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30 Essential Items You Must Take Backpacking

While preparing for my upcoming (late-20s, second) gap yar, I put to my fellow travelling friends the question: What one thing item was the most useful?

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1. Microfibre towel, which can double up as a blanket

2. Sheet sleeping bag for those bedbug-eaten hostel beds

3. Head torch

4. Cable ties

5. A sarong. It can also work as a sheet, skirt, scarf, tablecloth, head & shoulders covering, etc.

6. Cheap leatherman

7. A gang (electrical multi-plug thingy) with a long extension wire. There are never, ever, ever, enough plug sockets!

8. GOOD bras and underwear

9. Bin bag

10. Spork

11. A fleece if you're going anywhere it'll be cold at night: warm, light and dries easily

12. Baby wipes

13. iPod

14. Two small luggage padlocks, ideally combination ones, so when you're in random hostels and you have to provide your own lock but also want to keep your bag locked you can do it all

15. Your toothbrush, one that folds up is good as it stays clean

16. Condoms

17. A Power Monkey (or similar), it's one charger for everything and you can top up batteries when you don't have a plug socket

18. Passport

19. Antihistamine cream

20. A ukulele

21 & 22. A smile and a good, positive, open mental attitude. You'll get by with those even if you forget everything else

23. Deet

24. Needle & thread

25. Comfortable trainers/walking shoes or... 26. trekking sandals: they don't look stylish but they're the best...

27. A travel pillow, it makes overnight journeys a lot more comfortable

28. A little compass

29. Decent plasters – Boots own-brand will just sweat right off

30. Portable binoculars if you like nature-spotting

More suggestions are gladly received...

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