This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon Associates. This means that I will make a small commission from any purchases you make, at no extra cost to you.
If you are wondering what to take backpacking, you’re in the right place! Compiling a backpacking checklist can often be difficult but light backpacking really isn’t as hard as you think! You will be surprised with how much you can live without. This backpacking guide will hopefully give you a clear idea of what you will need to take away with you, and what some of my backpacking essentials are!
So here’s ultimate backpacking Southeast Asia packing list:
- 1 BACKPACKING BACKPACKS
- 2 BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS – you won’t survive your trip without these!
- 3 BACKPACKING CLOTHES
- 4 BACKPACKING TOILETRIES
- 5 FIRST AID KIT
- 6 BACKPACKING EQUIPMENT: TECHNOLOGY
- 7 BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS FOR HOSTELS
Based on my experience I would say consider 3 different bags in your backpacking checklist:
- Large rucksack for all of your stuff
- Smaller rucksack for hand luggage
- Bum bag for your valuables (money, phone, passport etc.)
For my shorter 5 week backpacking trip to Europe I took the Eurohike Pathfinder 45L Rucksack. However for my Southeast Asia backpacking trip I used the 65L Eurohike Pathfinder Rucksack. The larger bag comes with a rain cover, definitely a backpacking essential. When looking for your bag be sure to check out Millets, Go Outdoors and Trespass – I’d say these are some fo the best backpacking stores.
A smaller rucksack should be on every backpacking checklist. This could be used as a Hand luggage bag or a day bag to take out with you when exploring, so definitely a backpacking must have. I used the 10L Karrimore Sierra 10 Backpack (also available a bit cheaper at Sports Direct). Another backpacking essential is without doubt a bum bag. Carry all your most important personal items in here to keep them close to you.
In order to organise all your backpacking gear you are going to need packing cubes! These are my ultimate backpacking necessity and should be a part of any backpacking kit. They just make everything easier and take away the frustrations that inevitably come with living out of a backpack for months. Compression cubes are excellent for lightweight backpacking.
BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS – you won’t survive your trip without these!
- Passport – this should be top of any backpacking checklist! Make sure it’s got 6 months validity!
- Printed out copies of your passport
- Boarding pass(es) – paper copy and copy on your phone
- Luggage labels – name, address of where you’re staying, contact phone number and / or email address. (I did use a luggage strap but it disappeared after my first flight!)
- ID – driving license etc.
- Bank cards – keep them all in separate places, so if you lose one you don’t lose them all!
- Currency – for Asia US dollars was useful to have as a back up!
- Passport photos – essential when getting visas
- Visa(s) – check the entry requirements for countries before you go on the Government Travel Advice website
- Travel Insurance documents – I kept a hard copy and then a copy on my phone so I always had it to hand should I need to reference anything. Hopefully you won’t ever need it though!
I can’t stress this enough – light backpacking is the only way to go! Clothing is really easy to buy at your destination should you need and that’s why it doesn’t come highly regarded on my backpacking gear list. Make sure your backpacking clothes are clothes you don’t care about too much! The laundry service as the hostels doesn’t always leave the whites looking white. So your best backpacking gear doesn’t necessarily have to be your best gear!
One of my number 1 tips for backpacking is take a jumper or a fleece! Sunrise hikes end up being cooler than you think or sometimes hostel aircon is just too good! A Southeast Asia backpacking guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning temples. Be aware that you may need to cover up for temples, so a kimono or sarong should be on your backpacking checklist.
Flip flops are essential backpacking gear! They are perfect for when you just want to slip something on, especially in hostels. Also ensure you have a waterproof within your backpacking supplies – take a small compact one for optimal lightweight backpacking!
If you are putting some backpacking toiletries in your hand luggage make sure you have travel bottles, to ensure you don’t exceed the liquid limit. It’s best to get a set with a variety of different containers, like this one from Life Venture. To help with lightweight backpacking I took smaller quantities of toiletries and bought more when I was out there.
- Shampoo & conditioner – I’d recommend a 2 in 1 one as it saves space
- Shower gel
- Shower puff – one of my backpacking essentials as they mean you can wash with less shower gel! Check out this ‘Eco Bath’ one, made with natural plant fibres!
- Deodorant – I recommend Sure Maximum Protection because you’re likely to get very sweaty walking around in the heat!
Lip balm – get your hands on a SPF one so your lips are protected from the sun UV. The higher the SPF the better so I went for the Blistex Ultra SPF 50+.
- SPF 50 sunscreen – Suncream is really expensive in Southeast Asia because it’s only the tourists that need it. So make sure a good supply is on your backpacking checklist.
Microfibre towels – should be near the top of any backpacking gear list! They dry you and themselves super quick and come folded in little bags – ideal for lightweight backpacking! Best travel towel for backpacking: Mountain Warehouse have a really good range of them, but I ordered mine from Little Bodhi.
- Toothbrush & toothpaste – be eco friendly and grab yourself a bamboo toothbrush with it’s own case!
- Razors – make sure you have some good quality ones on your backpacking checklist. In Asia the razors I got out there were AWFUL and didn’t last long at all.
- Nail clippers and tweezers – certainly a backpacking must have! You might not have thought about it but they’re little things you’ll definitely have lying around at home.
