Best Backpacking Gear: All That You Need To Backpack Across Western Europe This Summer
Is it your first time planning to backpack across Western Europe or you get want to be better prepared for the next? Welcome, it's wise of you to visit. There's always a first time for everything and without proper preparation, most people either pack the wrong gears, overpack or under-pack some of the good stuff making their backpacking across Europe less of what it could have been.
This article can also be used to prepare a budget for your backpacking itinerary through Europe.
Here is what is cover in this post
Our top pick on
Our top pick on BACKPACKING CLOTHING
The Best Rain Jacket: REI Drypoint GTX (men’s & women’s)
If you're looking for something economical, lightweight, and durable, the REI Drypoint GTX is the way to go. If you want to wear a jacket with a backpack, high-angled pockets are designed to operate in tandem with the hip belts, preventing pinching with no accessibility issues.
The Best Pants for Ultralight Rain: Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants (men’s & women’s)
These Helium Pants are considerably inexpensive ultralight pants that are tested and trusted. Their weight is low and its designs are ideal for activities such as backpacking and hiking when keeping weight and bulk low is a priority.
The Best Down Jacket: Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 hoody (men’s & women’s)
Do you need a streamlined ultralight jacket to stay warm on summer adventures, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer/2 is perfect for you in the sense that its quality is difficult to match. It’s exactly what you need for light and fast trips.
The Best Hiking Pants for Men: Outdoor Research Ferrosi Pants
The Ferrosi Pants are ultra-light, flexibly stretchy, and convenient to walk in. The cinch cords at the ankles are awesome because they allow you to modify the length of the pants to match your outfit, the weather, and the undulating terrain of your hike trail.
The Best Hiking Pants for Women: North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants
The North Face Aphrodite 2.0 Pants are cozy and comfortable to walk in, which makes them an awesome choice for traveling and hiking. Another awesome feature about them is located at the ankle called drawcord which allows you to wear the pants at any height.
The Best Base Layer Top: Smartwool Merino 250 (men’s & women’s) / Merino 150 (men’s & women’s)
If it's cold weather, then the Merino 250s are some of the most relaxing layers you can. We endorse going with the ¼ zip version of the Merino 250 because the zip makes it much easier to thermoregulate during high-output activities. The Merino 150 layers are lighter and a little less warm, making them ideal for shoulder seasons.
The Best Base Layer Bottoms: Patagonia Capilene Midweight (men’s & women’s)
Patagonia’s Capilene Midweightthere rare is our most-used base layer bottoms. We’ve had the same couple for years, and they’re showing very little sign of deterioration. We discover the degree of warmth they give to be suitable for most of the year, they are comfortable which makes them easy to layer.
The Best Hiking Shorts: Nike Dri Fit Running Shorts (men’s & women’s)
On spring and summer travels, we virtually always hike in shorts. These Nike shorts are both cost-effective and well-made.
The Best Hiking T-shirt: Nike Dri Fit T-Shirt (men’s & women’s)
These synthetic shirts wick away sweat and keep us odor-free, allowing us to lose weight and skip the deodorant.
The Best Hiking Long-sleeve: Nike 1/2 Zip (men’s & women’s)
The shirt is the same as the one above, but with longer sleeves.
The Best Underwear for Hiking: ExOfficio Give-N-Go (men’s & women’s)
The Best Sports Bra for Hiking: Patagonia Barely Sport Bra
All-day comfort where it counts.
The Best Hiking Socks: Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion (men’s & women’s).
Our top pick on BACKPACKING PILLOWS
The Best Ultralight Pillow: Zpacks Medium-Plus Dry Bag Pillow
This dry bag pillow can be very comfortable and warm when filled with a puffy jacket, and it can be converted to a stuff sack for your clothing during the day.
The Best Pillow: Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow
The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is The Best of all the pillows we tested. Using these pillows makes you feel at home, additionally, it’s more compact even when it inadvertently drops in the dirt.
Our top pick on SLEEPING PADS
The Best Ultralight Summer Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest UberLite
This is the cushion pad that we carry in our packs for all of our summer adventures. With this pad, the most important thing to ask yourself is: how often do you hike in sub-zero temperatures? If you answered infrequently, this could be the pad for you.
