Backpacking Packing Tips

I am travelling around Aus/SE Asia at the beginning of next year.

Please share any packing essentials. Would also love to know of anything that was a waste of space / packing regret.


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Ohh that sounds so fun! I would highly recommend investing in some good packing cubes (don’t bother with cheap ones from Amazon which instantly break!). I have some from Away that are really durable and handy.

I’d also get a microfiber towel that can dry quickly on the go, and an all-in-one travel adapter so you only have to take one with you! Also LOTS of extra strong insect repellent for SE Asia as the ones over there aren’t very strong and won’t keep the mozzies away!

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Yes agree on the charger front & a battery pack as you never know when you might next not have access to a plug outlet. Don’t overpack toiletries you’ll quickly realise whats essential and most places you can pick up what you need on the move. pick a couple of versatile shoes one very practical for the day and one that works for day and night to save on space and weight!

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Totally agree regarding not taking too many toiletries as they are bulky and take up so much space.

I’d recommend getting 1-2 compression bags specifically for backpacking for some of your clothes like swimwear and layers which you won’t be wearing all the time. Helps you fit more in your rucksack, especially when you inevitably will buy things on your travels. A travel pillow that can compress (not the neck pillow for a plane style) - I remember some really pancake pillows on my travels and it really does make a difference. Eye mask and earplugs if you plan to stay in hostels. A sarong is super versatile as can use it when you go to the beach, to wear and also as a thin blanket if you have any overnight bus journeys - this brand does the most lovely quality ones.

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Definitely agree with compression packing cubes. I have a dock and bay microfibre towel with I use and really like! I also took loop earplugs with me this time which made a huge difference in hostels. You’ll need a lock if you’re staying in hostels too. If you want to take a travel pillow, I’d use an inflatable for convenience. A reusable bottle is also good, either a metal one that’ll keep drinks cold all day or a collapsible one if you want to save space. Power banks are lifesavers. Tote bags are handy and can fold away.

Definitely take a variety of medicines it can be hard to find what you want - especially south east Asia (paracetamol, allergy, travel sickness, hydration tablets, plasters, antiseptic wipes, bite cream etc.).

For south east Asia, I went in their rainy season and a good quality poncho was so handy.

Really random item I took this time was a reuseable cutlery set, very handy if you’re buying food from the supermarket or a bakery etc for lunch when you’re out.

Definitely download before you go, you can use this without internet/wifi/data.

If you’re taking bank cards, I usually take two and transfer into them as and when needed as some ATMs and companies have limits on how much you can take out.

Edit- one very handy thing is a 2m lead for charging your phone. Plug sockets aren’t always conveniently placed.

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One more item I thought of that I found really useful was a little dry bag like the ones from osprey. Ideal for when you go on boat trips and to waterfalls etc for your valuables, as a lot of the boats you just leave your bag in the bottom and they can get quite wet. Also means if you want to go in the sea but don’t have other travellers around who can watch your stuff you can just take your valuables in the sea.

Oh that’s a great idea for valuables too. Thank you so much for all your recommendations everyone!

Cannot recommend packing cubes enough - I use them every time I go away now!

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