Whilst there are more than 5 things that I always take backpacking with me (i.e underwear / moisturiser etc) I thought I would share the things I always pack for a backpacking trip that you may not have already considered taking yourself.
1. Sleeping Bag Liner
I always take a silk liner with me when I go backpacking as I usually stay in budget accommodation and a silk liner provides protection against bed bugs, keeps you cool in hot climates, and can be used for additional warmth in cold climates. I have taken my silk liner on many trips with me over the 8 years I have had it and it is still going strong. It packs down into a neat bag and is light to carry around. Try this synthetic silk liner (machine washable) or a 100% pure silk liner.
Liners are also available in different sizes – wider or longer.
2. Cable Lock
I take a cable lock with me when I backpack as I find it gives me peace of mind when travelling on trains or staying in shared hostel rooms. Whilst travelling on the train throughout india, we attached the cable to something fixed i.e chair leg and looped the cable around mine and Ben’s backpacks – it gave us the peace of mind that they wouldn’t be snatched whilst we were sleeping. We also did the same in shared hostel rooms if we had to leave valuables in our bags (due to lack of a locker) – we would loop the cable around our backpacks and the bed leg. You of course also need to padlock your bag zips.
There are retractable cable locks for sale such as this one that take up very little room in your backpack.
3. Medical Kit
I always take a well stocked medical kit with me when I am travelling. Whilst it is possible to buy medicines over the counter in some countries, it is much easier to reach into your backpack than go wandering around town to find what you need when you are feeling ill or have cut yourself.
You can either buy a ready-made travel medical kit and add medicines to it i.e paracetamol/loperamide, or make your own by filling a cosmetics bag.
Earplugs are so handy, either for drowning out noise in a hostel room if you are trying to get an early night, or even in a private room to drown out a noisy street at 5am.
If you struggle with foam earplugs, try these wax earplugs as they mould better to your ears.
5. Pack a Mac
A waterproof mac is a necessity if you are travelling to tropical countries as they are so small and lightweight to carry. Whilst I also tend to always pack an umbrella, umbrellas are useless if there is lightning, or if you need your hands free to carry other items. Check out these stylish macs from ASOS, FatFace, and Amazon.