Traveler’s Checklist

I use this list myself, so I update it each time I learn something new (and if I change opinion on prioritites). This is not something you would need if you hang out around hostels and hotels. It is mostly for outdoor and exploration of wilderness, and is a reasonable mix between fancy survival ideas and reality.

Köppen climate classification is useful to understand what weather conditions you may expect.

A few words of explanation on categories:

Essential

Basically all you need to keep good health in most weather conditions, except perhaps for far Siberian north or Ténéré desert. Poncho/tarp is a crucial item here: it serves many purposes, the main being a simple shelter in case of a rain or when you get stuck somewhere and need to sleep for a while. The cool thing is that with trekking poles you can set up a simple tent with it. Tinder should not be considered only an emergency part of the equipment: having a cup of tea is always a good idea, right? A compass: this is a must. And you must know how to use it. Avoid electronic ones, they are not really reliable. Since water is absolutely necessary both for your health and success of the trip, learn how to find it in the area you are going to visit. Again, it is not about survival adventures. It is part of the reality when there are no shops around.

Trekking

This is the typical equipment you would take on any trip. Of course, if you know how you can always build a simple shelter with what you find, carve your own pot like Ray Mears does or use leaves instead of a toilet paper. But if you are just traveling like people normally do, I guess you can safely take this stuff with you.

Luxury

This section is for the demanding ones or those who can carry more than me. Although personally I treat my Kindle as a part of the essential set.

Hostel

Does not require much explanation. However, my biggest discovery in this category are earplugs. For many reasons. Also, prices of padlocks in some hostels not providing keys (sneaky business idea by the way) justify putting one in your backpack.

Updates

  • 15/10/2014: Added billycan to essentials and moved mug from trekking to luxury. A small billycan is not that heavy and you can always put some stuff inside to make use of the space. And it is essential for boiling or water treatment.

All seasons:

Clothing Camping Tools Health & Hygiene
Essential
  • boots
  • thermal underwear
  • warm and breathable midlayer
  • half-finger gloves
  • extra laces
  • poncho / tarp
  • big plastic bags
  • 3-5m rope
  • billycan
  • tinder
  • knife
  • sewing kit
  • tweezers
  • strong tape
  • compass
  • quick-dry glue
  • trekking poles
Trekking
  • sunglasses
  • extra trousers
  • transport bag
  • sleeping pad
  • tent
  • camping utensil set
  • headlight (self-powered)
  • multi-tool
  • lighter
  • GPS
  • solar panel
  • mobile phone
  • notepad & pens
  • small towel
  • lip balm
  • greasing cream
  • first aid kit
  • talc
  • antibacterial gel
  • wet napkins
  • deodorant
  • soap
  • toothbrush & paste
  • toilet paper
  • nail clippers
Luxury
  • swimming trunks
  • swimming goggles
  • insulated mug
  • power strip
  • headphones
  • e-book
  • large towel
  • razor
  • shampoo
  • laundry soap
Hostel
  • flip-flops
  • padlock
  • earplugs

Mediterranean: summer / winter

Clothing Camping Tools Health
Essential
  • waterproof jacket
  • waterproof trousers
  • hoodie
  • poncho
  • light hat
  • wide brim hat
  • sandals
  • sleeping bag (comfort at 10°C)
  • backpack rain-cover
  • sunscreen
Luxury
  • shorts
  • umbrella

Humid continentalsummer / winter

Clothing Camping Tools Health
Essential
  • waterproof jacket
  • warm jumper
  • underpants
  • warm gloves
  • hoodie
  • half-finger gloves
  • light hat
  • warm hat
  • sleeping bag (comfort at 10°C)
  • sleeping bag (comfort at -10°C)
  • backpack rain-cover
Trekking
  • sandals
  • sunscreen
Luxury
  • shorts

Oceanicsummer / winter

Clothing Camping Tools Health
Essential
  • waterproof jacket
  • warm jumper
  • warm gloves
  • hoodie
  • half-finger gloves
  • light hat
  • sandals
  • sleeping bag (comfort at 10°C)
  • sleeping bag (comfort at 0°C)
  • backpack rain-cover
Trekking
  • sunscreen