What is Backpacking

Backpacking 101

Backpacking is a very loose definition, often described as independent, low budget travelling. Or as individuals (aka backpackers) who enjoy the outdoors by camping, hiking and trailing. However you describe it, it is often viewed as liberating and taking in the beauty of the wilderness/world.

Backpackers who travel the world tend to immerse themselves in each country’s cultures. Their travels become a journey as see the most amazing sights while traveling on a low-modest budget.

Backpacking, as defined on Wikipedia, is “a term that has historically been used to denote a form of low-cost, independent international travel. Terms such as independent travel and budget travel are also often used. The factors that traditionally differentiate backpacking from other forms of tourism include the use of a backpack or other luggage that is easily carried for long distances or long periods of time; the utilization of public transport as a means of travel; a preference for inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels; a longer duration to the trip when compared with conventional vacations; and an interest in meeting the locals as well as seeing the sights. It is typically associated with young adults, who generally have fewer obligations and thus more time to travel. They also have less money to spend on hotels or private vehicles.”

The concept of backpacking is grand, promising the freedom and journey one desires. But it does start small, with a backpack. Backpacking basics involve living out of your backpack, whether you chose a one day hiking trail, a week long adventure or a 6 month journey. Read more in detail the best gear to buy for backpacking. A good backpack one of the most important purchases. You want something comfortable on your back for long periods, that has enough space to pack your essentials and is durable under all conditions.

Backpacking has grown from the original style to Ultralight Backpacking and Flashpacking.

Ultralight Backpacking

This style of backpacking is becoming more and more popular. As the term suggests, Ultralight Backpacking focuses on gear that is light and easier for travel. Bagpacks are light, sleeping bags or liners can be condensed to take up less space, clothing is more compact and there are more accessories (ie. Quick drying towels).

See our Top 5 Tips for Ultralight Backpacking.


Flashpacking has become a new trend of backpacking. This trend involves more technology and luxury. Flashpackers aren’t counting their pennies and often described as an affluent backpacker. Flashpackers are known for packing more tech gear (ie. GPS, laptop, smart phones) and travelling with more higher standards (ie. Hotels vs. hostels). Due to their disposable income, they chose to travel with greater comfort.

As defined in Wikipedia “A flashpacker shares some of the characteristics of a backpacker: a sense of independence, no fixed itinerary and relatively long periods of travel to more exotic and far-flung destinations. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking has an association of more disposable income while traveling and has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget.”

See our Essential haves for a Flashpacker.

backpackers guide

To learn more review our backpackers guide below

Backpacking for Beginners

Backpacking Gear Checklist
Top 10 Beginner Backpacking Mistakes
Winter Backpacking
Backpacking Safety
Backpacking with Dogs
Backpacking with Kids

Backpacking Gear Guide 2017

Best Backpack Reviews
Best Clothing Gear
Best High Tech Outdoor Gear
Best Kitchen Gear Reviews
Best Sleeping Bag Reviews
Best Tent Reviews

Backpacking through Europe

Itinerary Planning
Sample Itineraries
Passports & Visas needed
Understanding the Costs
Travel Insurance
Simple Money Saving Tips
Stay Safe while abroad
Backpacking Solo or with Friends