Adventure travel packing list: Backpacking clothing tips

Jun 21, 2022 BY Paul McWilliams

Are you setting off on the journey of a lifetime and looking for backpacking clothing tips? Then what you need is our adventure travel packing list.

Adventure travel packing list pxhere royalty free image Phang Nga Bay Phuket thailand

We’ll give you a detailed breakdown of what you need to take with you when you set off backpacking. More importantly, this will also help you decide what not to take.

Because remember whatever you take you will be carrying. So it’s important to travel light. Please note we are using the term backpacking to mean going travelling, rather than the US meaning to hike into the wilderness.

General tips for Backpacking clothing

Go for the smallest bag you think it’s reasonable to fit everything in. Your bag is your life when you travel and the more cumbersome it is, the more of a burden it becomes. Check out the different types of backpack for more guidance.

If you choose a smaller bag it will encourage you to be more economical with your packing. You will probably have to lump your bag on buses, trains, tuk tuks and even motorbikes. So the smaller it is, the better. 

Don’t overdo it on the clothes. The thought of wearing the same clothes day in, day out might be off putting now, but life is different on the road. Everyone is in the same boat and you get used to doing a quick hand wash whenever you can.

Backpacking clothing tips Needpix royalty free image from vietnam

Adventure travel packing list

Your clothing list really depends on your destination. Also everyone is different, and backpacking trips vary from weeks to years. But in general your pack should at least include: 

  • Three t-shirts – you don’t really need more and if you do, you can usually pick these up cheap wherever you go.
  • One long sleeve shirt – this is a flexible option as sleeves can be rolled up and could be a lifesaver when the mosquitos are out. It also doubles as your smart outfit!
  • Two pairs of trousers – jeans are great for everyday life but not ideal for travelling as they take an age to dry and are very heavy. Choose lightweight and quick drying trousers. 
  • Shorts – if it’s a warm weather destination you might want to go for two pairs and leave one set of trousers at home. Shorts should be quick drying and have plenty of pockets.
  • Footwear – at least one pair of sturdy trainers or lightweight boots for when you have to put the miles in. Sandals or flip flops such as these options for the more relaxing occasions when you’re not lugging your bag. Try and avoid big and clunky hiking boots as they take up too much room when not on your feet. 
  • Warm layer – even hot destinations can get cold at night. Take a good quality jumper or light fleece that offers some insulation.
  • Waterproof jacket – lightweight and compact but essential when the weather takes a turn for the worst.
  • Swimmers – you’ll probably be visiting a beach or two. So bikini or boardies for beachwear are perfect.
  • Hat – cap or sunhat it doesn’t really matter. At times you will need to keep the sun off your head.
  • Underwear – take enough undies for a week (I will leave you to decide how many that is)! While any will do I always found sports underwear best as they are better when in the heat or doing lots of walking.
best thai adventure holidays pixabay royalty free image

Backpacking clothing tips: Women

There are some restrictions about what women can and can’t wear around the world. While most popular destinations you should be fine, like it or not this has to be considered.

Vest tops are a lightweight and flexible option but be aware that in some cultures this is not appropriate attire. It’s always a good idea to take plus size flowy tops with you to cover up. This is useful for cultural reasons or just to protect from the sun or mosquitos.

The same rules apply for swimwear. In most places a bikini is absolutely fine – and an essential piece of kit – but in some locations a more traditional swimsuit might be required. Do a bit of research before you travel if you’re unsure. 

You should also think about feminine hygiene products as these are not always readily available in some countries. 

Backpacking clothing tips: Men

For better or worse, there are generally fewer restrictions on what men can and can’t wear around the world. Although you should still be aware that some religious sites do require you to cover up with long sleeves and trousers. 

Adventure travel packing list Backpacking clothing tips Pixabay royalty free image from vietnam

Adventure travel packing list: The extras

There is much debate about whether or not you need a sleeping bag. These days almost every hostel you stay in has clean bedding as a basic. So you can probably get away with leaving it behind.

You will also need to make a decision about the type of extras you take based on your destination. For example, sunglasses or a sun hat are essentials for warmer climates. Warm hats, gloves and scarves may be needed in colder climes. 

Not strictly clothing, but don’t forget to leave room for other essentials like sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Use this adventure travel packing list and backpacking clothing tips and you should cover all the bases for your trip. Oh and don’t forget your toothbrush!

We hope you found this adventure travel packing list useful. Be sure to check out our adventure holidays discounts as you could save a fortune.


Multi Activity, Overlanding
Backpacking, Backpacks, clothing

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