11 Train Commuting Essentials You Need to Pack

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Here we provide a comprehensive list of essentials that we think you should be taking on your daily train commute.

Did you know that the average rail commuter in the UK spends 2 hours 11 minutes sat (or in some cases stood) on a train daily? That’s a considerable amount of time that an individual needs to keep themselves occupied, especially if they are travelling by train. It’s important that a train commuter prepares, by packing a bag of key essentials that may be required along the lengthy journey.

The good news is that we’ve compiled a list of commuting essentials that can either keep you entertained, help you get some work done, or at least make your ride a tad more comfortable on the train.

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Table of Contents

Backpack

Starting off our list, we have an essential item that every commuter needs – a high-quality backpack. A strong and sturdy backpack is required to not only transport the rest of your commuting essentials but to protect them from the elements, which are more than unpredictable – especially in the UK.

Brands are slowly switching-on to the fact that commuters are moving away from traditional outdoor rucksacks and opting for styles which are designed specifically for the daily commute. 

Currently, one of our favourites is the Rains signature backpack. This 13-litre backpack is crafted with water-resistant fabric, which is perfect for when you run into light drizzle on your way to work. With a 13″ laptop pocket on the inside and an additional external zip pocket to store your wallet and work pass, this backpack is an ideal choice for any commuter. 

Rains Unisex Backpack
Adjustable shoulder straps; Aqua guard zips; Buckle and magnetic fastening; 13inch inner laptop sleeve
£75.00 £65.85

If you want to learn more about the Rains signature backpack, read our review here.

Kindle

Train rides can be downright boring. That’s why the most important thing to have with you on the train is something to keep you distracted. Sure, you can check out social media or emails on your phone. But why not use this time to do something you never get to do at work or at home? Such as reading a book, for example?

While a traditional paperback book could be too cumbersome to carry, Kindle Paperwhite Waterproof can save the day. Not only it provides the same reading experience as a conventional book, but you can carry an entire library in your bag.

Earbuds

If you don’t feel like carrying a book, earbuds can unlock a world of audio entertainments. You can download and listen to podcasts or stream music from Spotify or Apple Music.

Or, if you take your laptop with you anyway, why not enjoy your favourite Netflix show?

While there are dozens of earbuds to choose from – and most devices even come with a pair of compatible earphones – we really like these wireless headphones from Enacfire.

They’re discreet, have three sizes ear tips, and come with a portable charging cabin that acts as carrying case while also delivering up to fourteen total hours of entertainment.

Portable Charger

Speaking about a portable charger, another train commuting essential that shouldn’t miss from your backpack is a power bank.

Regardless of what devices you might need juice for, a high-capacity, ultra-compact external battery might be your best bet. For instance, a portable charger with a capacity of over 20,000mAh can charge two or more devices at the same time, and you’ll never have to worry about a drained battery ever again.

Freshen-Up Essentials

Carrying toiletries in a handbag has long been seen as a women’s thing. Yet, men should have a freshen-up kit in their bag too, especially when commuting by train.

A few essentials to cleverly throw in your portable toiletry pouch include a bottle of Purell hand sanitizer, an SPF 15 lip balm to protect your sensitive skin from the moody weather, and other personal hygiene products such as pocket tissues, hand moisturiser, and deodorant wipes. 

Water Bottle

Commuting by train can be daunting, especially since the temperature differences between the platform and the carriage – alongside the aircon in the train – can easily take their toll on your body and dehydrate you. Carrying water with you is essential, but instead of buying bottled water, a cute and functional bottle you can refill at home, such as the CamelBak, can do the trick and save you some cash in the long run.

Collapsible Cup

Water is essential and all, but so is the morning coffee or tea. Perhaps you’re not yet ready to give up your favourite Starbucks cuppa, but you should know that most coffee shops give discounts when you bring in your reusable cup.

A good reason to get yourself a collapsible silicone cup. This item takes up negligible space in your bag, it’s eco-friendly, and helps you save some money on your hot drinks. However you look at it, it’s a win-win.

Lunch Box

Living in London can be an expensive affair, especially if you plan to eat out every day. The alternative is bringing your own lunch to work, but this doesn’t mean you have to stick to sandwiches.

The Black+Blum Stainless Steel Lunch Box lets you securely transport your lunch, cook dishes in the office oven, and even store prepared food in the fridge or freezer. The box is also leak-proof, BPA-free, and even comes with cute accessories, including a fork and a removable slider that helps you organise food with ease.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses can be a life-saver during your train commuting, especially on those days when the only free seat is in full sunlight. This stylish accessory can help you reduce sun glare so that you can enjoy reading that book you cleverly threw in your bag before walking out the door.

If you want to avoid taking off the sunglasses if it gets cloudy or dark, go smart and get yourself a pair of transition photochromic sunglasses with anti-blue lens. The perfect way to protect your eyes from both the sun and the blue light emitted by your mobile devices.

Tech Touch Gloves

As any commuter knows, the time spent on the train riding from point A to point B is only part of a daily commute. Commuting comes with waiting in the railway station too, sometimes in freezing temperatures.

In an attempt to warm up, you might want to text a mate or scroll through your newsfeed, but getting your hands out of your pockets would only mean frost bites in those conditions.

Or you could wear a pair of tech touch gloves. Not only they’re practical; they are so popular that they come in all imaginable styles and colours. 

Mini-Umbrella

One thing that should never catch you by surprise when commuting in London is the moody British weather. A mini-umbrella might not give you the ultimate rain protection, but it can prevent you from getting soaked if you’re faced with an unexpected downpour.

While there are dozens of compact umbrellas to choose from, we really like the Newdora windproof folding umbrella.

This model boasts an automatic opening and closing, resists even the toughest gale, and comes with a convenient water absorption bag you can  use to tuck the umbrella back into your bag as soon as you get out of the rain.

While this is a non-exhaustive list, we hope these train commuting essentials can help make your day a little brighter. Just get your favourite items and happy commuting!

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