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7 Essentials For Your Summer Backpacking Trip

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Your summer backpacking trip is right around the corner and it’s finally time to start making your summer backpacking trip packing list. So much fun, right? And also very stressful. Much like the idea of a backpacking trip is so exciting because you don’t know what you’ll run into, it’s hard to pack for that very reason. Will it be a rainy week? What if you meet the love of your life and they whisk you off on their yacht? Do you need heels? These are pertinent and smart questions to ask yourself.

Whether you’re packing for a trip hiking the Appalachian trail, beach hopping in Thailand, or just hitting every European capital in two weeks, there are some essentials that every good traveler knows to take. You’ll want to get a good, easy-to-carry main pack and some packing cubes for making a lot fit into not very much space. Then of course, there are the specifics of your trip. You’ll want good socks for every day of your trip, a pair of walking shoes that can maybe even double as casual footwear come dinner time, and layering tanks and t-shirts for coming in and out of the AC. Check out some other backpacking trip essentials below.

a day pack

Sure you have your main pack or carry-on luggage for your trip abroad, but you’re going to want something smaller for excursions during the day.

Invest in a mini backpack that folds up like this one to take out shopping during the day or on a hike up Mount Vesuvio. You don’t need everything on you, all the time.

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cute rain gear

You don’t want to take up too much room in your pack for rain gear, but you want to plan for the worst. This super light trench is fashionable enough for even the streets of Paris while you wait to check into your hostel during a downpour.

Plus, it comes folded into a tight little square so it takes up no space before use.

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adapter kit

You will need an adapter in other parts of the world for all of your electronics. You also want to make sure it’s a good one and won’t fry your phone or laptop, so check the voltage capacity and fine print before you buy one.

This Apple kit has ones for every part of the world so you can ensure your products are safe, but you can shop around for particular ones that meet your needs.

A lot of adapters are not compatible with U.S. hair dryers or curing irons, so unless it’s dire, plan on using ones that a hotel or hostel provides to save room in your bag and risk blowing out your fave appliance.

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shower kit

It’s tempting to want to pack all of your skincare and make-up for your trip, but you truly don’t need it all. Pack larger format items in small travel bottles and into a mini roll-up, hanging shower kit like this one so you’re prepped to wash up anywhere, be it a cheap hotel or a campground bathroom.

Also, remember that unless you are literally going to the middle of nowhere, you can always buy extra toiletries once you’ve landed, especially if you’re worried about weight on your initial departing flight. Plus, you might find some cool products, too.

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laundry tools

You’ll be able to do laundry at laundromats in most countries (or at a hostel or hotel if you ask nicely) but you’ll be a true hero with these stain pens tucked into your toiletry bag.

If you want to really win the travel game, get a mini bottle of wrinkle releaser, too, so you can look sharp without an iron. This one from Downy also eliminates odors if you need to get an extra day out of a t-shirt on the go. Travel is a no-judgement zone.

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quick dry towels

If you’re truly going off the grid, or your backpacking trip will land you on some gorgeous beaches with no cabanas in sight, stay ready with this travel set of microfiber, quick-drying towels.

This set has everything from a bath towel to smaller hand towels and rolls up nicely squished in the bottom of your pack for just-in-case moments. Whether that’s not wanting to use a sketchy towel at a hostel, washing up on the go, or cleaning up a wine spill in a piazza somewhere, these towels are worthy travel companions.

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an E-reader

Sure you can download the Kindle or Audible app to your phone, but that eats up battery life you might wish you had later on in the day.

If you plan on reading books throughout your trip, a lightweight e-reader is the best bet. Also, consider it an extra outlet for internet use a long the way.

Karen is an affiliate content writer and editor for the Her Campus community. More of her other current work can be found at High Snobiety where she covers celeb style, fashion trends, and sneakerhead life. Karen was formerly an entertainment writer and editor at Bustle, Screenrant, The Dipp, Hello Giggles, and probably any other website you can likely think of that covers entertainment, pop culture, and news. She has a B.A. in English and Journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School University. In a previous life, Karen spent almost a decade in Rome, Italy working as a student advisor for Northeastern University’s architecture study abroad program (and eating all of the pasta and pizza she could afford). She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. When she's not glued to her laptop writing and adding things to cart, Karen's likely trying to learn how to do her own gel manicures while watching Bravo. If you want to talk about TV, the best sneakers and nail colors right this very minute, or where to go on a European spring break, don't be a stranger.