The most useful tools for backpacking

Certain things that I have brought to Australia with me have proven very useful, others not so much.

I decided to make a list of my top 5 for you:

  1. smartphone with mobile internet access
  2. watch with digital compass
  3. good digital camera
  4. pocketknife with built-in cutlery
  5. small but powerful torch

My android phone with mobile internet from Telstra has helped me countless times. Whenever I’m not sure about the right way I use Google Maps for navigation, which saves time and detours. The Translink app makes using the public transport in Queensland very easy and having mobile internet gives you access to all information you might need. Using apps like runkeeper I can track my activities and review them online at a later point. If really needed you can also use the digital compass or use the phone as a torch.
Of course it is also possible to call people and talk to them 😀 but that’s a minor feature ^^

The phone also has a magnetic compass, but using your watch is way faster and easier. If you have a rough image of a local map in your head, knowing the cardinal direction is very helpful to decide in what direction to go. I have used it very often when I wasn’t sure where to go for any reason. With the light I can even use it during the australian pitch black nights.

Nobody would go on an awesome trip without a camera, that’s for sure. But it is not very useful when you’re completely lost, hence it is only number 3 here. It should be a good one to properly catch the atmosphere of whatever awesome places you get to see, at the same time it should be compact enough not to hinder you with your activities. My Panasonic Lumix TZ-10 does an awesome job here!

A pocketknife is very handy in various ways, but mine has a fork, a spoon and a knife attached and can be split up into 2 pieces so you have proper cutlery. Very handy for a lunchpackage out there in the wild 🙂

The nights in Australia are really pitch black from 5pm in winter. In case you don’t get back to civilisation by then you will be happy to have a good torch.


Of course there are a lot of other things that you need and/or that prove very useful. One thing I have to stress: a credit card!
Travelling Australia without a credit card is nearly impossible. You need it for any booking, as a deposit for anything you want to hire and to get cash.  Never travel without it!

And one more thing: having a chain from your wallet to your jeans has proven very handy for me. You won’t loose it, it makes it much harder to be stolen, and whenever you are sitting somewhere (in the bus, on the bed, …) and it feels uncomfy: just pull it out your backpocket and put it behind your back. As soon as you stand up you will remember putting it back and not forget it!
Oh, and you can chain it to your bed at night and put it under your pillow. Theft? Impossible. 🙂

Thank you Sara for this very useful present! 😀

Category: Australia, Places