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What to Pack in a Travel Backpack: Summer

February 19, 2020stevson97

I try to use a backpack for traveling as much as I can. They’re easy to travel with, keep me from overpacking, and can be used for so much! That being said, it can be difficult to decide what to pack since there isn’t room to bring all the “just in case” supplies you could with a piece of luggage. Here is my travel backpack packing list for summer travel.

What to Pack in a Travel Backpack - Pinterest


Clothes take up probably half of my travel backpack every trip. That being said, you want to make sure you’re bringing things that are comfortable, stylish, and durable.


Picking and packing clothes for summer travel is a lot easier than other seasons in my opinion. The clothes are much lighter and thinner. I typically start my packing list with shorts or pants that are a must. It’s usually a good idea to bring 3-4 pairs of bottoms that are comfortable and breathable. For me, jeans are a staple in my wardrobe so packing a pair of those is a given for me. On top of those, I usually pick some bottoms that are a neutral color and can match multiple shirts. And then, to round it out, I might add in a statement skirt. If you’re not a skirt person, add in some printed shorts or other bottoms.


Tops are probably the easiest pieces for me to decide on. As well, they are pretty easy to pack because they’re typically thin and easy to fit into the awkward, free spots in my backpack. When picking what tops to pack, I usually start by pulling out a few pieces that are comfortable and cute. From there, I compare them to my bottoms and pick 4-5 shirts that I can wear with all of my bottoms. This versatility is essential since you’re not bringing very many clothes. Believe me. You’re going to be upset if you pack a shirt that you love, but can only wear it once since it only matches one pair of bottoms.


Picking the right shoes is always so hard for me, especially when I am restricted due to packing space. I’ve found packing one pair and wearing one pair is my sweet spot when packing a travel backpack. For summer, my go-to shoes are a comfortable pair of sandals that I can easily spend all day in. And my other pair is a good pair of walking shoes, like cute tennis shoes, sneakers, or slip-ons. For me, it’s most important that both pairs of shoes are comfortable. I always assume I’m going to spend all day in my shoes and then make a decision based on that. I usually don’t pick out my shoes until I’ve picked out my outfits to make sure I pick pairs that match everything.


Toiletries, showering supplies, and make-up can be hard to pack. I feel like with these I items, I tend to fall into the “maybe I should bring 3 tubes of toothpaste, just in case.” I don’t know who needs to hear this, but YOU DON’T NEED TO PACK “JUST IN CASE” ITEMS! Pretty much anywhere you travel is going to have items available for purchase. If there are specific items that you just can’t live without and can’t buy in any ‘ol store, then fine. Bring a little extra of that item, but really assess your needs. There are a lot of things that I would love to bring, but that I would be perfectly fine living without or replacing for a few days.

Remember hotels, many Airbnbs, and other lodging places offer free shampoos, conditioners, and other items for customer use. And if your place of lodging doesn’t offer it for free, chances are they offer it for a cost. The point is, you will more than likely have access to all the essentials you need in your life so there’s no need to overpack for a trip of “maybes”.

Travel Backpack

Here are some things to look for when purchasing a travel backpack. Depending on your needs, you’ll want to bring costs, size, and other aspects into account when deciding, but here are some basics for everyone.

  • Multiple pockets: I think it’s a given that it’s important to have multiple pockets on a backpack, but make sure these pockets are useful. Having a main area, some smaller pockets, and some “hidden” or “secret” ones are usually pretty standard and recommended. A lot of backpacks now even have padded, laptop pockets.
  • Security: An essential thing with travel backpacks and luggage, in general, is making sure there is some way to secure your stuff. Many travel backpacks have zippers with openings that allow small locks to be attached to them. On top of this, just making sure there are some smaller, “hidden” areas for any important items might be a good idea.
  • Backpack shield: A backpack shield or weatherproof cover is always a good idea. Not all travel backpacks offer this, but I think it’s something good to have. They’re easy to slip over your backpack and help keep everything dry and intact.
  • Full-length opening: This is a big one! Most backpacks only give you access to your stuff from the top of the backpack. When traveling with a backpack, that becomes really annoying really fast. It’s hard to get to your stuff and hard to find anything. It’s important to get a backpack that opens all the way. This allows you to lay your travel backpack down and access your items easily. This setup is much like a piece of luggage and so much better!
  • Padded Straps: When you’re carrying a lot of stuff, your backpack can get pretty heavy. Having padded straps just helps alleviate some of the stress put on your shoulders and back.

Here’s a link to the travel backpack that I use. I bought it on Amazon and I love it! It has all of these features plus some! The only wear I’ve seen on it so far is that the small piece of metal that has the name of the company who made the backpack has rubbed off a bit. That’s it. I highly recommend this one, but there are so many good ones out there.

I hope this post has helped motivate you to travel with only a backpack or to just pack lighter in general. Check out my previous post on free things to do in San Francisco. Thanks for checking out my blog!

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