Bali has been a popular and treasured backpacking destination for a loooong time – and it’s easy to see why. It offers lush jungles, gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, and endless temples. Bali does not leave any traveler wanting, and caters to pretty much any taste of need conceivable.
You certainly won’t have a shortage of things to see or do, so you will want to be prepared for any environment and condition, without breaking your back doing it (literally). Traveling light is key – which means you need to pack smart.
And that’s why we’re here! We’ve put together this handy guide of what to pack for backpacking Bali – complete with a top 23-needs packing list, tips on what to wear in Bali and what to pack by season, along with special recommendations for gals and guys specifically, and what NOT to pack.
Once you’ve checked off and covered all your must-haves for Bali, you can focus your attention on the important stuff – having an epic time!
The Ultimate Bali Packing List
Nomatic Travel Bag
- Capacity > 30L
- Price > $299
Nomatic Navigator Carry On
- Capacity > 37L
- Price > $400
GoPro Hero 9
- Resolution > 5k
- Price > $400
- Price > $500
Insurance From World Nomads
- Price > Click For a Quote
Visiting Bali is a backpacker rite of passage. Easy, tropical and a cultural hotbed, it’s a beautiful place to visit. First-timers might not know what to pack for Bali, while the pros might need a helping hand to cut down. This Bali packing list will be your bible.
The good news is that Bali enjoys a tropical climate, and stays warm all year round – you won’t need any cold weather gear! That bring said, there is a rainy season (wet season) you need to be mindful of. Deciding what to wear in Bali is pretty easy as backpacker chic is acceptable everywhere!
With that in mind we are not going to micro manage your packing for you, after all you are an adult and more than capable of choosing your own clothes right?! Instead we will just offer up our top picks for the essential items to pack for your visit to Bali.
Best Backpack For Bali: Nomatic Travel Bag
Before you even take on the task of figuring out what to pack for Bali, you’ll need an amazing backpack to pack it all into. For all types of travelers and destinations, our number one recommendation is the Nomatic Travel Bag.
The Nomatic travel bag covers every detail to make backpacking Bali the best experience. Because of its smart design, it manages to provide loads of packing space in a convenient, carry-on size package! Its handy built-in pockets make plenty of room for all the necessities on your what to pack for Bali checklist – you’ll find separate compartments for important items like shoes, water bottle, electronics, underwear and socks. As an added bonus, there’s also an RFID-safe and cord management pocket.
You have a choice between backpack or duffel bag carry, and extra carrying comfort for your back thanks to its innovative strap system and detachable sternum strap. And its black, waterproof material is every bit sleek and modern as it is durable and tough. There is a reason why most Broke Backpacker staff swear by this backpack.
Best Suitcase For Bali: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s OK boomer. Our friends at Nomatic are back again with a great alternative to their badass Travel Bag; the Nomatic Carry-On Pro.
This suitcase is ultra-durable, sleek, and comes with a handy tech compartment for transporting your laptop and other electronic bits. Nomatic has been an industry leader when it comes to travel gear and that reputation is reflected in the quality build design and functionality of the Carry-On Pro suitcase.
Check out our Nomatic Carry-On Pro review to learn more about this epic suitcase.
We’ve tested countlessday packs over the years, but the Tropicfeel Shell is something else. There are a lot of flashy backpacks on the market but not many come with a detachable wardrobe.
Weatherproof, eco-friendly, durable, feature-loaded, and comfy as fudge brownies: these are just some of the words people might use to describe the Tropicfeel Shell. But we just call it bloody beautiful.Learn More • View on Tropicfeel
Best Camera For Bali: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones are our go-to cameras with stunning photo capabilities.
But… if you are an aspiring photographer who wants to take next-level photos and video beyond iPhone selfies, I recommend going with an action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black.
It delivers pro-quality video, and gives you a bunch of a different angle options and shooting speeds to work with for photos (including a selfie-mode), without the need for extra camera gear.
Think of a camera purchase like this as a long term investment that will have you capturing epic shots well beyond your time exploring here.
If you are looking for something cheaper for video specifically, check out these epic GoPro Alternatives.
Best Sim For Bali – HolaFly eSim
The good news about Bali is that there is extensive 4g and 5g Internet coverage, taxi apps and food delivery apps. The bad news is that your native SIM card will not work and so you will not be able to access any of this online goodness until you rectify that particular situation.
