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Backpacking Gear for Women on the Road

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Choosing the best backpacking gear is one of the most important decisions you'll make before you travel.

What you need to take on a RTWGetting the most appropriate gear: one of your most important decisions. Photo Anne Sterck

I mean the technical or semi-techie stuff: the backpack itself, but also the best travel laptop, GPS, personal locator beacon, water purifier, video and travel cameras. Then there's all the stuff in which to keep your money safe - the range that includes the travel money beltleg walletneck wallet and bra purse...  any extras you might consider taking along, not to mention all the women's travel clothing you can fit in.

If you're wondering what to take with you in terms of clothing and accessories (yes, even we backpackers accessorize!) please head on over to my travel packing list.

As far as your travel gear  is concerned, I won't usually recommend specific brands (unless I've tried them myself and particularly like the item). There are excellent review sites that do just that (just Search for the product - laptop, backpack or camera - plus 'reviews'). 

What I will tell you is what to look for when you purchase these items, and the pros and cons of taking them in the first place.

These are some of the questions I'll try to answer:

  • Do you need to take your laptop with you? What about all the other stuff - the iPods and MP3s?
  • Why is a flashlight one of the most important items for your safety?
  • What kind of cellphone should you look for - and do you need a cell in the first place?
  • How big should your backpack be?
  • How important is a travel mosquito net?
  • What is a personal locator beacon (PLB) and why is it an important part of your kit?
  • What should be on your first aid kit checklist?
  • Do you need proper women's hiking boots or will easy walking shoes do the trick?

There's little worse than a poorly loaded backpack that's too big, a holey mosquito net where malaria is endemic, or a flashlight that simply won't light.

You may want to save money - but these necessary extras are not where you want to skimp and save at the expense of quality.

So what should solo women on the road take along for the journey?