So, what is backpacking? Backpacking can be described as an independent, often international, low-budget way of travelling. Someone who backpacks is called a ‘Backpacker.’
Backpackers generally travel for a longer period of time than most other tourists, and they tend to travel in several different countries during their time away. The number of countries differs. A backpacker can be on the road from a few weeks to several years. However, that is the short way of describing it. Checkout my article on How to Avoid Getting Mugged While Backpacking
What is Backpacking?
Backpacking is a very loose definition – there are backpackers who go tramping in the forests sleeping in tents and on the beach, and hitchhike their way around the world. And there are those who backpack with roller-bag suitcases, sleep in hotels and rent a car to get around a country. These are two completely different types of traveling, but they both like to call themselves backpackers. You can however separate these into 3 different backpacking genres if you like:
- Ultralight Backpacking
- Backpacking RTW Travel
The two later ones are newer styles in ways of backpacking.
Ultralight backpacking is becoming more and more popular. Today the industry puts a lot of focus on making things ultra light. The backpacks are light like feathers, and the sleeping bags can be squashed down to the size of your palm. But is you really want to go Ultra, opt for a sleeping bag liner (Check prices on sleeping bag liners here) This is definitely something for anyone to look into, as it could really help you ease some weight from your backpack.
These Ultralight backpackers go all the way, counting every ounce, cutting their toothbrushes in half to ease weight. Although if this is your first time on the road, you will never understand WHY people would ever want to travel like this – but trust me after over 6 months travel, with your back hurting – you will start to consider this style of backpacking more and more.
You find more and more Ultralight backpackers using smaller packs (Check prices here) and buying lightweight clothes, quick drying travel towel, etc. Here are two article for more information regarding travel towels:
I think in the future a balance between this style and Backpacking RTW Travel will become more and more normal.
Every ounce counts when backpacking
My son has been on several backpacking trips with his Boy Scout troop. As these boys quickly learn, ounces turn to pounds fast when you are carrying everything from food, water, toiletries, first aid supplies, swim trunks, quick-dry towel, socks, sleeping bag, cooking supplies, and more. On my son’s first backpacking trip, he carried his backpack filled with 19 pounds plus he carried part of his tent. They hiked for 11 miles the first day, and nine the second. You can believe he cut his toothbrush in half before going, though they do sell travel toothbrushes.
Flashpacking is a new type of backpacking. It is generally where you travel more expensively and with higher living standards. Many people like to explain the definition of a flashpacker as someone who travels with a lot of tech gear like iPods and laptops and such, but I think that has become so common these days that nearly everyone carry an mp3 player with them, and laptops are hardly something expensive anymore – so the view of a Flashpacker now is more of someone who has all the latest stuff, doesn’t save up for a trip, spends his money on drinking, partying and staying in nicer places.
Another way to define the flashpackers would be to say – ‘THEY BACKPACK IN STYLE.’ They prefer to go to the main guidebook destinations, do the main attractions, see what everyone else tells them to see. They view backpacking more as an extending party than anything else.
The Changes of Backpacking…
Backpacking has changed considerably the last decade. It has always been around, but today it’s easier than ever before. The flight tickets are cheaper, in many places it’s safer, the communication is better etc. Plus, you don’t have to take care of the boring part of traveling like plane tickets anymore, there are hundreds of organisations over the world that help you with that stuff.
Some people actually buy all their tickets to each country (including the one back home) before they’ve even left, through one of these companies. All you do is to go into their office, tell them where you want to go, how long you’d like to stay in each place, and they’ll book all the flights you need for a trip round the whole world if that’s what you want. Although, they obviously don’t work for free, and certainly won’t spend extra time looking for the cheapest flights.
There are also heaps of tours you can make. How about hiking and biking through Africa or New Zealand with your backpack? These days everything is more easily accessible, so that is also why you start to see more and more people leaving their hometowns and exploring the world – which is such a wonderful thing, whatever way you do it.
The Original – Backpacking RTW Travel
This is the type of backpacking that you will find the most information about on our website. Backpacking in this term means traveling on a budget, usually for longer distances, seeing many different countries and for a longer time than normal holiday travelers. These backpackers can be quite diverse, exploring different cultures and travel both in cities as well as on the countryside.
Some of them might make a short hike for a few days or do some volunteer work, and then continue their travels. They view backpacking and travel more for seeing amazing new cultures and as a personal growth than as a party, or simply a short get away from the real world. They see the whole world as their home, and don’t really feel a need to get back to the ‘real-world’ anytime soon. Travel is their life.
For you who weren’t quite sure what the term backpacking means, I hope this made it more clear for you and that you are now interested in also going out there no matter what type of backpacker you are and start exploring the world. It’s a real fun way to travel and it’s not just young people who do it… backpacking is for everyone! If you’re already planning a backpacking trip, how to choose the right backpack for your trip.