Bali has been a popular and treasured backpacking destination for a loooong time – and it’s easy to see why. Bali 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 conceiveable.
You certainly won’t have a shortage of things to do or see, so you surely 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 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
The good news is that Bali enjoys a tropical climate and stays warm all year round so you won’t need any cold weather gear. That said there is rainy season you need to be mindful of. Additionally, deciding what to wear in Bali is pretty easy as backpacker chic is pretty much acceptable everywhere except foe when visiting temples.
The Backpack and Luggage: 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 travel 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.
Alternative Luggage: AER Travel Pack 2
Our number two selection for an epic travel backpack is the AER Travel Pack 2. Like the Nomatic Travel Bag, this AER backpack is fully featured, big enough to hold an extended weekend of clothing, and tough enough to last years of travel abuse. If you are packing for Bali and travel light, then this may be the bag for you.
I have taken the AER Travel Pack 2 on multiple trips and since then it has risen has in the ranks of my go-to travel backpacks.
Check out our AER Travel Pack 2 review to learn more.
A Suitcase: Nomatic Carry-On Pro
Backpacks not your thing? That’s ok. 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.
The Camera: GoPro Hero9 Black
For most of us, our smartphones now feature 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 does deliver 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).
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.
What To Pack For Bali: Personal Gear
Dressing for Bali is pretty easy as shorts and vests are ok for most days and most occasions. However, there is a bit more to do it as our Bali checklist will demonstrate.
Our handy list will help you to decide exactly what to bring to Bali.
Good Shoes – Salomon X Ultra 3 Low Aero
Many visitors to Bali live in flip flops. Whilst this is commonplace, it doesn’t make it wise. If you plan on leaving the beaches and intend on doing any 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 here rain here on planet earth quite a lot! Whilst Bali doesn’t really get cold, it does get very wet during the wet season. Therefore a decent rain jacket is essential. A good jacket is also important if you intend on doing the sunrise Mt Buta 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 (of 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 and looks good worn out in the mountains or in city bars.
Sandals: OluKai ‘Ohana Flip-Flops
Circling back to the footwear question, now we are going to talk about 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.
A Good Daypack for Hiking – 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 gloves and for packing sandwiches for lunch. 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 with the back of the pack itself 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.
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” places – this really offends the locals.
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 and a few more plasters.
Travel Insurance From World Nomads
Ok, you can’t pack travel insurance in your backpack, but you can take out a cheap policy to insure yourself against theft, flight cancellations, accidents, etc.
Sadly, Bali see’s more than its’ fair share of reckless behaviour from travellers which can result in bike crashes, nasty falls & trip and the occasional punch up. Whilst we are sure you be sensible (no fun is more fun than responsible fun), it is still best to be insured in case you need to visit a hospital for stitches, a tetanus booster, or be flown home in a coffin.
I admit I traveled for many years without having travel insurance. Because of it, I paid the price a few times in foreign hospitals.
We use either World Nomads or SafetyWing. You’ll be happy you did when the time comes to use it.
Sun God Sunglasses
The sun shines pretty much constantly in Bali. A reliable pair of sunglasses is undoubtedly one of your Bali packing essentials. Our favorites are SunGod Sunglasses because they deliver on quality and style.
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 lense and frame colors to reflect your own style. Plus they’re covered by SunGod’s lifetime guarantee of free repair. Check our in-depth review here.
Suncream: Thinksport Safe SPF 50+
By now, all of us are as pasty as the driven snow from sheltering in place for the last six months. Am I right? This 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 to enter Bali. You probably knew that already though right?
Money Belt – By Active Roots
Whilst Bali is not particularly dangerous, 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.
Let’s face it; for the foreseeable future, COVID 19 issues are just going to be a part of travel. How do we do our best to mitigate the risk while still traveling and experience life’s pleasures? Pack the right PPE gear.
Bali shut it’s borders when Covid struck and does take the issue quite seriously. Masks are either encouraged or mandatory in public places.
Do your bit and bring some decent PPE with you. We suggest;
Waterbottle – Hydroflask Vacuum Bottle 32 oz.
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. Everywhere in Bali from casino drinking fountains to the water coming out of your bathroom sink, the water is safe to drink. Fill up your bottle each time and carry it with you when you go out in order to avoid buying water throughout your day.
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 items 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 Towel
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, a guide of how to pack by season and the weather conditions to expect, 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!
Also – don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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