Wow! Have you seen how many cool travel gadgets for backpackers are on the market right now? If you’re a bit of a geek and love travel, you’re going to love this article on what the best travel gadgets are in the world right now.
I’m sure, if you’re anything like me, that you can’t resist getting your mitts on the latest must-have travelling accessories and backpacking gadgets to help you to travel smarter.
But where do you start to look for the best gadgets for travel? It can be a bit of an Aladdin’s cave, filled with gloriously tantalizing backpacker gadgets. Where on earth do you start?
In this article, I’m going to let you in on 40 of THE BEST travel and backpacking gadgets out there ranging from backpackers’ essentials, cool travel tech and a ton of other great travel gadgets I’m sure you’ll love.
Regardless if you’re a newbie backpacker looking for essential travel gadgets to invest in, or you’re looking for gift inspiration for the best accessories for travel addict friends, there’s 100% going to be some awesome stuff here to check out.
So, grab a brew, or whatever your tipple is, and find out what are the best gadgets for travellers and backpackers are right now and see how many you’ll be taking on your backpacking trip.
What you can expect in this article...
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Top 10 Travel Gadgets for Backpackers - Quick Roundup
Don’t have the time to scroll read the whole article or are only interested in finding out the crème de la crème of best travel gadgets? Then check out these 10 top travel items and backpack gadgets you shouldn’t leave home without.
The 40 best travel accessories and gadgets for travellers
So, it’s time to delve into the best travel accessories and gadgets for travellers. To help navigate through this list, it’s been dived into categories, including tech travel gadgets, best safety travel gadgets and top backpacking gadgets for comfort and organisation.
BEST TECH TRAVEL GADGETS
A lot of the time I choose to travel on a budget because I prefer to spend the money on awesome experiences instead. However, budget accommodation sometimes comes at a metaphorical price – dorm rooms with snorers! And this is why these headphones are one of the best backpacking gadgets out there.
One of the top travel gadgets I invested in after one too many sleepless nights was a pair of noise-cancelling wireless headphones. If you’re wanting to get some precious shut-eye on public transport or flights (they’re pretty good at blocking out the sound of noisy passengers and screaming babies) then these are some of the ultimate travel accessories to add to your packing list.
I’m in love with these Sony WH1000XM3 noise-cancelling wireless headphones, my only regret is why I didn’t get myself a pair sooner!
The DJI Mavic Mini is arguably one of the most cool gadgets for travel especially if you’re looking at getting those beautiful cinematic style shots from a birds-eye view, and not wanting to break the bank.
DJI are renowned for making the top of the range camera and filming equipment, so the Mavic Mini is an absolute steal compared to drones of a similar spec. The design is not only ultralight, weighing in at 250g, it’s also super compact. This travel drone folds up into a compact size, fitting into the palm of your hand and is controlled from your smartphone making this one of the most ideal gadgets for backpackers and anyone who’s travelling.
Note: If you’re intending on using a drone for commercial use (that is, you’re selling the footage), then you’ll need to get yourself a drone licence.
Naturally, you can always just take photos on your mobile, which is fine, if you’re happy with that. However, if you’re looking at blogging or vlogging about your adventures, then you’ll certainly want to invest in a camera that is up to the job. This article here goes into detail about what the best cameras are for bloggers across a range of niches.
- Check out this useful article about the 14 best cameras are on the market right now.
If you don’t want to read the whole article (which I highly recommend you do read if you’re looking at investing in a camera for blogging, whatever your niche), then check out the reviews of the Sony A7C. This is one of the best gadgets for travellers due to it being a robust, versatile and weatherproofed camera, which makes it perfect for a multitude of weather conditions. It also has excellent low-light performance and overall image quality.
Whether you’re planning a round-the-world trip or taking the plunge into full-on digital nomad territory, you’ll quickly realise that a decent laptop is one of the must-have backpacking travel essentials. You need something lightweight, high-spec with decent battery life as well as reliable.
