14 Clothing Essentials for a Backpacking Trip Abroad

Copy of karanga, kilimanjaroWhether you’re hiking in Karanga, Kilimanjaro, or walking around the streets of Paris, here are some essentials to bring along.

Whether you’re trekking from teahouse to teahouse in Nepal or hiking through the Dinaric Alps on the brand new Via Dinarica, efficient packing is an art. While maximizing pack space is important for any excursion, tactical packing is essential for a backpacking trip abroad. Toting a single backpack from plane to taxi to trail is far less hassle than traveling with a gaggle of luggage, so savvy backpackers stick to the time-tested travel adage: bring only one bag.

One of the best ways to capitalize on pack space is by strategically choosing your travel wardrobe. High-performing, versatile clothing can make or break a foray to the farthest corners of the globe and can also significantly cut pack weight. Here are a few roadworthy clothing essentials that Craghoppers designed specifically to hold up from trail to town, and will save on pack space, too.


Insect Shield Bayame Long-Sleeved Tee


A versatile top is an essential component of any travel wardrobe. On the road, a solid shirt serves as a trusty companion tasked with repelling blistering sunbeams, deterring biting bugs, and then, shaking off the wrinkles for happy hour. Here are a few tops that live up to all those expectations.


A trail-worthy layer buffering wind, sun, and biting insects, the Insect Shield Bayame Long-SleevedTee is essential for an international backpacking trip of any length. The Loki Long-Sleeved Tee is the perfect choice when you might encounter some cooler temps. The fabric is woven with Thermal Control technology, which absorbs your body heat and distributes it evenly to keep you warm when the temperatures drop.


Employing both NosiDefence and Insect Shield technology, the Insect Shield Adventure Long-Sleeve Shirt is the ultimate bug-blocker. When it’s not acting as a bouncer for all winged things that buzz, the shirt is just as comfortable at an afternoon wine tasting. The Insect Shield Erin Long-Sleeved Shirt is a great layering option that also provides bug protection thanks to the Insect Shield repellent, providing a barrier from those pesky biting insects.


Kiwi Convertible Trousers


Kiwi Convertible Trousers

On long-haul days that begin with a slog through knee-deep water in a sun-soaked tropical mangrove and end with a trek through sinking clouds in a highland rainforest, adaptable pants are indispensable. For those epic, off-the-grid days, convertible pants allow hardy travelers to tackle a staggering amount of terrain, with minimal wardrobe changes.


Loaded with pockets, not to mention other perks like the bug-repellant power of Insect Shield, UPF 50+ of sun protection, moisture control, and more, the Insect Shield Convertible Pants are the perfect sidekick for epic travel days.


Offered in a stylish array of colors, and infused with the benefits of NosiDefence, SmartDry, and UPF50, the NosiLife II Zip-Off Trousers are at home everywhere from wind-lashed ridgelines to winding country lanes.


Selby Half-Zip Fleece


An insulating layer that makes blustery days and misty mornings far more bearable, a reliable mid-layer is worth its weight in gold. But, finding the right mid-layer top is also often a fine balance between weight and worthiness. While bulky tops can take up precious pack space, threadbare pullovers can fail to perform when conditions call for something cozy.


The chill-blocking Selby Half-Zip Fleece offers a lightweight, highly packable layer of insulation that blends fashion and function.


Perfect as a middle layer on high country hikes, and compressible enough to throw in a daypack while tooling around town, the Seline Half-Zip Fleece is an all-purpose, go-to layer designed to perform in a wide range of conditions.


Venta Lite II


By far the bulkiest clothing layer, choosing the right outwear can be a perplexing predicament for backpackers. Depending on your destination, having an outer layer able to stand up to the elements is one of the most vital parts of any gear list.


Blending down and synthetic fill, the Venta Lite II jacket is a high-functioning technical layer that is both windproof and water-resistant. Plus, once you get back to basecamp and settle in by the fire, this jacket easily packs down into a stow pocket. For lightweight insulation, suitable for snowshoe-clad tromps through the woods or on frost-glazed mountain trails, the Vertex Jacket offers a warm (and waterproof) layer.


Whether you’re skiing glades or pitching a tent above treeline, the Venta Lite II Jacket for women offers sturdy, windproof warmth in cold weather. Best of all it comes in an easy-to-stash, pack-and-go package. For more extreme climates that warrant an even more robust layer, there’s the Madigan Classic II Jacket with a cozy hood, wind and water protection, and a cut falling below the waist for added warmth.

Other Essentials

Sometimes the small things can make a big difference. For globetrotting travelers, clothing accessories are more than just an afterthought. They can add to personal comfort, provide extra protection from the elements, and in a pinch, can be creatively repurposed as everything from a replacement backpack strap to a makeshift sling.


Hats that hold up to a beating are priceless in rugged conditions. For wintery destinations, look for a beanie with Merino wool. Most will fit comfortably beneath any type of helmet and is easy to roll up and stash in a pocket. For sun-drenched spaces, look for a hat with a wider brim, and for everything in between, there’s the NosiLife Tube Scarf a multi-purpose piece of headwear able to be worn as everything from a headband to a scarf to a ski hat.


A multi-tool worn around the waist, the Kool Tool belt from Bison Designs is studded with a buckle which also functions as everything from a bottle opener to hex tool to flathead screwdriver. Called by many names—a kikoy in Kenya, a pakama in Thailand—a thin, light, bolt of cloth is easy to pack and serves many purposes, from impromptu changing room to emergency beach towel to hang-able sunshade.

Originally written by RootsRated for Craghoppers.

Featured image provided by Malee Oot