What to Pack When Backpacking In China


Living 7 weeks out of a backpack is a challenge.


You won't ever look your best. You will become accustomed to wearing the same three t shirts. You will re-wear dirty clothes. You will run out of socks. These are typical downsides that backpackers encounter on a regular basis. However focusing on the positive, the benefits of backpacking far outweigh the drawbacks. Traveling freedom, experiencing the "real" culture of a country, and getting off the beaten path. Any experienced backpacker knows that there is nothing that can compensate for the freedom that backpack adventure travel allows.

Now lets talk about backpacking in China. Throw in language barriers, lack of infrastructure, cultural differences, and more. If your looking for the easy trip, stick to Europe. For those of you who are out for the real adventure; welcome to our world. I challenge you to take on the middle kingdom.

After loads of trips we perfected the travel pack for China and would like to share with you pack contents. In addition we will mention a few additional tips that will make your China backpacking trip a little less stress-full.

Backpack in China tips:

  • LED Flashlight - Cities in China are DARK at night. Streets are not well lit up. If you plan on traveling to rural areas, having an LED flashlight is a great tool to have at night while wandering around in the dark.
  • Sunscreen - Sunscreen is not as widely available in China as in the West. If you plan on spending a lot of time out in the sun make sure you bring your own supply from home. Otherwise you will be limited to expensive, small containers of weak sunscreen.
  • Deodorant - If you like a certain brand bring enough for your trip. You can purchase deodorant in large cities like Beijing, but you might not like what you see....
  • Underwear - I recommend purchasing a few pairs of exofficio or other quick-dry briefs. This will allow you to do your own clothes in your hostel room and hang them up to dry within a few hours.
  • Quick-dry clothing - Im a huge fan of the quick dry t-shirt. Many companies are making quick dry shirts and these are essential for traveling light. Wash them in a hotel sink and they are ready to go in a few hours.
  • Unlocked Iphone / Phone - China Unicom / China Mobile simcards can be purchased at most newsstands or phone stores. Make sure you have an unlocked GSM phone if you plan on using a phone in China. I recommend using the iPhone as there are many apps available that will help you with your travels. ex. Skype, google translate, dian hua translator, in addition to loads of other apps.
  • Wet wipes / toilet paper - This can easily be purchased at any corner store in China. However, you should always carry toilet paper in China as public restrooms will never have toilet paper for you to use. You are expected to bring your own toilet paper everywhere, and should never, ever, ever, ever be caught off guard without it!

Backpack Travel List:



  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Deoderant
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Nail clipper
  • Glasses
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Wet wipes / toilet paper


  • Socks
  • Sneakers
  • Underwear - Exofficio
  • Ziplock Bags
  • Belt
  • Rain Jacket
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Quickdry shirts
  • Flip Flops
  • Quickdry Hat
  • Sunglasses


  • Tripple ointment
  • Asprin
  • Pepto bismol chewables
  • Immodium
  • Antibiotics
  • Hydrocortisone


If you have any questions about this article contact the author directly at matt@backpackinchina.com. Please remember to spread the word about backpackinchina.com by sharing on Facebook and Twitter if you found this to be useful.