Finally! We had to wait a long time for it. Now that the pandemic seems largely over, many countries open their borders again† Now is the time to make vacation plans so that we can finally get back to doing what we love so much: traveling the world, discovering cultures and just really living. Whether you are an experienced backpacker and world traveler or you are now starting to realize your dream, one thing applies to everyone: good preparation is not only half the battle, but even a crucial condition for responsible and healthy backpacking.
Healthy backpacking – it's in your own interest
As a backpacker you are faced with a challenge. You don't want to take too much, because the lighter your backpack, the fewer kilos you have to carry. But you also don't want to experience that you the much needed don't have with you.
It sounds like an open door, but learn about the health situation of the country you want to travel to. Make sure you vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis are in order and be well informed by your general practitioner, specialist or the GGD. Take a first aid kit with you, which contains the essentials, for those situations where a pharmacy or doctor is not nearby. Think of:
- enough plasters
- disinfectant, for example iodine
- sterile gauze
- adhesive tape
- mosquito repellent
- cream against insect bites
A first aid bag does not have to take up much space and also not have a lot of weight.
Repair stuff for your backpack and other necessities
You'll just have to experience it. An accident causes a tear in your backpack, or one of the straps comes loose. Or your tent turns out to be damaged, so that you are no longer protected against rain showers. With good and sufficient repair equipment you can tackle many problems. You should always have the well-known pocket knife in your backpack, or even better, a multi-tool that you can really use for anything. What else do you need?
- Needle and thread: Whether you use it to repair clothes, tent canvas or your backpack, you can't do without it. Just to be safe, bring the strongest possible yarn and very good quality needles. After all, if the straps of your backpack come loose, your needle needs to be able to penetrate thick material in order to repair successfully. Our tip: surgical suture needles, made of surgical steel.
- duct tape: do you know the story behind this amazing material? It was used in World War II to seal US Army ammunition boxes. The soldiers soon found new uses for this famous waterproof tape. You can temporarily close any tears in your tent cloth or your backpack, so that you can at least continue until your next resting place.
- adhesive strips: particularly useful for closing up tears in your tent canvas and indispensable if your air mattress leaks.
- braided rope: a roll of rope, preferably parachute cord, you use in more situations than you might think.
- A tube of universal glue: a small tube of all-purpose glue This is certainly useful if, for example, the sole of your mountain boots partially comes loose. Choose an adhesive that can bond rubber soles in the shortest possible time and you can at least continue until you get to the nearest shoemaker.
- Tie wraps: they hardly take up space, but when you need them, you'll be glad they're in your luggage. A broken zipper? With a tie-wrap you are out of the fire for a while.
Healthy and responsible backpacking
Those who have never taken up the challenge of backpacking can lose heart because of lists like the one above. In practice, everything works out great. You won't need most of it, but you better not be shy about it. Use your creativity and common sense and your holiday will be something to look back on for years to come. Now that the world is slowly opening up again, now is the time to seize your chance.