I’ve recommended the towel I will buy once my microfiber towel wears out.
I used a Marmot Catalyst 2P Tent on my 2 month hiking trip through Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Oregon and have zero complaint with it. The main thing you want with a tent is a “backpacking tent” that fits 2 people and is light enough for your needs. With tents, the lighter and bigger they are the more expensive they are so choose accordingly. This one I found on Amazon meets and exceeds the criteria I would look for in a backpacking tent: 2-person, 2-pole design, 2 doors, included rainfly, included footprint, and right around that 5lb mark. An “Amazon’s Choice” item right around $110 dollars with prime shipping is great. This one is a contender as well and $10 cheaper. Like I said before, you will pay significantly more money for tents lighter than this.
17. Waterproof Jacket and Pants
Really depends on what climate you’re headed to but if you’re going to Scandinavia in Summer like I did you will need rain gear. You don’t always have to wear them but you will be happy you brought them, trust me. I had this exact rain jacket and it was the perfect balance of price and features. The main feature is obviously that it’s waterproof but it’s nice that it’s also “breathable” and windproof. I did not have these exact rain pants but the price is right for both of these items so I feel comfortable recommending them both as a pair.
18. Hiking Socks
While there are many different style socks available but not all socks are created equal. Just like these that I recommend, I have a pair of merino wool blend socks that I use for hiking. 4 pairs might seem excessive but not if you’re in Iceland and to do a load of laundry (wash cycle only no dryer) costs $10 USD. Merino wool is expensive and known for its moisture wicking and odor-resistant properties. A one-two punch with socks. You should get these socks bro.
19. Sleeping Pad
There’s a few different types of sleeping pads to choose from but the primary distinctions between them that you need to know are price/size/comfort. There’s basically 3 types to choose from and there are pros and cons of each. Not to mention insulated vs. non-insulated.
The first type is a foam sleeping pad and they are cheap and lightweight but can’t be packed up small and are the least comfortable. They are extremely popular with thru-hikers due to their weight advantage.
The second type is a self-inflating pad. These pads are filled with an inflatable foam and can be quite comfortable and affordable although the trade-off is size/weight. My ex-girlfriend had one of these types and was great until a hole developed and did not stay inflated.
Third type is what I’ve recommended here and it is an inflatable pad. I used this exact pad for 3 months of hiking. These are most similar to a pool floaty and you usually have to inflate them yourself which can be exhausting after a day of hiking although they pack up the smallest of the three types. Only downside is price and they can be fragile, a hole could develop easily and ruin an otherwise good sleep. In my opinion the inflatable type is the most comfortable.
20. Down Jacket
Arguably the best way to keep warm in winter (or a Scandinavian Summer!) is with a down jacket and thankfully there are many options. Here’s what you want to look for in a down jacket. Waterproof, lightweight, and packable. Using those keywords, go find yourself a jacket in the color and style you deserve.
I’m a big fan of hiking so when I plan for outdoor activities I bring my hiking boots with me. Currently I own a pair of Timberland hiking boots and they’ve lasted me 2 years now. If you’re more of a lightweight hiker go for a pair of hiking shoes, although you may sacrifice the waterproof-ness and ankle support a boot affords.
I think this one speaks for itself. You want a beanie in the cold weather and one that is small and lightweight. No need to buy some crochet knit beanie with a pomp om on top, just follow the K.I.S.S. method, Keep It Simple Stupid. With backpacking and hiking you need to save as much space as possible so just get a basic beanie that fulfills this task. The one I’ve recommended is an Icebreaker brand beanie made of New Zealand Merino Wool. It may look a little gay but I guarantee it’ll keep your gay little head warm.
Whatever gloves you have on-hand. HA! I crack myself up.
In all seriousness tho, get a pair of gloves to keep your cute little fingers warm. I prefer a pair of digital gloves where you can still operate your smartphone without taking them off. They’re cheap so just pick up a pair and thank me later.
When it comes to outdoor backcountry cooking, Jetboil is king and for good reason. I bought an off-brand Jetboil and it was just OK, the plastic started to melt on the side and the insulation was melting off but it fulfilled its purpose. I saved $20 on the off-brand but a Jetboil would have been far higher quality, and this one comes with a French press attachment for coffee/tea. Just read the reviews, they’re overwhelmingly good and people swear by them, including me.
