Backpacking in Europe: what I'm bringing / by Jessica Lee

I'm heading to Europe for a classic backpacking trip and this is what my life is going to look like for the next two or so months.

I tried to keep it as simple as possible, following with the theme of minimalism

Of course, travelling to Europe during the winter is going to be a little more difficult than in the summer because now I'll have to bring heavy jackets, boots, scarves and heavy sweaters. In the summer, I wouldn't need all of that, which would cut my packing essential list to about half the size.

For my trip, I'm bringing a 30 L backpack and a small day purse. At weighing time, the pack came to just over 12 kilos, which isn't terrible, but not as light as I would have liked my pack to be.

The point of packing light is so I can hop out of each airport/bus station/train station and just get on with exploring the city without ordering a taxi or first dropping off my things at the place I'm staying at. I want to be mobile and efficient.

Here's what I'm bringing:

1 pair of pants, dark blue and quite functional- matches with everything 
(I plan to do laundry frequently throughout the trip)
1 grey hoodie
2 cardigans
3 dresses (all very versatile, can be work to a professional environment or a casual environment, or even worn to go out to nice places)
2 pairs of wool socks (necessary!)
2 pairs of tights
1 t-shirt for sleeping in
3 casual tops
1 pair of combat boots (my main choice of footwear, as it will be snowing)
1 pair of flats (in case it's warm. The flats I chose are black and match with everything. They are also two years old (purchased in Australia!), and somewhat worn in. If I need to make space in my pack, these will be the first to go)
1 pair of lounge pants (for sleeping in)
1 scarf
1 pair of gloves
1 swimsuit
1 microfiber towel and one face cloth
1 pair of flip flops (for walking around hostels or hotels)
1 winter hat
1 rainjacket

Professional gear:
Besides, experiencing European culture, and visiting friends, the purpose for this trip is to take photos and develop my portfolio. I do plan to travel light however. My photography kit is minimal, which will force me to be creative. 
I am only bringing:
1 Mark 5D SLR (and charger)
1 24-70mm lens
1 tripod (which was purchased specifically for this trip)

I have a nice, quality tripod which I use in Toronto on professional shoots and for events. I can't bring that one though because unfortunately, it's built well and quite heavy.

This Polaroid tripod I bought for the trip was only $20 on Amazon and made of really light materials. It's broken on me twice already just while I was packing it in my backpack. I don't mind though as it still works and because of the cheap price, it means I can throw it away at any point during my trip if it becomes too heavy. It was mainly purchased so I can get good Northern Lights photos.

Personal care:
I packed essentials such as shampoo, face wash, lotion, body wash, toothpaste, etc.
An item some may find strange is a 100ml container of tea tree oil beauty mask.

The story behind the beauty mask dates back to 2012, on my study exchange to Sydney, Australia, where I met my housemate Myra. We started doing these masks together as a girly way to bond and now since I'm visiting her (she's doing a study exchange in Sweden), I had to keep up the tradition.

Make-up for this trip is also minimal. Everything fits into a small pouch. I have basics such as lip balm, foundation, black and brown eyeliner, mascara, lip stain... and for those days I'm feeling wild, shimmery violet eyeliner (purchased in Korea) and gold eyeshadow.
I also brought lots of bobby pins and hair ties.

I packed all liquids in a plastic bag for easy airport security access.

Odds and ends:

2 notebooks (one journal, and one travel planner)
2 language guides (French and German)
1 small London guidebook
1 tea tumbler
1 day purse
Lock and keys

This section started off with three books, but I couldn't close my backpack initally, so I took out two. I plan to exchange books with people I meet or buy a new one and drop off the finished one during my trip now. I have a E-reader, but I'm still not comfortable with it and it would be another thing that I would worry about getting stolen.

1 mp3
1 book (Richard Florida's Who's Your City, which I find fitting since I will be travelling to so many)
1 laptop (for blogging, work and keeping in touch with friends)
1 harmonica, which I plan to get really good at playing during my trip

What do you think? Would you take any items out? Put anything in?