Backpacking gear essentials – the cheap stuff (making your backpacking experience better for less than 10 Euro)

Many weblogs about Europe are by backpackers travelling around the continent. And many backpackers are on a budget, both financially as in terms of weight. Since I’ve got a wealth of backpacking experience in Europe and beyond, I have decided to share my wisdom with the world, and enlighten the backpacking crowds on some backpacking essentials. Hear hear the wise words of the backpacking guru!

Gear can be split in several types – essential, not-so-essential and trash. As a basic rule of thumb on what to pack and what to leave behind I will give you the same advice I once got – when in doubt, don’t pack it. Seriously, they have shops there, wherever you go. The amount of suffering from carrying useless kilo’s is totally not worth the money you could otherwise spend strengthening the local economy. While what’s essential and what’s not may differ, here are the most cost-effective items I consider a necessity on any backpacking trip:

  • Get a buff – this simple piece of cloth is amazingly versatile. Its like a towel-plus (see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the towel issue). You can warm your head with it, pick up hot pans, cover your eyes on a plane or even wipe your… uhmm… nose. No limit to what you can do with a buff.

A backpacking buff wearing one

  • Crocs. Yes, they’re ugly. But they’re so ugly they’re cute. Well, at least they’re better than Uggs, that’s for sure. Certainly more useful. Light, fast-drying and wearable with socks, too (I don’t do that outside mountain huts, honest). They don’t cost less than 10 Euros you say? Who said anything about buying the originals?
  • Earplugs. Not the item to get cheap on, so spend some effort in getting good ones. I mean, people snore. And some people SNORE. And for some reason they always end up in your dorm. Good ear plugs have saved many lives. Of snorers who would otherwise be… let’s say… made quiet.

Next time – the not-so-cheap backpacking essentials. Stay tuned!


Filed under Europe, Europe on a budget, Tips and tricks, Travel

3 responses to “Backpacking gear essentials – the cheap stuff (making your backpacking experience better for less than 10 Euro)

  1. this is one helpful topic for a post! thanks Michael!

  2. I totally agree with the buff and the earplugs, but the crocs… You can use them for bathroom and the like, but out in the field I prefer trekking sandals (like Teva). Comfortable, fast-drying and you can do a week’s hike with them. Unfortunately the costs are much higher than 10 euros… But it’s worth it!

    • Well… I hike wearing boots, not sandals. And I find Crocs much faster drying and less smelly. Lighter, too. So since I don’t wear Teva’s on a hike, I don’t carry them with me. There is of course the option of the 5fingers, something I need to look into some day.

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