Packing for an extended trip can be a daunting task for any backpacker. Whether you plan to camp, stay in hostels, or couch-surf you need to bring everything in one lightweight backpack, but don’t want to leave behind anything that might leave you unprepared if forgotten. Here are the top five items that will make any backpacking trip more comfortable, but that many travelers still never think to bring.
1. Micro Fiber Towel
A lightweight quick drying towel will make any awkward experience in a crowded hostel bathroom much more pleasant. They come in a variety of sizes, though it’s usually worth it to go for one of the bigger ones, and can be found at most camping or travel stores.
2. Digital Stopwatch
Most digital stopwatches have a variety of features that can be very handy while traveling. Find one with an alarm clock that lights up in the dark and you’ll never miss an early morning train or flight again.
3. All-in-one Soap
Soap that you can use to wash your hair, body, clothes, and dishes can be incredibly handy when you’re trying to streamline your toiletries. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap is one of the most versatile varieties and can be found at many pharmacies and natural food stores.
You’ll be shocked by the amount of times that a headlamp comes in handy. Winding your way through dimly lit city streets in the pre-dawn light. Or when an early evening hike through unknown mountains takes a bit longer than you expected. Or even when you have to go searching through your backpack in the pitch black night as your hostel mates sleep soundly all around you. Just don’t forget an extra set of batteries!
When all you want is to sleep, but no one around you seems to want to, earplugs are a lifesaver. Whether you’re in a crowded hostel, a train, or even while pitched up in your tent, you’ll be happy to have brought them along. It’s also a good idea to bring a few more pairs than you’ll probably need to give to fellow travelers, they’ll be grateful for the gift.