Having the right gear on an international trip is the key to staying organized. For a backpacking trip around Europe, compact and condensed is the goal. Here is the ultimate gear guide for backpacking in Europe to keep you moving efficiently and with less stress. Each of these items can be purchased through Amazon Prime via the links here, saving you both time and shipping costs.
We hope you love the travel gear for Europe we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
1. Osprey Farpoint 55 or Fairview 55 backpack
For a backpacking trip in Europe, you’ll need a durable and comfortable backpack. There are two types of backpacks to consider before you hit the road: a “backpacking” backpack, like the ones you see many international travelers using, or a trekking backpack like you’d bring on an overnight hiking trip. A 40- to 65-liter “backpacking” backpack like the Osprey Farpoint 55 or the Osprey Fairview Trek 50 (made for women) is the perfect travel companion. These versatile packs offer a large zippered panel for easy access to the main compartment (it opens like a suitcase), and also come with a daypack that you can fit your laptop in. If you’re planning on doing outdoor adventuring while on the road, a trekking backpack like the Osprey Atmos AG 65 for men and Aura AG 65 for women is also a great choice for its comfortable straps that can double as your travel pack as well if you don’t mind a bit of extra bulkiness around the hips.
2. Fjallraven Kanken Pack
Unless you’re going to be carrying your backpack every hour of every day, you’ll need a day bag. If your main backpack doesn’t come with one like the Osprey Farpoint/Fairview mentioned above, having a smaller bag to carry your smaller items when your pack is sitting at the hostel is essential. This Fjallraven Kanken Pack from the Swedish sustainable gear company is the perfect balance between functional and stylish (something that is nice to consider when you’re in Europe). It’s big enough to fit a camera, your water bottle, a pair of shades, and a sweater, but it’s also compact enough to fold into your larger backpack when you’re not using it. Plus, it’s available in a variety of colors.
3. Eagle Creek Pack-it Starter Set
High-quality packing cubes to roll or fold your clothes are a must-have travel accessory for packing efficiently. It’s a lot easier to take out a packing cube to grab an item than to reach for a shirt at the bottom of your bag, just to have all of your other clothes fall out. This Eagle Creek Pack-It Starter Set will help keep your clothes compressed and compartmentalized in your backpack. The folder that comes with the two packing cubes is great for nicer items that you’d like to keep wrinkle-free during your travels.
4. LifeStraw Go water filter bottle
Grab a filtered reusable water bottle to save money and reduce plastic usage abroad. If you’re traveling to a country like Greece where it’s not advised to drink the tap water, having a filtered water bottle will not only give you some peace of mind with every sip, but it will help you avoid buying plastic water bottles that might end up floating on beautiful beaches. This trusted LifeStraw Go bottle has a two-stage integrated filter for clean drinking water on the go.
5. Conair Travel Smart All-in-One Adapter with USB
Having several travel adapters on hand is always a smart idea if you want to be able to charge your devices. Shop this Travel Smart All-in-One international travel adapter to connect your electronic devices to European outlets, as well as those in China and the US. This one comes with both an EU and UK adapter, along with a USB port.
6. Sea To Summit Travelling Light hanging toiletry bag
A nice hanging toiletry bag will save you the frustration of finding a clean countertop to set your toiletries on at a hostel or Airbnb. You also want a bag that’ll fit all of your goods from back home, but that isn’t too big to avoid over-packing your toiletries. This Sea to Summit Hanging Toiletry Bag is the perfect size, has multiple zip compartments, comes with a built-in mirror, and is also waterproof just in case something happens to spill.
7. Lermende TSA approved clear toiletry bag
Along with a hanging toiletry bag, bringing a TSA-approved clear toiletry bag will save you from having to throw away your favorite shampoo bottle at the airport. Airports in Europe tend to be stricter than the US when it comes to limiting liquids to a quart-sized bag and they will usually make you take out all of your liquids to put in their provided plastic bags. Save yourself the trouble by readily storing your liquids in this Lermende TSA-approved clear toiletry bag for a quicker pass through airport security.
8. ProCase Accessories Bag electronics organizer
A compact and heavy-duty electronics organizer is essential for keeping all of your electronics in order. The ProCase accessories bag features some elastic loops for cables, two larger pockets for bigger items like camera chargers, as well as some mesh zipper pockets for smaller items like SD cards and USB flash drives. We love how this one rolls up and can be easily thrown into your backpack.
9. RoomyRoc Mesh laundry washing bag
To keep from having to question whether or not you’ve washed a clothing item in your backpack after days or weeks of wandering, make sure to bring a large but foldable laundry bag. This one from RoomyRoc also doubles as a washing bag to help filter out microfibers released from clothing.
10. PackTowel Original Quickdry Microfiber Towel
A microfiber towel is great for when you don’t want to pay for towels at hostels. They’re compact, easily absorb water, and dry quickly. The PackTowel Personal towel is really soft and the towel also folds into the included pouch for convenient storage.
11. Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger
Mobile phones have become an important part of our lives, and our travels. Having a dependable portable charger can be a lifesaver if you need to use your phone to access travel documents when your battery is low and there are no charging outlets around. The Anker PowerCore 13000 has two high-speed USB ports and has enough power to keep you going for days.
12. Master Lock TSA approved luggage lock
Bringing a lock on your backpacking trip will help keep your personal belongings safe, especially when leaving your backpack at hostels. A combination lock like the Master Lock 4688D is better to have than a key lock (keys are usually easy to lose). The Master lock is also TSA approved, so screeners can inspect and relock your luggage at the airport without damaging it.
13. Yamiu travel shoe bags
You need a way to store your dirty shoes in your backpack without ruining the rest of your clothes and belongings. These Yamiu travel shoe bags are large enough to fit up to a men’s size 14 shoe, are made of waterproof nylon fabric, and also feature a strong zipper.
14. First-aid kit
This 100-piece first-aid kit can prevent minor mishaps like cuts and scrapes from turning into trip-ruining incidents. Johnson + Johnson’s travel first-aid kit includes all the basic stuff you’ll need to dress, wrap, and cover on the go.
15. Chrome Industries Cobra merino wool hoodie, men’s and women’s options
The number one rule of travel clothing is that it can be worn more than once between a wash. Merino wool is perfect because it absorbs sweat, is light and airy, and can be worn in all seasons as a quick and easy cover. It’s also more sustainable than synthetic or polyester products. Chrome Industries offers the best merino wool travel hoodie, and it’s black — so you know it’ll go well with anything.
Price: $119.95 men’s, $80 women’s