There are essentially two ‘ballparks to choose from; either Windows-based or Apple. After a short dabble with Apple, I realised I’m a ‘Windows’ girl through and through – sorry Apple, I did try!
Both offer a great combination of high spec, decent battery life and lightweight design making them both great tech travel accessories, perfect for backpacking or digital nomadding.
The GoPro series has become synonymous with capturing action sports. Yes, there are cheaper alternatives, but they often don’t come with the huge array of accessories, software and quality build of the real McCoy. GoPro are the industry leaders in action cameras for a reason and always feature somewhere on any list of gadgets for backpackers!
Their miniature size and high-quality footage have made them a firm favourite in the backpacker gadgets market. The latest edition, the GoPro Hero 9 comes with a ton of upgraded features compared to previous models. This includes the outstanding inbuilt image stabilization system.
You won’t find anything better than this on the market right now. Not convinced, you can check out the reviews here!
If you don’t necessarily need the robustness and waterproof capabilities of a full-on action camera, like the GoPro Hero 9 I just mentioned, then certainly worth considering the DJI Pocket 2. If you’ve not ever come across them, then, in short, this is a serious piece of cool travel gear to put on your radar.
This is one of the best gadgets to take travelling and a great alternative in terms of pocket cameras which takes outstanding video footage and photos at super high resolution. What’s more, it’s not called the ‘DJI Pocket 2’ for no reason. It’s tiny!
If you’re not convinced about how good it really is, then you can find out how this little camera ranked as one of the best cameras for bloggers and vloggers in this article here.
I love the story behind this ethical gadget for travel. LuminAid is a women-owned business that started up as a result of needing light and power after the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Since then the Give Life Light programme has distributed more than 200,000 of these lights as part of disaster relief programmes in places like Syria, Nepal and Puerto Rico.
These solar powered lanterns can easily be clipped to your day bag while you’re out exploring. When fully charged they can give up to 12 hours of light as well as a charging function via a USB socket. This is probably the most environmentally friendly, ethically minded portable gadgets on this list.
There are so many potential uses for the LuminAid portable solar charger and lamp, which is why I certainly rank this as one of the best gadgets for backpackers and travellers. The standard solar light comes in white, but they are also available in a colour changing variety.
If you’re big into wildlife experiences, then one of the must-have travel gadgets is a portable monocular telescope.
As the name implies, mono, meaning ‘one’ provide only one lens, compared to a pair of binoculars, which have two lenses. Being only half the size of a standard pair of binoculars makes them substantially more lightweight and portable than their counterpart. This 12x zoom monocular by Gosky, even has an attacment for your smartphone!
Frequently, a lot of the best wildlife destinations involve trekking to remote places, sometimes for a few days. You’ll often have to carry all your belongings with you. This makes a portable monocular one of the most desirable backpacking travel accessories for these situations.
If you’re the outdoorsy type, then the top travel gadgets and gear you’ll want to look at investing in will be an outdoor watch. Depending on what you’re intending on doing you may want combined features such as GPS, an altimeter, compass, a barometer and a heart rate monitor as well as it being fully weather and shockproof. A watch that does all this is a piece of super useful outdoor gear as well as one of the top hiking gadgets out there.
There are a multitude of options available, if you’re a serious hiker and wanting all bells and whistles, then one of the best gadgets for hikers, due to how comprehensive it is, is the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. Check out the spec, there’s not much it doesn’t have.
If you’re the type that enjoys the odd hike, but don’t need anything quite as technical then the Polar Ignite is a great alternative that still gives GPS tracking but is more geared at ‘hobby’ hikers.
Ever wondered how people get those super smooth, professional-looking videos just from their smartphones? We’ll they are probably using some sort of Gimbal.
I love the Zhiyun Smooth 4 which is one of the best smartphone stabilisers on the market. For starters, Zhiyun produces a load of awesome camera accessories and travelling gadgets. What I love about this gimbal compared to others, is that it moves across 3-axis (a lot of gimbals only have 2-axis), plus it comes with a tripod, so you can do those cheesy clips where the camera follows you walking down a street, this is great if you travel solo.
