Packing for a road trip across multiple climates and countries is no mean feat. There is only so much weather research, fact checking and articles you can read before you accept the fact that you need to pack a skeleton wardrobe that covers each country, every climate and all eventualities.
Despite the fact that I have been travelling since I was born, I have never been good at packing. I am what can only be described as a ‘panic packer’ with the phrase “I’ll take it just in case” being uttered far too frequently. Where some people are able to reason the need for two pairs of shoes, a smart and casual outfit option and a sensible amount of underwear, I seemingly cannot. I have packed for weeks away, every eventuality, and far too many hoodies only to arrive at the destination and realise I left my entire pile of underwear on the floor of my room. I swing erratically from re packing 3 times to last minute throw some stuff in a bag and dash out of the door. I will either spend the trip wishing I had a smarter outfit, or cursing myself for the pile of clothes I won’t wear that are taking up precious space in my bag or van.
I recently teamed up with Topo Designs for a three week road trip through Central Europe in a camper van with a couple of friends. The plan was to start in Tuscany and head north through Bavaria, into the Black Forest and Belgium before taking the ferry back to Calais. Simple enough in theory. We were forecast pretty middle of the road weather, warm and dry. The perfect European Spring. Naturally I packed for all eventualities, with a new wardrobe from Topo I was set for pretty much all weathers, and oh was I glad of that. The first few days of the trip were spent in glorious sunshine, shorts and t-shirts, perfect. We spent our days by the coast, at hot springs and exploring the lush rolling greens of the countryside. As we headed into the mountains the temperatures dropped, the weather became more erratic and I took to packing my Topo rucksack with many layers of clothes as we wondered the streets of deserted villages nestled high in the Italian mountains.
I found myself living for most of the trip in my Topo bouldering trousers, flexible, waterproof and unbelievably comfortable they fit in every climate, they kept me cool in the warmth and lovely and dry in the rain. Two very important things when you are ending the day in a van or tent.
It was fantastic to have a variety of clothes with me during this trip. One of the huge bonuses of travelling in a van is the ability to pack more than you may be able to if you were to fly.
Having my Topo Travel bag was a lifesaver. With multiple compartments and a huge capacity it meant that my habit for severe overpacking didn’t pose too much of an issue. I was able to keep wet and dry gear entirely separate, and avoid spilling my gear all over the street as I rummaged about looking for that piece of clothing I was sure I had packed.