Kevin’s Backpack

I have finally obtained everything I need to pack for this trip. I spent many hours researching what to pack and I hope what I have will service all my needs without being overpacked. I’m sure I will update this list many times as I learn what works and what is unnecessary throughout my travels.

Clothes have been very difficult to pack, mainly due to the large variety of climates that we will be in.  I need clothing that will work in Icelandic winters as well as Mediterranean summers. The only way to do this is to pack in layers.  Instead of packing a bulky winter coat, pack multiple layers of smaller coats or shirts that can be shed as the weather warms.  The clothing also needs to be light-weight (or at least have a great warmth-to-weight ratio), fast-drying, odor resistant, and breathable.  Merino wool fits all of these criteria perfectly, so it makes up a large portion of my clothing.  It is also difficult to find functional travel clothing that doesn’t look atrocious.  My favorite brands for stylish and functional clothing are Icebreaker, Fjällräven, Outlier, and Patagonia.

I decided that I would need two main bags for traveling, my main backpack and a day bag. For the backpack I went with the REI Co-op Trail 40.  This bag is great because it’s light-weight, expandable, and fits most airline’s carryon dimensions.  It also has loads of hidden pockets and compartments, a built in pouch for a water bladder, and comes with its own rain fly.  The zippers for the main compartment run the length of the bag, so I can get something out of the bottom of my bag without having to unpack everything on top (as I would have to do with a top loading backpack).  Most importantly, at just over $100, this bag is cheap. 

For my day bag I am bringing a Fjallräven Kånken.  I actually bought this bag about 6 months ago and it has gotten continuous use since then.  It’s a relatively simple bag, but it has serviced me well without showing any signs of wear.  It compresses flat for easy packing and does well at keeping water out (although it isn’t necessarily waterproof).  I also have a love-affair with Scandinavia, so this Swedish bag is perfect for me.

I don’t think a wallet really qualifies as a bag, but I figured this was the best section to mention my Eagle Creek RFID Bi-fold Wallet.  Not much to say here except it has plenty of dividers for easy card organization, holds paper money easily, and has a built in RFID blocker.  I would recommend it based off of my 1 month of usage.

  • Ex Officio Give-N-Go Boxer (5):  I am bringing five pairs of these in various colors.  They feel amazing on your skin and do a great job of not picking up any odor, even if you have to wear them multiple times without washing.
  • I tried socks from Icebreaker, Smartwool, and Darn Tough.  While I liked all three brands, Darn Tough was by far my favorite because of how comfortable and odor resistant they were.  I am bringing 2 pairs hiking crew socks, 2 pairs of lifestyle crew socks, and 3 pairs of no-show running socks that could also be used for everyday use with shorts
  • Fjällräven High Coast Trousers  These pants are extremely lightweight and breathable.  While they aren’t waterproof, they dry quickly and don’t absorb much moisture to begin with.  Most importantly, they don’t have any ridiculous pockets or unsightly vents that seem to be common in travel pants.  My only complaint is that I don’t like the pre-shapen knees, but they aren’t very noticeable.
  • Outlier Futureworks I absolutely LOVE these pants.  They are by far the best fitting and most stylish pair of pants I own.  The fabric feels amazing and deflects water well.  The best part is they look like dress pants while functioning as travel pants.
  • Outlier New Way Shorts  Just like the Outlier pants, I am in love with these shorts.  They are form fitting and the perfect length in my opinion.  My favorite feature is that they are designed to also function as swimwear.
  • J Crew Linen-Cotton Beach Short  This is the only piece of cotton clothing I am bringing with me.  These shorts work great in warm weather and have served me well for about two years now.  I couldn’t bring myself to drop the money on another pair of Outlier New Way Shorts, but these should still get the job done. 
  • Adidas RS Shorts  These shorts will function as my running and workout shorts while traveling. They are lightweight, low profile, and quick drying.
  • Danner Vertigo 917  I have had these shoes for a few weeks now and they are my favorite pair I own.  They look great with pants so they work well for stylish urban wear, but the vibrate sole and gortex lining means that they should also be perfect to hike in.  I was very relived to find these as I had spent a lot of time searching for a pair of good looking shoes that could also be used for hiking.
  • Nike Free RN Commuter  I bought these shoes because of how little branding they had (which is very surprising for nike).  This means I can use them for working out and for everyday casual wear.  I have ran in them a few times now and I love how lightweight and snug they are.
  • Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed  I know that in parts of Europe it is not common for men to wear open toed shoes in public, but I still wanted to bring something to wear in warmer weather and to the beach.
  • Shower Shoes
  • Fjällräven Ovik Knit Sweater  This wool sweater is by far my bulkiest item, but it will provide much needed warmth in the Northern Europe winter.  Plus it is extremely cozy and I love the design pattern.
  • Patagonia Nano Puff Great warmth-to-weight and folds inside itself.  The polyester insulation is nice because it will dry much faster than down.
  • Patagonia KnifeRidge Jacket Not the thinest or lightest rain jacket available, but I have had it for a couple years now and it has worked great and looks fantastic.
  • Icebreaker Terra Gloves  Not exactly made for extreme weather conditions, but these merino gloves should serve my hands nicely during the northern European winter.  They also have touch screen capabilities