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Backpack Essentials for #careerlions

Backpack Essentials for #careerlions

Liona and I are planning our next holiday and we are going backpacking! Yes, Liona will also be carrying a backpack. The plan is to go to Vietnam, via Hong Kong on the way there and Kuala Lumpur on the way back. In light of that, today’s article is an overview of my backpack essentials to prepare her and share some tips and tricks with all other #careerlions.

A Backpack

What is it that you absolutely can’t go without? Well a backpack that is, duh hihi! However, bringing a day backpack is also quite crucial. The first few times I actually brought a Longchamp shopper myself. Not comfortable at all. A lot of hustle to bring a larger shoulder bag in addition to your backpack. It throws your balance off. Especially because you might also need to bring a food bag for on the way and a hand free to navigate your way when you are there. Also, it ensures that you have a proper bag when you go on a daytrip. This way you won’t get into situations like hiking a mountain with such a shopper; having to throw your bag up to your friend and guys stating “very practical bag you have there ;)”. Well, no shit Sherlock. Ever since, I like to bring my North Face Borealis as well as my larger backpack.

What I also tend to bring are a few linen or fold-able bags. These will serve perfectly as food bags or day bags to bring to the beach. Trust me, you don’t want to be dealing with ripping plastic bags when you are already carrying backpacks in the front and back.

For all #careerlion women, bring a small bag that you can carry easily with your valuables. Men’s clothing always seems to have good pockets, but us women aren’t always blessed with this (in exchange we get to look cute though). Always good to have your valuables within hand reach when you are travelling.

Packing Your Backpack

Most backpacks have multiple handy compartments. However, you can never have enough splits. You have all the different types of stuff your bringing, will constantly be on the move, and there is no way that you will want to mix your dirty and clean clothes off course. This is why I like using packing cubes. They ensure that you keep clothes organized in your backpack throughout your trip. Either bring a few extra cubes for dirty clothes or bring enough plastic bags to keep it separate. You will want to go with smaller bags so that you can easily fill up the gaps in your backpack.

Another must have to bring is a “dry bag”, if you plan to go to beachy areas. In these you can put all of your valuables without them getting wet. Perfect if you want to swim together and don’t feel at ease leaving your phones, wallets and passport on the beach half way across the world. They are also handy when you go on boat trips when, let’s be real, at the end of the trip the boat is filled with water and you are trying to keep your stuff from getting wet.


As you could read in my blog on entertainment, you will want to bring an entertainment system everywhere. Backpacking is no different. I always bring my iPad with nice series on it, books, and a download of the Lonely Planet. They offer pdf/ePub downloads of all their books that you can put on your iPad and phone. Very easy when you are travelling around as you can always do a quick search and you don’t have to carry the extra weight. Especially useful if you don’t know where you will be travelling in advance. You can always get an English copy when you get Wifi. Trust me not all countries sell them, our spontaneous holiday to Panama and Costa Rica led me to the Lonely Planet website when they were only selling Spanish copies.  I also never go backpacking without a deck of cards, yahtzee booklet, and 5 dices. Always good entertainment when you are waiting for a flight, bus or food! Remember to bring a splitter as well so you can watch series and movies together as well.

What to Wear

Of course, you can wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. Also, it is very dependent on the weather and activities you plan to do (if you have a plan at all that is). But if there is one thing that I love to wear backpacking, it is sportswear. Truthfully, nothing beats dry fit clothing when you are travelling from one place to the next or going for a hike. In terms of shoes, DON’T bring heels. This was the most painful thing for me going backpacking for the first time. In the end, I was glad I didn’t bring them. There is absolutely no use for them. You will be much more thankful if you only bring sneakers, flip flops, and hiking shoes.

Shopping List

That brings me to my shopping list. So, what is on my buy list for the next trip that I have not yet acquired but definitely see as a must have learning the hard way?

  • Hiking shoes: I still don’t own a pair of hiking shoes, although every time I promise myself I will buy them as soon as I get home. You will hike and 17km a day in Air Max is just not ideal. Note to self: buy them!
  • A surf shirt: Most of my backpack holidays lead to islands somehow. They are just so appealing to go to. Generally, this goes along with a lot of sunshine. No matter how much sunscreen you put on, there is always that risk of burning. Especially if you go surfing or snorkeling. Surf shirts have built in sun protectant UPF 50. A great way to cover at least a very delicate area of the body. Trust me, it is VERY painful if you have second degree burns on your shoulders and have to wear your backpack again.
  • Supporting slippers: I am also a major Havaianas fan. However, when I wear them the whole day I am in excruciating pain. Flat feet alarm so to say. Especially wearing flip flops carrying your backpack is a definite no-no for me. Now Birkenstock have launched plastic versions that offer way more support while you can still clean them easily and there is no issue if they get wet. Sure wish I already had them on our previous trip when I was hiking a mountain in Havaianas coming across a tarantula on our way up. 
  • Snorkeling set: Again, dependent on the type of holiday. But I would love to have my own snorkeling set. The ones you get on snorkeling trips are always a bit dirty, who knows who breathed through it, who spit in it (which you have to do to keep them from becoming foggy), and are often a little dodgy. At Decathlon for instance you have some great options, including this innovative breathing mask. I am still deciding whether to get that one or a regular set.

I hope some of these tips are useful for you. Do you have some additional tips and tricks that we could use? Tips are always welcome! Don’t hesitate sharing in the comment section below. Btw: if you have any tips for our trips to Hong Kong, Vietnam, and/or Kuala Lumpur, we would be happy to hear as well.

Tools from the titan himself

Tools from the titan himself

Floating like a goldfish

Floating like a goldfish