Ahoy amigos! It’s that time of the year once more – the time to treat your favourite traveller to something special… The only problem? You’re not quite sure what are good gifts for backpackers.
Will they like it?
Will they need it?
Will it save their life when they come face to face with angry bears, difficult treks or Delhi belly?
What on earth is a good travelling gift for someone who is always on the road, scrambling up mountains, partying in Thailand and lazing upon palm fringed beaches?
Well, probably not a flat screen TV…
Luckily, there are a ton of great gifts for people who travel a lot so I’ve popped together a list of some of the best things in my backpack, thirty five of the best gifts for backpackers…
The 45 Best gifts for backpackers
1. Active Roots Parachute Hammock
Hammocks make an excellent gift for travellers, campers, hikers and outdoorsy folks who want to watch the stars and save some money on accommodation costs, whilst they drift off. Hammocks are sexy, lightweight, fun to sleep in and offer you a ton of options for where to spend the night. There’s a lot of portable hammock options out there but if you don’t want to spend so much, I recommend getting a parachute hammock; they are super light, strong and durable. Active Roots hammocks are some of the best value parachute hammocks on the market and 10% of Active Root’s profits go towards supporting noble causes such as the Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai.
Yes, the backpacker in your life probably needs some sort of backpack. We don’t recommend just any old backpack though – the Nomatic Travel Bag is the absolutely best piece of kit we’ve found on the market. We’ve been testing it for years now (not because we have to, we actually travel with it on every trip)! This bag is perfect for the minimalist backpacker who wants to fit all their travel necessities in a sleek carryon. You can read more of our thoughts in the full review.
We may as well get this one out of the way, too. We know there isn’t just one backpack to fit everyone’s travel style, so we recommend the Tortuga Outbreaker as a stylish carryon, ideally to accompany a larger bag for those who travel a little heavier, or frequent cold destinations. Its organization is impeccable and functions well enough as a stand-alone bag if you only need a few changes of clothes at a time. We’ve written a lot more about this bag in the full review.
Sometimes there’s no internet to record our stories online, and some memories we just want to keep to ourselves. I always travel with a journal; recently I’ve become addicted to the wonderful world of Bullet-journalling; it helps me stay focused, organise my thoughts and keep track of the experiences I have had on the road.
5. Water Bottle
Water bottle: Every backpacker should hit the road with a water bottle – it’ll save you money and help reduce your plastic footprint on our amazing planet. For every Active Roots water bottle sold, we donate 10% to PlasticOceans.org – an awesome initiative aimed at educating people on the risk of single use plastic and helping to clean up our oceans. Active Roots 25 OZ Travel Bottles are tough, lightweight and maintain the temperature of your beverage – so you can enjoy a cold red bull, or a hot coffee, no matter where you are.
This is a hat with a difference! Guaranteed to make you the life of the party, for reals, this hat is seriously cool… Visit the Active Roots site and pick yourself up a hat today! A percentage of all sales goes towards supporting the endangered Asian elephant in Laos 🙂
Hand’s down, this is a must-have for any nomad, backpacker, hiker, adventurer or regular traveller. You can conceal up to twenty folded notes inside the zipped inner-facing part of the security belt and, since the belt clasp is not metal, you can wear this belt through an airport scanner without setting it off. This is my favourite travel accessory and is vital for keeping my cash and Rizla papers safe when I am backpacking. I never travel without it. Buy it for the adventurer in your life and they are sure to be pretty stoked that they have the perfect way to hide their emergency money.
8. Head Torch
I never travel without a head torch. Whether you are drunkenly rolling around your tent, descending into the depths of the earth or simply walking home in the dark, every backpacker should have a torch and this makes a great gift for travellers. Petzl makes some of the best head torches in the business; the Petzel Tikka is my favourite as it has a red light setting meaning you can use it without insects being attracted to your forehead. One of the greatest gifts for backpackers who love adventure.
This lightweight, waterproof, super compact pocket blanket is a must for all adventures. Doubling up as an emergency poncho, this picnic blanket is worth its weight in gold when chilling, or camping, on the beach. I always travel with one and recently was camping out under the stars in Iran on this very blanket. It comes with a carabiner, a secret zipped pocket where you can hide stuff and pocket loops which you can weigh down using stones.
The ultimate in adventure sunnies, these sunglasses are pretty much bulletproof and are very affordable. Best of all, you can design your own pair online out of thousands of possible combinations making these ones of the best gifts for backpackers around! Want more info, check out our in-depth review on these epic sunglasses.
11. Scratch Map
What’s cooler than a map? A scratch map is an ideal gift for backpackers who have just returned from their adventures and want to keep track of where they have been in the world… It can also do wonders for post travel blues.
12. Vango Sabre Tent
The gold-standard of affordable adventure tents comes from Vango; If you have somebody you truly god-damn love and want to splash out on this is a great gift for travellers in your life. This a two people tent with a part mesh inner door for better ventilation. Perfect if you feel claustrophobic in tents and it keeps the bugs out. Check out this post on the best tents to take backpacking for more inspiration.
