Whether you’re backpacking through the wilderness or around a foreign country, there are many useful items you can pack to ease your travels.
Everyone should travel with ample water, a well-supplied first aid kit, and a phone. To start, you will need a backpack to fit all your kit list essential items, make sure you have one of these first and if not you can always find a used one on Gumtree. Here’s a quick rundown of some less obvious – though equally vital – items.
1) Replacement Phone and Battery
A phone is your link to friends, family, and emergency services. For many, it also functions as a clock, compass, map, information resource, and calculator. Always carry a backup phone with a fully charged battery. Taking along analogue versions of apps, like a paper map, will conserve battery power.
If you’re doing a lot of walking, even the best shoes or boots will break in time. If you wear glasses or shades, those can be especially fragile. Such items, plus many other items you’ll likely carry, can all be temporarily fixed with a good bonding agent. In a pinch, you can even use a good glue to seal minor injuries instead of stitching them. In fact, superglue was invented by the US army for exactly those kind of human “field repairs.”
3) Duct Tape
For anything superglue can’t fix, there’s duct tape. It can even be used as a makeshift bandage or to hold a splint on a broken limb.
4) Insect Repellent
Bugs are often one of life’s annoyances. Any sort of spray or rub to keep them off can make a journey far more pleasant. If entering malarial areas, be sure to take necessary preventative medications beforehand. While this may seem like a natural choice for backpackers, it makes the list because of how often it’s miserably forgotten.
In urban areas, a mirror is useful to make yourself presentable, but it can also be a real lifesaver if you’re lost in the wilderness. Angling the mirror to catch sunlight, ideally when situated in an open area, is a great way to attract attention from a distance.
Like a mirror, a whistle can be a great way to attract attention. The mirror trick won’t work at night or in a built-up or forested environment, so a whistle makes a great backup.
A sturdy and sharp knife is essential. While you can use it to defend yourself in a crisis, you’ll far more likely require its utility eventually, for any of a variety of simple tasks. A Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool, in addition to a fixed blade for more rugged work, is ideal.
8) Nutrient-Dense Food
Dark chocolate is a good choice; it’s packed with energy and won’t spoil. For prolonged travels, you might also pack some tinned food, like beans or spam. If so, remember your can-opener!
9) A Good Hat
If the weather turns cold, a warm hat will do wonders to conserve your body heat, most of which is lost through the head. If the weather is hot, a brimmed hat can prevent sunburn or even heat exhaustion.
10) Toilet Paper
Even if you’re backpacking through urban areas, you can’t always depend on the diligent stocking of public facilities. And in nature, hiking can become quite unpleasant if accidentally forced to use stinging leaves as a substitute. Toilet paper can also serve as starter fuel if you need to build a fire.
A torch is always worth taking, spare batteries too. If travelling potentially dangerous or uninhabited terrain, flares should be considered.
Alcohol can be used as an accelerant for fires, used to sterilise a wound, or traded for needed goods. It can also be drunk to numb discomfort or raise morale. Stored in a metal flask, you won’t have to worry about bottle breakages in your backpack.
Anything you’d add to the list and find invaluable to your travel kit?!