Abbey’s Backpack

Trying to decide what was necessary and what absolutely wasn’t clothes-wise for this trip was tricky. We are going to experience the cold Northern European winters to the hot Mediterranean climate. Plus we’ll be doing some pretty extensive hiking (8-15 mile days) on the Wales Coast and maybe even some in the Alps. The chart below is what I settled on and I’m pretty happy with everything.

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  • REI Co-op Trail 40 Pack I love this backpack. I’ve used it for both backpacking trips and just quick weekend getaways.
  • Travelon Crossbody The current purses I own are much too large to bring on such a trip. This one is great size-wise and it does give me a bit of peace-of-mind that it’s supposedly slash free and hard for pickpockets to get into.
  • Eagle Creek Packable Daypack I wanted something that I could use for day trips that were more active and would require having more gear on hand than the crossbody allows. At the same time, I wanted that bag to be packable so that when I wasn’t using it, it was out of the way. This was exactly what I wanted. It’s sturdier than it looks and the straps are actually pretty comfortable too.

 

First off, I know a lot of you are going to think that I have way too many pairs of underwear. Kevin does, but I refuse to give any up. They pack down absurdly small and there are certainly worse things you could pack too many of.

  • exOfficio underwear (4) I liked these more than I thought I would. I have a couple different styles and colors so they’ll work with all of my outfits.
  • Thinx underwear (7) These will be handy during times tampons are not readily available.
  • Victoria Secret PINK T-Shirt Bra I have two of these, one tan and one black. They’re your pretty standard bras. Nothing special.
  • Icebreaker Siren Bra This is the most comfortable bra/bralet I have ever owned. If I ever catch Icebreaker at another sale, I may have to get another and toss a VS bra.

 

  • Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineer Socks I got a pretty gnarly shin injury my first week back in North Carolina. It required 20-something stitches and can still bother me a little on long runs. I got these compression socks to use on both long runs and as clot-prevention for long plane and train rides.
  • Smartwool Outdoor Light Mid Crew Socks I’ve had these for a while now and they’re still in good shape. Definitely bringing them.
  • Darn Tough Socks (3 pairs) I have one pair of each lightweight, midweight, and heavy weight hiking socks. I’ve worn them both backpacking and just walking around – works great for both activities!
  • Feetures No Show Tab Socks (3 pairs) I bought these over Thanksgiving and they are a major improvement on the Target socks I was using. For instance, they don’t get holes after five washes and even have some cushion so my feet are screaming after a run.
  • Smartwool Women’s Cable Tights Just another layer. These look better under skirts than my leggings do.
  • Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe (2) I run cold and often can be found huddled under blankets or wrapped in a sweater. These baselayers are terrific at insulating me while not suffocating me and I’m so upset I hadn’t discovered them sooner. I have one in black and one in light gray.
  • Oasis Leggings I’ve worn these both under pants and under shorts while running and they were better than I could have asked for. I promise this blog is not sponsored by Icebreaker, Kevin and I just both really like the clothing we have from them.
  • Vertex Leggings These are a bit heavier than the Oasis Leggings and there’s definitely a noticeable difference.
  • Siren Cami This insulates a little, so it’ll be useful during the spring and fall.
  • J. Crew V-Neck T-Shirt (3) These have been my go-to t-shirts the past several years. They’re just good, reliable t-shirts. Nothing fancy. I am taking three: black, light pink, dark green.
  • Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crewe A good piece that I can use for layering, running, and just wearing on it’s own.
  • Kala Short Sleeve Shirt I honestly bought this on a whim. There was a sale at Icebreaker and I was buying some of my other things for the trip and saw this shirt for a pretty hefty discount. Thankfully, it worked out. It’s comfortable and will be a good reprieve from t-shirts.
  • Athena Crop (2) I have one of these in a dark gray and another in a dark green. They’re cute tops and can double as a sports bra in a pinch.
  • Jeans I got these at a store in Boston and, at the moment of writing this, they’re in the wash so I can’t check the brand. However, they fit like a glove and are actually comfortable enough to stay in all day – which a rarity with jeans.
  • 7/8 Warmup Leggings I plan on using these mostly for running and yoga. I love the super high waist on them and have been wearing them every chance I get now that the temperatures have dropped.
  • Ponte Moto Skirt Pockets. That’s what sold me on this skirt. Sure, one of them is fake and the one is a strange size, but just the fact that there are pockets is amazing and I love it.
  • Marina Maxi Skirt I wanted something that was a little more modest and that would be acceptable while touring holy sites. The slit is easily pinned together. I also really like that I can sit cross-legged (as I tend to do on trains) and not flash anyone.
  • Barely Baggy Shorts These are quite possibly the most comfortable pair of shorts I own. They’re lightweight and quick-drying, plus the bright pink color will be nice while running.
  • Elephant Shorts I bought these at a local store, so I’m unsure of the brand or link (no tag). They’re good hiking shorts and very comfortable to sleep in.
  • Övik Shirt Dress Kevin loved the Fjallraven store in Boston. We often stopped in there to browse while we would take strolls down Newbury Street. This dress caught my eye and I thought it would be good for the trip. It does, unfortunately, wrinkle easily – but, I’ve found out that if I just take it into the bathroom while I shower the steam works out most of the wrinkles, so I’m not worried.
  • Kodiak Surrey II Boots Hiking boots are definitely what I struggled with most when trying to pack for this trip. Have it be known that I am thoroughly annoyed at the lack of options for women’s hiking boots that actually look nice. Kevin had loads of options and I really struggled finding some that I liked, that were functional for long hikes, and that didn’t necessarily scream “backpacker” while strolling around Europe. I landed on these and got the soles replaced with Vibram soles at a local shoe cobbler.
  • Mayari Birkenstocks I purchased these at the beginning of the year in Boston. I could walk for ages in these things. These won’t be able to be brought outside for the beginning of the trip, but they’ll make for good hostel and camp shoes.
  • Nike Running Shoes These are a couple years old, so I’m unsure what model they are. Kevin and I plan to run a fair amount in each city to 1. get a feel for the city and 2. burn off calories consumed on cheap beer and wine and delicious food (the main reason, really). Plus, I always feel better if I workout.
  • Shower Flipflops I don’t have a link for these, either. These are just cheap flip flops I grabbed to use in the hostel showers.
  • Patagonia Nano Puff This is surprisingly warm for the weight. Plus, it compresses inside one of it’s pockets and it’s synthetic. Kevin and I both have the black ones so we may look like that annoying matching couple, but hey, it’s the color that would go with the most of our stuff and wouldn’t pick up every speck of dirt.
  • Kuhl Rain Jacket Unfortunately I couldn’t find the exact jacket I have – it’s basically the linked one, but shorter. I like not only the functionality of it, but that it’s not just a lump like some rain jackets I’ve had in the past were.
  • Woolrich Sweater I also couldn’t find the exact sweater I bought, either. Trust me when I say it’s super warm, though. I’m sure it’ll make many appearances in the first few months’ worth of pictures.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Liquid Soap This is pretty good at multitasking – body soap, shampoo, detergent. I’m not a huge fan of how my hair feels after using it, but if I just follow it with conditioner, problem solved.
  • Face the Truth Gel Cleanser My skin errs on the side of dry, so I don’t have to worry about too many break outs, which is nice. I do have decently sensitive skin, so I do like to test out things before I use them on my face and risk a reaction. This cleanser great, doesn’t give me a reaction, and doesn’t leave my skin feeling super dry after a wash.
  • The Clean Truth Foaming Cleanser My shipment included a sample pack of some Olehenriksen products and since they’re travel sized, they seemed like good additions to bring along.
  • Transforming Walnut Scrub After spending a long time hiking, as we will do on the Wales Coast, I just feel like my face is in need of a good scrub. Again, this is part of the sample pack.
  • Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream This. I absolutely love this moisturizer. It’s lightweight and I barely have to use any to cover my entire face, so it lasts a long time.
