Travel gadgets are clever little things that save you time, money, stress and space in your luggage.
I selected some of the travel gadgets I think are both useful and smart, to make your backpacking trip easier. I’ve included both tech and non-tech gadgets.
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When I shop for travel gear, I always look for novel, interesting accessories.
I look for compact, lightweight gadgets, because I love minimalist packing and some of these have become essential items on my packing list.
Use these handy tools to have a safer, simpler trip and to make life on the road more comfortable.
You can also use this list to find cool, original Christmas gifts or birthday presents for backpackers or other travellers you know. Or, better still, send this post to your friends who are trying to come up with gift ideas for you!
A spork is a spoon and a fork (plus a tiny knife) in one piece. It is a clever non-tech tool that I’ve been taking with me on my travels for years now.
It’s an ever so useful outdoor eating utensil, especially if you like street food or enjoy picnics when you travel.
Sporks are small and don’t take up any space in you day pack. Just carry it everywhere with you in case you need it.
You can find sporks in different colours, usually made of plastic, but I also found one made of durable titanium with an anti-slip grip.
Smart travel scarf
If you travel with a scarf, why not make it more useful by using a scarf with hidden pockets!
It’s a smart solution for when you need to carry your passport or phone on you – hide them in a pocket in your scarf.
They’re called travel scarves because the size of the pocket is perfect for a passport, but you can use it for other small items as well obviously.
It’s a good way to hide the things that you need to hide from pickpockets, or just make sure you have everything on you, say when you’re on a night bus or a flight.
The scarves come in a variety of colours and patterns, so you can match them to the rest of the clothes on your packing list.
Water Purifying Bottle
To avoid getting sick when you go backpacking in places where the water may be contaminated and isn’t safe to drink, use a water purifier bottle.
This is especially useful when you go on outdoor adventures or travel in some places in Asia, Africa and Central and South America.
It’s an easy solution that will also save you money on buying bottled water.
Use tap water or any natural water source, but filter it first, using your own bottle, to make sure it’s clean and pure.
GRAYL ultralight water purifier is lightweight , fast and easy to use and comes in different colours.
Find out more about buying a water purifier bottle.
A waterproof case for your mobile phone
This little case will give you more flexibility when you travel.
There are too many situations where your phone could get wet or even fall into the water – Going sailing on a boat, kayaking, snorkelling etc.
It will protect your phone from getting wet and will hardly take up any space in your bag.
Make sure you buy a waterproof case that will also let you take pictures with your phone while it’s inside the case, like the affordable Mpow Universal Waterproof Case , which gives you access to the touch screen and camera.
You can use the same case to protect other valuables from water damage, like your cash or credit cards etc.
A portable sink
When you need to wash your clothes or dishes while camping outdoors, the travel gadget you need is a portable sink.
It’s got a clever design, made of waterproof fabric.
It is flat and packs away easily, being a collapsible sink, but when you fill it up with water, it will stand on its own.
The portable sink comes in different sizes, so you can decide which one to buy according to your needs – the larger one is good for laundry and the smaller one for dish washing .
Quick dry towel
This is an essential item on any backpacker’s packing list.
If you pack a regular towel, it will take too long to dry (you might even have to carry it when it’s damp sometimes…), add way too much weight to your luggage and will take up too much space as well.
The alternative is a compact, lightweight, quick dry towel that folds down easily. These camping towels are made of microfiber and dry very quickly.
I’ve been using quick dry towels for years and always have one in my backpack. They come in different colours and sizes –have a look here to pick one – and can be used as hand towels, beach towels and anything in between.
I use my noise-isolating earphones daily, listening to music and podcasts, but they become an even more essential gadget when you need some peace and quiet.
Their most obvious use is on flights with crying babies or screaming children. You’ll be very grateful you have them with you.
I’ve also used them on buses and at noisy hostels. I even used them at a music gig once when I couldn’t find my earplugs.
The model I have and recommend is Creative Outlier One, which I found after some rigorous online research and I’m very happy with it, in terms of sound quality, noise isolation and value for money.
