what to pack to go backpacking

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Your plans are made, your flights are booked, you’re ready to hit the ground running…but what to pack? Whether you’re heading out for a week, a month or a year, I’ve compiled a thorough packing list for what to take on a backpacking trip.

My backpack is a 45 litre Gregory Maven backpack. This is pretty much the biggest size you can take as a carry-on, so keep that in mind depending on whether or not you want to be checking luggage or not as you go.

jana meerman travel backpack asia-1

I’ve got packing cubes of different sizes which will serve to keep my clothes separate from my electronics and from my toiletries. Bagail makes a great collection of six for sale on Amazon.


I’m also bringing a day pack to use for hikes and such; my standard size American Apparel nylon backpack is personalized by the flags of each country I’ve visited.

jana meerman travel backpack american apparel.jpg

We’ve each got a money belt to keep our valuables safe as we go. They’re big enough to store a phone, a passport and money hidden neatly under our clothes. I picked one up at the airport before my last trip; you can get decent ones on Amazon too like this one from Peak Gear.

jana meerman money belt travel.jpg

Now here goes my full and complete packing list divided into categories.

jana meerman backpacking packing flatlay.jpg


  • 1 long dress
  • 2 short dresses
  • 1 romper
  • 3 pairs socks
  • 2 sports bras
  • 1.5 bikinis (2 tops, 1 bottom)
  • 2 pairs loose pants
  • 1 pair lululemon running shorts
  • 1 thin rain coat
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 2 tank-tops
  • 1 long-sleeved top
  • 1 fleece sweater
  • 2 weeks worth of underwear & 2 bras
  • 1 pair Nike running shoes
  • 1 pair Birkenstock sandals
  • 1 pair flip flops

BAGS: (in addition to those mentioned above)

  • laundry bag
  • ziploc bags
  • plastic bags


  • hand sanitizer
  • Aveeno hand lotion
  • OFF bug repellent
  • wet wipes & makeup wipes
  • razors
  • Tide laundry detergent
  • micro-fibre compression towel
  • deodorant
  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • hairbrush, hairties, bobby pins
  • sun cream
  • bandaids
  • polysporin
  • tampons (hard to find in Sri Lanka!)
  • chapstick, powder and brush
  • pepto bismol & diarrhea tablets
  • Advil PM
  • q-tips




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