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Backpacking in France : our tips

Are you backpacking in France for several days, even months? Are you lost between your plan, your accommodations and all the things you want to bring with you? Do not worry anymore! Traveller by nature, we know exactly what is useful to take with you… and what is better to leave at home. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to bring along a heavy backpack ?


The backpack itself

First, you need to decide which size you’re the most comfortable with… in my case, I first travelled with a backpack of 70 L.

Of course, it depends a lot about which kind of trip you’re heading for! If your wish is to drop at some places and being able to easily switch clothes, then it’s just the perfect size. If not, do not hesitate to do like I’ve done myself with the next trip, which is choosing a lighter backpack of 40 L. That way you will most likely avoid bringing useless stuffs ?

Once your bag chosen, give it a little test! Adjust it according to your body size and the shape of your back. I assure you that it’s way better once well adjusted, it literally changes life since the weight is not felt the same way.


Now let’s see what to put inside!

backpacking france



  • Toileterie’s Necessaries

I then recommend you to look over the stuff that you’ll regularly get to use, the toileterie’s necessaries!

Firstly, of course: a tooth brush as well as the tooth past with it! Then, if you’ve got long hairs, do not forget your hairbrush; afterwards comes the soap/shampoo 2 in one, I’ve personally got myself the solid ones, less risks for them to spill over all the bag! Also, in this last case, you avoid having to take them out of your bag when going through the security check at the airport! On the other hand, you can always take yourself zip bags of different sizes… Awesome to avoid liquid products dipping inside your bag! And you can also find other use to it, such as protecting your food, or also put your wet stuff in it (like your swimsuit for example). Well to put it bluntly, there’s a tons of use you can make from it! And it takes nothing as space 😉


Do not forget…

The washing machine powder : if you’re using automatic washing machines for your laundry, or even other ways…Then you would prefer having with you a little bag of washing machine powder with you! This would avoid you having extra expenses, and with it you’re sure to have a real’ clean laundry!

Afterwards, if you happen to make yourself some small boos while hiking, or while being fully into your great adventurer role play, get yourself some bandages!! I promise you, my feet felt super grateful to me! And for your skin, remember to take solar cream, getting taned is great, but avoiding having a tomato-like skin and then hurting, is way better!!

To finish your bag to yout trip backpacking France, do not forget your towel. It first was a problem for me, as I couldn’t see myself getting my home’s big towels, it would have taken all my bag’s space!! But one day, as I was wandering in a sport’s shop, I suddenly saw the dream towels!! They dry in a second (well, almost :p ) , and they take almost nothing as space!! They even have a small tie for you to fold them nicely. That’s why, I greatly advice them to you.

  • Clothes

Once you’re finished with your toilet’s necessaries, you can then concentrate on your clothes.

I know, I know… it’s a big dilemna…Specially if you’re leaving for a few months! In most cases, you can be afraid to leave behind some useful clothes, as another pair of shoes, t-shirts, etc… But trust my experience, if you ever have a doubt in front of one of your clothes, it means you don’t need it! It happened way too many times that I wasn’t able to resist the great tentation, for it to stay at the  bottom of my bag the whole trip!! Most times, because of the weight, I ended up leaving it in a Hostel, such as ours, for someone else to have a better use than I did…



for t-shirts with short sleeves, as well as long sleeves, the best would be to take 2 of each. Same for the pants, 2 is great. If you’re leaving during summer, maybe go for 1 pant and 1 short. Idem for underwears (socks, etc…); next do not forget your raincoat! In case of bad weather, you can still go for a walk or a hike, if being under the rain is not a problem for you. If you’re going for a cold country, make sure to have at least 1 (if not 2) pullovers with you! A snood (smaller than a scarf) , and some gloves! As for the shoes, I personnaly always take 2 sorts : 1 as hiking shoes, the others as sandals (for the city).

While reading those lines, you’re wondering how you’re going to be able to stay clean with so few clothes in your backpack? Don’t worry, I wondered the same in the beginning… But rest assured, you’re quickly going to adopt yourself a rythm, where you’ll be able to clean your clothes the night at your hostel, or some other places! As for them to dry overnight!

And for your extra dirty clothes, you can always have with you a little bag (such as a plastic bag, or like me, a tissue one), it’s better to be able to separate them with your other clothes!


  • Small useful extras:

Finally, I will share with you what’s good to take with you as extras that can always serve you! Firstly, the earplugs! If you ever find yourself sleeping in dorms, than you might at some point find yourself share it with some snooring people!

Also do not forget a padlock, if you are sharing dorms, you will need one to secure you stuff.

The pocket-knive… always useful! As to open bottles, or also as to cut yourself some slices of bread (for example). And it takes nothing as for the space! (but remember that in the airports, the security might take it from you, so put it in your checked baggage if you’ve got one!). There’s also the spoon…I’ve personally got tempted to buy myself a yogourt at some times, but couldn’t as I had nothing to eat it with… And since I got myself aspoon, I am more than happy!

A torch: It happened that I went to visit some caves with friends, or that I had to walk in the dark, and during those times, I greatly missed a torch! (the phone’s torch doesn’t really help in those cases), so I greatly advice you to get yourself one! It doesn’t take muche space, and you’ll find it a use for sure!

A rain protection for your backpack! If it’s not already included in your bag, check for a rain protection that would cover your whole backpack! Waterproof, it’s ideal to keep your stuff dry, aswell as to protect them from potential stains (for example, as in public transports… We heard testimonies about people travelling in South America or Africa, as how the buses were gathering all the luggages at the top of the bus… It’s a possibility that it bumps into some kind of obstacles on the road, causing some backpacks to fall off the roof… if you’re lucky enough to hear the choc and realize what happened, I’m sure you want to make sure your bag comes out of it with the less of damages possible! :p )

Before ending this article…


I would like to recommend you having a travel notebook... If you’re a bit artsy, you’ll absolutely love it! It’s a good way to remember your backpacking in France. As it may be notes, little drawings, sticking the tickets of the places you’ll get to visit… a notebook is always useful to have a little trace of your travels! And imagine yourself reading it in a few years, being able to remind yourself the sensations those adventures would have brought you… Isn’t that terribly tempting?

Well, I think that with all of this you’ll be able to survive for your trip! Just kidding, but for sure this is more than enough for your travels. If you keep having doubts or preferences, then please take whatever you feel like with you as extras. You can always add yourself a little backpack to carry in front of you where you’ll be able to put your most precious stuff! (such as money-purse) . I hope this article was of some use to you!


If you still need to have more tips about backpacking in France : Read our blog article !


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