Choosing The Right Backpack For Your Trip

One of the most important things to ensuring an enjoyable backpacking trip to Europe is what kind of backpack you bring. Everything you are going to take with you to Europe will be in your backpack and being that you are going to be carrying it almost everywhere you go, it’s essential to make sure that you get one you like. Its got to be comfortable, sturdy, and most importantly large enough to hold all of your belongings. But besides that, you may be wondering what other attributes to look for when picking out a backpack. Ask yourself the following questions when deciding on a backpack for your trip to Europe:

Does It Fit Your Body Well?

Many first time backpackers will choose a backpack with lots of accessories, pockets, and other knick knacks that they think will make it more suitable for their trip, despite how uncomfortable it may be. The most important thing to consider is whether or not your backpack fits your body well and that you will be comfortable carrying it around for long periods of time.

Is It Comfortable When It’s Fully Loaded?

Keep in mind that your backpack will be holding 20 to 30 pounds of weight which can completely change the feel of a backpack. When picking out a backpack, make sure to test it out with at least 20 pounds of weight to ensure that it will still be comfortable when you’ve got it loaded full of clothing and supplies.

Can You Carry It On Your Flight?

One of the best parts about backpacking is that you don’t have tons of luggage to tote around. If possible, try to find a backpack that you don’t have to check at the airport.

Does It Feature An Internal Frame?

It is very important to buy a backpack with an internal frame to help maximize comfort and support while traveling. A backpack with a bunch of metal rods sticking out will not only look awkward but it is also likely to get stuck around every corner.

What To Look For In A Backpack

Besides an internal frame, there are several other things to look at when picking out your backpack. The following attributes are the most important components to consider while you’re shopping.

Detachable Day Pack: With a detachable day pack, you’ll be able to leave most of your belongings in a locker at your hostel so you can explore wherever you’re at in comfort.

Padded Shoulder Straps / Hip Belt: Padding is a big bonus in a backpack, and considering that you will be carrying this for long periods of time, you will want to make sure that its got some extra padding for added comfort.

Contoured Back: A padded back is essential for maximizing your comfort when carrying your pack, so look for one with a lumbar shaped back.

Locking Zippers: Look for a pack with two zippers at each compartment which can be locked together with a combination or key lock.

Buying Your Backpack

Before you buy your pack, make sure to do some research. Shop around, and try on as many different style backpacks as you can before you make a decision. This is one of the most important parts of your journey and you want to get it right. There is nothing worse than backpacking through Europe for an extended period of time with an uncomfortable pack. Once you’ve found a style you like, look at places like Ebay or Amazon to save yourself some money.

Recommended Backpacks:

Kelty Coyote 4750 Backpack

The Kelty Coyote 4750 is the perfect backpack for a trip to Europe. It features a high quality suspension system which is built to provide maximum comfort and support over long periods of time. It is designed to carry heavy loads while maintaining incredible stability and comfort.

  • 4,750 Cubic Inch Backpack
  • Top loading main compartment with front panel access
  • S-Shaped shoulder straps which contour to the body
  • Detachable daypack
  • Internal frame

Kelty Redwing 3100 Backpack

The Kelty Redwing 3100 is one of the most popular backpacks available. It features a large main compartment with several conveniently placed organizational pockets and a sturdy suspension system.

  • Top loading with front panel access
  • Hydration compatible
  • Lightbeam II suspension system
  • Zippered side pockets
  • Padded back and shoulder straps.

What To Pack For Your Trip

One of the most important things to ensuring an enjoyable trip backpacking through Europe is bringing the right supplies. Because you’ll be carrying everything on your back for much of the time, it’s a good idea to bring as little as possible. Getting rid of things you’re positive you won’t need can really help improve your overall experience. If there are items in your backpack that you think you might need, odds are you won’t. Bringing the right clothing is another important factor to consider. Which season you are planning to visit Europe will help determine what kind of clothing you should bring. If you’ll be traveling during the winter, one thing you can do to help lighten the load is to layer your outfits rather than packing a thick coat.

Below are the items of clothing which are essential for your trip backpacking through Europe.


  • 1 Pair of Jeans
  • 1 Pair of Khaki/Dress Pants
  • 2 Pair of Shorts
  • 5 T-shirts
  • 1 Light-weight Waterproof Jacket
  • Collared Shirt or Dress Shirt
  • Swim Suit
  • Plenty of socks and underwear
  • Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots
  • Additional Pair of Shoes
  • Sandals

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Money Belt
  • Day pack
  • Multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Compass
  • Ipod or MP3 Player
  • Cutlery & Flatware
  • Digital Camera

  • Shampoo & Soap
  • Loofa or Wash Cloth
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Razor
  • Sunscreen
  • Finger Nail Clippers
  • Medication & Vitamins

  • Passport
  • ID Card or Driver’s License
  • ATM & Credit Cards
  • Medical Information
  • Prescriptions if you have any
  • Photo Copies of Everything
  • Guide Book & Phrase Book

One common question that I hear alot from people planning a backpacking trip to Europe is whether or not they should bring electronics. I advise against it unless absolutely necessary. If you are a blogger, or you work online then of course you’ll probably need to bring your laptop or netbook. But otherwhise, why bring a bunch of electronics when you’re going to be out exploring Europe? Unless you are prepared to lose it, break it, or have it stolen, don’t bring it! Also, consider insuring any expensive items that you are going to bring.

On to the most important part of your packing…the backpack! This is obviously the most important part of the list and getting the right backpack is an essential consideration. Do your research and try to find a backpack that you can carry comfortably and one big enough to hold all of your things. Make sure that it fits your body well. Another important thing to look for in a backpack is an internal frame. When choosing a backpack, make sure to do your research. Try it on, read reviews, and browse a variety of different options.

While this list is very comprehensive, there may be some things which I missed. Basically the idea behind your packing is to bring only things which you are absolutely sure that you will need. And remember, it’s not like you’re going to a 3rd world country without modern stores. If you forget to bring something or you end up needing a new pair of clothes, get them while your there! In fact, for many people shopping in Europe is another exciting reason to visit.