what's in my bag: backpacking edition

I'I've had a lot of messages asking what I brought with me on my backpacking trip, so I decided to do a post for you!

Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional backpacker, and everything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt. I bought my plane ticket last-minute on a whim and did absolutely no research on backpacking before I left, haha. This is just a post on what I personally brought. Ok let's proceed.

For starters, I used one of my favorite bags: my The North Face Base Camp duffel bag. It's highly versatile and can be carried as a duffel bag, slung crossbody, or worn as a backpack. Mine is a size large, and I believe that's the most commonly used size in general. I haven't had any trouble bringing it on both domestic and international flights as a carryon. A lot of backpackers use the quintessential backpacker pack (example here), which has its merits but isn't very versatile for everyday life. I can take my Base Camp bag to the gym, hiking, for transporting clothes to shoots, etc.

Then, we have the bag-within-a-bag. You'll want to drop your heavy pack off at a hostel or whatever, and you need a smaller pack to take with you on the go. I stepped my backpack game up a notch and brought a backpack with solar panels and a USB port to charge my electronics (and most importantly, my phone). I'm a big fan of multifunctional things.

And as for the little things:

1. Moleskine planner/journal - I'm able to both plan my days (I hate using digital calendars) and have a journal to write in on my travels.
2. Pen - For writing, duh.
3. Ear plugs - Hostels can get super noisy, especially on weekends. Even on the quietest nights, you're bound to have a couple snorers in your dorm. Ear plugs helped me sleep like a baby.
4. USB to micro USB cable - For charging various electronics, namely my external battery pack.
5. External battery pack - I actually brought two of these, in addition to having my solar panel backpack. Being stranded in a foreign country alone with a dead phone is not something I ever want to experience.
6. Toothbrush - For obvious reasons.
7. Toothpaste - For obvious reasons.
8. Super glue - I always take this with me when traveling, in case something snaps or my shoe soles come undone, etc.
9. Razor - For obvious reasons.
10. Lip balm - My lips are especially susceptible to being sunburned and windburned.
11. Sunglasses - For obvious reasons.
12. Face wash - I have very acne-prone skin, so this is a step I can't skip.
13. Tide To Go pen - Not a necessity, but if you don't want to look like a slob on a trip where laundry opportunities are few and far between, bring it.
14. Deodorant - Chances are you'll be sweaty from backpacking. Don't subject those around you to suffering because of it.
15. Headphones - I like listening to podcasts on flights, train rides, and walks from city to city.
16. Adaptor - Get an all-in-one universal adaptor so you don't have to buy multiple ones for each respective country.
17. Baby wipes - You never know when your next shower is going to be.
18. Toiletries - In the case you do find a shower. 
19. Lock + key - A lot of, if not most, hostels provide a locker of sorts to store your stuff. They do not provide a lock. Bring one.
20. Dry shampoo - For your showerless moments.
21. Pepper spray - It's tough being a girl traveling alone. Pepper spray is a good weapon when the attacker is at a distance.
22. Kitty knuckles - Knuckles are a good weapon when the attacker is in close contact. DO NOT flaunt weapons and never bring them out until the very moment you absolutely need to. Make sure you're schooled in how to use your weapons, as someone bigger and stronger than you can wrest it from your possession. And be aware of laws restricting certain types of weapons in your area.
23. Hand towel - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy taught me to always bring a towel with you when hitchhiking. Good thing, too, since hostels don't provide you with towels anyway.

I shot this very hastily at one of my hostels before checking out, so I forgot to include a couple things:
- Slippers to wear in the community showers
- Bandages for cuts or blisters on your feet (the latter definitely happened to me because I walked so much with a lot of downward pressure on my body from my heavy pack)
- Sunblock so you don't get burned while traveling outdoors

Backpacking was really fun. The very touch-and-go nature of my whole trip, from the backpacking to the thought process behind the purchasing of my ticket, was exhilarating. Looking forward to doing it again soon before summer ends!


  1. Undeniable quality with North Face bags. Hope you had a fab trip~

    Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE


  2. A solar powered backpack is probably the most genius thing ever. Glad you had a fun and spontaneous trip!

    Kat Sangfroid

  3. Um...those kitty knuckles are adorable. I know you're not supposed to say that about potential weapons, but yeah. It is.


    Mango Favorites

  4. I need that backpack! It would definitely come in handy for me! Hope your trip was fun :)

  5. Solar power backpack whaa? Dope. I need that in my life, haha.

  6. And I gotta say thank you for including fact that you do carry items for self protection.
    I have to find that bag.