What To Bring

Pillar Article: Supplies you will need and what is food industry want while backpacking through Europe
Backpacking through Europe can and should be the experience of a lifetime. There are endless destinations to travel to, places to eat, and people to meet. There are also a lot of essential supplies that you should have as well and unfortunately there are some things that you will bring and never use. Having backpacked through Europe twice I have found what I believe to be the best products out there for having a great experience overseas.
First and foremost you are going to walk a good durable backpack. My first choice of backpack is Deuter Quantum 70 + 10 Travel Backpack. What I like about this backpack: It’s Durable: I’ve had it for a few years and it has taken a beating but it still looks brand new. It’s Safe: It is not easy for someone passing by to open the backpack up and take something out without you knowing. It can hold a lot: It’s not so much that it is bigger than the average travelling backpack that you will find out there but the way it is designed it can hold enough clothes and other supplies for two or three months worth of travelling. What I don’t like about this backpack: It’s heavy when full: Personally, this was not a problem for me as I am a pretty big guy. However, friends that I traveled with (the women in particular) had a hard time even lifting my backpack let alone wearing it on their back during a day of travel. Make sure that you buy a backpack that you can comfortably carry when its full. Otherwise, your trip might be plagued with some all too memorable back pain. So if you are like me and can handle a bigger backpack I highly recommend the Deuter Quantum 70 + 10 Travel Backpack but if not there are several other backpacks that Deuter makes in other sizes that will work just as well.
After you have figured out which backpack you will be taking on your trip the next thing you are going to want to find is good walking shoes. I learned the hard way that you really want shoes that are going to be durable after that you will also want shoes that will not look out of place in most social settings. So if you are going to be backpacking primarily through cities you don’t need to have hiking boots. They are heavy, stiff, and stick out like a sore thumb. I recommend finding a pair of cross training shoes, black in particular because it hides the dirt that is sure to accumulate on your trip. I recommend the Aasics Gel Arctic. These shoes are actually designed for running on trails which is actually perfect for backpacking through Europe. What I like about these shoes: They’re Durable: In my experience Aasics hold up better than almost any other shoe as long as you’re willing to pay for the more expensive ones. They’re Light: While there are lighter shoes out there on the market you won’t find shoes this light that will hold up as well and that’s really what you want. They’re Casual: If you walk into a museum wearing these you will not get looks like you just escaped out of an insane asylum. They can be made almost waterproof: Given that you will have to apply some form of scotch guard to these shoes they can become almost as waterproof as Gortex. What I don’t like about these shoes: They’re expensive: You’re looking at about $120 for this pair of shoes which can be pricey but also definitely worth it for what you’re getting.
After you figured out your shoes you’re going to want to invest in some good old fashioned blue jeans. Blue jeans are great for when you are travelling. A dark pair of blue jeans can be worn in almost any situation which is great because you won’t be able to bring your whole wardrobe with you on this trip. Now all blue jeans are about the same and everyone has their own preference as to what looks good but I prefer American Eagle Brand myself the Low Rise Boot type specifically. What I like about these jeans: They’re Durable: Pretty much all blue jeans are durable and these are no exception they will hold up even when put through the elements. They’re Comfortable: Some people don’t like the grinding machine parts and functions feeling of jeans which is understandable but as far as jeans go these are some of the most comfortable pair that I own. What I don’t like: Not Good in Heat. Denim and sweating do not mix well together so you better also have shorts brought along with you in your backpack. I prefer to have a pair of athletic shorts and cargo shorts with me the athletic shorts are great to sleep in and walk around and cargo shorts are similar to jeans in that they are durable and slightly more comfortable. If you are thinking that you don’t want to wear jeans you might want to think again. Jeans are probably the warmest if you are somewhere cold and don’t need to be washed nearly as much as other materials.
What I would not recommend bringing is a Nalgene bottle. What I don’t like about Nalgene Bottles: They’re bulky: Nalgene bottles are big and bulky and take up valuable backpack space. Filling it up: Typically with a Nalgene bottle you fill it up with water that you get from the tap, the problem with this when you’re travelling is not all the water you get from the tap will be safe to drink. Given that in most places in Europe drinking the water is fine, there are some places where it will really make you sick. You have to clean them: Another problem with these bottles is that you need to clean them so bacteria does not grow inside of the bottle. Finding dish soap is not hard to do in Europe but do you really want to buy dish soap just to clean out your water bottle? What I do like about Nalgene bottles: They’re tough: This is good for several reasons. Firstly, if you are going to bring a water bottle going with Nalgene is the way to go because unless you actively try to break it there is a good chance that it won’t. Additionally you can bring it as a case to bring fragile souvenirs back with you. If you have something that is small and fragile sticking in the Nalgene is a great way to keep it safe. Despite the few positive aspects of bringing along a Nalgene I would recommend against it. A better alternative is to just go into grocery stores while you are there and buy bottled water. Typically throughout Europe you can buy one or two liter bottles of water for a couple bucks. The best part about bottled water is that you know it’s clean and keeps you from drinking from the tap. As a side note, if you are walking around all day make sure that you are staying hydrated. Nothing is worse than becoming dehydrated and getting sick in a hostel.
I also recommend bringing a good camera. A lot of people may advise you to bring a very cheap camera that you would not mind so much if it got lost or stolen but I advise against that. The reason being, that cheap cameras take poor quality pictures. When you look back at your pictures from this trip you want good pictures not only for yourself but to showing your friends and family as well. I recommend the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS. This camera will run you about $350 but it is worth it. What I like about this camera: Quality Pictures: When you get back from your trip and look at your pictures you won’t be disappointed this camera is very good for the price. Durable: I drop things a lot and my camera is no exception, while there are more durable cameras on the market this one is pretty good if you drop it, it will most likely continue to function the right way. I do recommend buying a case for it though to protect the screen for when you have it in your bag or pocket. Cool Features: I don’t pretend to be a photographer but I can take some really cool pictures with this camera. It has some really cool effects that you can play around with and makes taking pictures really fun. Easy To Use: If you are like me and not very technologically orientated this is a great camera for you. You don’t need to be an expert with computers or cameras to figure this camera out and it is really easy to upload you’re pictures onto a computer. What I don’t like: It’s small, which means that it can be easy to forget somewhere or lose. If you are careful with it this won’t happen. In addition to the camera make sure you buy an SD card that can hold a lot of pictures. I recommend at least a 4 GB card which should hold about 2500 pictures but you can never go too big with the gigabytes.
While this list is far from everything that you will need for your trip these are definitely the essentials. If you remember to bring these things I’m sure that your trip will be an enjoyable one that you will remember for the right reasons in years to come.