Thyra with her backpack in 2020.
Backpacking,  Travel,  Travel Advice

Clothing I Packed When I First Started Backpacking (and What I Would Do Differently Now!)

I started backpacking full time in 2018. Being type A, I spent hours researching what clothes to put in my 40L backpack. I wanted everything to have a purpose but was also on a strict budget. Most of what I got was thrifted or bought on discount. The items below is a complete list of what my backpack looked like in 2018. A lot has changed – some remains and others are (literally) in the trash!


➤ Dress (1) 

I no longer carry a dress. I don’t really wear dresses in my normal life but every blog I had read prior to traveling said this was an essential item! A good rule of thumb is to be mindful of what you bring, but still bring things you would wear in your normal life.

➤ Short Sleeved Shirts (4)

➤ Long Sleeved Shirts (2)

➤ Tank Tops (4)

I just carry one tank top these days, I find myself wearing short sleeved shirts mostly because of the sun and modesty.

➤ Shorts (2)

➤ Hiking Pants (2)

Now I pack hiking pants, leggings, and a pair of linen trousers.

➤ Skirts (2)

If I don’t wear them in normal life, I shouldn’t bring them backpacking.

➤ Cardigan (2)

What you really need for warmth is one light cardigan and a fleece (for hiking and bus rides).

➤ Raincoat

➤ Bras (4)

I bring two now.

➤ Underwear (7)

➤ Socks (3)

➤ Hats (3: cap, visor, snapback)

Graduated to cap, winter hat, and wool headband.

➤ Purse

➤ Sunglasses (2)

➤ Shoes (4: sandals, flips, tennis, flats)

Flats were gone almost immediately. If you are looking for fashion take a vacation, backpacking is a different story most of the time.

➤ Swimsuit (2)

So, as you can see, I have changed a lot over the past two years! Everyone is different and there is no ‘master’ packing list for backpacking. Depending on your interests and travel plan, you will have different things in your bag.


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