Out of all the travelling gadgets I own, this one made me into an absolute convert to video stabilisation devices. After you try a camera gimbal, you’ll never want to go back to just regular hand-held videos.
A mobile hotspot is one of the best gadgets for traveling abroad, especially if you’re passing through a range of regions. It can be an absolute faff to keep switching SIM cards in and out of your phone, especially if you’re only in the destination for a few days.
There are loads on the market, but this WiFi hotspot by Huawei is both an affordable and reliable option. It even beats some of the pricier and established competitors. It can connect up to 10 devices with approximately 6 hours of battery life when it’s in use. On standby mode, it will last for an insane 300 hours!
Using a mobile hotspot is also a money-saving option if you’re travelling as a couple or family with its capability of connecting multiple devices at once – there’s no need to buy each device a SIM card. Currently, the Huawei WiFi Hotspot works Huawei works on 4G LTE in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa and 3G globally.
BEST FUN TRAVEL GADGETS
This is one of the most seriously cool travel gadgets on this list. If you’re into camping or eco-tourism, you will absolutely love these tree tents by Tentsile. They work by attaching straps to trees and can be suspended above, well anything you have the imagination for.
These tents are not only lightweight and durable but available in a range of sizes, from the single-person tent, up to six people. Not only do Tentsile offer some of the best gear for travel in terms of fun factor, but they are also an ethically driven company.
For each tent purchased, Tentsile plants 20 trees. What’s more, they even pledge to keep their tents at the end of their lives, out of the landfill. Old tents can be sent back for repair and resell under their pre-loved scheme and as a thank you, they send you a 20% off voucher to put towards a new tent. I can’t think of any tent company that offers such an ethically minded approach to business.
If you’re a music fanatic, then one of the best travel tech gadgets that you’re going to love is this mini Bluetooth speaker by JBL. The JBL Charge 4 Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker has the option to be practically indestructible, especially if you opt for the Hard Case to keep it in.
Being water resistant means that it withstands pool parties and long days on the beach. This portable Bluetooth speaker also gives you up to 20 hours of playback time, plus it features a USB output so you don’t have to worry about draining your phone battery. This travel speaker can also be controlled through the JBL Connect+ app.
One of the most versatile solo travel essentials. Backpacking alone can often mean you have to forfeit getting some great pictures of yourself in various locations. Unless, you trust someone else to take your photo (which from experience is usually an epic fail) or your hire a photographer, which can be expensive.
A travel tripod is great, however, most of the time, I’ve found that a Gorilla Pod is better. Joby makes the best ones, however, there are loads of cheaper alternatives. Don’t be swooned by these though, I did this, and it wasn’t even strong enough to support my camera, let alone wrap its legs around anything.
Joby Gorilla Pods come in a variety of sizes, which are listed by weight. If you’re using a compact camera, the 1kg one will be more than adequate, however, if you use a DSRR, weigh your camera with the heaviest lens before ordering to make sure it supports the weight securely.
Hands up, who likes the feeling of scratchy sand stuck to your sunscreen. Yeah, I didn’t think so. If you’re headed to a destination where you’ll be hitting the beach, then say bye-bye to sandy sunbathing and check out these sand-less beach mats.
They come in a range of sizes and vibrant colours and patterns. They have been an absolute hit as one of the best backpack travel accessories right now. No more looking like a freshly sugared doughnut!
If you don’t need the full functions of a laptop while you’re away but you still can’t resist travel gadgets, Amazon Kindle Fire 7 could the solution to your needs. It’s perfect for watching movies, listening to music, reading books or magazines as well as searching for travel information through Alexa.
The Fire 7 is the best-selling tablet that features a 7” screen and up to 32GB of storage. If you’re looking for an all-in-one highly portable entertainment, then this is one of the best tech gadgets for travel.
