Travel Style Recap: What to wear Backpacking

Backpack Love Gohemian Pin-Up

Let’s take a look back at how I worked the backpack wardrobe while I was away. I wrote a long post pre-trip all about what to pack for an around the world trip and most of it made it in there but of course a few things didn’t. So let’s see what is ACTUALLY USEFUL for your world tour. You will find you will have to throw things away as you go along, so just do it! Get rid of them. Because you will definitely reach a point (especially if you’re a girl) where you are just dying to go shopping to get a few new things. But remember you will have to find the room in the backpack or chuck some things out to accommodate the new stuff. So just be aware of that, because if you find throwing stuff out of your wardrobe hard, this will be even harder. You get attached to your threads, especially when you’ve taken them half way around the world with you. There were some dirty shirts I had, which were totally beyond repair…and even then I was still sad to throw them away.

So here are some useful tips:

  • Do not take light-coloured things. They are totally and utterly pointless. I packed a few white things – a t-shirt/long-sleeved top to wear in bed or on the beach to protect my shoulders – and as predicted, they don’t stay white for long, and no amount of soap seems to help. It seems dumb to take whites anyway, I know, but light colours reflect the sun. So instead, get a lightweight thin cotton, long-sleeved top/kaftan to wear on the beach but get it in a good colour. White may reflect the sun but Khaki green/red will probably be much more practical. Also if you end up spotting some cute pups in the street and picking them up, it will result in a very dirty white top as I demonstrated – fail!

I mean who can resist puppies?! NO-ONE!

Dont wear white when picking up puppies travel donts fashion


  • Maxi-dresses are great. I wore my maxi-dresses, because as predicted, they were super-light, easy to roll up in my backpack and kept me nice and cool. I was glad I only took 2 though (that was all I needed really – do not take heavy-fabric dresses – only light ones will do. I left the Grecian black heavy one behind and rightly so. No matter how cute it is, don’t bring it!

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  • I also wore my little polka-dot 50s number a fair bit too. It was a little sweaty to wear at times, the fabric is lovely and cool in a British summer but take that kind of floaty chiffon fabric to India and Thailand and it can stick to your sweaty back like glue. ICK! But I still wore it, I just saved it for more evening outings or cooler days. So whether or not is was a good idea to take is a bit questionable. However I did wear it a lot in New Zealand over my jeans etc, so I was warm and layered up but still looked a bit girly. I was versatile, I’ll give it that.

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  • Vests and shorts and sarongs are also very useful. I took 3 vests which was pretty perfect (I actually think all you need – you don’t need t-shirts, maybe just that long darker coloured kaftan I mentioned earlier, for the beach and bed).
  • Also I recommend adding a warm long-sleeved top if you are going to somewhere cold along to way, I took my thermo Tog 24 top and that was great for wearing out in the cold and in bed, especially because it’s designed to let your skin breathe.

So in the end my packed backpack contained (I’ve crossed through all the items I don’t think I should have packed):

  • 2 x maxi dresses
  • 1 short spotty 50s style dress
  • 3 vests
  • 1 white t-shirt
  • 1 long sleeved white top
  • 1 black thermo long-sleeved top
  • 1 pair of Nosquito (Mosquito repellant) 3/4 combat trousers
  • 1 pair of lightweight jeans
  • 1 pair of thin cotton shorts
  • 1 pair of black cotton harem pants
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 hooded waterproof/windproof hoodie
  • 1 sarong
  • 2 travel towels
  • 3 bikinis, 1 full-swimming costume
  • 5 pairs of knickers, 1 strapless bra, 1 sports bra

I will give credit where it was due, there were some items which were handy to take but still hardly worn….like my mosquito-repellant combat trousers for example. I wore them a few times in the hot countries I visited and then a bit more in the NZ but that’s it really, which proves some travel-designed things just don’t cut it. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing them at home, why would you feel comfortable wearing them away? They came in handy when I needed something longer to wear but really, I wasn’t all that keen on them (and they kinda made me come out in a rash). So the lesson there is, wear things in advance of your trip and see how you get on.

So looking at that list you can see really how little you need in reality, next time around I will pack very differently indeed.

And if you didn’t think all that was enough I ended up buying more (omg I know! Such a girl!):

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I bought all of that on top of what I already had and I also added 2 Indian shirts to my collection after Dan bought them only to find they didn’t fit. So basically I had way too many tops! But I didn’t want to throw anything away. However those guys shirts were great for me, they were perfect to wear over my maxi-dresses to cover my shoulders. So my tip for tops (hehe), just take vests and get any other bits while you’re out there, that’s all you need really.

And now, just for fun, I thought I’d embarass myself by showing you my worst outfit pictures….oh lord. Some days you just grab the first thing you can find from your very deep backpack and chuck it on and well (sometimes) it really isn’t the best idea. HA HA!

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So what are your must-haves for backpacking? What could you never leave behind? What were your packing regrets? Tell me on Facebook and on Twitter.

Did I mention that we are on Pinterest too? Go take a look…

Love and backpacks Em xoxo


About gohemians

I'm Emma, I'm 29 and I am a Gohemian. I am fueled by my passion to travel all over the world and to help others reach their dreamy, sparkly goals (no matter how scary they are). GohemianTravellers celebrates ambition, personal development and happiness and offers bucket loads of advice to travellers and quarter-life crisis survivors (just like me)! Life is all about the GoGo! So let's GO!
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One Response to Travel Style Recap: What to wear Backpacking

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