The 7 Essential Items from our Packing List
We see a lot of packing lists across the web, and they were invaluable to us as we prepared our own items for our own 4 month journey across South America. And we will post our own lists soon to offer something back, especially given how much we took from others.
However, there are 7 items which we simply could not have done without already. The following items have been invaluable and we couldn’t imagine being without them.
Noise Cancelling Earphones
This hits the top of our list because of the number of situations we have found ourselves where these have been incredibly useful. The most obvious time was when travelling between the Galapagos Islands on very noisy speed boats with absolutely nothing to do but listen to music, or in our case to podcasts. Normal earphones just didn’t cut it; I carry my normal Apple white earphones and used them on the first boat trip and could barely hear my music over the engine noise even with the volume on full blast. We also use them whilst on buses and flights, and I cannot praise them high enough.
The best noise cancellers we have ever used are these Bose Quiet Comfort 20 ones, and they are absolutely awesome.
Be warned that these particular ones are for iOS devices so if you have an android or Samsung device you would need these ones:
I have used the “over-the-ear” ones in the past and they are also excellent, but I have found the in-ear ones to be much more comfortable, particularly on planes when you might be trying to catch some zzz’s.
Of course, these are quite expensive so there are alternatives you can see here, but just be careful that the ones you buy have the actual noise cancelling technology as that makes all the difference
We travel together, and whilst a little space is sometimes good so is spending quality time sharing listening to music (rarely), podcasts (quite often) and films/box sets (all the time). We’ve found these to be so important that I even carry a spare one!
This is the one that we use, and it works really well – but you can pick these up pretty much anywhere including at the airport.
These came up very frequently on other traveller recommendations, and whilst I was sceptical to start with we nonetheless took the plunge and bought a couple of sets. And boy am I glad that we did. They are so helpful in keeping our backpacks well organised, and really easy to find things you need pretty much immediately. They also help to compress clothes etc so you can fit more into your backpack.
These are the ones we use, but of course there are lots of different options out there. We actually bought a set of these and at better value than you can see here, so it’s worth shopping around and looking at the alternatives. The one thing we recommend is to get a set with different sizes of cubes so you can configure them nicely into your backpack.
Osprey Farpoint BackPack
Its amazing the difference a good backpack can make. Michelle bought one a few years ago when she travelled to Thailand and I needed a new one for this trip so bought this one.
Now there pretty much isn’t a day goes by that Michelle doesn’t get backpack envy! It has all of the usual and good features of a decent backpack, well made, looks good, has the zip on day bag and is comfortable on – but the thing that makes all the difference are the padded handles side and top. Simple things, but makes an incredible difference when lugging in the airport, onto buses, boats etc.
I am 6ft, and the m/l size is just perfect for me, and would suit anyone within 3-4 inches either side of that I think.
Multi USB Plug
It is unavoidable nowadays to carry several electrical items which require USB charging. I made this purchase as an xmas present to myself last year, and procrastinated whether to bring it or not. In hindsight it was a no brainer. In most of the places we have stayed we have only had one socket, and so being able to charge multiple items in one go has saved us a significant logistical nightmare. Thoroughly deserving of its place in the backpack! I couldn’t find the exact one online, but I found this one instead which looks even better! ‘Multi USB plug’ envy!
I almost didn’t pack this either (a bit of a theme?) but am also so glad that I did. It is bulky compared to the standard (and usually white) single adapters so I thought that I could save space just by bringing a couple of those. And I haven’t actually taken them out of the pack yet because we’ve encountered 4 different plug socket styles and had to use this one in each one – and it has worked perfectly.
Of course you will easily be able to find these in the airports as you catch your first plane to your destination.
For backpackers travelling light this may seem like a strange choice, but we really couldn’t do without it. Or at least wouldn’t want to. We tried to find the lightest model on the market which also had good performance so ended up with this one. I am an Apple convert though, so perhaps I didn’t look too far beyond it :-). It only weighs about 900g and has a 10 hour battery life so it really suits our purposes, particularly on the longer journeys.
We use it for watching films, editing photos, updating our blog, listening to music in our room as well as the usual surfing etc. Of course a decent tablet does most of these, but a laptop just offered for us a little bit more functionality and usefulness, and this one also has a 12″ high definition screen which makes watching films/box sets just that little bit better.
There are much cheaper options out there, and here is a list of laptop alternatives you could consider instead. Or as mentioned above you could plump for a tablet if that suits you better. Just watch the weight though – thats the thing in my mind which defines its suitability for backpacking.
And so thats it. The 7 most essential items in our backpack that we simply could not do without.
Inevitably we have missed loads of things off the list so please drop us a comment below – we’d be interested to know your thoughts.
And our full packing list is on its way…promise.