It’s been a while since I rode my bike in Europe, but now, after more than two years in the Americas, I’m here again – and my set up has changed. Although packing is a very individual thing, here’s what packing for South America vs Europe looked like for me.

Tent and Cooking Gear

While very useful in South America, I don’t carry camping and cooking gear in Europe. Because I travel slow, I can usually get decent AirBnB deals, so lugging a tent and a cooking set around just doesn’t make sense here. For South America, the tent was great because there are so many wild camping spots available, and cooking your own meals is sometimes a must if you’re headed somewhere remote.

Warm Layers

Don’t get me wrong, I still carry my Under Armor thermals and a heated jacket, but so far, I’ve only used it once while crossing the snow-covered Alps. In South America, temperatures can vary greatly within a matter of days – you can have hot sunny days on the Pacific Coast, then be freezing at high altitude in the Andes, then open all the vents in your suit again riding the hot and humid Amazon region. In Europe, the weather is more predictable – summer is summer all the way from Norway to Greece. Obviously, temperatures may vary and there may be rain, but the differences aren’t as extreme.

Luxuries

I lost my mini French press! In South America, this thing was irreplaceable as good coffee was hard to come by and I mostly made my own. Europe’s got decent coffee everywhere you go, so for now, I’m trusting local coffee shops and eateries – it turns out, coffee is especially good in Bosnia where they make it so strong it can raise the dead but so delicious you end up having several cups throughout the day.

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