These are the essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking - a packing list of things to bring with You that will make a difference on the road.
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Essential Items for Hitchhiking and Backpacking

These are the essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking - a packing list of things to bring with You that will make a difference on the road.
"What are the essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking to pack?" This is a frequent question that often newbie hitchhikers ask when they are about to decide what things to bring while hitchhiking and backpacking.

Worth to mention is that when hitchhiking long distances, "hitchhiking" is synonym with "camping", even if "camping" is never synonym with "hitchhiking". So the hitchhiking packing list is very similar to a camping checklist. This because the essential hitchhiking gear that a hitchhiker uses during the trip is the same backpacking gear commonly used when camping.

Well, there are lots of backpackers around with backpacks that look terrible, and I mean that they are not balanced (which can hurt on the long run) or they have no sense of aesthetics (like shoes, pans and other things outside) or they are extremely heavy (because inexperienced travelers don't really know what are the essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking and so they pack lots of unnecessary things).

Here are three golden rules to follow when deciding what to pack for hitchhiking or for any backpacking trip:

a) Among the things to pack for hitchhiking or backpacking, money and documents should never be two of them: never put money or documents in the backpack and always be ready to lose the backpack. Keep your money always scattered in different places on your body; before starting the trip, creating some hidden mini-pockets on your clothes where to put part of the money is wise; pack your backpack in such a manner to result balanced.

b) Except for the mat and tent, everything else which does not fit into the backpack it means is unnecessary for your journey and should be excluded from your backpacking or hitchhiking packing list.

c) Once You pack your backpack with all the essential items for hitchhiking, clothes and everything else You think is useful, try running with it for 30 meters - if You cannot run, it means that You must prepare your hitchhiking backpack in a different way (maybe giving up to some unnecessary things and consider only the essential hitchhiking gear) until it will result possible to run with it.

Whether You intend to hitchhike, or travel just as backpacker, for one week or for one year, the optimum volume of your backpack is around 40 liters, between 38 and 42 liters. This way, in case You intend to take a plane, most of the airlines will allow You to take for free your backpack as hand luggage with You in the cabin. Based on my experience accumulated during the years, I recommend to have a raincover for your backpack. Because there is no waterproof backpack and rainy days exist (especially when traveling in Europe or in parts of the world where it rains for several days or weeks in a row).

Besides the backpacking and hitchhiking essentials, consider also the weight of the other things You want to take with You and leave at home what will not seem useful almost on a daily basis, because grams create kilograms and kilograms create pain. When buying backpacking and hitchhiking essentials, always opt for the items that have multi-purpose use and that weight as little as possible. The first time You put your packed backpack on your back, maybe You will feel that is not that heavy, but after two months on the road carrying the same weight every day You will feel more and more tired, so every single gram that You can avoid carrying from the very beginning is a benefit for your health and has a major impact on your journey in the long-run.

When You finish packing your backpack with all the backpacking and hitchhiking essentials, clothes, food and everything, make sure that the final weight of your backpack does not exceed 20-25% of the weight of your body, otherwise You seriously risk to hurt yourself.

The essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking are:

* Small clasp knife with can opener, spork, stainless steel mug
(If You donít have a spork, then a spoon will prove to be a lot more useful than a fork.

Is important to have a mug made of steel, or of some sort of metal, so that is possible to put it on fire to boil water when camping to sleep. Hitchhiking long distances involves a lot of camping.
Essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking: spork, clasp-knife, stainless steel mug
In countries where the petrol stations are more modern, like when hitchhiking in Europe, if You have your mug is possible to get hot water for free almost always to prepare your tea, coffee or other hot drink.)

* Lighter, candle, rope
(The candle is very useful to light a fire in wet conditions.

If You camp in an area where small wild animals live there as well, making a perimeter around your tent with the rope will scare them away when they approach your tent and smell the rope. Keep in mind that this survival technique is efficient only against small animals, like foxes for example.
Things to pack for hitchhiking: lighter, candle, rope
Against big predators, like bears for example, is inefficient. To do the perimeter of your tent usually 20 meters of thin rope is enough.)

* Sleeping bag, tent, mat
(Concerning your camping gear, is good to always include the sleeping bag among the things on your hitchhiking packing list. Because this alternative travel style is not mathematics and there is always the possibility to get stuck somewhere. A mat and a tent is good to have when hitchhiking longer distances. A sleeping bag is among the most essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking.)
Things to bring while hitchhiking and backpacking: sleeping bag, tent, mat

* Plastic water bottle of 1 liter
(0,5 could be too little, while 1,5 could be too much. For your trip, concerning the weight of your backpack, your goal is to carry with You as little as possible.)
Hitchhiking packing list: plastic water bottle of 1 liter

* Headlamp and red beacon
(As hitchhiker, You will do lots of kilometers on the right seat, but also lots of kilometers walking. Sometimes the driver will drop You outside of town after it gets dark and You will have to walk few kilometers until reaching your destination. Lights are of fundamental importance - a headlamp is among the hitchhiking essentials. I recommend to include it on your hitchhiking packing list. And as camping gear, the headlamp often proves very useful.
Backpacking and hitchhiking essentials: headlamp and red beacon
Read "Have faith, things will work out" to see an example of a situation when lights made a difference for me.)

* Map of the country or of the area You are going to explore
(Though among hitchhiking essentials, the map is not mandatory for every hitchhiker, but using one contributes in traveling more efficiently. In some situations a GPS can make a difference - if You own an Android device with a GPS antenna, Maps.Me is a very useful hitchhiking app that offers very detailed and updated offline maps and GPS navigation.)
Essential hitchhiking gear: map of the country or of the area You are going to explore

* Rain jacket
(A good quality rain jacket will prove very useful, a lot more than an umbrella. Usually a 10000 mm waterproof jacket is enough. On the hitchhiking packing list I would put the rain jacket among the "must have" backpacking and hitchhiking essentials.)
Backpacking and hitchhiking essentials: rain jacket

* Hygiene set - small scissors, 100 ml bottle of shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste
Hitchhiking packing list: small scissors, 100 ml bottle of shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste

* Health set - medicines and condoms
Things to bring while hitchhiking and backpacking: medicines and condoms

* Marker, pen, notebook
(The marker is a "must have" for every hitchhiker. Is quite easy to find carton or paper, but not a marker. So when You plan to hitchhike, take a marker with You. A marker is on the top essential items for hitchhiking - is essential hitchhiking gear, so don't start a journey without it.)
Essential items for hitchhiking and backpacking: marker, pen, notebook

* 1 paper roll and a plastic bag
(Besides the toilet use, is possible to use the toilet paper in many other ways. When traveling is possible to write your destination on it, to clean your tools, to light a fire, and even as extra insulation under your clothes.

The plastic bag is useful to keep separately your dirty clothes until able to wash them. If You camp in the nature, is useful also to take your trash with You.)
What to pack for hitchhiking and backpacking: 1 paper roll and a plastic bag



Written by Claudio Adriano Dobre, © 2012
People who met me say...

Hitchhiker and Adventurer from Europe
"Meeting with Adriano is like charging yourself with a positive attitude that leads to happiness and success and can change your whole life. With that I am saying that people like Adriano will never be lost. He will always find a way how to enjoy the time that he has for himself and others and get the most out of it, even if he is alone in the middle of nowhere."
~
Liva Juskevica