Beginners Packing Guide for Hiking

We wrote this backpacking “European Hiking Trip” packing list because packing for travel can often be very difficult — especially for beginners. Many first-time travelers make the mistake of bringing way too much gear so that travel quickly becomes tiresome. This packing guide for European hiking trips will help you know what type of clothes and gear you should bring, and also includes tips for packing light.


Not every piece of backpacking gear needs to be gender-specific, but women often find that gear tailored to them works better. For example, some women find that men’s or unisex backpacks actually fit their bodies better, so it’s important to consider all options.

Consider bringing a small backpack you wear while exploring the city. It should be just big enough to carry a few things (journal, souvenirs, small umbrella/light rain jacket, umbrella, ext.). When picking out a backpack be sure to adhere to the strict measurements of your airline if you are going to be flying with one of Europe’s many budget airlines.


Trail runners are light, comfortable, and breathable. Like many thru-hikers, we’ve hiked thousands of miles through some of the roughest terrain on the planet in trail runners and we we love the benefits they provide.

One of the unexpected hang ups when choosing footwear for Europe is wearing something that would work well on the trail and cobblestone streets. So when you’re off the trail it may be best to bring study sandals, or flats. Something with enough support to keep your feet happy, but also something comfortable enough for walking through a city.

That said, footwear is an extremely personal and important choice, so it’s best to go with whatever trail shoe or hiking boot feels most comfortable to you.


Your backpacking clothing choices will obviously be highly personal, but there are some important considerations to take into account. Minimize excess clothing, because this is one of the most common ways people carry unnecessary weight on the trail.

The biggest tip we could give when you’re wondering what to bring when backpacking Europe is to only pack versatile, neutral-colored clothing that can be mixed and matched with most things you’ve included in your backpack.


The first thing you should get is a toiletry bag that can hang. Most hostel bathrooms are small and have no shelf space, so being able to hang up your bag is incredibly convenient. This will save you a lot of hassle. Trust me.

Pour the Shampoo, conditioner, and lotions into small travel-sized bottles. You can always buy more if you ever need it, most countries have shops and pharmacies that sell all the same brands you would use in the states.

Don’t buy a travel toothbrush. Most of them are a waste of money, and can be very flimsy leaving your teeth feeling as dirty as they after you finished your last meal. We suggest you stick with a normal toothbrush and a dollar bin tooth brush holder. Don’t forget the dental floss while you’re at it.

Remember to bring chapstick and sunscreen! Make sure when buying chapstick that you get a brand that has SPF, you don’t want to end up with burned lips. It’s good to remember that most places out of the US will have white washed buildings that reflect the sun.

One factor most people of look when packing their toiletries is that some european stores do not carry contact solution. In many places you can only purchase this in optical shops. So if you wear contact lenses, sometimes it can be hard to find solution. Remember to pack enough for the entire trip! It’s worth the space in your bag.

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