Setting out on foot (or bicycle or kayak…) is a fantastic way to explore while staying active on the road or abroad. You can incorporate mini-adventures into your long-term travel plans, join a group tour or set out on a specific journey (like hiking the Inca Trail or cycling in France). It can be tough to decide what to pack for this type of travel since you want to make sure your gear is lightweight, durable, and versatile.
One of the most important pieces of equipment. What size do you need? Will you have a larger pack or suitcase and require a small daypack? Or will you take everything with you as you hike or bike? Make sure your pack fits properly and look for convenient features like pockets, snaps, and water bottle/bladder storage.
Hiking Boots or Shoes
With so many options to choose from, it’s important to do your research and let store staff help you. Consider the anticipated terrain, the amount of support required and weight. Also, make sure you pack another pair of sandals or lightweight shoes for when you take your boots off. Of course, if you plan on running or cycling, you will need the appropriate footwear.
Super important! Lightweight, quick-drying clothes (stay away from cotton) will wick sweat and air-dry quickly after you wash them. Yes, this includes underwear too!
When you are on your feet all day, and especially if you are carrying a pack, you will be prone to blisters. Wear either a liner sock + hiking sock or socks that are double-layered.
Water Bottle or Bladder
Hydration is very important, especially in warmer conditions. Using a bottle or bladder is based on personal preference. Bladders are nice because they fit right into your backpack and are lightweight. You also might find it easier and more convenient to drink from.
Bandana or Buff
Very versatile and can protect you from the sun, cover your ears if it’s cold, cool you off if you soak it in water, and can be used as a first aid measure in an emergency.
Not mandatory, but can ease the strain on your back and joints. These also give your arms a nice bonus workout. Another (free!) option is to find a stick along the way and use that.
Use a pack cover, lightweight jacket and rain pants, poncho or combination of these things.
Usual travel essentials (toiletries, sunscreen, sunglasses, towel, first aid kit, etc.). Also consider a headlamp, hat, swimsuit, jacket or vest, and sleeping bag/liner depending on your accommodations and weather conditions.
If you’re just starting out, these items may seem overwhelming and costly. Here are some ideas to keep you on a budget:
Ask a friend or family member if you can borrow their pack, boots, or poles
Look out for gear swap or sales at outdoor stores like REI or check online (Kijiji, GearX, Geartrade, etc.)
Raid your closet – if you work out, chances are you already have some appropriate clothes and shoes
One last thing! Going on an adventure is exciting but always make sure you have adequate international health insurance if going abroad. The last thing you want is to worry about the cost of seeking medical attention if you get injured or sick. Happy travels!
What are some other travel essentials you can think of?