Although the majority of this list could apply to men as well, it’s mainly for my fellow lady backpackers. I have done a lot of traveling and backpacking, and as a female these are the things I tend to take with me or acknowledge about my travels.
- Diva/Lunette cup: Tampons are quick and easy and no mess, I love the things. However for certain adventures, ones in particular that don’t allow for a lot of room in your backpack for tampons or even with places where you can buy some (I’m looking at you Southeast Asia), the diva cup then shines. It definitely has a learning curve. So before going backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, backpacking through Europe, or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro I suggest practicing with it several times. If you’re easily grossed out by the idea of the insertion and removal and getting to know your body very well, don’t buy one.
- It’s ok to smell: You are going to smell, other backpackers are going to smell. Attempting a modicum of cleanliness and good hygiene is a necessity, but unfortunately you can’t fight the trail.
- Antimicrobial Underwear: The best investment you’ll ever make for long term travel. I own a couple of Exoficio and they have gone many places with me and they are so easy to clean and dry (I’ve cleaned them in a sink and dried them with a hair dryer). Buy some!
- Pack less: you will always end up realizing you packed too much. The biggest tip to packing less, is to pack normally with all the things you think you need, then put it on your back and walk for 2 miles. Now imagine that by 10 million. First thing to go will probably be your extra socks, that third pair of shorts, those extra cute shoes, and then the makeup. Depending on your personality you probably won’t need makeup, but if you can’t survive without it, it is imperative to invest in makeup that pulls double duty, a sunscreen for your face with BB cream or something like Benetint which is a cheek and lip stain.
- Wet Wipes: these will now be your bath/shower so buy plenty of them. Don’t worry it’s not that bad, and they are actually quite effective.