There’s a whole crapload of camping cookware in the market now and buyers are spoiled for choice. I don’t know the exact one that I bought but it was similar to the one linked here. All of them on Amazon are variations of essentially the same product. The cookware performed above my expectations, especially considering the price of $20 USD. Really my only complaint about these is the burner/stove/heating element is crap and broke after 2 uses so don’t bet your life on it. Also, the non-stick coating managed to relieve itself from its duties but other than that, I was actually impressed at this thing.
26. Titanium Spork
When it comes to eating your camping food, you need utensils, right? Well, this titanium spork from Light my Fire is the ultimate utensil: Fork, spoon and knife all-in-one. I do not have this exact spork but I’ve gone through 2 of their plastic “original” sporks and they snap in the middle after some use so I would have saved money just buying the titanium one and while it may be a bit expensive, this thing is light weight and won’t ever break. This item is highly rated on Amazon for a reason and another “Amazon’s Choice” item.
If your backpack didn’t come with rain cover then you’ll need to buy one separately. A pack cover is one of those things you don’t want to have to buy but should. I used mine extensively in Northern Europe and I always put it around my backpack when I check my bag at the airport for some extra bag protection.
28. Hiking Poles
If you’re doing a lot of hiking, you want hiking poles. They can help you up hills and in general help with stability. You’ve probably seen people use them in the past and for good reason. They might be more expensive but get cork grips, they keep the sweat away. There’s a good article from REI about how to choose hiking poles with the size and features that are important to you.
29. Sleeping Bag
Hiking and camping will require you to buy a sleeping bag. Thankfully there are many choices out there but unfortunately there are many choices out there, so how do you choose the right one? First determine the lower limit of temperature you need, they are rated by their lower temperature limit and fill. My sleeping bag is 20°F so pretty cold and it’s only a 3 season sleeping bag. In California, a 3 season bag is all I will ever need unless I’m camping in the snow. The other variable to consider is the size of the bag when packed into the stuff sack, the smaller the better. I have not used the one I’ve recommended but this one has everything I’ve mentioned you should look for. Don’t skimp on price and be tempted to buy a cheap bag, a good quality bag will cost over $100.
30. Travel Pillow
I have this travel pillow in moss green and it’s just insanely comfortable and packable. I don’t think there’s a better travel pillow on the market. It packs up about the size of a grapefruit or a softball when not in use. Perfect for a plane or in a tent, I don’t think you can go wrong buying this one.
31. Biodegradable Toilet Paper and Wet Wipes
Get yourself some biodegradable toilet paper and wet wipes and tweet @travellersatlas with how happy you are with this purchase. The coreless biodegradable toilet paper and wet wipes are always on me because you just never know when nature calls.
32. Biodegradable soap: Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s
This magical elixir cleans everything. It’s super concentrated so you only need a little bit and can use it to clean your dishes, your clothes, or your body. I stand by this soap 100% but recently I’ve found a soap I like even more and carry around with me to every new country I visit. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, the best biodegradable soap I’ve found to date and it comes in convenient little 2oz bottles. Buy the sampler to find out which scent you like the most, my favorites are: unscented, lavender, peppermint, and the sandalwood (not pictured) scents.
You probably need like 3-5 shirts depending on the activities you plan on engaging in and what your style is. 1 shirt you should reserve for a nice night out like a collared low-maintenance dress shirt and the rest should be comfortable and low-maintenance as well. Merino wool is a great option but anything polyester would be great as well because they both wick-away sweat. Merino wool is the better (but more expensive) option because it controls odors better than polyester. In my opinion, stay away from cotton unless it’s just for lounging around. Cotton is super comfortable but it holds odors and takes too long to dry if it gets wet. Keep cotton for bedtime.
Find something easy to care for, quick drying, and fits your personal style. Light weight is a plus and light, breathable, fabric like polyester or nylon blend should be a strong consideration. I personally have 3 pairs of shorts, one is swim wear but when dry double as street wear, the other two are tan and grey to match with all types of tops. My favorite shorts are the Quicksilver amphibian line, water resistant and comfortable lightweight polyester/cotton blend in “Elmwood” (tan) color. If they hadn’t gotten stolen in New Zealand in January 2018 I’d still be wearing them.
Same general rules apply for pants, lightweight and breathable if possible, but I make an exception for a nice pair of jeans. I love jeans so I bring my favorite pair along with me. I currently own a pair of Lucky Brand 121 Heritage Slim fit jeans and find them to be my go-to pair of pants in my bag. Other notable pants that are not jeans would be a pair of hiking pants that can zip-off at the knees.