The Best Ultralight 3-Season Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite
The XLite is difficult to top for lightweight hiking since it combines a rare combination of comfort, support, warmth, and weight. And yeah, everything you've heard about how loud this pad is is 100% accurate... However, the noise fades over time, and we believe the quality is worth the slight inconvenience.
The Best 4-Season/Cold Sleeper Pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm
We recommend upgrading to the XTherm if you're a cold sleeper or plan to backpack on sub-freezing shoulder season treks. This pad features a ridiculously high warmth-to-weight ratio and a more durable bottom layer of fabric, making it one of The Best pads available.
Most Quiet, Comfy & Convenient Sleeping Pad: NEMO Tensor Insulated
The Tensor is thick, comfortable, and quieter than any other air pad we’ve tested. This pad comes in various shapes and sizes to meet any need, but most notably it’s offered in the elusive regular/wide option. With an R-value of 3.5, the Tensor will work well for most 3-season backpacking trips.
The Best Closed-Cell Foam Sleeping Pad: NEMO Switchback
For the ultralight, a budget backpacker who’s hard on gear and doesn’t want the possibility of a ruptured air pad, closed-cell foam pads are a great option. We like using the Switchback to add warmth to our sleep system on particularly chilly trips, and it’s also a great choice for thru-hiking because it’s so durable.
The Best Budget Air Sleeping Pad: Klymit Static V2
The Static V2 is built with thicker fabric than most lightweight pads and it’s also slightly wider than the standard pad size. Because it has a low R-value (1.3), this pad is The Best suited for summer backpacking and camping.
Our top pick on SLEEPING BAGS
The Best All-Around Value: REI Co-op Magma 15° (men’s & women’s)/Magma 30° (men’s & women’s)
When it comes to value for money, REI's Magma sleeping bags are hard to beat. They're lightweight, compressible, and warm. We possess both models and alternate between them during the winter and summer backpacking seasons. If you can only acquire one, we recommend the Magma 30 if you plan to camp mostly in the summer and the Magma 15 if you want to camp in the spring months and mild winters.
The Best Quality Sleeping Bag: Western Mountaineering Alpinlite
Western Mountaineering makes some of the impressive quality, lightest, and warmest sleeping bags we've ever tested, and our favorite is the Alpinlite. Every detail on this bag is dialed in - from the extraordinary materials and awesome no-snag zipper to the draft collar with cinch cord and the well-shaped foot box and hood.
The Best Ultralight Quilt: Enlightened Equipment Revelation 10°
The Revelation quilt is extremely light and compresses down to a teeny-tiny size. If you don't like being suffocated in a mummy bag, this quilt's expansive comfort is ideal, and it's also very flexible. On warm nights, it can be opened up like a blanket and cinched up tight when the temperature drops.
The Best Women’s Sleeping Bag: Feathered Friends Egret UL 20°
Feathered Friends makes a lot of high-quality bags with down feathers that are responsibly sourced, and their temperature ratings are generally more accurate than many other brands. The Egret is fantastic because the fabric is soft on the skin and the women's specific cut provides excellent insulation in all the appropriate areas.
Our top pick on BACKPACKING PACKS & DAYPACKS
The Best All-Around Backpack: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 2400 & 3400
You'll see us rocking the Southwest 2400 the most on the trail. Because it's ultralight, robust, and waterproof, the Southwest is our go-to. The 2400 (40L) is usually all you need if your gear is relatively well dialed in. The 3400 (55L) is also a wonderful alternative if you need more capacity to carry bulkier goods like winter clothes.
The Best Comfortable Backpack: Gossamer Gear Gorilla 40 & Mariposa 60
The Gorilla's hip belt is particularly strong, and the cushioned back panel also serves as a removable seat pad for usage around camp. The Gorilla (40L) is our top selection if all of your gear is ultralight and compact. The Mariposa (60L) is a great choice if you require additional space or wish to carry somewhat larger things.
