Packing for a gap year

When going for a journey that takes a year you think about all you might need to have during following time. When you know that you have to bring it on your back you need to minimize the stuff as much as possible. Here is my example of a light and necessary stuff for a long travel.

Things that you buy for a year trip must be durable and convenient to use but not necessarily expensive. Don’t forget that you can some good cheap things on flea market or online platform for used goods!



Hiking backpack: Quechua Forclaz 50L

This is your main travel storage. I would advice to not take a big 70L bag because full 50L is already heavy enough. Better think how to minimize the stuff you put inside. For me 50L was just perfect, not too big, but spacious enough to fill in everything I need. Quechua is a French brand for low cost and technologically advanced goods for mountain sports. Some products are good quality, and many are not, need to check item by item. Nice point that they show what technologies are integrated and what for.

What is important for a backpack: comfort (lightweight, back aeration to avoid sweating, multi-side access to the content to not get out everything to find a little thing on the bottom of the bag), capacity and external pockets and hangings for extra things (jacket, sleeping bag, mat, walking sticks, tent, etc.) or something you might use often (wallet, phone, map, snacks, water, etc.). One thing I found missing in this bag is an external space for a bottle of water, but you may use a tube with a bite valve or carabiner holder. And another one that I didn’t find anywhere, it’s lightweight wheels for a backpack with handle. Something like this, but it doesn’t have to be hard and heavy, just two-four wheels to fix on a backpack and flexible handle extender cord. Please, sportswear companies do something like this! It’s so useful in the airport and in the city.

Price: 50€.

Daily backpack: Quechua Aprenaz 10L

Once settled in a local accommodation you wish to walk around with a lightweight backpack and take only what is useful for a day. It could be your camera, wallet, phone, book or computer, snacks, water, daily temperature ranges extra clothing (warm sweater for evening or shorts, sunglasses and hat for a hot sunny daytime).

10Liters bag is finally too small for my laptop, or even to daily temperature ranges extra clothing, better get a 20L, but make sure it’s light and compact enough to take a minimum space in your main backpack.

Price: 5€.

Camera bag if you want to take pictures often and take out your camera quickly, but this one is a more personal choice and definitely optional.

Price: 5€.

Standard plastic bag for used underwear to keep isolated the smell of dirty things until you wash them.


During the year you will probably go to different climate zones and experience various weather condition (rain, hot, cold) and landscape (mountains, rivers, forests, seaside, city). It’s really important to have a universal equipment. Everything that works for mountains pretty much works for a city, but not the other way round. The same with waterproof and windproof, no harm to have it, but a big problem if you don’t. Choose clothes, preparing for the worst and you will feel comfortable in any condition.

Cold weather

Cold weaher

Cold extra

Shoes Magnum Men’s Stealth Force. Shoes are one of the most important things in your trip, another one is travelling backpack. The rest you can easily buy elsewhere, but these two things need time and a good variety of choice to select the best fit for you! Shoes must be durable, comfortable and correspond to any possible weather conditions. I like military shoes because they are made for severe conditions and usually cheaper than hi-end professional hiking ones.

Price: 80€.

Jacket. Because my trip is falling on warm season and I didn’t want to carry a pricy jacket for a long time without using it, I just took a jacket I already had, a Bershka for 15€. But later I need a good jacket. I would suggest Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka with hood – waterproof, windproof, extra warm, ultralight and comparatively cheap. For more information you can check out this article.

Price: 70€.

Hat – small and light, preferably with windproof membrane. Once again, I had a simple one from H&M.

Price: 20€.

Scarf to keep your neck warm, but it’s optional.

Price: 10€.

Pants. I have 1 light jeans and one summer pants (see hot weather set below). For cold weather I bought Wed’ze ski warm base layer underwear for both top and trousers which works really good and uses Stratermic technology for heat control, durability and lightweight. For rainy weather I bought Inesis waterproof pants for golf and I love it, because I felt so comfortable and absolutely dry walking under strong rain for few hours.

Price: 60€

Pullover Quechua Stratermic. Again, it’s warm, light and durable.


Whool ski socks. You can check this comparison to make your choice.

Price 15€.

Hot weather

Warm weather


Hat Aussie Apparel Winnipeg is anti-UV, squashable, waterproof, ventilated, flotable with adjustable chinstrap to make sure it stays on your head when the wind is strong. The size is perfect, it protects all areas on the face and neck and in the same time it’s not too big and looks very nice. In my opinion, it is just the best hat!

Price: 40€.