FIRST AID KIT
This is without doubt a backpacking essential because you never know know what might happen! Try and grab a travel first aid kit which should contain most of the essentials, and you will get a useful, small first aid pouch! Make sure you’ve got:
- Plasters / blister plasters and bandages
- Antiseptic wipes and cream
- Paracetamol / ibuprofen
- Malaria tablets (if you need them!)
- Mosquito spray – 50% DEET MAX. PROTECTION
- Bite and sting cream – Tiger balm is amazing for insect bites!
- Water purification tablets – I’ve never used them but its good to have them in case of emergencies
If you are prone to travel sickness, try motion sickness bands or take some travel sickness tablets, something that was definitely one of my backpacking necessities as I made a lot of long bus journeys along windy, bumpy roads.
BACKPACKING EQUIPMENT: TECHNOLOGY
- Phone – I took my usual iPhone and then a spare phone in case my phone got lost or broken. Don’t forget a couple of charger leads too!
- Portable phone charger / battery pack – any backpacker will tell you this is a backpacking essential! Excellent for when you need to charge on the go.
- Universal adaptor plug – these have every single different plug type in. Also get one with USB ports so you can charge more than one thing at once.
- Laptop and protective case – so you can blog on the go!
Go Pro Hero 7 Black – this is an amazing action camera, with excellent stability and films in 4k should you want it. It was definitely a great investment andone any traveller should make!
- Go pro accessories – I definitely recommend getting the Supersuit as this will protect your GoPro when you’re doing more adventurous stuff. For a good value, wide variety of other accessories I went for a multi pack from Amazon.
- SD cards – for your GoPro you will need micro SD cards. Amazon do some good offers on the SanDisk ones.
- Use iCloud! – I pay 79p a month for 50gb of storage which is totally worth it to have all your photos backed up and safe. You never know what could happen to your phone.
BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS FOR HOSTELS
- Pillow case and sleeping bag liner – on the off chance you come across dirty bedding in a hostel!
- Travel wash and laundry line – in case you want to wash the odd item, or the hostel doesn’t offer laundry services!
Water bottle with filter – having a reusable water bottle is always a backpacking essential in order to keep plastic waste to a minimum. When the water isn’t potable you will need something with a good filter! The ‘Life Straw’ means you can fill you water bottle up from anywhere and the water will be safe to drink, a great investment in your backpacking kit!
- Ear plugs – because sadly a lot of snorers stay in hostels!
- Bin liners for dirty clothes
- Eyemask – brilliant for long journeys / night buses and when the hostel curtains don’t stop the morning sunlight coming in! A 3D one is often the best and comfiest.
- Small torch – you never know when you might need one, plus it doesn’t take up much space and is super useful.
- Padlock – to keep everything safe in the hostel lockers. A combination one is best because you don’t need to worry about losing the key!
I hope this ‘Backpacking Southeast Asia Packing Guide’ has given an insight into backpacking essentials, the best backpacking backpack to purchase and how you can succeeded at lightweight backpacking. Good luck compiling your own backpacking checklist!
Did you enjoy this Backpacking Southeast Asia Packing Guide? Read my other content on Travel Advice!
- 10 First Time Camping Tips for Camping Alone as a WomanFirst time camping can be a daunting experience, especially when camping alone as a woman so here are my top 10 tips to put your mind at ease
- Ultimate Camping List: What to Bring CampingKnowing what to bring camping can be difficult, so I’ve comprised the Ultimate Camping List so you don’t miss any camping essentials.
- Backpacking Southeast Asia Packing ListThis post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon Associates. This means that I will make a small commission from any purchases you make, at no extra cost to you.If you are wondering what to take backpacking, you’re in the right place! Compiling a backpacking checklist can often be difficult but light backpacking really isn’t as …
- Travel Vaccinations for Southeast AsiaWhen you’re preparing to go backpacking it’s important you know what medical precautions to take! Here I discuss medical preparations and travel vaccinations for Southeast Asia.
- Beginners Guide to Backpacking: planning your first Southeast Asia tripThis post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon Associates. This means that I will make a small commission from any purchases you make, at no extra cost to you.When you first decide to go backpacking for the first time, you’re going to be keen to start planning your trip as soon as possible. But as …
- How to Build a Travel Fund: Top 10 Saving TipsHow to save money to travel is a daunting prospect that has probably crossed most budding travellers minds. Here are my top tips on How to Build a Travel fund which will hopefully help make your dream a reality.
- Mental Health & Travel 2019: Beautiful Places and Ugly ThoughtsThis post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon Associates. This means that I will make a small commission from any purchases you make, at no extra cost to you.Written and published in October 2019 Last year I decided to write a post about Mental Health and Travel which was supposed to coincide with Mental Health …
- Interrailing Packing ListPlanning a trip interrailing in Europe? Look no futher than my interrailing packing list with all the best tips on what to take with you!
- 10 Tips for First Time Solo TravellersTravelling alone for the first time can be a scary experience so here are my top 10 Tips for First Time Solo Travellers.
- Mental Health and Travel – for World Mental Health Day 2018This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon Associates. This means that I will make a small commission from any purchases you make, at no extra cost to you.This post was written and published in October 2018 I clearly have a passion for travelling and I am also very into talking about mental health, so …