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11 best backpacking essentials

Be prepared for every eventuality on your travels with a well-planned kit. IndyBest hits the road

Eleanor Ross
Thursday 17 November 2016 09:55

Backpacking is all about seeing the world, sampling new cultures — and trying to fit as many things in your pack as you can without falling over. As well as size and weight (the smaller and lighter the better), it’s essential to consider how durable your gadgets are. There’s nothing worse than something snapping or breaking when you’re on the other side of the world. It's also worth considering whether you’ll be able to get replacement batteries or locate a suitable charging cable if you lose yours. Whether you thrive off the bare necessities or desire a little more comfort when you’re out and about, we’ve taken durability, waterproofing, size, and weight into consideration to hunted down items to keep you safe, warm and as comfortable as possible during your travels.

1. Go Travel Plug Adaptor: £29.99,

If you’re off on a world trip, you’ll hardly want to carry a different adaptor for every continent you visit. This adaptor works in 150 countries worldwide and also has two USB ports, so you can charge your camera and your phone at the same time. Designed for use with small appliances up to 250V.

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2. Black Diamond Ember USB Chargeable Torch: £35.99,

Whether you’re stumbling from tent to toilet or finding your toothbrush in your pack when it’s past lights-out time, having a good torch is essential. This one also works as a portable USB charger; great if you’re out of phone battery in an emergency. Simply power up in advance and it should last for up to 50 hours.

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3. Riemann Once-a-Day Sun Protection Spray: £19.99,

Nobody wants the faff of reapplying sunscreen every 10 minutes when they’re travelling. Sun creams that protect all day (even after a dip in the water) are definitely the way forward. Clear and quickdrying, P20 has no added colourants and comes in factor 15, 30, or 50 and sprays on transparent.

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4. Lifeventure Printed Trek Travel Towels: £19.99,

Towels are annoyingly bulky in your pack, so a lightweight travel version is a must. This one dries out in less than an hour, folds up to the size of a napkin and the smooth texture won’t pick up sand. Best of all, it’s pretty jazzy, so it won’t get mixed up with all the other towels in the hostel.

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5. The Easy Lock: £24.99,

Safety should always be at the top of your mind when you’re travelling, especially if your main accommodation will be hostels. This lock fits to any door and will stop anyone from opening it, even with a key, so you can sleep peacefully at night knowing you and all your things are perfectly safe.

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6. Jasmine Silk Classic Black Silk Eye-Mask: £9.99,

Along with money and a passport, an eye-mask is a backpacker’s most essential accessory. This one is pure silk, so it won’t leave lines on your face or make your hair static; plus, on a trip where basics rule, it’s nice to have a little bit of luxury to slip on when you go to bed.

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7. Zap-It Insect Bite Relief: £5.95,

Bug bites can make a trip truly miserable and scratching can lead to further infection, especially in humid climates. This little thumb-sized gadget sends a gentle electrical pulse directly on to the bite to stop the itch; an essential for those who are kept up at night scratching.

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8. Dr Bronner’s Organic Rose Castile Liquid Soap: £1.99,

Backpackers have long wished for a liquid that will do everything - and here it is. Whether you need to wash your hair, face, dishes or clothes, Dr Bronner’s organic gel has it covered, plus it’s vegan and organic, so ticks all the ethical boxes, too. This travel-sized bottle is ideal for hand luggage.

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9. Bimuno Travelaid: £9.99,

Other than sunburn and malaria, traveller’s diarrhoea is probably the most dreaded backpackers’ ailment. Bimuno helps to prevent tummy troubles by increasing your gut’s good bacteria and raising your levels of immunity. They come in decent-tasting chewy pastilles.

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10. Digital Silence Analogue Ambient Noise-Cancelling Headphones: £29.95,

Eliminate as much outside chatter as possible with these, which these give 14 hours of noise-cancelling power after a two-hour charge and can be used as normal headphones when the battery’s flat. They also come with an airplanefriendly jack for armrests and inflight entertainment.

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11. Anatomicals Cruisin For A Snoozin Sleep Balm: £4,

Sleep doesn’t always come easily when you’re crushed against the window of a long-distance bus. Simply massage a little balm on your temples and the calming scent of lavender and rosemary should help you drift off without the aid of pills. If nothing else, it smells delish and lasts for ages.

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Dr Bronner’s soap is the perfect accessory to slip into your backpack as it really does do everything it says it does, and it does it very well, too. For a longer lasting investment for many world trips to come, the Go Travel Plug Adaptor is compact and adaptable, our favourite backpacking words.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.