Looking for the best travel gadgets for backpackers?! Have no fear traveler. I put together a list of the most useful and essential travel gadgets out there.
Finding the best gadgets for backpacking isn’t always as obvious as you’d think it should be. You don’t realize you need these travel items and travel accessories until you find yourself in a situation where one of these backpacker gadgets would be much needed.
Traveling is my passion and I’ve spent many months and years roaming the globe on a backpacker budget. Through my years of travel, I’ve learned how to pack or should I say what not to pack as my bag becomes lighter and lighter after every trip. I’ve learned that you don’t need much to backpack through Southeast Asia but you do need the backpacking essentials.
All the travel accessories for backpackers that I have listed below will be useful whether you’re backpacking Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America or even Hawaii. Here are the best gadgets for backpacking and p.s. they make for great stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts.
The best travel gadgets for backpackers
*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post including Amazon that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling, coffee ☕️ and let's be real...probably wine 🍷. I thank you in advance.
Gadgets for Backpackers Checklist
Travel Backpack – Osprey Backpack
Before we dive into all the best travel gadgets for backpackers having a sturdy, functional pack is a must. I have had many travel backpacks in my day but by far the best backpacking pack has to be the Osprey Fairview and for so many reasons.
The Osprey Fairview is small enough that it meets most airline carry on requirements, opens from the front and has a zip-off daypack. The day pack is my favorite feature. It is large enough that it fits my laptop, external hard drive, wallet/passport, charging cords, pashmina, socks and even snacks. (My boyfriend carries the camera so that also saves space but we have lots of camera gear.)
This makes the actual act of traveling easier. I wear the day pack with all of my important items on my back and I carry the main pack as a duffle bag because the straps can get zipped away. Plus the day pack doubles as my hiking bag which carries all my hiking essentials.
Power Bank Charger
Backpacking and long, uncomfortable bus rides go hand in hand. A power bank charger will be a savior because backpacking through a foreign country will leave you sitting in sum rural places that won’t have outlets. You will want your phone charged to keep you entertained.
This power bank can charge your cell for 5 or 6 times before it would run out of juice. Keep your devices charged so you don’t miss out of capturing the moment.
Charging Cords Organizing Case
I’m sure you’re all too familiar with having a gazillion charging cords, I mean you need them for everything now a day’s. Having a case to keep your charging cords detangled and organized is necessary especially when you are backpacking. It’s easy to have all your cords in the same place so you’re not rifling around in your bag. This travel gadget is waterproof and can hold all your chargers, an external hard drive, extra batteries and more.
Keep your cords untangled and organized in a nifty zip up pouch. No more wasting time trying to find the right cord for the right device. These are the best travel gadgets for backpackers, it keeps you organized, its compact and useful.
This has to be one of the best travel gadgets for backpackers and all travelers in general. I don’t know why more people don’t know about packing cubes. Packing cubes are simply amazing! They keep your clothes organized, pressed and folded.
The compression packing cubes have a double zipper making them even smaller in size. Packing cubes work great in luggage but also with backpacks, especially if that backpack opens just from the top. Packing has never been easier!
A toiletry bag is one of the best gadgets for backpacking because of one thing…communal showers. No more zip lock bags or whatever it is that you were using before.
This toiletry bag has a hook and you can hang it on the back of the shower door. There is a small pouch that zips off that is perfect for makeup as well as three large clear zippered compartments. Don’t forget to pack your reef safe face sunscreen and all your neccassary toiletries.
Leakproof Toiletry Bottles
Every open up your backpack just to see that your shampoo exploded all over the inside?! Transferring your liquid toiletries from the big bottles into these leakproof toiletry bottles will prevent leaks or spills.
They are also small enough to be TSA approved if you are carrying on your backpack. These bottles work great for shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, hand sanitizer, body wash and more.
Backpacking around the world means that you will be visiting different countries that have different power outlets. Having a universal adapter makes it possible to charge all of your devices without having to buy separate adapters for each separate country.
This universal adapter is compatible with over 150 countries including popular backpacking spots like Europe and Southeast Asia. Plus it has 4 USB ports making it easy to charge multiple devices at once.
Collapsible Water Bottle
The first time I backpacked Southeast Asia in 2008 I remember a night in Cambodia after I’ve been partying on Pub Street in Siem Reap and once back at my hostel I didn’t have water. No stores were open for me to buy water and drinking tap water from the sink wasn’t an option as the tap water isn’t safe to drink.
From that day forward I never traveled without a water bottle (and kept it filled) so I could always have water on hand and not have to have another waterless night.
A collapsible water bottle is the perfect travel companion. It’s easy to travel with especially in airports as you can roll it up to conserve space making it easy to carry in your carry on and unroll once your out of security to fill it up inside the airport.
This way you’ll always have water on hand on the plane, train, bus or whatever type of transportation you are taking. It can easily attach to your bag for easy access, it is leak and spill proof and has a wide mouth easy for cleaning. It can also hold hot or cold drinks.
This is also beneficial when you are traveling and still want to get a workout in. Check out these 10 ways to stay in shape while on the road.
Luggage locks are one of the best travel accessories for backpackers and are a necessity especially if you stay hostels or some sort of shared housing. You want to make sure that your backpack is secure and locked when you are out all day exploring. A luggage lock also come in handy when you store your bags behind a hotel desk after you’ve checked out if you have a later flight and want to explore some of the morning.