  • Broad Spectrum SPF 50 For a long time I had just been using a combination moisturizer/SPF and it was okay. Using two separate products is definitely an improvement – my face doesn’t feel like it’s either a desert or that it’s being suffocated by moisturizer. Ensuring I use SPF is important to me and I like this formula since it’s so lightweight and doesn’t smell like much of anything.
  • Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer This is part of the sample pack so it’s a pretty small size. I figured I’d bring it along in case I run out of my preferred moisturizer since I know I don’t have an adverse reaction to it.
  • Shower Sheets I hate arriving to a new place after a long travel day and not having time or a place to shower. These sheets should come in handy on long train rides and any time we’re in a pinch.
  • Coco Mademoiselle Perfume I like how this scent is pretty light and has more warm notes than some of the other Chanel perfumes. When I found out that they finally had a good travel option, I purchased it immediately.
  • Stunna Lip Paint This. Is. The. Universal. Red. As you can tell from this list, I don’t really wear makeup. On the occasion, however, I do wear lipstick and wanted to bring some with me.
  • Lip Color in Indian Rose Not only is this a pretty, neutral color, it smells like vanilla! Always fun to smell like a pastry.
  • Everlasting Liquid Lipstick I have two of these, one in a red and another in a nude. I’ve put these liquid lipsticks through their paces and they’ve clung to my lips like nobody’s business. Definitely should last as I eat my way through Europe.
  • Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush We bought these very recently and both really like them. My dentist is constantly at me because I brush too hard, so the softer bristles are perfect for me and my poor gums.
  • Crest Toothpaste I’ve been using this for years, toothpaste isn’t something I’m absurdly picky about.
  • Floss Flossing is something I need to be more consistent at. I do it about 5 times a week, but would ultimately like to do it everyday.
  • Comb This is a basic black comb. I cut my hair significantly about a year ago and a comb was about all I needed. Now that I am growing my hair out again, I may have to buy a brush when we’re abroad. For now, though, the comb still works.
  • Apple MacBook As we were planning for the trip, we knew that every pound would count. Ultimately, we decided that the MacBook would be the lightest and best option for us to take on the road. We only have one laptop between us, but Kevin is taking his iPad, so there shouldn’t be too much arguing over usage.
  • Moto X4 I had been paying $75 for my portion of the family phone plan with Verizon. After some research, I decided that Project Fi through Google was the way to go, especially with going abroad. The only problem with switching to Project Fi was that it currently only works with two types of phones: Google Pixel and Moto X4. I went with the X4 because it was the cheapest option and, despite having an iPhone since my high school days, I really like it. And I really like cutting my phone bill in half.
  • LaCie Hard Drive We’ve had enough trouble with technology that getting a hard drive was a no-brainer.
  • Kindle Paperwhite I love reading. Hence the Abbey’s Kindle page. Bringing a ton of physical copies of books just wasn’t going to happen for this trip, however. After several years of grumbling that I didn’t like reading on screens, I caved and bought a Kindle. Happy/ashamed to say that I do like it. Doesn’t replace the smell or feel of a physical book, however.
  • Bose QuietComfort 25 Only occasionally does having non-wireless headphones bother me, so these are great. I’ve used them in noisy situations where I’m trying to sleep and they’re amazing – between these and my eye mask, I might actually be able to get some sleep in the hostels.
  • Apple Earbuds These came with the last phone I had, but I’m taking them to use for running since the Bose are a bit cumbersome.
  • Sony DSC-HX90V I wanted nicer pictures than our phones would take, but wasn’t quite ready to commit to a DSLR or anything more intense than a point-and-shoot. I have been using this camera for a few months now and am really glad I purchased it. What I like the most is the wireless transfer to my phone that takes all of three minutes and doesn’t require WiFi.
  • GoPro Hero 5 We toyed around with the idea of a vlog over a blog, but ultimately neither of us were particularly excited to talk to a camera daily, nor did we want to explore the nuances of video editing software. Still, we decided that we did want to video some of our experiences and realized that many of those experiences would require a sturdy (but small) camera. The GoPro will give us peace of mind when we want to film during water activities, biking, running, or anything that we wouldn’t be comfortable subjecting the Sony to.
  • Converter Unfortunately I don’t remember what brand our converter is, but it has several different options so we’ll be set not only this year, but onwards.
  • Smartwool Cozy Flip Mitt These are great little glove/mitten things. My fingers are pretty long (especially considering my height), so it can be a bit difficult to find gloves that fit correctly. These are perfect.
  • Pink Striped Scarf Large enough to be considered a blanket scarf, I can wear it a multitude of ways as well as use it for a blanket or pillow.
  • Black Plaid Scarf A bit heavier than the pink scarf.
  • Journal I’m bringing a hardback journal and some pens so that I can jot down memories quickly. It’ll be something I can easily reference while writing blog posts later.
  • Eye Mask My aunt sent me a really cute eye mask for Christmas that I will bring on my trip. I am definitely someone who needs dark to sleep well, so I’m expecting the mask to come in handy.
  • Grayl Water Bottle With all the hiking, walking, and running we plan on doing this trip, I knew I needed a water bottle. I considered bringing the Nalgene I have now, but I also thought it would be good to have a filter. I honestly can’t remember where I first saw this water bottle, but it’s so handy. It’s a quick filter-system built into the water bottle so that I don’t have to worry about water we come across while hiking and whatnot.
  • Sea to Summit X-Set 31 Kevin and I will be hiking the Wales Coast, part of the Alps, and cooking in hostels. The past few years when we’ve gone backpacking, we’ve just packed bowls we didn’t care about and carried a small cooking pot. This set is collapsible and is much easier to slid into our packs than bulky cereal bowls and a battered cooking pot.
  • Sea to Summit X-Pan This pan fits around the above set and is better for sautéing and such other than boiling.
  • Sea to Summit Silk Liner This is warmer than it looks. The most recent backpacking trip we took, it got below freezing at night and between my Icebreaker layers, the silk liner, and the over and underquilts for the hammock, I was at a great temperature.
  • ENO Ember 2 Underquilt We have opted to bring a hammock tent, rather than a regular ground tent. Temperatures can vary significantly while backpacking, so we knew we needed an underquilt and an overquilt to trap the heat in our tent. Kevin will be carrying the tent and the overquilt while I opted for the underquilt. Bonus: Our cat’s name is Ember and this will be a good reminder of her on our trip. (Don’t worry, she’s being well cared for by my parents while we’re away.)