Whether you’re planning for first backpacking trip around the world or simply looking to get gear for your next vacation, this is the place to be. Below are my personal favorites based on budget, quality, and my experience with the product. Note: This is not a packing list, simply items that I constantly use and recommend.
Some links below are affiliate links (disclaimer). This means if you click the link, I may make a very small commission if you choose to purchase something from the website. I only recommend products that I personally use and trust.
I buy almost everything using Amazon Prime (free shipping, duh!), however you can certainly find these products elsewhere. Tip: Double check the return policy before purchasing.
Have a question? Leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help in any way I can.
My current backpack is the Osprey Porter 46L. It’s been upgraded since I purchased it, and while I love it (since its the BIGGEST backpack you can bring as a carry on), the back support could be better. I still use it (since it’s not always on my back), but I’ve tested out a few others that are also great!
Osprey Farpoint 40L – Slightly smaller than the Osprey Porter 46L, but the support for your back is so much better! There’s a female version too (Opsrey Fairview 40L). I tried both and like the fit of the men’s version better.
Osprey Farpoint 55L – This is similar to the 40L backpack above, however it includes a detachable 15L day bag too! The day bag is fantastic, but if you overstuff the main backpack, its kinda hard to get the day bag to attach (that’s just my opinion!). Here’s the female version (Osprey Fairview 55L).
*Check out my backpack basics guide to help pick a backpack that’s right for you.
*Top 10 Carry-On Travel Backpacks post coming soon!
Daybags (smaller backpacks)
Osprey Daylite – My favorite hiking backpack.
Packable Daybag Backpack – My favorite everyday backpack.
Large Crossbody Purse (no link available)
Small Crossbody Purse (no link available)
No Vacuum Needed Compression Bags – These are great when packing winter clothes. This is how I fit my Iceland clothes in my backpack with my European summer holiday clothes! #winning
Carabiners – These are a must have item. It helps so much to clip random things to your bag such as sneakers, water bottle, towel, etc. when packing quickly. They have saved me so many headaches over the years!
Backpack Cover – Optional for rain. I highly recommend it if you have electronics with you.
Phone/ Camera Waist Clip – I attach this to my waist belt when hiking to have easy access to my camera or phone because I really like to document my hikes. IG stories anyone?!
Shoe Bags – These sound silly but you don’t want to put dirty shoes into your backpack with all your clothes. Alternatively you can use plastic bags but they are so noisy when trying to pack or unpack (which is usually when everyone else is sleeping, grrr).
Eye Mask – You’d be surprised how many people turn on the light at 3am! I like the really crappy one they give you on airplanes but all my friends swear by this brand.
Earplugs – These are a must have item. These are my favorite earplugs because they work wonderfully AND the bright colors let everyone know that I have earplugs in my ears. I usually bring a few pairs with me.
Neck Pillow – Find one that easily clips onto your bag so you don’t have to carry it. An alternative is an inflated pillow too!
Headlamp / Torch – This hands-free flashlight is great for hiking (especially those sunrise hikes) and it also comes in surprisingly helpful when reading on busses, packing, looking for items during the night, etc.
Sleeping Bag / Bed Sheet Liner – Perfect for camping or staying in sketchy hostels. Silk liners are known to deter bed bugs so they won’t get onto your clothes and into your bag. I haven’t had a problem yet!
Poncho – I usually start my trips with only a rain jacket and end up buying a poncho somewhere along the way. They seem to cover a lot more of my body and belongings that the rain jacket does when it’s pouring.
Hanging Toiletries Bag – Hang this from your bunk bed to access all your belongings and in the shower to avoid getting all your stuff wet. Don’t forget to bring a big plastic bag to put your clothes in while you’re showering! [Note: I got mine on the road but I’ve included an example!]
Quick Dry Towel – You can rent a towel in some hostels, but its best to carry your own. This folds super tiny and is quick-drying (a favorite among backpackers).
Laundry Bags – These may sound silly but it helps keep my clean and dirty undergarments separate and can me used to wash delicates so they aren’t destroyed at the laundromat.
Febreeze – You stuff will start to smell. This will help!
Small Mirror – Find one that you can hang or one that folds and sits upright on a desk. Its perfect for doing your makeup when there are no mirrors in the dorms.
Diva Cup – This is a fantastic alternative to feminine products. Overseas it is not always easy to find exactly what you want/need, products take up a lot of space in your backpack, and disposing of them are not always convenient. The Diva Cup solves this. It’s weird at first but I promise its great!
Tiger Balm – This works for mosquito bites, sore muscles, headaches, etc.
