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Backpacking Essentials

Backpacking across the country is a fun and easy way to see many destinations without all the luggage. See our tips on how to pack a bag with all the essentials for a trip with little luggage.

Try to keep your bag at 20 pounds or less. This will allow you to easily take the bag off and put it on, you will not feel weighted down and you can move freely.


  • Make sure that all your clothing matches so that you can mix and match what you wear while keeping your clothing items to a minimum.

  • Try to stick to simple, neutral colors so you can mix and match more easily.

  • Your clothing should be easy to layer. You want to be able to adapt to the climate during the day and at night.

  • Leave the “really cute but will only wear once” dress at home. Make sure your items can be dressed down to be more casual or up to more elegant – but more importantly make sure you will wear it more than once.

  • Bring comfortable items that you know you like and wear regularly.

  • Try and think about the material that your clothes are made from. If it easily wrinkles or needs dry cleaning it might not be the best item to put in your backpack.

  • Your shoes are super important – they are what you will wear all the time so make sure you choose the most comfortable ones. Choose only a couple pairs of shoes (we try to limit to two) that are versatile.


  • Sunglasses are a must for traveling, but we don’t recommend bringing your nice pair (unless you have a prescription pair of course!). If you bring a cheap or old pair that break or get lost, you can easily replace them while on your trip.

  • Scarf to throw on when it is cooler at night.

  • Small backpack or purse for when you lock your bag up during the day and go exploring.

  • Packing cubes are a great way to keep your items organized within your backpack.


  • The more liquids you bring the heavier your bag will be. Think about the minimum items you need to make it through and know you can always pick up something along the way if you need it.

Electronics & Other Items

  • Power bank to keep your phone charged throughout the day.

  • Universal adapter to work with the outlets in a different country.

  • Padlock if you plan on staying in hostels or shared living spaces.

When planning a backpacking trip make sure that comfort is the top of your list when considering items to take with you!

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