Long time, no see! I disappeared while I went to move out of uni and since I’ve been back home it’s been pretty busy trying to get fully prepared, but I’ve finally stopped to breathe (and write another post).
It’s now T-5 days until I leave (AAHH!!!) and I’m only just starting to feel mostly ready to go. I think I finally have nearly all the things I’m going to need for these two months across the other side of the world, so I thought I’d share with you 10 of the main things I’ve got for this trip (this post features affiliate links).
1. Backpack. When you’re going backpacking the most important piece of kit really is the backpack itself. I wanted to make sure that it was one that would last and I could use again and again in the future. Since it would also be going in the hold of the airplane I wanted to make sure it was sturdy and would be able to withstand being thrown around and most importantly, the backpack straps could zip away so as not to get damaged.
In the end I went with the Osprey Fairview 70 in Rainforest Green: https://amzn.to/2K3L3Mq
Even though it seems that most long-time travellers only take a 55L on-plane bag for months and months away, I am a planner and panicker and I tend to over prepare I thought for me it’d be best to go with the larger option. The 70L capacity includes the volume of the daypack this bag comes with. The daypack is a 15L bag which securely zips and clips onto the main backpack which I thought was a brilliant addition and meant that if needs be it can also all go in the hold. The security of the bag is something else I found attractive as it zips open and closed like a suitcase with lockable zippers for extra safety. The backpack straps also zip away nicely meaning it can double up as a holdall style bag too. Many travellers take the Osprey Farpoint bag with them, which is the original of this style made by Osprey, however the newer Fairview is a ‘women’ specific bag in that the straps fit much better to a woman’s figure and distributes the weight much more evenly on a female body shape. As I know many female travellers have taken and still take the Farpoint, I tried both on when making my decision, however for me personally the Fairview did have a better fit to my body shape so I ended up going with that one.
2. Mosquito Net. Obviously this item is very trip dependant, and for most backpacking or travelling trips it won’t be a necessity. However, due to the nature of my volunteering in Fiji and the fact I will be very exposed and sleeping in an open area we are told to bring mosquito nets for added protection when we are sleeping. I already get bitten a lot in the UK and so I wanted to make sure I got a net that was well recommended and would definitely keep the mosquitos away.
I chose the Lifesystems Micro Net Mosquito Net: https://amzn.to/2ywyHYM
This net is light and compact, perfect for backpacking and is treated with EX8 Longlife Impregnation which lasts for up to 2 years. It also uses a quick hang system. Lifesystems offer several different types of Mosquito Net, from wedge-hanging to box nets, from single to double. They are a well respected brand, so I hope this net will serve me well and protect me from too many mosquito bites while in Fiji!
3. Naturehike Backpack. The next thing I purchased was a small packable daypack.
Naturehike Ultralight Foldable/Packable day pack is what seemed to suit my needs perfectly: https://amzn.to/2JTzbNH
My hopes in getting a packable daypack was that it can tuck away inside my main backpack for the majority of my trip, but when it comes to me gaining items and running low on space, it can become an extra storage bag for me and be used as my on-plane bag while I secure the Osprey daypack to the main bag. I had seen other travellers who recommended taking a foldable daypack and thought that it would be a good precaution for me so I didn’t run out of space while away. The size of it packed down is tiny and I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived and was so miniscule. This isn’t a necessity but is something I think is a great idea to take with you if possible.
4. Surge Protector. This again might not apply to all trips, but if you are going somewhere reasonably off grid where the electric supply might not be reliable. It is best to take some kind of surge protector to avoid having all your electronics fried.
I went with what was recommended to us by the Think Pacific team which was the Belkin SurgeCube: https://amzn.to/2JWdNYo
This surge plug also has the added bonus of having two USB ports in it too, meaning that you can charge via just USB cable as well as by a standard plug.
5. Travel Adaptor. An item that goes hand in hand with a surge protector and electronics is a travel adaptor. It is likely that wherever you will be travelling in the world they will have different plug sockets than what your devices are compatible with at home. As I was going to be travelling to multiple places with different sockets, I thought it best to invest in a universal one.