Get a luggage lock that uses a combination instead of a key so you don’t have to ever worry about loosing or having the key on you at all times. These are some of the best travel locks for backpackers. You can get a 4 pack of TSA approved luggage locks for under $20.
I’ve backpacked Southeast Asia on several times and my headlamp came in handy on more occasions than I can count. A headlamp is perfect for camping, hiking up a volcano in the dark to watch sunrise, trying to pack your bag in the dark in a hostel…you get the point.
A headlamp will be a life savor and it takes up little room in your bag. Whatever you do, don’t forget batteries! Most headlamps take AAA.
These bluetooth Bose headphones are definitely an investment but worth every penny. They completely cancel out all the noise around you. Pair this with the sleep mask and you’ll be out like a light.
I first wore these on a flight I was upgraded to first class on and I became an immediate fan and had to get a pair for myself. I have sensitive ears and I wore these the entire flight. They are comfortable around your ears, bluetooth and have Alexa built in. This belongs on your Christmas list.
Cell Phone Ring Kickstand
This travel gadget is not only useful for a backpacker but it’s just useful in every day life. The ring is attached to the back of your cell phone or case. The cell phone ring is designed for a good finger grip which is perfect for traveling on a busy subway in China or on a crowded bus which prevents the phone from slipping from your hands.
The ring can also be propped out making it a kickstand useful to watch Netflix on your phone once placed on a table or desk. You can also clip your phone to a carabiner on your backpack if you need to fill out forms or use both hands but still want your phone to be in site and on your person.
The uses of a pashmina are endless. I always carry one with me when I travel, whether its on a plane, a bus, a boat, a train…well you get the idea. You never know when you will need to use it as a blanket. I always get so cold on airplanes and it also doubles as a pillow.
I will never forget one of the worst bus rides overnight through Myanmar, I was so cold my whole entire body was sore from shivering all night. It was from this day forward that I vowed to never travel without a pashmina again.
Travel Door Alarm
This is one of the coolest travel gadgets out there and traveling with a door alarm always gives you extra peace of mind. If you stay in a lot of Airbnb’s or hotels this is a must in my opinion especially if you’re a solo female traveler.
This travel door alarm is easy to use and set up. Slide the piece with the two blades by holding them together and place them into the crack between the door and doorframe. The other part connected by the cord loops around the door handle. Once you are done, set the alarm and voila!
This alarm is compact and portable and weighs less than 2 ounces. It can be used on a front door in an airbnb, a bedroom, hotel room and even in windows. The alarm when triggered sounds of a loud and attention grabbing high pitched sound that is loud enough to alert your neighbors, wake you from your sleep and/or deter thieves.
This travel item also has a built in LED flashlight which provides an additional security feature perfect when traveling, when you’re in an unfamiliar environment and when it’s dark.
Portable Speaker Bose
Okay so this travel gadget isn’t a travel essential but more of a luxury because you never know when you might have to break into an impromptu dance party and having a portable speaker on hand only amplifies the experience.
This speaker is small, portable and can fit in your day pack or carry on luggage. I always travel with a portable Bose speaker and use it when I’m getting ready in your hotel room, to watch Netflix, while I’m hiking, camping, you name it – I use it. The speaker is water proof, has a battery life of 12 hours and has a wireless range of 30 feet. This backpacking gadget is a luxury but worth the splurge.
You never know when a sleep mask will come in handy, especially as a backpacker. If you are on a budget and renting a bed in a hostel you will have less privacy and it may be difficult to fall asleep. Having a sleep mask is necessary as you can’t always control the lights of your bunk mate.
A sleep mask blocks out all of the light around you creating an optimal sleep environment. A sleep mask is also very useful on the plane and it doesn’t take up much room in your backpack. Spring for one made of memory foam.
Utility credit card
You never know when you could possibly get into a jam. A utility credit card that easily slides and fits into your wallet is the solution. This utility credit card is a multifunctional tool that can be a wrench, bottle opener, screwdriver, prybar, cord cutter, measuring & drafting tool, camping can opener and more.
An portable umbrella is one of the most essential travel gadgets for backpackers because on a backpacker budget you don’t want to spend the money to buy one as needed and it’s nice to have when you get caught in a down pour..,yes that happens especially if you backpack through Southeast Asia during monsoon season.
This umbrella is ultra light and mini sized making it easy to carry around anywhere. It comes in multiple colors. I promise you’ll be happy you packed one.
Handheld rechargeable Fan for the Iphone
You think this is a silly travel gadget until your stuck on a 12 hour bus ride from Laos to Cambodia with no A/C and a sweaty guy next to you who hasn’t showered in weeks. Being able to plug a handheld fan into your cell phone to cool yourself off is wonderful.
The small fan doesn’t eat a lot of your battery. It is pocket-size, lightweight making it easy to carry and use anywhere when traveling.
You should never travel without a rain jacket. Rain is common many places that you travel too including backpacker hot spots like Costa Rica, England or the Philippines. Having a shell that’s lightweight and compact makes it easy to carry around.
I always have a rain jacket/shell in my day pack when I’m hiking, camping or backpacking…at least with my rain jacket I can keep my camera gear dry which is always very important.
This Northface rain jacket is all of the above and a perfect addition to any backpacking essentials list. Stay dry rain or shine.