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Question about Rick's Packing List

Sorry if there is on here some place. Rick's packing list says to bring two pair of pants. Who know if that is one to wear and one in the bag or two in the bag and one to wear? How many pants do people bring? 2 and 1/2 weeks (8 days on a river cruise). Packing in a carry on bag.

Posted by
333 posts

Just bring what you need, Charles. ;-) Ricks list is a suggestion. For a 2 1/2 week trip, a total of 3 pair of pants would be nice. If you're washing by hand as you go, it's probably a necessity! For my 3 week BOE tour, most folks brought a carryon AND a backpack for their things. Some folks brought a huge suitcase and a carry on. If you want to travel light, Rick gives a great suggested list. But if you desire more, bring what you want. Just be prepared to lug it. And have a great time on your trip!

Posted by
2788 posts

I have gone to Europe for 13 of the last 14 years for about a month each year. I take a 21" RS roller-bag that I check and a medium sized RS travel bag as a carry-on. I take 3 pairs of pants, one of which has zip off legs so that I can use it for shorts or a swimming suit as my location prescribes. I take 3 shirts, either 2 long / one short sleeves or 2 short / 1 long sleeves depending on the weather at where I am visiting. Northern Europe gets warmer clothes and southern Europe gets light weight materials. I also take 4 pairs of tee shirts and 4 pairs of underpants and 4 pairs of socks. We do sink washing every so often when needed. Most of my stuff is from ExOfficio - expensive but very durable and long lasting. This collection is a result of many trips rather than trying to follow RS packing list. I started with more stuff but narrowed it down by leaving home things I did not wear. I have taken 13 RS tours and probably 98% of the folks on his tours only bring a suitcase similar in size to the one I bring. Once or twice someone has brought a huge suitcase so they could have a new change of clothes every day but they certainly struggled trying to haul that monster around especially on cobble stoned streets and sidewalks. You should remember that most everywhere in Europe are stores that you can purchase anything you might need once you get over there. Happy travels.

Posted by
32065 posts


As mentioned above, the Packing List in the guidebooks is only a suggestion and can be changed according to your preferences. I normally only pack two pairs of trousers, one that I wear and one in my pack. As you're going to be on a river cruise, there may be a requirement for some formal clothing (ie: a suit or whatever), so you may need to pack for that.

I find that it's not a problem to check one bag so you could consider that also.

Posted by
18864 posts

I've always taken three pair of washable slacks for 2 weeks. A couple of years ago I went for three weeks but had a stopover in a vacation apartment (Verien Wohnung) half way through and washed them. I also take another pair of "walking shorts".

Posted by
1065 posts

I only use a carry on and take two pair of pants (wearing one pair) and a pair of shorts. I like pants that are made from nylon/polyester material so they are easy to wash & dry fast. I take five shirts (again, wearing one), two long sleeve & three short sleeve and two tee shirts. By using a eagle creek packing folder and RS packing cubes it is not hard to get everything into my bag. I only take one pair of shoes and that saves a lot of space.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks folks, that was helpful. I did realize that Rick's List is not mandatory based on new European Union law. I was hoping to get just what I did, some opinions from veteran travelers. I have done a lot of traveling in the last 30 years with two stints of living in England for 4 months each and one 5 month period in Hong Kong. You tend to take much more stuff for those trips. For my shorter trips I have cut back drastically on what I take. I was just wondering how far I could cut back and still enjoy my trip.

Thanks again.

Posted by
22892 posts

I take three changes of clothing - wear one, pack two. And two extra shirts. One year I did try only two pairs of pants. After the third day, one pair was damaged so I was down to what I was wearing. I was concerned if something similar happened to the pair I was wearing so I wasted part of a day finding a replacement pant. Now I am back to packing two pair. And, of course, the only pant I have damaged in twenty plus years of travel is that one pair.

Posted by
13850 posts

I can't believe what I am reading....Pure anarchy.

To be a true Ricknik you must:

--follow his packing list exactly. No changes even though he admits he doesn't follow his own advice (see his video on his toiletry kit and what he brings.)
--only go to places included in his guidebooks. After all, if it's not in one of the guidebooks, it's not worth visiting. (Or as Wal-Mart says, "If we don't carry it, you don't need it.)
--carry his guidebook everywhere. after all, you don' t want to venture off from the prescribed itinerary. (And without the guidebook, how do you get all those "great" discounts?)

All kidding aside, we all bring different things. Take what makes you feel comfortable--not just in clothes but in general.

I now take three pairs of pants--two of which are jeans (I wear one while traveling) because they are comfortable and I don't travel in the summer.

I take five shirts (all short sleeve) and two lightweight sweaters.

Posted by
1068 posts

Like Frank, I had a pair of pants go bad on a trip. Fortunately, I always packed 2 (and wore 1) so I survived the rest of the journey. I buy traveling clothes which tend to be lighter than my "normal" at home gear. Purpose built "travel clothing" like pants are generally not as hearty as normal gear.

Posted by
974 posts

Like others said you'll need to figure out what works for you but either 2 or 3 pairs of pants would still be considered packing light by most standards!

Lately I've gone down to 2 pair: one I wear on the plane and one in my carry on. But this is mainly because I always carry running gear with me and need extra room for my running shoes in my carry on. I have a two week trip with four different locations coming up a week from now and I plan on taking the following (including what I wear on the plane):

two pair of pants (Bluffworks travel pants, wear one on plane)
three dress shirts (one white, two dark), two ties, black belt
five under shirt (one white, four colored so they can be used
five pair of quick dry underwear
five pair of socks
Light pullover fleece sweater
Dryfit running shirt (wear on plane)
running shorts, socks
running shoes
Black business casual shoes (wear on plane)

I get two days out of each dress shirt and will wear the pants for 5 days each so I'll do just a little laundry when I'm at a hotel for 2 or more days.


Posted by
2526 posts

As Ray noted, "Purpose built "travel clothing" like pants are generally not as hearty as normal gear." The pants I purchase for travel wear like iron and work very well for walking, hiking and cooler weather biking.

Posted by
26 posts

I usually go to Europe in the fall and stay in a city 4-7 days at a time in an apartment. Since the weather is cooler I wear a thin polyester base layer which gives my pants and shirts extra time before I need to wash them. Last time I took a pair of Dockers and a pair of jeans, wearing one and packing one. Two turtlenecks, one gray, one black and a black button down. Four pair each wool socks and polyester underwear. Socks and underwear hand wash easily and dry great on those radiators every euro bathroom has. Occasionally I get to use a laundromat which is always an experience. Being on a river cruise, though, I'd be tempted to pack mostly for leisure and exploration and maybe just one more nice outfit. I also like to under pack a little bit so I can buy something there to brag about when I return home.