It features millions of movies and TV episodes, plus games, apps and e-books. Not to mention millions of songs, perfect for creating epic road-trip soundtracks. This is a great option if you’re either an Amazon Prime or Netflix member, due to the instant streaming and downloading for offline viewing.
If you’re a bit of a social media junkie, then you’ll absolutely adore these video specs. They certainly top the list as one of the most fun travel accessories out there.
The Snapchat Spectacles are water-resistant, so they’re perfect for using on the beach, in the snow, chasing waterfalls and even under shallow water. Not only do they take photos, but record in HD video.
They are perfect for capturing photos and videos in the first-person view, it’s like they will be travelling through your eyes. The glasses connect wirelessly to your mobile, which makes it super easy to upload your amazing footage across your social media platforms. This is one of the coolest gadgets for travellers and backpackers in love with social media.
Not the most exciting of gadgets for travelling abroad, but certainly useful. A smartphone hook will allow you to hang your device from the back of a chair on an aeroplane or coach, for hands-free viewing.
I love these sand imprint flip-flops/ thongs, which are perfect for capturing fun moments, especially if you’re travelling with friends. These are a hit with people who want to add a bit of fun to their vacation. They would make for some seriously cool travel accessories for anyone on a stag and hen party.
On the sole of the shoe, you can opt for either a pre-printed message or choose a customised design.
BEST SAFETY TRAVEL GADGETS
One very real negative with travel is the potential for pick-pockets. No one sets out to be the victim of pickpocketing, however, the reality is that it does happen. If you’re anxious about keeping your valuables safe, then it’s certainly worthwhile investing in one of these cool gadget backpacks that are not only going to charge your stuff, but being an anti-theft backpack, it will also help to keep your belongings safe.
Here are two options to consider. If you want to charge your electronics as you travel, then an anti-theft USB backpack for gadgets is certainly worth looking into. Alternately, this faux leather anti-theft backpack is great for weekend city trips.
The reason why these are two are shortlisted as the best backpack for gadgets, is that they come with a range of safety features including hidden pockets and zippers to the main section, that you can only be accessed when you take the bag off as well lots of internal hidden compartments, they are essentially just cool gadget bags that I wish would become the standard in theft-proof bag design…one day, perhaps.
This is a great piece of backpacking technology if the idea of losing your luggage or belongings during your trip sends chills down your spine, then you’ll love these cool backpacking gadgets called Tile Trackers. They are a small tile shaped keyring that you attach somewhere on your belongings, such as bags, keys, electronic devices, or you could put this inside a pocket of your backpack.
They work by directly attaching the Bluetooth enabled device and linking them to the free Tile app, so you know exactly where your stuff is. The app is available on iOS, Android or Windows, if you’re in close vicinity of your misplaced items to can ring your Tile; think about how many times do you put your keys down somewhere, and then forget where you left them?
If you’re outside of Bluetooth range, then use the Tile app to find out your Tile’s most recent location or even enlist the secure and anonymous help of the Tile Network to aid in your search.
Similar to the Tile Tracker mentioned before, is a device called Trackimo to keep tabs on locations of your stuff. This is a piece of great tech gear to bring backpacking, especially as you can attach it to yourself if you’re going hiking or exploring middle-of-nowhere places by yourself. This makes it one of the most cool gadgets for travellers who love to go it alone
The Trackimo is a smart GPS/GSM/Wi-Fi tracker you can use to help keep your valuables safe, it also alerts you of troubles.
The great thing about Trackimo is that it works worldwide, both indoors and outdoors, this is one of the best trekking gadgets, especially if you’re going hiking alone.
So, I’ve always travelled with a powerful pocket torch. Trust me, the torch on your phone works perfectly fine for fumbling about in the dark to unlock a door, but they aren’t that great for things like night hiking to climb a mountain to catch the sunrise, or jungle trekking to spot nocturnal creatures. This is one of the best accessories for backpacking if you’re planning on doing any of these activities.
