Whether you’re Euro-railing the Czech Republic, trekking the Amazon or spending a month in Peru, backpack travel is a great way to see the world. And here are the top 10 travel accessories to help backpack travelers stay lightweight, mobile and organized.
First: A Travel Backpack
Today’s travel backpacks aren’t your father’s camping pack. Technology has made today’s travel backpacks super lightweight and designed specifically for travel. They open like suitcases for easy access, offer media pockets, multiple ways to carry and other advantages for travelers. The old top-loading, drawstring packs were good for dad. But if you want to stay light, mobile and organized, a travel backpack is the way to go.
Second: A Travel Towel
You can definitely skip a shower or two while traveling. But eventually you’ll want to clean up and dry off. Problem is conventional towels weigh a ton, take forever to dry and mildew if you pack them damp. Travel towels solve these problems. They’re ultra-lightweight and fold to a fraction the size of regular towels. They’re also ultra-fast drying and most fight fungus and mildew buildup.
Third: Travel Underwear
Everything that is true of conventional towels is also true of regular cotton underwear. They take a long time to dry and are bastions for fungus and odor. Quick-dry travel underwear dries in time to wear or pack by the next bus, fights odors and nasty bacteria and hold up to the rigors of daily wear on the road.
Fourth: Travel Soap Sheets
Soap sheets are among the lightest, most compact and efficient ways to stay clean while traveling. Soap sheets — body, shampoo, shaving or other — are roughly one inch, paper-thin sheets that lather up in water. They meet carry-on requirements, are a fraction the weight of liquids and take up much less room in your backpack or luggage.
Fifth: Packing Cubes
If you use packing cubes once, you won’t even go away for a weekend again without them. They let you pack much more stuff into the same space and keep it all organized. Packing cubes are zippered nylon or mesh rectangles into which you pack and compress your gear and clothes before putting them into your backpack. If you bring only one thing from this list, these would be it.
Sixth: International Plug Adapters
It’s still a diverse world, which is why we travel. But that also goes for each continent’s electrical systems. So you’ll need to bring the right adapter to plug into wall outlets in Europe, Africa, Asia and elsewhere. You can buy individual adapters for each location or universal kits letting you plug in no matter where you go.
Seventh: A Solar Charger
Going where few travelers have gone before is an amazing experience. And the more remote you go, the less infrastructure you’ll find. In some areas you can actually get cell service, but not the electricity to power the phone. Solar charges are lightweight, compact and let you power your electronics no matter how off the beaten path you go.
Number 8: Travel or Luggage Locks
You spent a lot of time planning what to bring and it wouldn’t be easy to get it all back while traveling. Travel or luggage locks are small compact locks that let you secure your pack’s main compartment and exterior pockets while the pack is out of your sight or when you’re in crowded places. Some locks also have flexible cables to secure your pack to fixed objects.
Number 9: A Money Belt
Replacing your passport, credit cards and even cash back in remote locations can be a major, time-eating endeavor. So you want to hang onto your most valuable items. Money belts are small, discreet pouches worn around your waist under your pants to conceal and safeguard your passport and cash. Most robbers don’t have the time to check under everyone’s clothes. So carry a false wallet and a few dollars to give them while your real stash is safely concealed.
Tenth: A Daypack
Most trips involve reaching a new town or village, locking your main pack in the hostel or hotel and heading out to explore. Overnight trips, urban trekking and remote hikes are part of the good time. And you’ll need a lightweight daypack to carry the essentials. Most quality travel backpacks have removable daypacks integrated into their designs.