You can waste time hanging around Balinese phone shops queuing to get a plastic sim or you can is simply install a eSim onto your phone before you leave home. You just access the HolaFly site, choose the Bali/Indonesia package, download it and off you go – you are online the moment you land at the airport.
eSims are easier to set up and better than the environment than plastic sims. The downside is that not all phones are eSim ready.
Packing Cubes For Bali – Wandrd Packing Cubes
In case you have never used them, packing cubes are little compression cubes that allow you to neatly pack clothes in in order to help facilitate better packing. They allow you to pack more stuff, and to keep it all better organised.
For the longest time, I thought that packing cubes were a superfluous indulgence, but boy was I wrong. Now I never travel without a few.
These ones from WANDRD are great quality and excellent value for money.
Best VPN For Bali – PIA VPN
In case you don’t know this, a VPN is a Virtual Privacy Network. It is basically a piece of software or programme you run that essentially “hides” your IP address and therefore your computer’s location.
All travellers should use a VPN as they can be used to access blocked sites in countries that have internet censorship as well as enabling you to stream TV from backhome! Digital Nomads however REALLY need a good VPN as it provides extra protection against fraud, trackers and other dubious cyber-scum bags.
There are a lot of VPN providers out there but we use PIA VPN as they offer a solid level of protection at a very tempting price (if you buy the annual package its a bargain!)
Psssst…. Searching for your Tribe?
Tribal Hostel – Bali’s first purpose-built co-working hostel and perhaps the greatest hostel in the world!
An ideal hub for Digital Nomads and backpackers, this very special hostel is now finally open…
Come on down and enjoy amazing coffee, high-speed wifi and a game of pool 😉
What To Pack For Bali: Personal Gear
Dressing for Bali is pretty easy as shorts and t-shirts are suitable for most days and occasions. However, there is a bit more to consider as our Bali checklist will demonstrate.
Note that if you fancy doing something like scuba diving, you will need some gear for this but it can be hired locally.
Great Shoes For Bali – Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero
Many visitors to Bali live in cheap flip flops. Whilst this is commonplace, it doesn’t make it wise. If you plan on leaving the beaches and intend on trekking, exploring or bike riding, then you NEED proper footwear. I have honestly lost count of the number of backpackers I have seen sporting bandages on their feet from scooter incidents or standing on glass.
I admit that most shoes that are also good for hiking are not the most attractive pieces of footwear. But they are some of the most comfortable and deliver good ankle support for a long day of walking about town. I mean, your body is already going to be suffering enough from all the Bintang beer right?
Plus, the mountains outside of Bali offer excellent day hiking opportunities, so packing a pair of hiking shoes gives you the option (and eliminates excuses) to go head for the hills when the tourist hubs become too much.
Check out the women’s Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero.
Good Rain Jacket – Arcteryx Beta AR
Did you know that the surface of the earth is over 70% covered in water? And you know how that water got there? Yep because it tends to rain here on planet earth quite a lot!
Anyway, whilst Bali doesn’t really get cold, it does get very wet during the rainy or wet season and therefore a decent rain jacket is essential. A good jacket is also important if you intend on doing the sunrise Mt Batur hike as it will be chilly up there, at least until the sun comes up.
There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear for it. Don’t let a bit (or a lot) of rain ruin your trip, and make sure you are ready with some top notch rain gear.
This is our pick of the many rain jackets we have tried. It’s reliable & stylish!
Sandals: OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops
Circling back to footwear, now we are going to talk about sandals. After all, what is a Southeast Asia trip without sandals?! Bali’s beaches are epic, and the chances are that you will be spending a lot of time exploring them. Sandals or flip flops are, therefore, a very sensible idea. We strongly suggest investing in some decent high quality ones rather than the $5 disposable types which fall to be pieces after a few weeks.
Your feet will be tired and sweaty from those long days wearing shoes, so do yourself a favor: pack sandals and give your feet some well-deserved cushion and fresh air. These Olukai flip flops are ultra-comfortable, well-made, and come in a variety of colors.
Check out the women’s OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops.
Best Sunglasses For Bali – Abaco Sunglasses
They’re built tough with triple-layer scratch-resistant lenses and trademarked Adventure-proof Frame Material. You can also customize them with your choice of lens and frame colors to reflect your own style.
Best Hiking Pack For Bali – Osprey Daylite Plus
If you intend on doing any hiking, or scootering around the island, then you will need a daypack. They are great for carrying water, hat’s and suncream. We love Osprey products and this daypack is our personal pick.
