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  1. #16
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    In London it's easy to buy a cheap umbrella if you want to and they are commonly seen, just a bit of a nightmare in London crowds, but if you are from New York then you're probably already an expert in crowd navigation with a brolly Planning a 12-day Europe tour - Synapse 19 Visual Packing List

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  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    @Slaynie, you make a very good point. I have rain jackets that meet my exact preferences but re-buying one mid trip would be a whole lot harder than finding a cheap umbrella somewhere. Did you feel like in your visit to Paris and Belgium that an umbrella wasn't sufficient rain protection? What if I carried a windbreaker AND an umbrella, since the windbreaker is lighter and more packable? Would that be sufficient weather resistance?

    I really appreciate the tip about Ghent and Bruges. I did a little bit of research after your mention and I definitely would like to make room to visit. The images I saw of the area look steeped in history and so beautiful.
    Oddly enough, most of my trip had wonderful weather. I did end up wandering around Paris during their worst snowstorm in 30 years. I'm a Mainer though, so I had an advantage. I had waterproof sneakers and a nice lined rain coat from LL Bean and I was perfectly fine. I just popped into Starbucks to warm up for a bit, but other than that and a couple other quick stops I was walking around outside from 10am to basically midnight. I didn't bring or even consider an umbrella, but I never missed having one in the rain or snow.

    I did do the whole trip in an S19 and a small cafe bag. One thing to consider, is when fully packed the S19 was a bit uncomfortable to carry. I have since purchased an S25, and will likely do future long trips with that, just not completely full. It was really (and I mean really!) amazing to only have a backpack while traveling. Considering the first day I took a total of four buses, two planes, and one train, I'm extremely glad I wasn't hauling around anything else.

    I stayed in Ghent and used that as a base to travel around. It's absolutely gorgeous and really easy to get around town and to nearby cities. If you take a tram or bus to the old part of town you can easily walk to all of the touristy places. It's the same with Bruges which is about a 25 minute train ride from Ghent.

  3. #18
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    The wool sneakers look hip, they are a great choice.

    If you have space take the sandals, but only use them inside the shower or, indoors as slippers.
    In France, They are only acceptable at the pool, the gym shower or at the beach/in resort towns and outdoors everywhere with very light summer clothes during very hot weather.

    The linen shirt is too lightweight for the weather you are most likely to experience but, it can dress up a merino base layer.
    I would recommend you skip the umbrella and wear the scarf on the plane.

    I also strongly suggest that you take the boat shoes and extra socks, as well as an extra pair of fast drying pants.

    In addition to the potholes splashes, a strong downpour can get your pants, socks and shoes completely soaked in cold, very cold or freezing water. This is a very serious health hazard, even for somebody who is healthy, this is how a cold or pneumonia starts.

    Most European houses and apartments have lower ambient temperatures than their U.S counterparts, it is due to the fact that they have older heating systems. So plan for a sleeping outfit.

    As much as you like the S19, I think it would be prudent to take the S25, in order to fit the extra pants, shoes, socks, sleeping outfit and the sandals to wear in the shower, to and from the bathroom, in many houses or apartments the bathroom is shared between more than one bedroom.
    Many European like people to wear slippers indoors, your sandals will work nicely for that.

    The rain shell/wind breaker is a must, Spring storms usually mean lots of wind. Your umbrella will most likely end up, over turned and maybe ruined, hence the choice of a windbreaker, instead.

    I also think a pair of gloves would not be a bad idea. You might want to wait until you are in France to buy a warming and stylish pair.

    I have never seen scissors like yours, they look big and I think it would be better to leave them home and bring a cheap pair of round kid scissors, if you really need a pair.


    Snarky Nomad was able to travel with the S19 because the destination was a tropical country, not a temperate one.
    Last edited by backpack; 03-09-2018 at 10:12 PM.

  4. #19
    Forum Member daisy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    I have never seen scissors like yours, they look big and I think it would be better to leave them home and bring a cheap pair of round kid scissors, if you really need a pair.

    .
    They appear to be bandage/trauma shears ... they are great but I suspect will cause you issues with security.

    We're heading to UK/Scandinavia in April ... I definitely won't fit in a synapse! Will be interested to see your final list ... I'm about to do a test pack for my trip.
    List under construction ....