Those are Bluetooth earphones, however, and if you prefer wired ones that you can plug into the headphone jack on your phone, have a look at Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones.
Hidden pockets in your undergarments
Pickpockets are sophisticated, but if they start reaching for people’s private parts, they are more than likely to be noticed.
That’s why undergarments can be the best place to hide small valuables. How do you hide things in your undergarments? Inside hidden pockets of course 🙂
SCOTTeVES make clever men’s underwear with hidden pockets – check them out here – where you can hide your small items like your credit card, keys and the like. Couldn’t find the same for women, do let me know if you find any.
Foldable water bottle
This is one of the items on this list you’ll probably use every single day.
I’ve been using them for years and find them extremely handy!
A folding water bottle can fold flat when empty. It takes minimal space in your day bag and is so lightweight you won’t even notice it’s there.
Folding bottles normally come with a clip, so you can attach them to your bag when hiking or walking.
I recommend you get a 1L foldable bottle that’s not too big and not too small. Fill it up when you need to and fold it flat when you don’t use it. It can even fit inside your pocket when folded.
I also use them back home when I’m not travelling, to avoid buying bottled water.
Solar-Powered Inflatable Light
This is such a great invention… the kind of gadget that’s so simple and so clever at the same time.
LuminAID is an inflatable light that gives you up to 16 hours of LED light when charged.
The charging is solar – it has a built-in solar panel, so it’s useful when you go backpacking or camping in places where there’s enough sunlight. Just attach it to your backpack when you’re hiking and it will charge the battery.
It’s an inflatable light, so it’s lightweight and portable.
You can use it for safety when camping, as a lamp inside your tent, and it can even provide enough light for reading.
A solar charger
An essential travel gadget when backpacking, and an eco-friendly one as well.
Take a portable solar charger with you to charge your phone, camera and other devices.
As long as you’re in a place with enough sunlight, you can rely on a solar charger and avoid using batteries.
Ideally, pick a solar charger that is lightweight and capable of charging two devices at the same time.
Portable safe bag
You want to hide any valuables, travel gadgets, electronics, gear and important documents while you’re travelling.
One way to do that is with a bag that’s actually a safe.
It looks like a canvas bag, but it is made of stainless steel wire mesh embedded into the fabric and includes a combination lock.
You can use it while backpacking and also on city breaks or in destinations where you’re not sure whether you can leave your valuables in the room.
Hotel safes and hostel lockers are not always the safest places to keep your expensive gear. Staff members may be able to open them and you need some extra safety measures.
A clever compact tripod
It’s very annoying to come home and discover some of your holiday photos turned out blurry.
A tripod for your camera keeps your camera stable and lets you take good pictures and selfies, even during sunset and after dark.
However, a tripod is way to big to carry around if you want to travel light.
The GorillaPod provides an easy solution: A mini tripod: It’s a lightweight tripod that will not take up to much space, and will help you get great, sharp pictures.
It’s strong and durable, easy to set up and will cleverly provide stability on different types of surfaces, including uneven terrain.
Hanging toiletry bag
When you go camping or when you don’t know what the bathroom you’re going to use will be like, a hanging toiletry bag is your friend!
This is a simple gadget, but it’s ever so useful when you travel. It’s made to be super functional.
A hanging toiletry bag lets you organise your toiletries in various pockets and hang the bag so you can have access to everything easily.
These bags are strong. I’ve been using one for about a decade now and it still doesn’t show any signs of wear.
Buy your own hanging toiletry bag. They come in different sizes and colours.
A collapsible daypack
Collapsible travel gadgets are incredibly practical things.
A daypack the can fold into a small pouch is one piece of travel gear I always take with me. I just throw it into my backpack in case I need an extra bag.
It packs away so easily and weighs close to nothing, which makes it a perfect gadget for travelling light. It’s ideal for camping and for urban travel alike.
Try Gonex Ultralight Handy Travel Backpack for a high quality foldable bag that comes in different colours and sizes. They are inexpensive and will last you a long time.
This list could go on and on… there really are a lot of clever travel gadgets out there! I picked the ones I found most useful and hope you will too!
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