I recently upgraded my handheld pocket torch for a headlamp instead. This is one of the best gadgets for travellers who intend on doing a lot of activities in the dark, like night hiking. The reason I love the super intense Storm 400 by Black Diamond which features robust waterproof and dustproof housing and an incredible 400 lumens light power. It allows me to be hands-free, so I can focus on walking, climbing or taking photos without juggling a handheld torch.
One of the most useful travel gadgets, which is also great for the environment, is a water filtration system. Although it doesn’t always taste great, we take it for granted in the western world that we can pretty much drink tap water wherever we want without getting sick. A filtration bottle really is one of a backpackers must-have items.
This water bottle from Lifestraw filters out all the nasty stuff that would make you ill. They not only protect against bacteria and parasites that might be present in the water, but they also filter out microplastics, chlorine, organic chemical matter as well as silt, sand, cloudiness.
What’s more, they sell replacement filters, so your filter bottle could potentially last you a lifetime. Lifestraw is also an ethically focused company, not only doing good for the environment, but with every purchase, they provide a child with safe drinking water for a year. Have travel friends, and are not sure what to get them, the Lifestraw bottles make the perfect travel gadget gifts for eco-conscious friends.
Unless you’ve lived in a cave in recent times, you’ll know that hygiene is a huge consideration everywhere right now, and for the foreseeable future, it’s not going to change.
To help combat contamination, one of the best travel gadgets for backpackers right now is a personal hand-held UV sanitizer. These USB portable designs can eliminate up to 99% of germs in a minute.
If you’re going off-grid at any point, for example hiking in a national park, then it’s certainly worthwhile looking into some sort of off-grid communication system. The goTenna Mesh can be either be paired with a phone or integrated into any other device. The unique goTenna’s mobile mesh networks enable you to communicate even when the cell, WiFi, and satellite are unavailable.
The goTenna Mesh device is a travelling essentials for backpackers who love to explore off-the-beaten-track places. You can share real-time locations as well as send private or group messages to other goTenna Mesh users up to 4 miles away. Think of it like a much more reliable walkie-talkie!
In the words of Inspector Gadget, ‘Go gadget go! I think he’d even be impressed with this take on the classic Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox, this is the ultimate in multifunctional gadgets.
These credit card-sized ultralight backpacking gadgets feature a multitude of tools that have been dubbed the ‘Swiss Card‘ and like the old-style Swiss army knife, they feature tools like scissors, a ballpoint pen, tweezers as well as an LED light.
This is one of the best gadgets for travelling because it offers so much versatility in a tiny little tool. Just make sure to pack this in your main cabin luggage if you’re flying so it doesn’t get confiscated.
BEST Comfort & Organisation TRAVEL GADGETS
If you’re intending on a trip longer than a couple of weeks, you’re probably going to need to do some washing, at some point. In cities, it’s easy to drop your stuff into a laundrette, but it’s not so easy if you’re constantly on the road, or in off the beaten track places.
These super lightweight, eco friendly portable clothes washers by Scrubba are one of the best travel gadgets for backpackers in this situation. Their compact and lightweight design makes them highly portable.
I don’t know about you, but I’m an absolute caffeine addict (I know…I’m working on it!) I can’t start the day without a decent cup of coffee. My typical morning routine involves a strong brew.
Depending on your coffee preference, long or short, there is a wide range of useful gadgets for travelling coffee addicts.
Two of the better ones are the Wacaco Minipresso if you like your coffee short and strong, this creates your favourite espresso using their unique hand-powered portable coffee making device. Alternatively, if you prefer a longer coffee, then this insulated Travel Mug French Press by iconic coffee brand, Bodum, is a great alternative, which comes with a stainless steel body and spill-proof lid, great for if you’re on a road trip!
Life’s too short to drink bad coffee.
Hands up, who’s always cold? Yeah, that’ll be me. Despite having grown up in northern Europe, I have never been able to cope in the cold winters. One of the best travel accessories for Europe, especially in winter is Thermal Shoe Insoles, like these from USB charging ones.