  5. #20
    Forum Member melminimalist's Avatar
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    Raincoat instead of umbrella, for sure. We ate out dinner every night in Paris for the two weeks I was there and never need to dress up more than my walking shoes and trench/raincoat (walking shoes are not sneakers or tennis shoes, you will stick out wearing athletic shoes). One pair is all you need. Seriously doubt it will ever get to be warm enough for sandals or flip flops. A nice scarf that can double as a throw blanket or shawl is the only thing I'd recommend to add. Everyone including men and women wear them and they add a layer of warmth. Great pack list!

    Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
    "Not all who wander are lost"
    "Love people, use things, because the opposite never works" - The Minimalists
    Synapse 25 in Olive, Aubergine Side Effect, UV A30 PCBP, Sitka PCSB

  6. #21
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    Re: the scissors, there is no way you could get those past security at a UK airport. Anything with a blade longer than 6cm is forbidden.

    Also, carrying any bladed tool in public without being able to show that you *need* to have it with you is a red flag to UK police accustomed to dealing with knife crime. UK knife laws are extremely strict and it is prohibited to have a knife with you in public with a blade longer than 7.6cm, or with a locking mechanism (that includes many penknives).

    As you can see, what would be considered normal EDC in many parts of the US is completely off limits here.

    I would advise you to leave the scissors at home and save yourself the hassle.

    If you think the knife laws are strict, you should see the gun laws Smilie

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  7. #22
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    I’m on my iPad so I’ll have to be more brief than I was earlier. Still really appreciating all the feedback.

    I adjusted my packing list slightly.

    • replaced wool cardigan with a lightweight v-neck down vest (you’ll have to trust that it still looks dapper, but it saves a ton of space in the bag)
    • took out running shorts and linen shirt, since I probably wear them
    • added a pair of polyester slacks, which I’m still on the fence about bringing but do love wearing them
    • added a tiny water-resistant windbreaker, although I’m not sure it will replace the umbrella


    I tried just about everything to fit a second pair of shoes in the bottom of the bag. Without the frame insert it really jabs into my back. With it, the bottom is getting really stretched tight. I will have to play around with some other configurations but I may well have to do without.

    I feel like the scissors shouldn’t be an issue. They do have big finger holes but they are 5.5cm tip to pivot and blunter tipped than a butter knife. But if you guys really think they’ll be a problem over the pond I suppose I can find some much tinier scissors.

  8. #23
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    Place the wool shoes in a Travel Stuff Sack and secure it to the grab handle. Result=an extra eternal pocket.

    Since the S19 is your only carry on, a little extra pocket won't be a problem to make it fit, even in the personal item slot, or secure the Travel Stuff Sack on your belt if you are asked to place it in the measuring box, but I doubt it.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    I'm really torn on the raincoat vs. umbrella debate. I normally go raincoat, but an umbrella will protect my bag's contents better, as well as my camera if I want to shoot in the rain.
    Is your camera OM-D E-M1? If it is, you don't to been worry about rain.

    It have "weather sealing". I've been shooting photos at the Norwegian Sea. Couple of whale trips. At the first winter trip i had E-M1 and then E-M5. From -20C to +2C degrees. And was raining, water and snow. Salt water in the air all the time when at the sea.
    Having M.Zuiko 14-150 II, that is also "weather sealed".

    Working well both cameras and optics.

  10. #25
    Forum Member SouthernBelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    What kind of camera are you using? Sometimes there are camera settings that you can adjust that will prolong your battery life.

    Personally, I'm feeling courageous... but I can normally take hundreds of photos on a single battery and on wilderness backpacking trips I've only carried one or two spare batteries for four to nine days of travel. I don't expect to spend my entire trip behind a viewfinder, but I'm hoping that three batteries will have me covered. As long as I don't leave my camera on, I should be okay.
    I have the Olympus OM-D EM-5. I've never actually drained a battery yet, and my 24-day trip to Europe was in June 2016 so I'm a bit hazy on approximately how long my 2 batteries each lasted. I haven't used my camera that much on a regular basis since then. 3 batteries will probably work for you - I was just curious. Smilie I definitely had to "train" myself to not spend the whole time behind the viewfinder. I just love taking photos, and there is so much cool stuff to see in Europe... I hope you have an awesome time! I went to London in 2013 over Easter (late March - early April) and we got snow. It was beautiful but cold! I was glad to revisit in 2016 and see the flowers blooming and experience London in the summer - it was a cool contrast!

