Backpacking in Canada can take a toll on your wallet, your health, and sometimes, even your style. It seems the longer you’ve been living out of a backpack, the more likely your are to start making some fashion faux pas. Perhaps it’s a hole in the crotch of your pants that continues to get larger by the day, or maybe you’ve turned your short-shorts you used to use as running getup into a regular Sunday outfit. These are things to be concerned about. Just because you’re living a minimalistic lifestyle, doesn’t mean you have to show that in your style.
Should your socks have a hole larger than your pinky toe, it’s time to get rid of them. Especially if the hole is right by your toe, and your toe is peeking out to say hello. Toss ‘em, and find a new pair.
Same goes for Crusty Socks. If after washing your socks, you notice that they continue to have what feels like a hard crust along the sole of your socks, there is no recovery from this filth. I suggest you toss or burn them.
Smelly Hat or Bandana
If your hat or bandana has begun to emit strange and foreign smells, you probably aren’t doing yourself any favours. I would suggest you try to sterilize it with bleach, or consider “accidentally” leaving it next time you pack up your bag. A smelly hat may hold memories, but being remembered as that guy with the stinky headgear is high in many peoples list of gross.
Growing a beard while backpacking is a right of passage. I’m all for a cool beard, but like Spiderman’s Uncle once said, with great power comes great responsibility. Do yourself a favour, look in the mirror. Should you find some goldie-locks on your upper lip due to a snotty nose, you are suffering from an ungroomed beard. If you look around the corners of your mouth, and see leftovers from your last batch of ramen noodles, you too have a filthy beard. Don’t do that. Look after it or get rid of it.
We all have that favourite shirt in our backpack that we love to wear. But there may come a time when ketchup, mustard, chocolate or bleach will ruin that shirt. Sacrifices sometimes need to be made, there’s not sense carrying around a shirt that you probably shouldn’t be wearing. I suggest you either a) toss it and make room, or b) cut it up, perhaps into a new headband, which may sort out your old smelly one.
Girls, this one is aimed at you. I get that shaving your legs must be a pain, especially while travelling. But please, do yourself, and your country a favour, and shave those puppies. There’s no sense in feeding the stereotype that European girls don’t shave their legs. North American propaganda has fed that enough.
Duct Tape Shoes
I really shouldn’t be preaching this, as I always seem to wear my shoes until they fall apart. Call it a guilty pleasure. But wearing your shoes until they are more duct tape than shoe, can be very hard on your feet and back. If you’re going to be hauling around a 20 kilo backpack around, you’re going to want proper footwear. Especially if you’re doing some hiking. Plus duct tape shoes, unfortunately, don’t look cool. It’s a shame.
Swim trunks are not shorts
Swim trunks, particularly the ones with an elastic waistband, should not, under any circumstances, be worn as regular day to day shorts. They do not complement the male figure at all when they are dry. They also make weird swishy noises. This rule doesn’t apply to boardshorts. Those can work both in and out of water.
Travelling for months on end is no excuse to stop looking after your hair. Shampoo works wonders on hair, and if you’re able to score some conditioner, even better. If your hair has begun to naturally dread, or your hand literally gets stuck in your hair like a bug in a web when you try to run your hand through it, you should consider doing something to it. A thorough washing or a trim will usually solve any serious issues.
Crotch holes afflict pants, trousers, shorts, and underwear alike. If you plan on seducing somebody, giving them a window into how “excited” you are, is probably not going to do you any favours. Find some thread, fix them up, or better yet, go find a new pair.
Please do yourself a favour and remember these. There’s no shame in making backpacking look good. Don’t be afraid to tell your travel buddy if they are uglying up the place. They’ll thank you in the end when those girls from Germany actually talk to you.