Travelers and backpackers are different from one another, with varying needs and destinations, but everyone should take into considerations the essential items you will be bringing during the travel. This backpacking checklist of mine will definitely help you decide what to pack for your upcoming journey. The list that I've prepared is a comprehensive one, so you won't forget the important things for your safety, survival, and comfort.
1. Bag or backpack
During backpacking, your bag or backpack becomes your life. You put all the necessary backpacking stuffs inside your bag-clothes, medicine kit, food and bottled water, important documents, money, phones, camera, and the like. Without this, your travel adventure is definitely incomplete! Make sure that you travel with a not-so-heavy-and-bulky bag, because it would just give you hassle in carrying it. Preferably, you travel with a light and hassle-free bag with you-for your comfort, easy transport and security.
2. Navigation (e.g. map, compass, GPS)
Aside from bag, what you essentially need are map, compass and GPS. These things are needed for you not to get lost. Always keep these with you, because it is really hard to be astray in a foreign land, especially if that country has different languages and terrains from yours.
3. Clothing and Footwear
Of course, clothes and footwear are definitely needed in your travel, but refrain from carrying unnecessary clothes because these will just make your bag so bulky. Make sure to take the clothes of nice quality and can fit for many purposes as possible.
You can bring the following clothes and footwear for your own comfort: t-shirts, pants, long-sleeve shirts. underwears, sarong and bandana, jacket, and other comfy clothes (depending on the climate or weather of your desired country), hiking boots/shoes, sandals, slippers, rubber shoes and socks
4. Illumination (e.g. flashlight, headlamp)
Flashlights and headlamps are very important especially if you're hiking to mountainous places or traveling to developing countries. These serve as your guide and protection. Don't forget to bring extra batteries, charger and matches for further necessity of illumination.
5. First Aid/Medicine Kit
Having with you your medicine or first aid kit is a must. In case you are sick during traveling or backpacking, you can easily ease the pain without thinking of going to the doctor for consultation. Here are the things that your kit should contain: cold/flu tablets or gels, antihistamine, antiseptic/antibiotic cream, diarrhea blocker, pain killers, forehead digital thermometer, band aids, anti-fungal cream, oral rehydration salts (ORT), motion sickness pills, alcohol, cotton, vitamins (especially C, B, and B12) and other needed medicines for your sickness
6. Food and Water
Food and water are indeed required whenever you're traveling, especially when you're hiking. Supply of candies, cereal bars or some biscuits, canned goods, energy drink, bottles of water should be included in your essential backpacking items. These won't make you sick and weak all throughout your travel. Avoid being hungry as you go backpacking.
7. Emergency Shelter
Tents and reflective blankets are needed if you're trekking, but if not, it's just optional. Lodges, motels and hotels can give you so much comfort instead.
8. Repair Kit and Tools
Knife is essential, but traveling with this on board can put you in danger, so make sure that you'll just buy this once you reach your destination. You can also bring canister, can opener, duct tape, and other repair kits.
9. Personal Hygiene Kit
Carrying your personal hygiene kit is really compulsory, especially if you are a woman! You have to bring the following things: a bar soap, toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush, floss, razor and shaving cream, sanitary napkin (for women only), moisturizing and facial cream, lotion and others you'd like to bring.
Going to African and Asian countries, especially those that are malaria-infested locations, seems harmful, so you need protection like mosquito repellent and mosquito net. You also need sunscreen especially during summer and fall, bull cap, sarong, bandana or scarf, umbrella, and sunglasses. Surely, you'd like to travel with ease, so don't forget to bring these stuff.
Other essential things to bring:
Locks & security
Cellular / mobile phones
ATM and/or credit card
Photocopies of everything important (passports, traveller cheque numbers, etc)
Sleeping bag and pillow
There you have it - the essential stuff for your next backpacking travel. Again, do remember to bring all of these for your ease, protection and survival. It's better to go backpacking if you're prepared for it. Start choosing what to pack now. Happy backpacking!