We’re not gonna lie – it takes some guts to decide you’ll gonna go on a European backpack trip, and even more guts to actually go through with it. This type of journey will probably take you through many different countries, some of which can seem exotic and strange. To make things more difficult, you’ll only have a single backpack to fall back on when making pit stops.
It’s probably going to be a big pack, though, so there’s no reason not to fill it with everything you could need. A trip across several new countries is no joke – it’s best to prepare yourself for an Indiana Jones-like expedition, even if you’ll mostly drive around and explore sights. Here is the best travel gear for a European backpack trip – take as much of it as possible, but not enough to weigh you down.
- The right backpack: The ‘pack you’re carrying should be comfortable to wear, large enough to carry all the necessities and, preferably, resistant to the elements. You’re probably going to be doing your version of “Singing In the Rain” at some point, so you don’t want your stuff getting soaked.
- Umbrella: If you’re not one to sing in the rain, you can make great use of a sturdy umbrella. These things come in all sizes; you can carry one without even noticing.
- A sleeping bag: While it does add a bit of bulk to any backpack, you’ll probably be glad you had the foresight to carry one. There’s no guarantee you’ll always be near a B&B by nighttime, nor is there a guarantee that the beds will be sanitary. The sleeping bag should also be warm enough to protect you from bouts of cold weather; this is especially true if you’re making the trip during autumn or winter, as European weather can be harsh.
- Compression sacks: These novelty items are actually a blessing for those who like to travel light, especially when only a single backpack is involved. They’ll let you carry more stuff in less space by opening up a portal to another dimension (or just compressing the stuff).
- Hygiene-related accessories: Getting adventurous is no excuse to get smelly. Soap, deodorant, shaving razors, a soapy water mixture, paper tissues, wet tissues with alcohol… These are just some of the things that you should have on you to avoid giving your countrymen a bad rep.
- A first-aid kit: Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but in the case of an accident, it could end up saving your life (or someone else’s).
- A flashlight and some tough rope: These are pretty self-explanatory. Neither takes up a lot of space, and both can be incredibly useful to those traveling a bit on the grubby side.
- Something to read: Now we’re getting to the fun bits. Since you’ll be lacking space, you could make much greater use of an eBook reader than a book or few. However, you’ll need a waterproof casing for it, and you’ll also depend on a power source to charge it. Should your backpack fall into the wrong hands, an e-reader is also a lot more likely to get stolen than a copy of “The Da Vinci Code”…
- Music player: Like the eBook reader, an audio player will also depend on electricity and will need to be charged even more often, but will prove to be invaluable for those long and potentially lonesome walks. The reason we don’t just suggest you listen to music on your phone is simple: two batteries are better than one, especially when power sources are scarce.
- A plug converter: This mini-gizmo could easily mean the difference between charging your devices and traveling Stone Age-style, so make sure not to lose sight of it.
- A working mobile phone with GPS and roaming: Your regular phone service probably won’t work in another country. Before setting out on your trip, talk to your mobile service provider and have them enable roaming so that you can call, text and use the internet from abroad. As for GPS or a lack of it, we already mentioned Stone Age travel is no fun, right?
- Something to take pictures with: While not exactly a necessity, how else are people going to know how much fun you had on the trip? Taking a quality camera with you to capture all of those sights and marvels of architecture is a worthy consideration. A tripod and selfie stick are optional, depending on backpack space and the traveler’s love of selfies.