  11. #26
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    Hi @carrot! You are awesome for attempting this. I did it twice and enjoyed everything about it. Even when my girlfriend’s shoes broke on our first layover (London) and we had to order shoes from the German Zappos and pick them up on our Berlin stop. All part of the adventure. Your pack list is almost identical to mine down to the S19 and the EC cubes.

    Our packed footwear were flip flops. It was nice to get out of my only pair of shoes at the end of the day. I think your Allbird’s will serve perfectly as your only pair. My girlfriend hardly used her flip flops because she didn’t want to take off her wool socks (too cold).

    I brought a smart raincoat that I used the whole time (late April) and then bought an umbrella when I needed it. While it worked, I would have preferred a small packing windbreaker instead. It was annoying to carry my raincoat when I didn’t need it. My girlfriend wore her leather jacket and would do it again. We spent one day at a hotel recovering from the previous day’s rainstorm. But that too was lovely.

    I worry about your lack of base layers. We ended up wearing ours 24/7. They were Uniqlo’s Heattech longsleeve shirt and leggings. They take no space, but that doesn’t matter since they will be on your body always.

    I brought a buff on the trip which was very useful and picked up a scarf in Barcelona which I treasure. If you need a sweater you can always buy one over there. It will be dual purpose: necessity and souvenir.

    I second the extra pair of wool socks.

    We did zero research for the first trip and too much research for the second. Both trips were amazing.

    Y’all can do this!







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  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    Place the wool shoes in a Travel Stuff Sack and secure it to the grab handle. Result=an extra eternal pocket.

    Since the S19 is your only carry on, a little extra pocket won't be a problem to make it fit, even in the personal item slot, or secure the Travel Stuff Sack on your belt if you are asked to place it in the measuring box, but I doubt it.
    I simply cannot stand the look or feel of stuff dangling off my bags. I am high-speed low-drag, I guess, except without the tacticool.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamaki View Post
    Is your camera OM-D E-M1? If it is, you don't to been worry about rain.

    It have "weather sealing". I've been shooting photos at the Norwegian Sea. Couple of whale trips. At the first winter trip i had E-M1 and then E-M5. From -20C to +2C degrees. And was raining, water and snow. Salt water in the air all the time when at the sea.
    Having M.Zuiko 14-150 II, that is also "weather sealed".

    Working well both cameras and optics.
    No, but I may actually pick one up soon with the 12-100/f4. I have the E-M10, which sadly lacks the sealing, but is nice and compact and still has the wonderful twin dials. I am really struggling over the 14-150 II - I like the size and weight much better but as a non tripod user the OIS and constant aperture of the 12-100 feels like the choice one lens to rule them all. That and a bright prime, of course!

    Quote Originally Posted by conversa View Post
    Hi @carrot! You are awesome for attempting this. I did it twice and enjoyed everything about it. Even when my girlfriend’s shoes broke on our first layover (London) and we had to order shoes from the German Zappos and pick them up on our Berlin stop. All part of the adventure. Your pack list is almost identical to mine down to the S19 and the EC cubes.

    Our packed footwear were flip flops. It was nice to get out of my only pair of shoes at the end of the day. I think your Allbird’s will serve perfectly as your only pair. My girlfriend hardly used her flip flops because she didn’t want to take off her wool socks (too cold).

    I brought a smart raincoat that I used the whole time (late April) and then bought an umbrella when I needed it. While it worked, I would have preferred a small packing windbreaker instead. It was annoying to carry my raincoat when I didn’t need it. My girlfriend wore her leather jacket and would do it again. We spent one day at a hotel recovering from the previous day’s rainstorm. But that too was lovely.

    I worry about your lack of base layers. We ended up wearing ours 24/7. They were Uniqlo’s Heattech longsleeve shirt and leggings. They take no space, but that doesn’t matter since they will be on your body always.

