ADVENTURE LIFESTYLE

A Backpackers Guide On What to Wear in Europe in the Summer

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What is a fool-proof way to pick yourself up when life gets you down? A European backpacking adventure, of course.

Mourning a breakup? Backpack through Europe.
Favourite furry companion just died? Backpack through Europe.
Writer’s block? Backpack through Europe.

So, it’s decided then. You’ve booked your summer vacation in Europe.

With so much culture to experience, beautiful cities to roam, breathtaking landscapes to explore and delicious food to devour, the days leading up to your European vacation are filled with euphoric anticipation.

But when it comes to packing for the trip, you just feel overwhelmed. It’s a daunting task, ensuring that you’ve packed the right type and right amount of clothing. Being overseas without the clothing you need is not a welcome challenge. At the same time, nobody wants to lug around an overstuffed backpack. Every article of clothing needs to be well thought-out.

Don’t get flustered. We are here to break it down for you.

How to Pack for Your European Summer

Before we get to the list of particular clothing items, you need to know what you’re going for. Basically, when choosing your clothing, you need to make sure that you:

  • Are weather-ready: The weather in Europe varies greatly. Depending on your destination, you may need to bring clothing that will take you from hot to cool and dry to wet weather.
  • Choose comfort and style: We all want to look good on vacation but sacrificing comfort is a rookie backpacker’s mistake. Only take clothing that makes you look good and feel great.
  • Don’t look like a tourist: Pack clothes that allow you to blend in with the locals. This will keep you safe from pickpockets and scammers. Just because fanny packs have made a comeback, doesn’t mean you can go into full tourist mode.
  • Pack versatile pieces: Choose clothing that you can wear for various types of activities. Additionally, take items that you can mix and match to make multiple ensembles. Versatile pieces allow you to pack light while providing you with enough variety.

Ok! Packing parameters are all set. Now before we dig into details, we need to consider where you’re headed. Our advice varies depending on which region of Europe you’re visiting this summer.

A Packing List For Nordic Countries

This region can be challenging to pack for due to the ever-changing weather. The Norwegians like to say, “there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.'' In other words, be prepared for everything by packing windproof clothing, waterproof clothing, warmer clothing and layers.

The average temperature in the summer is around 18 degrees Celsius but can go down to 13 degrees and often rises up to 30 degrees. Bring clothes suitable for hiking, biking, fishing, camping and summer festivals.

The Essentials

  • T-shirts (2-3)
  • Long-sleeved shirts (2-3)
  • Fleece sweater or sweatshirt (1)
  • Light rain jacket (1)
  • Jeans (1)
  • Shorts (1)
  • Activewear pants (1)
  • Light walking shoes (1)
  • Waterproof hiking boots (1)

Bonus Tip: Don’t bother packing fancy clothing. The Nordics are all about enjoying the outdoors. Athleisure and casual wear will help you fit in a lot quicker than a pair of fancy pants.

What to Wear Nordic in Countries

What to Wear in Western Europe in the Summer

In contrast to the typically cooler Nordic countries, summer in Western Europe comes with a low of 18 degrees Celsius and a high of 29 degree Celsius. Featuring cities rich in culture and history, be prepared to do plenty of walking and biking.

Some cities in Western Europe are fairly dressy in comparison to the everyday North American style so pack a couple of your more stylish pieces. Just make sure you won’t regret wearing them for a full day of exploring. Functional fashion is key.

The Essentials

  • T-shirts (2-3)
  • Sleeveless tops (2-3)
  • Long-sleeved shirt (1)
  • Sweater or cardigan (1)
  • Trenchcoat (1)
  • Skirt (1)
  • Jeans (1)
  • Dressier pants (1)
  • Shorts (1)
  • Light walking shoes (1)
  • Comfortable sandals (1)

Bonus Tip: Avoid low-cut tops, athleisure wear and sneakers. Those items are will easily brand you as a Westerner.

What to Wear Western Europe

What to Pack for A Summer Vacation In Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe attracts backpackers and tourists who are drawn to experiencing the hidden gems of the continent. These countries are famous for their history, warm hospitality and stunning hikes.

Temperatures tend toward 25 degrees Celsius, rarely dropping below 12 degrees at night. Summers are mostly hot and dry although some rainfall and colder days are to be expected.

Pack clothing that is suitable for a range of activities from lively beer festivals, gothic architecture and picturesque hikes up mountains.

The Essentials

  • T-shirts (2-3)
  • Sleeveless tops (2-3)
  • Long-sleeved shirt (1)
  • Sweater or cardigan (1)
  • Light raincoat (1)
  • Skirt (1)
  • Jeans (1)
  • Shorts (1)
  • Activewear pants (1)
  • Light walking shoes (1)
  • Comfortable sandals (1)

Bonus Tip: When roaming the city, sneakers and shorts will make you easily identifiable as a traveller from North America. Opt for a casual, but less athletic, ensemble instead.

What to Wear Eastern Europe

What to Wear in the Mediterranean Heat

Lastly, we have the region most popular amongst heat-loving travellers. The Mediterranean countries have hot, dry summers. In the warmest months temperatures don’t usually dip below 22 degrees and can reach up to 40 degrees! Think lightweight, breathable fabrics, like cotton and linen. In these countries, vibrant colours and styles are the norm. When packing, consider watersport activities, hiking, beach days and city adventures.

The Essentials

  • T-shirts (3-4)
  • Sleeveless tops (3-4)
  • Long-sleeved shirt (1)
  • Light sweater or cardigan (1)
  • Jeans (1)
  • Skirts (1-2)
  • Dressier pants (1)
  • Activewear shorts (1)
  • Casual shorts (1)
  • Light walking shoes (1)
  • Comfortable sandals (1)
  • Flip flops (1)

Bonus Tip: Some countries in the mediterranean have a significant Muslim population. Depending on your destination, more conservative clothing styles are recommended to blend in with the locals.

What to Wear Mediterranean

Minimize Your Summer Wardrobe for European Travel

Remember, you should be able to easily combine each clothing item with at least 2-3 other items. Resist the urge to bring one-piece outfits, like dresses, or clothes that you wouldn’t want to wear more than once.

And you will definitely thank yourself for bringing things that you can wear for various occasions. So instead of packing comfortable sandals and flip flops for your Greece trip, bring waterproof sandals that you can wear to a restaurant and to the beach.

Instead of bringing activewear pants and jeans to Croatia, just bring our versatile Live Free Adventure Pant.

Make space in your backpack when packing for Italy by replacing your pair of jeans and dressy pant with our stylish No Sweat Pant.

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