I brought much of the following on my post-college, 2-month trip to Europe in 1998.  Since posting the original list online upon my return home, I added a few reader suggestions.  I think most of it still hold true today.

Backpack – Gregory “Chaos” (Medium, Red, 2,700 cubic inches)

I purposely bought a small backpack to help limit me in what I brought on the trip. This mentality worked very well, and I recommend it highly. When buying a pack, go to an outdoor store that specializes in camping, etc. Ask a lot of questions and shop around. Make sure your pack fits well, and be willing to return it if you have any problems packing it.

It is very important that you spend some time walking or hiking with your pack fully loaded before you leave. This will get you comfortable with how to load/unload it and how to adjust the straps for ultimate performance and comfort. I tested mine out by walking with it on a tread mill for two miles per day, the whole week before my trip. Remember that if you buy a quality backpack, you should be able to use it for more than one trip. [Author's Note: My Chaos is now 11 years old. I've taken it to 29 countries, and my brother borrowed it for his own post-grad Summer in Europe. It still fits and works perfectly.]

Daypack – Jansport (Green, Standard school size)

I wasn’t quite sure of what a “daypack” was when I kept running across it in books. The term is actually a catch-all that describes whatever smaller backpack you use to carry around your things during the day, like your camera, journal, food, water, etc. I brought the backpack I used in college, and it turned out work just fine.

Clothing – see below

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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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