What do you get someone who is always traveling? How will they fit it in their bag? Will they even like it? These are all questions you are probably asking yourself as you try and decide what gift to buy for your backpacking friend or family member. Here are 33 awesome gifts for backpackers that will make travel more comfortable, enjoyable and exciting!
There is no better travel inspo than looking up at your wall at a map with so many countries yet to be discovered. I love these scratch-off maps and think it’s a great overview of your travels.
There is nothing worse than having to spend fifteen minutes unravelling your headphones every time you grab them out of your bag. A headphones organizer eliminates the frustration and keeps you stress free.
This might seem boring but having traveled to more than ten countries, it is an absolute necessity. Each country has a slightly different outlet and plug. The universal travel adapter means you only ned to carry one adapter throughout all of your travels, which is a huge space and money saver.
If there is one item you want to spend a little bit extra on it is a backpack. Think about how often you are going to be lugging all of your gear around. After trying a number of different packs I have found the Gregory range to be the best fitting with a number of adjustable straps to help the bag mould to the curvature of your back. When thinking about gifts for backpackers this is one of the most important products.
It is a no-brainer these days to use a GoPro as you travel. It is the most durable camera you could ever have and is simple enough for amateurs but also capable of creating 4k Video and amazing images. Taking photos and video with a GoPro is pretty much the ultimate way to make all of your friends and family at home wish they were on your adventures too!
Every backpacker needs a daypack. It comes in perfect for the shorter trips to markets, hikes, waterfalls and exploring the destination. Having a good day pack gives a traveler the luxury of relieving their shoulders for the day from their huge pack but still allows them to keep their valuables and necessities on hand.
Backpacking is all about saving space and cutting down on weight. Soft water bottles are perfect space-savers as they take up almost no space when empty. They are also a great way to do your bit for the environment by cutting down on your use of plastic bottles.
After a few years of traveling my passport was getting really tattered and I wished I had of bought one of these covers sooner. A passport isn’t cheap and can cost hundreds to replace depending on what country you are from. This is a perfect way to organize and keep your passport safe and one of the best gifts for backpackers.
Not everyone wants to carry around a DSLR camera or a GoPro. Luckily you can still capture a variety of angles and styles with lenses that slip straight onto your phone. The fish eye and wide angle are great for capturing landscapes or when you are at a restaurant/indoors.
What is a mirrorless camera? Essentially it is a camera without a mirror! Who would have guessed! Why is this good for backpackers? Mirrorless cameras are so much smaller and lighter than DSLR’s and are a great way to make sure you can always fit your camera in your daypack rather than lugging around a huge,heavy DSLR.
A hammock is a great way to relax at the beach or the top of a hike for a traveler trying to read a book or take an afternoon nap. An ultra light hammock is a cheap way to add a little luxury to your travels without weighing down your bag.
12. Water Filter
Traveling around Asia, South America or lots of other destinations in the world means you might not be able to drink the tap water. This means buying 3-4 bottles of water every day, which not only costs a small fortune but think about all of the plastic you will be using during all of your travels. That’s 30 or more plastic bottles a week!
Another way to make sure your drinking water is safe is by using the USB rechargeable Steripen to purify your water.
14. Head Torch
I can’t tell you how many times a head torch has come in handy. Night hikes, getting lost in hostel dorms, scary situations you name it this is definitely a handy accessory to keep in your backpacking bag.
15. Travel Journal
With so many amazing experiences and new adventures that come with backpacking there is nothing else left do than to write all about them. This is something I never thought I would do until I began journalling a couple of months in to my travels.
Traveling is a great time to read. Bus trips, relaxing afternoons and aeroplanes are all the perfect opportunity to get stuck into a good book. That is if you want to carry around a library with you. Get a Kindle and access millions of books. Oh and you can see the screen even in the bright sun unlike phones and computers. You can even find tons of free books to read and most novels are a fraction of the cost for Kindle compared to the physical copy you would find in bookstores.
17. Dry Shampoo
Yeah you aren’t always going to have access to a shower so here is a gift for that friend who you know is going to stink on their travels. But seriously, there are plenty of times where you will need some dry shampoo and this one of the funnier gifts for backpackers sure to make the recipient smile!
The ultimate travel companion. This guy will save your ass so many times you won’t know how to thank it. Unfortunately one thing your smart phone hasn’t figured out how to do yet is to stay alive for many than a couple of hours. Almost always dying just as you get lost in the middle of a new city. A portable charger has you covered, saving you when you need it most.
