5 Backpacking Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed
You’ve got your sturdy backpack, the most comfortable shoes, and a heavy-duty water bottle. Every backpacker spends hours going through lists of essentials, curating their bag for maximum efficiency. But sometimes you get out on the trail and realize you forgot somethingIt wasn’t mentioned on any list and there’s no way you could have predicted you’d need it. Sound like a familiar situation? To help you avoid it in the future, here are 5 backpacking essentials to take with you on your next trip.
1. A charging phone case
You may already have a power bank in your kit, but did you know there are special cases that charge your phone too?
A good charging phone case will hold a full extra charge for your smartphone. These cases also don’t weigh a lot, so you don’t have to make extra room to bring it along. Getting a charging case is a great way to optimize your pack.
And really, there are phone cases for every situation – With cases for drop protection and grip, a phoen case will keep your device in tact despite the elements!
2. A small towel
Towels are definitely one of those multipurpose items you didn’t realize you need until you reallyneed it. They’re great for mopping up sweat, keeping your stuff out of the dirt, and drying off after an army shower. You won’t need a full bath towel, though. Even a hand towel will be useful. Just make sure it’s quick-drying.
Fortunately, most small towels are pretty lightweight even if they do take up a lot of space. For maximum efficiency, roll them up and secure them with a little paracord to the top or bottom of your backpack.
Related: Five multi-use gadgets
3. A clip-on flashlight
No more awkwardly holding your Maglite to read a book in the evening. No more squinting in the low light of the campfire. A mini clip-on flashlight is here to save the day – and your eyes! Just clip on your mini flashlight to your book or keep it by the side of your bedroll.
Clip-on flashlights are usually very lightweight. They’re small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. They don’t produce a ton of far-reaching light, but they’re convenient enough that it doesn’t really matter. A clip-on light is very much a small creature comfort. But it’s definitely one that will make your time in the wild a little more bearable.
4. A trash bag
It sounds counterintuitive, but you actually produce more trash while backpacking than you’d think. Used napkins, hygiene products, food wrappers, and so on. You can even use a plastic trash bag to carry laundry or a wet towel.
A regular plastic bag from the grocery store is small and good for most trips. But for extended trips, a 13-gallon kitchen bag is ridiculously lightweight and will be plenty big. Just make sure you have a way to transport it if you fill it up. It’s hard to carry a full trash bag by thin plastic handles.
5. A few carabiners
Carabiners (those little oval-shaped metal clips usually used to secure ropes) are useful, even if you’re not rock climbing! They’re excellent because they’ll make your trip safer, and they’re convenient to pack.
You can use a small locking carabiner to keep the straps or zippers of your bag shut. If you’re backpacking through a crowded area, this helps prevent potential pickpockets from sneakily opening your bag and reaching in.
Since carabiners are used for securing ropes, they can also be used to secure your items when you pack. Whether that’s attaching hanging items to your pack or tying things up, a little creativity makes a carabiner pull a lot of double duty.
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