I chose the LENCENT USB Charger Plug: https://amzn.to/2K8DMeb
The reason I decided to purchase a single universal converter plug rather than individually take different travel adaptors was so it would be more compact and easier to take with me and pack away when I was travelling. It is an investment that you can use again and again while travelling, even just on family holidays.
6. Action Camera. This is definitely a bonus accessory for a trip and it is more likely that you might just want to take a standard digital compact camera or even just your phone. However, I knew I wanted to make a video documenting my trip and that could include underwater shots, hiking and transport etc… While a GoPro was way out of my price range, there are many well recommended alternatives out there for people who aren’t ready to make such a grand investment.
My choice was the Campark 4K Action Camera: https://amzn.to/2yu7MNf
It had all the features I was looking for and more, including its own wifi connection so you can upload photos and control the device through your phone. It shoots in 4K and has both photo and video features, including a slow motion setting. Another bonus of this product is that it comes will a plethora of accessories for everything you could ever need, including a range of different mounts and straps, as well as a waterproof case and 2 rechargeable batteries. From what I’ve tested so far it seems to be working great and was an affordable investment.
7. Mosquito Spray. While it isn’t necessary to take mosquito nets on most trips, mosquito repellent spray is something that is extremely useful on many trips to many climates. You want to look for products with a high DEET percentage that is at least 30-50% DEET as well as a spray that combats other bugs aside from mosquitos such as ticks etc…
I chose the Jungle Formula Maximum with an Insect Repellent Factor (IRF) of 4: https://amzn.to/2K3rQL1
8. Sleeping Bag Liner. Another useful item when backpacking is a sleeping bag liner. While you likely won’t be taking a sleeping bag with you travelling, a light cotton sleeping bag liner is a very beneficial purchase as an extra clean layer of sheets when staying in hostel accommodation is a plus. This is something many travellers would be interested in, however for my trip is an extra bonus as in Fiji I will probably be sleeping on the ground, so it is just another layer as well as acting as a blanket too.
I chose the HiGear Polycotton Mummy Sleeping Bag Liner: https://amzn.to/2KaShOS
9. Knee-Length Shorts. Women’s knee length shorts are much harder to find than I originally thought. Due to the nature of our volunteering being in a small community who has different religious customs and cultural values to us Brits, the women are required to wear knee-length shorts out of respect. I underestimated how tricky it would be to find light knee-length shorts but in the end Amazon came to my rescue and I found some affordable knee-length shorts in a range of colours.
These drawstring bermuda shorts were exactly what I was looking for: https://amzn.to/2trr5Ro
10. Packing Cubes. The final item I am going to talk about today are packing cubes. I hadn’t heard of packing cubes until I started researching what I would need for my trip, but upon looking at advice from season travellers I found many people mention that packing cubes were a really great addition.
There are so many brands, options, sizes and colours out there when it comes to packing cubes. I chose the GONEX Packing Cubes in a set of 3 medium and 1 small: https://amzn.to/2ytLlYr
Since I a travelling aside from my volunteering and what I require for each of the things are quite different, I thought packing cubes would be great to separate the two aspects of my trip. I had seen many people recommending packing cubes but not much about what sizes were best and how many to take. I have never used them before so didn’t want to make too drastic of an investment. I also found out in my research that the large sizes aren’t as great to use in backpacking. I tried to go in the middle and found these affordable medium/small sized ones which I hope will be useful when packing and organising my belongings in my backpack.
– Portable Charger: https://amzn.to/2yudkHz
– TSA Travel Locks: https://amzn.to/2llxRV4
– Head Torch: https://amzn.to/2tngl6E
– Bio-Kult: https://amzn.to/2JSXPOF
– Micro SD Memory Card: https://amzn.to/2tsepto
I hope this post was useful and if you are going travelling/volunteering too you have a better idea of some of the good products and items out there. Once I get back I hope to write another detailed post telling what was really worth it, what I could do without, or what I wish I had with me on my trip.
I’ll be back with another post soon, I’m hoping to get at least one more up before I leave on Tuesday… it’s creeping up fast! Thanks for reading.