The Best Backpack for Carrying 35+ lbs.: Osprey Atmos AG 65 (men’s) & Aura 65 AG (women’s)
The Atmos (men's sizes) and Aura (women's sizes) are tough to beat for individuals who want to hike with traditional gear or adore packing out luxury items. The suspension technology in these packs allows you to comfortably carry up to 50 pounds.
The Best Hiking Daypack: Osprey Talon 22 (men’s) & Tempest 20 (women’s)
The Talon and Tempest are exceptionally comfortable on the trail, with plush hip belts, padded shoulder straps, and ventilated back panels. These packs provide enough space for a full-day adventure and useful storage pockets to keep our kit organized.
Our top pick on BACKPACKING SHOES
The Best Hiking Boots: Vasque Breeze AT Mid GTX (men’s & women’s)
For us, these boots check a lot of boxes. They're lightweight, supportive, sturdy, and surprisingly breathable for waterproof boots right out of the box. These boots provide plenty of ankle support for those who prefer it.
The Best Trail Runners: Altra Lone Peak 5 (men’s & women’s)
The Altra Lone Peak 5 trail running shoes have a lot to offer. They're grippy, light, and have an incredibly roomy toe box. We'd already been fans of prior Lone Peak models, but the 5s are by far the best.
The Best Hiking Shoes: Salomon X Ultra 4 Low GTX (men’s & women’s)
The Salomon X Ultra 4 Low GTX is a superb trail-ready shoe that's perfect for both day hiking and lightweight backpacking. These shoes are a cross between a trail runner and a hiking shoe: they're light and fast while also being durable and supportive.
The Best Hiking Sandals: Chaco Z/1 Classic (men’s & women’s) and Chaco Z/Cloud (men’s & women’s)
The Chaco Z/1 Classic and Z/Cloud are the best hiking sandals in our opinion. They're flexible to accommodate a variety of foot shapes, surprisingly supportive, and incredibly long-lasting. Although they are the same shoe, the Classics have a firmer sole than the Z/Clouds.
The Best Camp Shoes: Crocs Classic Clogs
They may appear odd, but they're comfortable, light, and simple to put on. They also come in a million different colors, so you'll be able to select a pair to match your new hiking shirt.
The Best Winter Boots: Salomon X Ultra Mid Winter CS WP (men’s)/Sorel Caribou (women’s)
We enjoy being outside for exercise and fresh air during the winter months. We're much more motivated to go out and enjoy the rain and snow when we have the correct footwear that keeps us warm, dry, and fashionable.
The Best Rain Boots: Bogs Classic High (men’s)/Bogs Amanda Plush Slip-on (women’s)
Do you enjoy splashing around in puddles? Do you have a lot of outside chores to complete, rain or shine? Are your feet always wet? Grab a pair of rain boots to add some practical appeal to your rainy-day ensemble.
The Best Gaiters: Altra Gaiters
Keeps dirt out of your shoes.
The Best Snow Traction: Kahtoola Microspikes because winter hiking is a trip.
Our top pick on BACKPACKING TENTS
The Best All-Around Tent: Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 & UL3
For all-around value and ease of use, this is our top pick. Weather protection, weight, comfort, and convenience are all well-balanced in this jacket. When traveling in pairs, we prefer the UL3 size, although the UL2 size is also great for solo treks or if you don't mind tight quarters.
The Best Ultralight Tent: ZPacks Duplex & Triplex
For thru-hiking and long/difficult treks, this is our top pick. These non-freestanding, single-wall shelters take a little longer to pitch than freestanding shelters, but the weight savings are usually well worth it. The Duplex is ideal for solo backpacking journeys, while the Triplex is ideal for traveling in pairs.
The Best Budget Tent: REI Co-op Passage 2 & Half Dome SL 2 Plus
These are great options for first-timers and budget travelers. They're long-lasting, well-made, roomy, and comfortable. The main disadvantage of tents like this is that they are big and heavy, making them unsuitable for long trekking journeys. However, if you split the weight between two hikers, they're not too bad, and their prices are hard to beat.