36. Walking shoes
Street shoes, casual shoes, call them whatever you like just know that you’ll need a pair of casual street-walking shoes for everyday jaunts about the town. A lot of travellers use Converse Allstars and while they are a good looking, dependable, and durable all-around shoe for everyday activities, they lack bigly in the comfort department so I do not recommend them. I instead, recommend a pair of Adidas Samba. Best all-around shoe, wear them to the office, the soccer pitch, or in the backyard, I haven’t found a situation these shoes don’t look great in.
You will see some of the most beautiful sites in the world and you will want to capture it on a camera better than your smartphone. Smartphones are great but they lack behind a purpose-built camera in so many ways, mainly zoom capabilities. Whether you’re looking for point-and-shoot or an interchangeable lens DSLR camera, many cameras are better than a camera phone. Plus, you look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. The Sony a6000 is a popular choice for beginners and experts alike that you cannot go wrong with.
While you don’t really need to travel with a laptop I do because I want something to type on and run a web business from. I use a 2017 HP Spectre x360 13” if you were interested. Mine came with one but if you buy a laptop, get a warranty. I think the only thing I could add to your consideration is what size screen you should get and I can definitively say 13-inch is the best for portability and weight. A 15-inch screen would be nice but thinking about the added weight and reduced battery life is not for me.
Good camera if you don’t have anything other than a cellphone and waterproof so it’s amazing for underwater shots. I took many pictures with my Gopro before it was stolen and am considering buying another one when I have enough money. The Hero 6 looks to be a winner.
40. Power bank
Backup batteries for everything. Camera, phone, electric shaver, dildo (kidding), whatever! You should carry a backup battery and there’s no better way to do that than with a portable power bank. The market is saturated with these products which is great for the consumer. I’d suggest getting a power bank with a maximum of 10000 mAh capacity. You can charge your phone about 3 times with this size and you won’t run into any troubles carrying it through airports. Also good features to have are a durable and waterproof casing with solar charging. The one I’ve recommended I have not used but it is an “Amazon’s Choice” item and fits the needs I’ve outlined perfectly.
A hat is great if you don’t want to do your hair, which is most days. Also it keeps the sun out of your eyes. I can’t believe I’m explaining this to you right now. Get a wide brim sun hat just for fun. Look how happy this guy is, buy his hat.
Sandals, slippers, jandals, thongs. Whatever you call them, you need a pair in your bag. You probably have a favorite pair in your house that you could put to good use or maybe you want an entirely new pair. They’re easy to find worldwide so choose whatever matches your style. I prefer a bath slipper, like what I’ve recommended here because they are slip resistant, waterproof, sand-proof, durable, cheap, and you can wear them with socks if you want (don’t @ me).
43. Cable Organizer
I wish I would have had one of these because all my cables, chargers, SD cards all ended up in an unsorted mess in a pocket of my bag. If I had this thing it would have helped keep everything more organized.
Doesn’t need to be expensive, just shop around for a nice belt to hold your pants up. Even better is to make sure it’s a money belt so you can hide some cash in case something goes horribly wrong and you need cash. Get a color that matches your outfits and you’re set.
Not entirely necessary but great for if you’re going to the beach, on a boat, or to Thailand’s Songkran water festival. You could probably bring your camera phone diving with you in this thing, although I haven’t tried it for that purpose.
46. Bungee cords
Bungee cords are the best. I used them to strap things to the outside of my bag. They’re just super useful for random things that you should pick some up, you never know what you’ll need them for.
47. Sewing kit
You may find your clothes or your backpack with a hole in it or with a button missing. I think it’s inevitable. Thankfully, you can pack a small sewing kit and it doesn’t take long to learn a few simple sewing stitches to boot. Your sewing kit should be simple and tiny, I recommended one that is just that.
A small lighter for firing up the Jetboil you purchased earlier. You really only need one but a backup would be nice in case you lose it.
49. Hand sanitizer
A small little hand sanitizer. Not critically important but definitely useful if you don’t have water nearby and need to clean your hands. Pick this up at your local convenience store.
50. Face Lotion
This may seem out of the ordinary but I always have my favorite age-defying face lotion in my bag. Along with the other toiletries like a toothbrush, body soap, and nail clippers, I bring along face lotion. With aging comes the inevitability of wrinkles but I hope to stave off face wrinkles with consistent use of anti-aging lotion. This won’t be news to women who have known about the benefits of looking youthful for centuries but rather a tip to all the young men out there. Men, you don’t want your face to look like a shriveled, pasty ballbag by the time your 50 right? As the great Bill Burr once said, “there’s no shirt for your face.”