So, this post is about “taking inventory” and figuring out what BASICS one needs to pack for your globetrotter-trip! The basics are non-negotiable, folks, so don’t try to wiggle out of it, lol! I won’t discuss clothing specifics or alternative shoe options here because maximizing fashionable-ness with comfort is a complex topic that requires a separate dedicated post. For now, let’s talk about the basic (and required) gear you’re going to need. This is especially for you ladies out there, but men will benefit from this too! 😉
Please note: I discuss how much I paid or am paying for the items below. I’ve noticed that things have increased in price by about $10.00 for many items I purchased two years ago. Just be aware that these are ballpark estimates, and make sure you account for these in your budget!
1. A good sturdy backpack
Without this, you’re pretty much screwed. You will be carrying your entire 5-week life in a backpack, and because of this, you’d better pick a pack that’s going to be comfortable and carry-able! I made the most awesome decision to buy the REI Gregory Jade 38 Pack for Women. (See pic and click for a link to where you can buy it! Mine is red though.) And that’s a key thing: make sure you buy a pack for your proper gender! The reason for this is that women and men are built differently, and carry their centers of gravity differently, and the packs are designed to accommodate that. For example, the straps on the Jade pack are a little slimmer for women’s smaller torsos so that the straps don’t cut into our arms. You also want to look for little perks on your bag, like front pockets, hidden pockets, easy access, and especially a RAIN COVER! Rain covers slip over the entirety of your pack to keep the rain out and your stuff dry. The Jade 38 comes fully equipped with all these things, is efficient for a 5-6 week trip, and of course, is super cute and fashionable! MY COST: $150.00
2. A good pair of hiking boots
For this trip, I’m considering a pair of Hi-Tec Iona WPs. (See pic and click for a link to where you can buy them!) Last year, I wore some Hi-Tec Kuleni Mids, and they were SO comfortable! So comfortable in fact that I wore them everywhere even after the backpacking trip until they got holes in them. LOVE this brand of hiking boots. The reason you need a pair of hiking boots is that with backpacking, there is A LOT of walking. Finding your hostel, finding sites, hiking, camping, anything you want to do you’ll probably be doing in your hiking boots 70% of the time. For the other 30% though, if you’re like me, you’ll have two other pairs of shoes, but we’ll get to that! 😉 Don’t be afraid to spend good money (65 – 100 dollars) on a pair of hiking boots. You will NOT regret it. Treat your feet right, and they’ll treat you right too! MY COST: $75.00
Okay, so, THIS is essential. Unless you want to carry your huge backpack all throughout the city (or countryside), you should have a smaller bag with you as well. This way, you can leave your bag locked at the hostel or hotel, and go out on the town with a smaller bag. This bag is called a day pack, and on my trip, I actually had two. I had a “roughing it” one and a cheap but fashionable purse that I got from Icing at Claire’s. The purse was cute but could easily be rolled up and slipped into my larger backpack, so it took up virtually no space. Ladies, there are many ways to have your day pack experience, and depending on your glam packing needs, you might want to take two, OR you could explore a new option as I am: finding a convertible backpack / purse. I will explore more fashionable options with the convertible backpack / purse in a few weeks’ time, but for now, I’ll share with you the “roughing it” pack I brought with me last time! Side note, my backpack is AWESOME and carries a whole bunch of stuff with side pockets, hidden zipper pockets and more! Courtesy of Amazon.com. MY COST: $40.00
4. Shower flip flops
Omg, you’ll be dead without these! Please bring a pair of cheap $1.00 flip flops to wear into the shower every morning if you’re sharing your bathroom with others. Some of the hostels are super clean and trendy, but others are like Broomhilda’s dungeon, lol. Make sure you are equipped with protection from fungal endemics like athlete’s foot whenever you step into a public shower! You can get these from any local 99 cents store or local Walgreens. These are invaluable! MY COST: $2.00
5. Travel towel
These are manna from Heaven. You won’t have enough space for a full-grown towel, but these traveling towels will dry you off efficiently and they will dry out pretty quickly as well! Travel towels are used on all sorts of camping trips, and better yet, if you have outside pockets on your travel backpack, when you’re ready to go again, you can always stick the towel on the outside of the pack so that it can air out and dry off. I only brought one of these last year, but I think I will also take another one. If you end up staying in a good hostel though, note that you can use (usually rent towels there) for a really cheap price. But bring at least one travel towel just in case! I got mine from Amazon.com, but you can get yours from camping stores as well! MY COST: $30.00
6. Toiletry Bag
For the ladies… this toiletry bag will save you a whole bunch of trouble, so I recommend you invest in one! If you need to carry lotion, tampons, make up, deodorant (hope so!), then your toiletry bag is going to be essential. I actually forewent one the last time I went backpacking and I regretted it. My toiletries were just sort of scattered around my bag instead of being neatly organized. Make sure the toiletry bag you get has a hook so you can hang it in the bathroom with you. Here’s one that I’m totally going to rock across Eastern Europe this year (glam-style, of course)! Get a super cute one from Jenzys at Amazon.com! MY COST: $21.00
So this is it for the basics, but stay tuned as our packing list becomes more comprehensive. You will need more things, but we’ll take it one week at a time! Toodles, and as always keep it indie!