Backpacking Gear

Backpacking Gear for Backpacking Africa

backpacking gear, backpacking africa for beginners

This Backpacking Gear Section is designed to help you buy the right travel stuff you need for your trip. Before my trip, I bought 2-3 items that were awesome! But I also bought another 2-3 items that were a complete waste of money. I threw them away by the time I got to Mozambique, the 2nd country of my trip. What was more annoying was the items I needed but couldn’t find (or couldn’t find cheaply) along the way. It made my trip much more difficult than necessary.

To spare you some of my same mistakes, I put together my thoughts on what backpacking gear works and doesn’t work. Including:

  • Backpacking Backpacks
  • Backpacking Tents
  • Backpacking Lights
  • Backpacking Clothes (including ones that prevent pick-pocketing)
  • + Many more!

For the longest time, I never added backpacking gear to my blog. I believe travelers could show up with nothing, and be given everything they need thanks to the deep running hospitality in African countries. I’m not being optimistic– I know several travelers who did just that.

[caption id="attachment_102" align="aligncenter" width="556"]Backpacking Africa for Beginners Hostels in South Africa A super nice South African guy named Daniel who made my trip so much better[/caption]

I also don’t think fancy backpacking gear will save the traveler who shows up with pretention and complaining about the lack of wifi, the buses that never start on time, etc. It’s cheesy, but a good attitude, sense of humor, and a willingness to go with the flow will get you further than any expensive REI backpack.

With that being said, I finally decided to add a backpack gear section for 3 reasons.

1. Buying the wrong travel gear, SUCKS!

I ended up in a non-waterproof child size tent because I didn’t bring a tent with me. I could only find this stupid one along the way. Do you know what it’s like to sleep in a non-water proof tent during rainy season? Let’s just say, I DON’T recommend it.

[caption id="attachment_344" align="aligncenter" width="564"]Don't buy the smile-- I probably slept cold, wet, or extremely cramped ;) Don’t buy the smile– I probably slept cold, wet, or extremely cramped ;)[/caption]

What I did bring was way too many clothes (that I sold for pennies in Mozambique), and ridiculous travel gear that I didn’t need. I now recommend backpacking light. You should only bring the seriously important, Africa specific, backpacking gear.

But it’s confusing knowning what to bring, especially to a continent that you don’t know much about. I know. That was my problem too. Hopefully, I can spare you some of those endless Google searches.

2. Better Backpacking Gear= Better Backpacking Trip

I love when backpackers contact me through Facebook, leave a blog comment, or meet up with me in Ethiopia (I give my # out– but only in my Ethiopian Guide Book for spam reasons), and tell me about their awesome trip that was inspired from my reasons to backpack Africa.

What I didn’t love was when a backpacker I convinced to come sent me a message from the hospital in South Africa. To be fair, I clearly made a list of vaccines you need including Typhoid (the vaccine is better than the pills) that he forgot to get. But I still felt awful. He’s fine– don’t worry. But I’d rather you send me pictures of drinking beer on the beach than your arm sucking on an IV :)

[caption id="attachment_693" align="aligncenter" width="500"]backpacking gear, camping in africa, When you didn’t buy the travel spork your mom told you to get… and you and 3 Canadian girls all share leftover stew by eating off a cutting knife[/caption]

3. I’m weirdly passionate about Africa.

Most of you know that after my backpacking trip, I moved to Ethiopia. I’ll probably live here forever. I love the continent, and know that tourism overcomes lingering poverty. Travelers not only boost the economy, but give people in rural village tribes one of the best chances to get in on the action.

Plus, I think African countries have some really cool cultural values that the rest of the world should pick up on. If you, as a traveler, bring them back to your home, the world slowly becomes a better place.

But to truly love Africa and recommend it to others can be difficult if you end up in a clinic, at the police station, or shitting yourself on the bus (that actually happened to a backpacker I met!).

[caption id="attachment_694" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Kids in Africa, backpacking gear, backpacking africa for beginners I shouldn’t generalize, but I swear kids in African countries are way cuter than anywhere else. Photo credit: My backpacking pal, Adam Frazier[/caption]

The right backpacking gear will help you:

  • avoid malaria
  • prevent theft
  • always have clean, drinkable water
  • stay heathy
  • travel cheaply
  • Stay Alive! (Sounds over the top, but there are some things you need to watch out for)

Enjoy your trip to Africa! Enjoy buying the right backpacking gear! And know that I’m rooting for you and am recommending what I believe is the backpacking gear you actually need.

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Published Date : Jan 15, 2015

Description : This book is intended for beginner travelers to africa...