Beat IT! All Natural Deet-Free Insect Repellent – This is a great deet-free alternative for bug spray.
Neosporin + Bandaids – Because well, I get hurt a lot. It’s nice to know you have a product that will work. Also, bandaids help tremendously with blisters from new shoes or too much walking.
Sunscreen – I like to purchase the aerosol version once I’m overseas (since it’s too big for a carry on). I like hands-free spraying so I don’t get lotion all over my hands and it dries quickly.
Ziplock bags + Plastic bags – You can never have too many bags!
Universal Adapter / Converter – This is a must have item. There is a difference between an adapter and a converter. You do not need both, an adapter should be fine.
Portable Charger (Large) – This is a must have item. I like the bigger battery because it lasts for several charges and has a lightning charge option which charges my phone so quickly! I honestly don’t ever leave home without it. Here’s a smaller charger but I personally LOVE my big one!
Phone Selfie Stick – I suggest the one with the cord (not the bluetooth version) so you do not have to worry about charging the stick.
Waterproof Phone Case (Lifeproof Case) – This case is indestructible! While I may not always go swimming with it, it makes me feel confident using my phone in the rain, leaving my phone on the table knowing someone will spill a drink after a long night, or bringing it boating just in case it drops in the water. Plus, I drop my phone all the time and so far, so good!
Waterproof Dry Bag + Floatie – I even have a backup waterproof bag for my phone. I’m paranoid it will get wet. Plus the floatie is so helpful if you do decide to bring it in the water (no sinking!).
Computers, Cameras + Tech
iPad mini 2 (32GB) – I used travel with this instead of a laptop because I could easily replace an iPad if it was lost or stolen. The iPad allowed me to easily look up flights, research destinations, and edit photos without having to look at my tiny iPhone screen. I used the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard and waterproof iPad mini 2 Case. Now I travel with a 13″ Macbook Air since I work online.
13″ Macbook Air – My go-to computer for its speed, size, and functionality.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 – I purchased this camera to “fill in” where my iPhone camera was lacking such as zoom and low lighting situations. This is a fantastic pocket-sized camera with manual controls, viewfinder, and wifi capabilities. I have an extra battery and charger so I can always have one in the camera and one ready to go.
GoPro Hero 6 – I recently purchase this and I am in love! Don’t forget to get at least 1 extra battery (preferably 2), a multiple battery charger, a selfie stick w/ tripod and remote (fabulous solo photography), at least 1 large (and fast) SD card, and possibly a case to put all this in. Although the GoPro Hero 6 can reach depths of 30m without underwater housing, if you dive, the colors will get distorted. This is not a GoPro thing, this is a science thing. Because of this, you’ll want to use a red lens which can only be attached to the corresponding housing (check the brands). For diving I also use anti-fog inserts and a floatie stick (so my camera doesn’t sink to the bottom of the ocean). There are plenty of discounted kits that include most of these items listed above (that’s what I did). Also, be sure to look for what you need such as a chest strap or car mount. This trip is about you! And fyi, while I haven’t personally used a dome, this is the tool you can use to take photos that are half above / half below water!
Osprey Daylite Backpack – (featured above)
Hiking Sneakers (Adidas) & Hiking Sneakers (Merrell) – I use the Adidas sneakers and love them! They are waterproof and have survived Iceland, Machu Picchu, and SE Asia’s crazy volcanoes. They also look like “normal” sneakers. My mom uses the Merrell’s and they are great too. Other options include sturdier boots with ankle support. Check the needs of your trip before purchasing.
SmartWool Trekking Socks – I never knew I needed special hiking socks until I had them. Game changer! Opt for medium or heavy padding depending on your hike. I prefer the taller version, as they keep my shins clean and pebbles out of my socks.
Walking Poles – I bring these on short trips, but don’t lug them around the world with me.
Water Bladder – I bring this on short trips, but I have seen many people bring these with them on longer travels.
Nuun Electrolyte Tablets – Perfect from rehydration and energy.
Wet Wipes – We all get dirty. These help!
*If a link does not work, please let me know so I can update it and provide you with the best alternative 🙂 Thanks!
Note: This is not a packing list. These are merely suggestions of products I use and recommend.
Disclaimer: This post is not in collaboration with any of these products, and to make the lawyers happy, note that I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. The products I choose to share are not endorsed by the brand, and as such, my recommendations remain unbiased and reflect my own opinion. Affiliate links do not impact the price you pay (actually they may be lower in some cases) and they may provide me with a very small commission if you choose to purchase the item.