The Osprey Daylite Plus has a mesh-covered panel to keep your back cool and fresh by minimizing contact and allowing air to get between you and the pack.
Check out our full review of the Osprey Daylite plus for more details.
Additionally, you can attach it to other Osprey packs in case you want to add more capacity and carry just one piece of luggage… but the reviews on this feature are mixed.
Great Travel Insurance For Bali – From World Nomads
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
Best of The Rest – Bali Checklist
Lets look at what else you may need for a trip to the Island of the Gods.
Bali is not only the island of the gods, it is also the land of surfers, infinity pools, and bikini clad influencers. In short, the unofficial uniform of Bali is beachwear. Your swimming costume, will get a fair old workout in Bali so you may as well make it count and buy a decent one.
However, PLEASE do not wear your swim wear in town, or when approaching temples or other sacred sites – this really offends the locals. Wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs.
Travel First Aid Kit
You don’t need to tote around half a pharmacy, but a well-stocked first aid kit should be in all our backpacks. Stuff happens on the road, and it’s inconvenient and embarrassing when you can’t manage small situations like a cut finger or hangover migraine.
You can tuck this lifesaver away in a forgotten pocket – and it’ll be there when you need it.
Tip: Add a few bits and pieces to the first aid kit after you purchase it, like extra headache medicine, any personal meds you need (like allergy pills), whatever you take to calm your stomach (highly recommend for visiting Bali) and a few more plasters.
Keeping a journal is one of the best things to do when traveling. The Drifter Leather Journal by Kodiak is our favorite, it works great for digital nomads and organized backpackers, and can be used as planner or a dream diary – whatever you want!
Keep on track with your goals, travels and save those precious memories, especially the ones you do not want to share online! This one is bound in beautiful leather so it looks beautiful and will withstand life on the road.
If you didn’t already know, Bali is HOT. And hot weather for those of us from the cold areas of the world means we are even more vulnerable than usual to the sun’s fierce rays. Packing sunscreen for Bali may seem like a no brainer, but you would be amazed how many sun-burned cocktail-toting people you see wandering around.
Thinksport Safe SPF 50+ sunscreen gives folks strong sun protection in a non-oily formula that’s free of gluten, paraben, phthalates and biologically harmful chemicals.
Your Passport or Other Government ID
You will need a passport and visa to enter Bali. You probably knew that already though right?
Whilst Bali is safe, crime can still happen and tourists are sometimes targeted.
Therefore it is always a good idea to use a money belt to hide your cash just in case something does go wrong.
There are a lot of different money belts to choose from, but this is our pick.
Packing a reusable water bottle is probably the best thing you can personally do to combat single-use plastic bottle use whilst traveling. There is simply zero need to buy plastic water bottles. Tap water isn’t safe to drink in Bali so you will need to keep an eye out for handy water galons and drinking fountains. Bottled water should be a last resort!
We love the Hydroflask Vacum Bottle for its quality and because it keeps cold water cold for many hours and vice versa for hot beverages. This bottle is the ideal water bottle to get not just for your Bali trip. but for daily use. Please don’t be that person buying plastic water bottles. We are all judging you…especially mother earth.
If you go with the Hydroflask, you’ll probably never need to buy another waterbottle again.
The Basic Stuff To Pack For Bali
On top of the essential things to pack for Bali listed above, here is an additional suggested checklist of what to pack for a trip to Bali.
- A few pairs of comfortable pants/jeans
- 1-2 pairs of shorts
- A few pairs of socks
- (Sexy) underwear x 2/3
- Ladies: a few dresses, pants, outfits, or desired lady apparel for a night on the town.
- Dudes: A few collard shirts or something half-way decent for a night on the town.
- Smartphone with a good camera for photos if you are not bringing an actual camera
- Portable power bank for charging your phone on the go
- Phone charger
- Amazon Kindle for reading by the pool
- Copy of your passport just in case
- Cash (not too much, there are ATM machines everywhere)
- Packable, quick drying travel Towel
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Final Thoughts on What to Pack for Bali
There you have it, friends! All you need to know about what to pack for Bali with our top-23 needs list, with considerations for wet and dry season, what not to bring along and the best travel backpack on the market!
Just remember to focus on the must-haves and not to bog yourself down with the extras. Budget backpacking is all about the adventure, so just pack smart and stay safe, and everything else will fall into place.
Hey, hear that? Bali’s calling, so you better get going!
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
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