10 Travel Essentials You Should Bring When Backpacking Solo
Have you ever wanted to go backpacking solo but unsure where to start?
I recently wrote about my backpacking adventure in Ifugao and thought about sharing a few tips on what to bring. It’s definitely scary at first especially for a girl travelling alone, but preparation is key to feeling confident about your trip. Things like having an itinerary plan, backup money, ATM, IDs, and perhaps a cheap spare phone would do the trick, but there were also a couple of items on my list that you might want to consider. You can have the most amazing time in a particular place, but if you’re not ready and your safety was on the line, your solo adventure can soon turn into a horror adventure – so safety first!
Here are my top 10 things to bring when backpacking solo (especially for women!):
1. Trusty backpack
First off – congrats in taking a step forward on your journey! They don’t call it backpacking for nothing without your own hiking backpack. If you’re new to this, you need to get yourself familiar with the different types of backpacks that would vary on size or capacity, features, and fit. I found this guide to be quite useful in understanding the different kinds that would fit for you. Basically when you’re planning an overnight trip or maximum 2 nights, 30-50L is a good size to have. I bought mine for about PHP 2,800 for a 45L capacity, and I thought it was a good price considering it was super comfortable and had lots of pockets I can use. You’d want a backpack that gives you extra comfort with the back paddings and hipbelt pockets to accommodate easy-to-pull-out small items.
Some really good brands: North Face (high-end), Osprey (high-end), Rhinox (mid/local).
2. Secret belt bag
This really came in handy when I want to keep some extra money and my phone close to me. Reaching out to my pockets was unnecessary and I wouldn’t have to worry about holding important items with the risk of them falling down or getting stolen. Keep it “secret” or hidden underneath your shirt for added security. 🙂
I bought this belt bag from Tactics – they usually have stalls in SM malls. It only costs about PHP350.
3. Emergency whistle
This made me sleep peacefully at night and feel confident throughout the day! You never know what kind of emergency or *knock on wood* bad people you come across with so it’s good to have some sort of protection that will signal DANGER! I attached my whistle to a chain necklace so I wear it with me around my neck all the time – and yes, even when I sleep. Especially when hiking to the woods, having an emergency whistle can go handy if ever you get lost – no batteries needed!
4. First aid kit
I bought this one at Watson’s and it pretty much has the basic items you need if ever you get into a minor accident like a cut, a sprain, or a rash. I added in basic medicine because I knew I will be travelling away from civilization and might not have a drugstore nearby. If ever you might get a headache, an allergy, or *gasp* diarrhoea, you have some emergency meds to make you feel better. See, always good to be prepared!
5. Spare foldable bag
Going out on a short hike but don’t want to bring your huge backpack with you? Having a spare foldable (and waterproof) bag is a must. Aside from it’s easy and less bulky to bring, it keeps as an extra bag for your wet or dirty clothes. I love this really good find from Tactics and it costs less than PHP1,000 only. It’s super reliable and convenient to bring around!
What’s one of the worst things that can happen on your trip? A drained battery! A powerbank that fits just right is all you need (you don’t want a super heavy one as it will just add to the hassle of bringing one). I love this brand Bavin because it also has an emergency flashlight and can last up to 3 full charges. You can buy one at Lazada at super cheap prices!
7. Hand Sanitiser & Bug Repellant
Ack, bugs! One thing I really hate from going up the mountains is I usually get attacked by those pesky mosquitos. Ward them off by staying protected! Bring a pocket-sized off lotion or any mosquito repellant so it’s convenient to just slather it all over when you need it. Also helps to bring a hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean and relieve any itches!
If you love taking videos and photos like I do, a tripod works wonders when you travel alone! Aside from a selfie stick, a tripod (short or long) is super useful when you want some steady shots of yourself or a certain place. I used it to make cool timelapses and I didn’t have to bother a stranger to take my picture all the time! :”)
9. Reading light
During my long journey in buses where I couldn’t afford to sleep, I usually like reading a book or writing in my journal. Sometimes buses have reading lights, but in case they don’t, I like having my reading light handy. I’m such a bookworm! But in case you aren’t, reading lights can still be handy in case you get stuck somewhere in the night and need a bit of lighting — unless you have some candles or torches with you.
10. Protective head gear
Rain or shine, you need to protect your crowning glory! You can go with whatever hat you want (or bandana). Point is, it pays to have protective head gear so your hair and face gets protected from the harsh sun. Bonus: it also hides a bad hair day! 🙂
Think you have something to add on the list? Let us know from the comments below!