14 Things You Definitely Need In Your Backpack While Abroad

14 Things You Definitely Need In Your Backpack While Abroad

Narrow city streets are our playgrounds, jungles are our local hangouts, and beach hammocks are where we lay our heads. We catch memories and live in the moment, and hold only the most important things dear. However, don’t let your light backpacking ways leave you up a creek without a paddle! Here are 14 lightweight things to keep in your backpack that will make your backpacking trip a breeze!

Front-loader backpack

The first time we travel, we want all the fancy new gear. We folded all of our clothes, shoes, and other little things into a strategically when-will-i-need-it order, and jetted off to an exotic place. And every time we needed something we had to dump everything out and put everything back in. Save yourself the trouble and buy a backpack that opens from the body, so your stuff doesn’t end up all over the floor of every hostel on your tour!


First aid essentials

Travelling is bumpy, dirty, and can be filled with adrenaline. We have fallen off the side of volcanos, fallen off waves, fallen off horses, and just regular fell. We’re always so thankful to have some essentials to keep that cut, scrape, or burn in check and clean!



Not so essential while you're in lit cities, but once you head out to the jungle it’s super handy! What better way to put your irrational fear of snakes and spiders to rest than having a big bright headlamp lighting every step of the way! And, it’s hands free so you can hold your drink!

La Fortuna, CR - La Fortuna Waterfall - Rafting - Hot Spring-12.jpg


While travelling we’re constantly petting beach dogs, picking up sea shells, shaking hands, and buying jewelry. It’s probably saved our lives more than once to have Purell (literally) on hand before we eat or touch anything else.


Bungee Cord

You never know when you’ll need rope! Bungee cords have come in handy for strapping surf boards to moto’s, helmets to backpacks, yoga mats to chicken busses, things to quads, you name it! We’ve never looked at our bungee cord and thought, “I wish I didn’t bring this.”


Battery Pack

Our battery lasts much longer than the battery in my phone. Although we can go white water rafting in the morning, and bungee jumping in the evening, our phone won’t hold enough charge to capture it all! It’s so nice to have a battery pack on hand to charge up in between activities. Do it for the ‘gram!

La Fortuna, CR - La Fortuna Waterfall - Rafting - Hot Spring-20.jpg


Although this seems like an obvious choice, you’d be surprised at the markup of sunscreen in foreign countries. Before leaving home we like to buy a couple bottles at 10$, as opposed to a bottle at 30$!

Santa Teresa, CR - Surfing - Quads-23.jpg

Extension cord

There is nothing worse than coming into your hostel at the end of a long day, going to plug in your phone, and realizing the only outlet is on the other side of the room under the bed. Extension cords have made it so easy to charge our gear while having it right next to us, or watch a movie when it’s rainy outside.

Rio Celeste, CR - Blue River-9.jpg

Duct tape

Duct tape has kept many a flip-flop together, a backpack strap on, made an excellent patch for our favourite pizza pool floatie, and kept electronics together. You never know what you’ll need this versatile material for, but you’ll need it nonetheless!


Packing cubes

Packing cubes can range from high end zippable boxes to plastic bags you picked up for free at the grocery store. Placing all your shirts, socks, and pants in separate bags saves you time looking for things. It also keeps your stinky clothes stinky, and your clean clothes clean!

Bocas Del Toro_Panama-9.jpg


Don’t be that frantic guy at immigration scrambling to fill out the form! Carrying pens on hand is great for filling out paperwork efficiently and correctly while country hopping. Whether you arrive by plane, bus, or boat, you still need a pen!

Bocas Del Toro_Panama-60.jpg

Bottle Opener

Lightweight, fits nicely on a keychain, and is always needed! Not every country has twist offs, and it can be frustrating looking for one in a hectic hostel. Bonus points if it can open a bottle of wine for a fancy evening!

Bocas Del Toro_Panama-34.jpg

Active bikini

Someone needs to ask a mermaid how they keep their shells on because we cannot figure it out. Cute bandeau tops are awesome for the pool, but when you’re jumping off cliffs, snorkeling close to fish, or catching that barrel the last thing you want to be worrying about it your bathing suit staying in place!


Did we forget any backpacking must-haves on this list? Comment in the section below if you have any suggestions! Or jump on one of our LBW Central America tours and experience first hand what you can’t live without!


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