A list of essentials for you to pack while backpacking across China. Plus tons of packing tips!
When backpacking across vast distances, it is essential to carry only what is necessary. Backpacking is tough work, so you have to make sure that you don't forget anything. But it is just as important to make sure you don't bring anything that's going to weigh you down. You'll be pretty upset when you realize that you've been carting around that extra pair of shoes for the entire trip, and didn't end up wearing them once. The rule of thumb - and I'm sure you've heard this before - pack everything you need, and then remove half of it! This packing list will cover your basic needs for around 30 days of travel through a variety of climates and temperatures. So sit back and check these items off of your checklist! * We have a post about the items every woman needs to bring with her on a trip - check them out here when you're done reading this complete list!
The first step should be determining the size of backpack that you need and what type of backpack. We really love Osprey Backpacks, they stand behind their packs really well and over the countless kilometres we've trekked - we've never had a problem with them! After you pack your bag, walk around with it on a little bit. Make sure it's comfortable. Get to know how to properly use the straps and clips. Most importantly, make sure it isn't too heavy! This applies to everyone! Backpacking is hard, all of your belongings are strapped onto your back. You might need to walk longer distances then you expect to, and you might need to stand around with that backpack on a lot longer then you planned! If it's too heavy, you might need to rethink some of the items you have inside.
1 x Daypack - 15-25L should be fine
1 x Large Backpack - 40-60L is ideal - This size depends on how much you bring, and how long you'll be going. * Support our blog by using our Amazon Portal for Osprey Gear!
TIP: Try to decide if you will be checking your bags or not. If you decide against it, you should look for a smaller pack so that you don't need to worry about exceeding the size and weight limits on the plane. A smaller bag has it benefits too, it will easily fit in hostel lockers, in plane carry-on cupboards, and in small or tight spaces - like a crowded train.
Picking the perfect backpack may take a little bit of effort. Make sure that you get one designed for your body type, and weight. At some stores, you will be able to find a professional who can fit you with the perfect bag for your body type, and backpacking style.
1 x Flip flops - You'll find these useful mostly for hostel showers!
1 x Running shoes - Pack hiking boots instead if you're planning on visiting trails.
1 x Casual shoes - optional
TIP: When choosing the proper footwear, think about what activities you will be doing on the trip. If you will be in nature often, pick some comfortable hiking boots, for city explorers, opt for some versatile, comfortable shoes. Remember you will be walking a lot!
2 x Pairs of jeans - or one pair of jeans, and one pair of leggings
1 x Casual shorts
1 x Athletic shorts
2 x Casual t-shirts/tank tops
2 x Athletic t-shirts/tank tops
1 x Athletic long Sleeve
1 x Collared Shirt/shirt for eating out/dressing up
1 x Sweater - make sure this is versatile and breathable if possible - we love the Arctery'x Atom Jackets!
1 x Light/Waterproof jacket
10 x Socks
10 x Underwear
1 x Hat
1 x Warm Hat - like a toque! It gets cold in Beijing depending on the time of year.
1 x Gloves
1 x Belt
TIP: If you know you will be going when it's cooler throughout the country, bring a couple pairs of warmer pants and an extra sweater, omit some of the warm weather clothes. If you have a versatile, wind resistant jacket and a warm mid layer that packs small, bring these.
Make sure that all of your clothing is wrinkle resistant, and quick dry. Obviously some of your clothes will get wrinkled and you can't help that, but try to pack garments that you know will travel well.
Make sure to pick up a pair of hiking socks, that are sweat wicking - which will reduce the amount of blisters you will have! Also try not to break in a new pair of shoes while you're on your trip.
Female Specific Clothing:
2 x Sports bra
1 x Romper/dress - Omit some of the above clothing if they are no longer needed.
2 x Tank tops
2 x Casual bras
1 x Phone charger
1 x Electric plug adapter
1 x Camera, additional SD card and batteries
1 x Headphones
1 x Cellphone
1 x Deodorant 1 x Sun screen
1 x Hand sanitizer
1 x Toothbrush
1 x Toothpaste
1 x Soap bar
1 x Shampoo/Conditioner
1 x Razor - only bring this if you are planning on checking your bags!
1 x Floss
1 x Toilet paper - yea, bring some...don't ask. 1 x Chapstick 1 x Body Lotion 1 x Face Wash
TIP: Make sure that EVERYTHING in this section is in bottles less than 100mL! That's not very much soap. Try to find a local store (Lush) that has non-liquid versions of shampoo, soap and toothpaste, it'll save room and weight in your bag.
Female Specific Hygiene:
1 x Tampons/Pads/Menstrual Cup - Pack some backups ladies because these are tricky to find.
1 x Nail File
1 x Hair Brush
1 x Pocket Mirror
1 x Makeup Remover Wipes
5 x Hair elastics - You may find MANY surprising uses for these while on your trip.
Makeup - Girl, bring enough to keep you feeling fresh, but not enough to overdo it, you know?
1 x Reusable water bottle
1 x Camelback or water bladder - most hostels have water filtered water, it'll save you from spending money on bottled water
2 x Electrolyte tablets - We prefer Nuun tablets Buy Now on Amazon!
20 x Protein bars
TIP: Pack a few extra non-perishable snacks with you, especially if you are a picky eater, or if you are worried that you might need to go hungry at some times. These will get you through times when you just can't find anything suitable to eat - small villages - or when you are going long distances without food. They also pack well for day trips and tours.
1 x Advil & Gravol
1 x Package of bandaids
1 x Earplugs
1 x Bottle of melatonin for jet lag!
1 x Antibiotic cream
1 x Birth control, or Natural Cycles
TIP: If you have any special medications, make sure that you bring them in their original bottle, you may get asked about these at customs.
1 x Glasses or Contacts (if needed) 1 x Copy of important documents, and ID- Print these out on paper and take a photo of them and store it on your phone.
5 x Ziplock bags
1 x Small packing reusable bag - In case you need extra room, or want to grab some extra groceries 1 x Compression bag - This makes it easy to compress your bulky clothes!
1 x Turkish towel - Buy Now on Amazon! - or bath towel
1 x Sunglasses
3 x Carabeeners - These work great for clipping wet flip flops onto your backpack.
1 x Pen and Paper - Used for notes or journaling and remembering people you've met.
1 x Book - Entertainment on those long, long train rides
2 x Safety pins - Safety pins can be used to fix/mend broken garments, extra enclosure on a backpack if needed, etc. 1 x Tin coffee cup - I know it sounds weird, but most train stations have hot water dispensers (used for instant noodles, tea, etc) which means you will be able to have food and tea on the go without any worry!
Reminder: If you do happen to forget anything, or if you realize you need something not mentioned, you can always find these things while on route. SO don't panic!
China is the perfect place to travel if you are looking for a little bit of culture shock, and a lot of adventure. You are going to learn so much on your trip so don't worry about anything. If you have any questions regarding travelling in China please let us know in the comments below!