The Best Car Camping Tent: REI Co-op Grand Hut 4
This tent strikes a good mix between room, price, and quality. It's one of our favorites because it's tall enough to stand in and surprisingly simple to put up for a tent of its size. The Grand Hut is an excellent alternative for camping in heavy rain with its robust poles, full-length rainfly with big vestibules, and vents that can be opened from inside the tent.
Our top pick on CAMP KITCHEN
The Best Stove System: JetBoil MiniMo & JetBoil Flash
Get the MiniMo if you want improved performance in sub-freezing temperatures and simmer control for backcountry cooking. The Flash is likely all you'll need if you only want your water to boil rapidly.
The Best Ultralight Stove: BRS Stove, MSR Pocket Rocket 2, and Pocket Rocket Deluxe.
The BRS is a small, ultralight stove that can only accommodate 1-2 persons. In the long term, the Pocket Rocket 2 and Deluxe will be far more robust and dependable, while being slightly heavier and larger. The features of the Pocket Rocket Deluxe are the best of the lot.
The Best Cookpot for 1-2 Hikers: Snow Peak Mini Solo Cookset
Although this titanium cook set is pricey, we believe the quality and weight savings are well worth it. We've had the same set for several years and it doesn't appear to be wearing out anytime soon.
The Best Group Cookpot: MSR Big Titan Kettle
A large, lightweight kettle that is ideal for heating water for large groups.
Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long Spoon is the best spoon.
It's a spoon, and it quickly feeds food to your mouth. The long handle helps to prevent "saucy knuckles," a common hiker ailment.
The Best Cup: GSI Cup for Stacking
When we go hiking, we like to bring a cup with us so that we may enjoy some evening tea as we make dinner.
Ursack and Bear Vault BV 500 are the best food storage containers.
We use the BV 500 when we need bear canisters because it's spacious and easy to open (for humans). We bring our Ursack on most other vacations because it's lightweight, easier to pack, and wonderful for keeping pests away from our food.
Our top pick on WATER FILTRATION
The Best All-Around Water Filter: Sawyer Squeeze
The Sawyer Squeeze has long been a favorite with trekkers, including ourselves. It's light (3 oz. ), compact, and reasonably priced.
The Best No-Hassle Water Purifier: Katadyn Steripen Ultra
The Katadyn Ultra UV light purifier impresses us with its ease of use and speed. The Ultra is the fastest and easiest water purification method we've ever used when paired with a small-mouth, 1L plastic bottle (ex: Smartwater).
Aquamira Drops and Katadyn Pills are the most effective chemical treatments.
We generally always include chlorine dioxide water treatment in our backpacks. We keep it on hand in pill form as a backup in case our main filtration system fails, clogs breaks or loses power.
The Best Ultralight Backpacking Water Bottles: Smartwater Bottles (1L)
Smartwater bottles are ideal for ultralight camping since they are light, have a full liter capacity, are surprisingly robust, and have a sleek design that fits nicely in the side pockets. The Sawyer Squeeze also screws right into the mouth, which is convenient.
The Best Soft Water Bottle (for long periods of dryness): 2L Platy Bottle
When we know we'll be in the backcountry for an extended time ski-mountaineers, we bring the Platy with us. It was really useful throughout our PCT and CDT thru-hikes.
Our top pick on BACKPACKING ACCESSORIES
The Best Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot 350
The Black Diamond Spot 350 has been a tried-and-true favorite among hikers and climbers for several years. The latest model has a longer burn time and a brighter LED than previous models.
Hummingbird Single & Tree Straps: The Best Hammock
Hummingbird Hammocks were created by an FAA-certified parachute rigger, so they know what they're talking about. To keep their hammocks as light, packable, and comfy as possible, they use the lightest materials and designs feasible.
The Best Waterproof Stuff Sacks for Backpacking: HMG Waterproof Stuff Sacks & Stuff Pods
These are some of our favorite gear pieces in our packs, and we don't say that lightly.
The Best Backpacking Seat: Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat
Despite its simplicity, the Z-Seat is one of our favorite seats. It's perfect for adding warmth and insulation between you and the earth. Sitting on a mat rather than on the ground will make your jeans or shorts look better and last longer.