A 2-pound tent, get out! It’s so light that it will make it worth it for the nights you need it. Or if you really are taking the road less traveled this is the cheapest accommodation you can find right here. Some of the best nights I have had on the road have been spent camping with others or solo.
If you can’t imagine how this can be an awesome accessory you may be unaware of how to enjoy a great day at the beach or how to turn a hike into a party. Waterproof and durable in rough conditions is what you want in a portable speaker that you can take anyway so you can jam out in amazing locations all over the world.
Got a clumsy friend. This might save their life, or at least stop a gnarly infection. It is inevitable that at some stage during travel that even the safest backpackers will get a cut, scrape, bruise or fall of a moped and knock out three teeth (Guilty!!)
A regular towel is literally the worst thing you can pack in your backpacking bag. It will take up all of the room in your pack and take hours (which you don’t have) to dry itself. The solution? A microfiber towel that folds up into a little packet and dries in under an hour. Bingo!
23. Dry Bag
I didn’t think I would need one of these until I found myself about to get inside a kayak with my expensive camera, iPhone, hotel key and wallet. I am usually pretty carefree but that would put me one rogue wave away from a pretty big loss. Another great use for the dry bag is when you are traveling solo you can still go for a dip in the ocean or have a snorkel without leaving your valuables on the shore for opportunistic thieves.
Taking hundreds of photos each day is a great way to preserve your travel memories. Unfortunately your computer/phone doesn’t have an infinite memory capacity and you will not to throw them onto a hard drive every couple of days/weeks depending on how many snaps you are taking. If you are like me and your photos and work are something you can’t afford to lose you might want to get a couple of external hard drives. I keep one in my daypack and a backup in my bigger backpacking bag.
My favorite travel accessory! Cannot recommend this enough. Not only does this LifeProof case protect your phone from dust, water and… life, it also doubles your phone’s battery life. Built into the back of the case is a thin battery. When your phone is running low or dies, just click the button on the back of the phone and it will start charging itself. If you are like me, the first time you click the button and the case starts charging the phone you will feel like you are witnessing some kind of magic trick.
26. Travel Lock
If you ever have to leave your luggage unattended or even during flight-travel, a lock is always an extra bit of security that might deter any itchy fingers. A combination lock is much better than a traditional lock and key. Having a key is just one more thing you could lose so keep it simple with a combo lock.
If you want to take some awesome landscape photos during your travels, chances are you are going to need a tripod. It might be a hassle to carry around but getting certain styles of shots like low-light, long exposure and time-lapse can make it all worth it. Luckily there are a number of affordable carbon fiber tripods made for travelers, hikers and adventurers.
My bag would be a total mess if it wasn’t for the compartment organizational system I have going on thanks to these bad boys. I keep most of my gear in these sections and leave a few bigger items floating around, which seems to work and keep everything where I can find it.
29. Rain Jacket
Getting caught in the rain sucks, it really, really sucks if you don’t have a properly waterproofed rain jacket. It’s important to get a rain jacket that isn’t for cold conditions only. You want your jacket to be versatile enough that you can wear it in a tropical storm too
Probably one of the most useful travel items. Although it is a bit heavier than a soft water bottle, it makes up for that deficiency by keeping your water ice-cold for over 24 hours. That’s right if you fill it up with water and ice, the ice will still be ice hours later. This is perfect for all of the warm destinations that so many of us choose to travel to.
31. “Wild” Book
What better way to keep motivated and inspired on your travels by reading this inspiring tale. If you haven’t seen the movie that is worth a look too. After reading this book you will appreciate the journey you are on and make the most of each moment you get to enjoy on the road.
Unlike at home, having shampoos and soaps in a 1 liter bottle is just not going to cut it when traveling around. A Nalgene travel kit is a great way to carry around all of your soaps and lotions.
A funny name but a very useful little contraption. For those not trying to haul around a tripod that is very understandable. At times even I question whether I should switch out my tripod for a Gorillapod. Essentially this contraptions lets you shape your tripod however you like. In seconds you can set it down, strap your camera in and mould the tripod to the shape you need it to be in. This is great for setting up a quick time lapse or shooting a photo of yourself. If you are a solo traveler who isn’t in to selfies a tripod or Gorillapod will become your best friend.
I hope you found some inspiration on my list of gifts for backpackers to make someone’s journey a little more comfortable!
If you are looking to get started with travel photography, check out my post TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT FOR BEGINNERS