Merell All Out Blaze Aero Sport (or Merrell Rockbit Cove) hydro-hiking shoes are definitely one of the best.  It’s built to get wet, with lightweight traction and comfort for rivers and mountains. It’s also largely ventilated, but at the same time covered, which is very important to not let little stones come in or walking in a forest that might contain poison insects.

Price: 80€.

Running jacket.

Price: 15€.

AERism Uniqulo T-shirt. Absorbs and quickly evaporates perspiration, anti-odor, quick-dry, soft and smooth.

Price: 10€.

Climacool shorts.

Price: 15€.

Trousers Queshua. Trouser-leg pocket and zip pockets are appreciated. Convertible trousers could be a good idea, but I didn’t try.

Price: 15€.

Quick-dry, lightweight, durable underwear from Uniqlo (other brands than Uniqlo are about 5 times more expensive) and Queshua Forclaz 100 hiking socks, 6 sets.

Price: 70€ for 6 sets.

Ray-Ban sunglasses that I bought on flea market for 35€.

Personal care

Personal care

Towel Cocoon. Microfiber technology proposes ultralight, extra-soak, quick dry. Size M is good enough for me. It takes less space than a standard full size towel, cost less and does the job well. Nice brand and quality, just love this one.

Price: 18€.

Toothbrush, shaver, nail file, sunblock, deodorant.

Price: 30€.

Little containers for toothpaste, soap and shampoo helps you reduce the weight and bring just enough quantity of those until the next refill. Put in a zip bag prevents a mess everywhere in case of a broken container.

Snugpak Jungle Sleeping bag with mosquito net, which is helpful for outdoor. It’s very useful when accommodation sheets are not clean or simply not provided. This is the best ultralight sleeping bag that I found for this price. Next one for colder weather starts from 3x the price of Sungpak.

Price: 50€.



Camera Fujifilm X-E2. Before I had Canon 5D and 3 lenses, but it’s too heavy, and I’m not going to this trip for taking pictures to sell them afterwards. I decided to sell it and buy a hybrid camera. Hybrid camera proposes a good balance between compact size, flexibility with lens choice and great quality of image. I spend a lot of time understanding all new features and happy with my choice, picture quality is fantastic. But if you want to take video, Fujifilm is not your best friend. Panasonic G7 does a very good job, or Sony A6000. Once again, better have a durable camera that has a magnetic metal body, which is not a strong point of Sony. I read that Hero 4HD is a really good to take videos though and very compact.

Mac Book Pro Retina 15″. It’s made from aluminium that means durable and light. Apple is good quality and performance that means no problem during the trip and long waiting time. I need a big screen because I use it often, but for you it can be 11″ or 13″ or tablet book, depends on your needs.

Smartphone iPhone 5S. Preloaded area on Google map and localization save a lot of time finding places. GPS with local maps would be even better.

Sound Magic E10 earphones are probably the best choice under 100€. Make sure your earphones are isolating you pretty well from external noise and don’t produce much noise around you. Very useful in airplane and bus, personally it helps me to sleep better in the transport, which is usually very difficult for me. And the music just makes your trip more emotionally rich and helps you to remember some sweet moments.

Price: 46€ (or 36€ without microphone and stop&play button).

Books. I’m interested in sustainable living and social impact and I didn’t have much time to read in Paris, and I decided to bring these books with me. E-book and set of downloaded books are much lighter and I would recommend to have only one e-Book. I use Kindle 6″ E Ink and very happy with this old cheap model. But those books that you see on the photo doesn’t exist in electronic version.


International driving licence

Credit card

500€ cash

Airplane tickets and Passeport


Travel as backpacker doesn’t mean look as homeless as well as it doesn’t mean to change clothes often a try to impress others every day. Just chose two sets that you can combine. It is already good enough for a long trip with a heavy backpack. Just make sure that the tone is similar and colors match and it should be fine.

I didn’t really care about fashion that much and I didn’t want to spend money on it as I already had some outwear, but when I will need to buy new clothes I’ll take it into consideration.

Here are a few examples that I select for myself:
Fashion 103625176_image (1)Fashion 2 (1) 

Final note

Total cost: approximately 700€ (I don’t count leisure)

Total weight: approximately 15 kg (good to play around to make it hand carry on an airplane, just put some heavy clothes on yourself and some things in your pockets and if needed, but usually airline companies are pretty friendly to backpackers)

I hope it gives you an idea good enough to start. You can always buy something that is missing. In various conditions from 5 to 30 degrees I didn’t need to buy anything extra so far.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s