Essential items when backpacking
After deciding to take this trip we realized we had no idea how to pack for a three month adventure. So we consulted many blogs of other travelers, checked out good ol’ Rick Steves’ website, and tried to critically think about every item we would be packing since we had to carry it all on our backs.
Now that we have been travelling for over two months we would like to share some of our favorite items for a trip like this one.
1. GOOD SHOES
I purchased my Keen hiking shoes the night before we left. I know that many people think that this is a no-no and that shoes for trips like this one should be broken in well before leaving, but I beg to differ. I spent a chunk of change on them ($120) and they have been nothing but good to me. My shoes have seen me through many a rainy and snowy day and I have not had any blisters or sores of any kind. Definitely an excellent purchase!
2. REUSABLE CLOTH BAG
Europeans are a lot more environmentally friendly so it is a rare thing to find plastic shopping bags in stores and if stores do have them they usually aren’t free. Thanks to my sister Sara’s wedding I have an endless supply of reusable cloth bags that fold up into a small strawberry when not in use. We brought one on the trip and have used the heck out of this bag. It has carried groceries, bottles of wine, clothes to and from the showers in hostels, and so on. Thanks Sara!
My parents bought me an iphone for my birthday this year. At first I wasn’t quite sure what to think about it. I am not the biggest fan of technology and have always just enjoyed a phone that makes and receives calls. I tried to keep an open mind about it though and learn its features quickly since we had little time after my birthday before leaving on our trip. It turns out that it is a lifesaver for trips like ours. We have both come to love it very deeply. We have used it as an alarm clock (one less thing to carry), to Skype calls home, to email train schedules and times to ourselves, download Rick Steve podcasts and Lonely Planet travel guides, and probably the most useful App, a converter (for currency, temperature, length, etc.). The converter is very useful since we have gone through six currencies in two months and aren’t finished yet.
4. OZARK TRAIL CAMPING TOOL
Living on the move means that you do a lot of things on the move like eating. We decided to bring along our camping tool which is similar to a Swiss army knife except it has a bottle opener, knife, fork, and spoon. It conveniently folds up, but also splits apart into two tools. I can’t tell you how many times we have used this tool to cut salami or cheese, open bottles of wine, eat yogurt etc. It is great for use on trains where we eat a lot of picnic style lunches. And it definitely got a workout in Italy with all that wine!!!
5. WOOL SOCKS
Wool socks are where it’s at! Not only do they wick away moisture when it is hot outside and your feet are sweating, they also minimize odor. They also keep your toesies warm during cold weather since they are composed of synthetic materials (wool, nylon, and spandex) and not cotton. So if any of you are looking for a last minute Christmas gift for your loved ones think wool!