Say bye-bye to chilly toes, and keep your feet nice and toasty while you’re out enjoying travel during the winter. If you’re heading to cooler climes, then these are the best travel gear for Europe, North America or Canada during the winter if you suffer from your extremities getting painfully cold.
Unless you’re uploading everything to cloud storage daily, have you ever worried about losing your precious photos or videos if your phone or camera got broke or was stolen. I experienced this recently when my phone just suddenly died, I tried everything to get the images off but with no luck. I was gutted as I was lazy and didn’t back up my stuff.
I’ve learnt my mistake, albeit the hard way, so now am religiously backing up my stuff on a portable USB storage. External backup is one of the top essentials for backpackers who are on long term travel, and a way of ensuring you don’t lose your precious memories stored on your device.
If you’re travelling outside your home country, then one of the most essential travel gadgets you’ll need to pack is a travel adapter plug. If you’re heading to just a single destination, then you could just purchase the type that you need, however, if you’re doing a ton of travel across different regions, then it could be easier to get a worldwide travel adapter like this.
Super dinky in size, but one of the handiest travel gadgets and accessories to pack, is a luggage scale. Especially if you’ve picked up souvenirs along the way. It’s certainly worthwhile packing a luggage scale to weigh your luggage with BEFORE you set off for the airport, which is where you’ll be faced with crazy inflated fees for going you’re your weight allowance. It’s better to know before you arrive, and even if you can’t get your luggage below the accepted weight, at least purchasing online before you get to the airport is a bit cheaper.
If you’re travelling with a lot of electronics, you’ll want to protect your precious, expensive travel tech gadgets from voltage fluctuations, swells and spikes by using a surge protector. It can also be worthwhile using a surge protector if you know you’ll be travelling through a stormy destination where power surges can play havoc with electronics.
Have you ever fallen asleep on a plane or bus, and woken up with a stiff neck? Yeah, thought so. Sure, lots of airlines give you something they call a ‘pillow’ but they are a million miles from being comfortable. Ostrich Pillow has developed a whole range of amazing travel accessories, aimed purely at travel and sleeping.
Their ergonomically designed pillows with their supportive memory foam core, cradle your head and neck perfectly. Another reason why they should be one of a backpacker’s essential items is that they are super compact. The memory foam compresses to 60% of its size when stored in the included travel bag, making it perfect to pop into your carry-on luggage.
They are also an ethically minded company, who offset the carbon cost of anything customers buy from their store.
Thankfully, most things now are rechargeable, however, you might still have some old-fashioned travel essentials. Gadgets that run on batteries not only are expensive to power but aren’t great for the environment. Save money and protect the planet by using rechargeable batteries instead.
So, the idea of a gadget is that it makes life easier. Although not the coolest travel gadgets on the list, the reason why packing cubes made it onto the list is that they revolutionised the way I travel. So much so that I cannot live without my packing cubes now, I even use them for storage when I’m not travelling.
These handy little bags help to keep everything organised, so no more rummaging around your backpack trying to find a t-shirt, that most likely is like a crumpled up rag in the bottom. In addition to the organisation benefits, packing cubes also compress your clothes, so you can pack more efficiently!
They are a firm favourite of backpackers and when asked, always come out as one of the most top-rated travel accessories out there. Don’t believe me? Try them out and I promise you’ll struggle to see how you managed for so long without them.
Depending on your travel style, crumpled up clothing is a bit of a signature trademark of a backpacker. However, you can stand out, for all the wrong reasons, if you’re wanting to head out to a fancy bar or restaurant.
A compact travel steam iron should be on every backpacker’s must-have items list if you’re combining work or conferences with travel and you need to turn up dressed in something reasonably formal. I’ve used hostel irons before and instantly regretted it as it left dirty patches all over my clean, mustard yellow trousers while I was travelling and attending conferences. It was then I wished I had my own travel iron.
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