    I brought a buff on the trip which was very useful and picked up a scarf in Barcelona which I treasure. If you need a sweater you can always buy one over there. It will be dual purpose: necessity and souvenir.

    I second the extra pair of wool socks.

    We did zero research for the first trip and too much research for the second. Both trips were amazing.

    Y’all can do this!
    Wow @conversa thank you so much for the feedback. It's good to hear that someone else was successful at doing what I'm planning on doing.

    I first worried a lot about not having flip flops since it seems like a universal travel item. But I think I can do without! I normally go barefoot at home and occasionally around the office (we are a sports/athleisure kind of company) so I am not troubled about not having extra footwear.

    I just got a new windbreaker that is trenchcoat length. It takes up only twice the space as my Houdini windbreaker but the extra warmth and pockets may be welcome. I think I will take it and the umbrella. I briefly considered carrying a proper, stylish rain coat but the bulk is too much even if it could be worn all the time -- I wouldn't be able to pack it away if it's a nice day and too warm for a coat.

    The base layer recommendation is an interesting one that didn't even cross my mind. What time of year did you travel? I feel like the Bluffworks travel pants on their own are more than sufficient for a two week trip with a wash in the middle, so I could ditch the second pair of pants (again) and instead carry leggings and an undershirt in case I am feeling very cold. The two base layers would be smaller too and of course better for layering. I don't normally layer up with base layers for urban adventures because they are hard to shed if you get hot, but they would be a lot more comfortable to hang out in.

    I have to take a scarf instead of one of my many Buffs. My SO threatened to leave me behind in France if I chose a Buff over a scarf. Apparently Europeans are really big on scarves, and I must have one to fit in. My initial thought was that I could buy a scarf on the journey, but I found what might be the perfect travel scarf and now don't want to scramble for the perfect one along the way.

    I don't normally wear socks at all with the Allbirds, so one pair of socks would be my spare pair of socks, I think, either if it is cold or if I go somewhere that it would be weird to have bare ankles. I think if I am really hurting for socks I will have to buy a pair there.

    The real tricky part of the packing list is that we are aiming to be light, compact, and stylish. The stylish part is hard. Sharp-looking clothes don't usually pack small. If I could pack like I do for wilderness trips it would be one wool t-shirt, a pair of running shorts and leggings, a fleece, and a windbreaker, of which the unworn gear would probably all fit in a fanny pack.

  13. #28
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    If you'll be shopping in grocery stores or markets for food, I would suggest either bringing a small reusable grocery bag (the kind that folds up into it's own teeny pouch) or planning on buying one as a usable souvenir. Many of the stores also sell thicker reusable plastic bags that will easily last the whole of your trip (and beyond).

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelly S View Post
    If you'll be shopping in grocery stores or markets for food, I would suggest either bringing a small reusable grocery bag (the kind that folds up into it's own teeny pouch) or planning on buying one as a usable souvenir. Many of the stores also sell thicker reusable plastic bags that will easily last the whole of your trip (and beyond).
    That is a great idea. Last night I was test packing and re-packing and I threw in a sling tote. Then I swapped it out for a packable duffel. They're the same packed size but the duffel has a zipper. I can't decide which would be handier, to be honest.

  15. #30
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    As for the base layers and warmth, a lot of it will depend on what you are accustomed to. I traveled to Belgium and France in early February and spent the whole time walking around in a lined rain coat (definitely not a winter coat) while wearing just a normal long sleeved shirt, normal jeans, normal socks, and waterproof shoes. I also had a scarf and gloves when necessary, but did not wear them 100% of the time. For me, this was perfectly fine, but I've also lived in Maine my entire life, so having temperatures around the freezing point in winter is comfortable for me. In fact, the weather was so much nicer and warmer than I'm accustomed to in the winter that it seemed like spring to me.

    My suggestion, is to watch the weather for your destinations a week or so out from when you fly there, and see how close to your normal temperature it will be and adjust accordingly. Someone accustomed to warmer temperatures will likely need to pack different layers that someone from a colder area.

    Also keep in mind that if you get chilly there are plenty of cafes, museums, and shops to pop into if you are in a city. This also gives you an excuse to try all the delicious foods!

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