A summer’s backpacking is what gap year dreams are made of. In an ideal world, freshly rendered bamboo tattoos steal you admiring glances on the beach, unprecedented dreadlocks and a ukulele mark you out as someone to invite to each and every bonfire party, and your brand new backpack holds up for the duration of your trip.
The reality is somewhat different. Locals giggle at the rude word forever etched on your arm. Head lice and an out of tune Hotel California have you ostracised. But if you’re happy that’s all that matters and however things turn out, that bag of yours remains sturdy and strong. And that’s because it’s a durable fjallraven kanken. You’ll still need some extras though, to make your trip run smoothly. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL accessories for your backpack when travelling.
Perhaps the most demoralising thing to befall a trip is lost luggage. If the whole essence of your trip relies on carrying your gear on your back, then the impact on your adventure can be tenfold. Tags, then, are a must. Sturdy ones, which will tear off when thrown into a rickshaw, or lose their ink in a monsoon. You know it makes sense.
A WATERPROOF COVER
Did someone say monsoon? If you’re backpacking, the destination is likely to be tropical and the weather erratic. All eventualities should be covered, including your backpack. You’re sure to be, at some point, trudging, deflated, when rain strikes. A simple waterproof cover will save the day – the trip even – and is a far safer bet than a hastily assembled protection unit made from bin bags or a poncho. And if you should go on a boat trip down the Mekong or down some other turbulent river, knowing your belongings are safe and dry if your boat capsizes will take a load off your mind.
A WATER RESERVOIR
On the flipside, those hot, humid days of heavy hangovers and dehydration need accounting for, too. A water reservoir is good idea (and cost efficient as well) for keeping your h2o at a good level. What’s one of those, you ask? Well, they’re a pouch which you fill with water (or a stronger tipple, if that’s your thing), stuff in your bag and sup on from time to time the reservoir’s tube system. There’s often a designated space for one in your backpack.
Your back can undergo a fair amount of burden and strain when on the road. A daily massage, however ubiquitous they may be on many of the preferred backpacking trails, isn’t going to be great for your budget. Chest straps are far better investment, providing additional support for your back and making a longer trek more physically manageable.
A BACKPACK ORGANISER
We all know what it’s like; digging deep for a charger, unpacking the whole bag for a pair of knickers, losing stuff and finding it again when you’re in another continent. Mary Poppins, eat your heart out. A backpack organiser – essentially an efficient way to compartmentalise your bag – will save you time packing, unpacking and searching for fundamentals.