Helinox Chair Zero is the best portable camp chair.
If you plan to spend a lot of time resting, relaxing, and taking in the sights and sounds of camp, a full chair, such as the Chair Zero, may be well worth the extra weight for the comfort it provides. It's also lightweight and portable, making it ideal for concerts, festivals, beach days, and other adventures.
Kijaro Dual Lock Portable Camping and Sports Chair is the best affordable car camping chair.
For the money, the Kijaro Dual Lock Chair is one of our favorites for use around a campsite. It isn't spectacular, but it is well-made and locks into a rigid stance that is both solid and comfortable to sit in, far better than sagging and bending camp chairs.
Tenacious Tape is the best way to repair your gear.
When you're ready to upgrade from duct tape and take your field repair to the next level, reach for Tenacious Tape.
The Best Compass: Suunto M-3 D Leader
Our favorite wireless navigation tool.
The Best GPS Phone Apps: Gaia GPS, Topo Maps+, and Maps. me (offline driving directions)
Yep, there’s an app for that.
The Best Trekking Poles: Gossamer Gear LT5
These ultralight trekking poles with cork grips are remarkably easy to adjust and are built to last.
The Best Ice Axe: C.A.M.P. USA Corsa
CAMP's Corsa ice ax is a top option among weight-conscious explorers and is an essential piece of gear for early-season backpackers, peak baggers, and ski mountaineers.
The Best Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Polarized New Wayfarer
It's not a bad idea to look good while gazing at the mountains.
The Best Multi-tool: Swiss Army Classic
A simple multi-tool knife like the Swiss Army Classic can come in handy in a variety of situations. People use it all the time on the trail to cut the rope... and cheese.
The Best First Aid Kit: Ultralight .7 Kit
Everything you need for minor booboos and bites is included in a handy waterproof pouch.
The Best Camp Towel: Packtowl
We're not sure what kind of magic this device employs to absorb an endless supply of liquid, but we're big fans.
The Best Bug Repellant: Permethrin & Picardin Lotion
Ticks and mosquitoes are the worst, and we don't have to tell you that.
The Best Cathole Trowel: REI Co-op Snow Stake
It's ultralight, and it can also be used as a backup tent stake if one breaks or disappears on the trail.
The Best Tent Stakes: Aluminum Reflective Stakes
Switching the stock stakes for something a little lighter is an easy method to save weight when setting up a tent on the cheap.
The Best Camera: Sony RX100
For travel shots, we prefer to use our phone, but the RX100 is our go-to camera for particularly special occasions.
The Best Power Bank: Goal Zero Flip 24
We like to take pictures while traveling, so we always keep at least one with us to charge our phones.
The Best Book: Kindle Paperwhite
Turns 1000’s pounds of books into 6.4 ounces.
The Best Bear Spray (used in grizzly country): Frontiersman Bear Spray
Hopefully only for your peace of mind, but it'll come in handy when you need it.
How to Have Fun Backpacking
Bring a book; if you're bringing a physical book, a lighter-weight paperback is preferable to an audiobook or e-book. Enjoy yourself in nature - take a deep breath, and make new friends with some of the hikers you'll be camping with. Meditate or download some guided meditations to listen to while you're not connected to the internet. Bring a sudoku book, a word puzzle book, or an adult coloring book with you on your trip. Consider any area of your life where you wish to improve and devise a plan of action to put into action when you return.
Conclusion: Focus On Having Fun Backpacking
Backpacking in Europe can be fun and stress-free if you only bring with you exactly what you need, no more or less, however you don't have to overthink it if an item runs out or is left behind you can simply buy it in the store - prices are almost the same anyway.
Backpacking through Europe can be cheap if you bring all you need.
To ensure you don't under-pack, start making a list of everything you need today and use it as a guide when you are ready to pack and go.
Focus on enjoying your backpacking trip to the fullest. Europe is beautiful, make yourself feel at home.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully, you enjoyed this post on backpacking gear for Europe.
Do you have a question, remark, or additional gears you would like to mention?
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