Slip into your adventure in style with these bohemian elephant pants, suitable for raves, yoga, chilling out on the beach and endless Instagram selfies. Best of all, a percentage of all sales goes towards supporting the endangered Asian elephant at the Laos conservation centre! 🙂
For travellers who think they are the next James Bond, this is a fun gift that can add a little class and grace to even the most bedraggled of backpackers!
Whenever you are hitting the road, pack a microfibre towel for the journey. No matter if you are camping, hitching or partying hard, you should always have a super fast drying towel to keep you clean on the road. The Active Roots microfibre travel towel is one of the best value towels around, comes in multiple funky colours and, best of all, a percentage of all profits made by Active Roots go back to noble causes such as supporting Luang Prabang’s elephant sanctuary.
A great gift for travellers who tend to head off into the wilds, I’ve had mine for nearly ten years now and it has never broken; it’s a strong piece of kit built to last and if I had to take just one thing with me to a desert island, it would be this. The carabiner belt clip doubles up as a bottle opener which is endlessly cool.
Any backpacker will tell you that we can be a pretty spontaneous lot. But as broke backpackers, you need to have at least some of your shit sorted before you hit the road. If you’re pressed on time, the best way to explore a city is with the help of some experts. Marco Polo are my go-to guidebook when I rock up in a city and have just a couple of days to get to grips with everything to do. Packed to bursting with practical info, travel tips, culture notes and plenty of lesser known attractions, this is the guide you want to pack.
If you’re keen to up your photo game but don’t want to splash out on (or carry around!) a massive camera, I strongly recommend Pixter Camera lenses – I’ve been messing around with mine for a couple of months now and they have turned my average photos into something a lot more special. I recommend the super fisheye lens. The best thing about these camera lenses, they are surprisingly affordable!
19. Bose Headphones
For backpackers who love their music, a decent pair of headphones can make a world of difference when travelling the world. It’s time to toss your cheap pair of shitty headphones out and rock to something with a much clearer sound… The Bose Sound support headphones pack a hell of a punch for the price.
We haven’t tried this out yet so it’s hard to say if it’s as good as it looks but holy shit! – A fingerprint padlock?! The future is here! Supposedly, once fully charged, the padlock can be used for up to two years and perform 30,000 unlocks… That’s a ton of unlocks. This is a product which every drunken backpacker will want at some point on their adventures….
Nine years of travel tested tips, tricks and know-how! Everything you need to know to ditch your desk, hit the road and earn money as you travel around the world. Actionable advice and steps on planning, finances, where to go, making friends, staying safe, picking up work and building an online income – this is the bible for long term travel.
22. Travel Guitar
Travel guitars have come a looong way in recent years. They used to be flimsy, unreliable, or very expensive. Now things have changed for the better, as the best travel guitars are well built, sound great and are super affordable (by guitar standards). Believe me, this is the best gift you could ever get for a traveling musician. Our highest recommendation for a travel guitar is the Martin Travel Guitar (pictured above), but if you are looking for some more music inspiration, check out our awesome guide to the top travel guitars.
I spend a lot of time in the Pakistani mountains, No matter how many gadgets you have to keep you entertained on that 14 hour bus ride, they are all rendered useless as soon as their batteries die. Thankfully, there are super lightweight, compact, and powerful as hell external batteries out there. This one even has three USB slots meaning you can charge three things at once, I usually travel with a couple of portable batteries… They also make a truly excellent gift for people you may meet living in the mountains. This one even comes with a waterproof pouch! A must have in any backpacker’s checklist.
I am somewhat obsessed with Buffs, having a collection of half a dozen. It’s always worth having one on your wrist; I use them to cover tattoos from the sun and keep my mouth covered from dust when in smoggy Asian cities…
If you’re looking to inspire and educate your backpacking friends on why they should hit the road in the first place, check out Mike Huxley’s book on twenty reasons to backpack around the world.
Look, at the end of the day – a tent makes a cracking gift for backpackers who hitchhike or like to travel in a remote area, buy them any of the above and they should be happy. This is one of the best budget tents on the market.
It pretty much goes without saying that any budget traveller would die for a GoPro, even if they already have a camera. For those rather accident prone travellers, a durable and waterproof camera is pretty much the best backpacker gift ever. You can pick up GoPros relatively cheap if you simply avoid buying the latest model.
GoPro a bit too expensive? Check out our bargain guide to the best GoPro Alternatives.
28. Portable Speaker
Powerful, lightweight, water resistant and inexpensive, this little guy is amazing for sharing tunes with new friends from around the world. A great gift idea for men who travel.
This wonderful, lightweight gadget is an absolute godsend for travellers. Chargeable by USB, it has the power to sterilise one litre of water in a mere 90 seconds. It even smiles at you when your water is ready to drink – a great gift for backpackers who hike a lot.
The best part about this stove is it is absolutely TINY! Worried your backpacker pal isn’t getting enough nourishment on the road? Get them this so they can cook no matter what random places they wind up at. I’ve cooked in deserts, on the side of the road and upon towering mountains in The Himalayas; my MSR pocket rocket is hands down one of the best bits of kit in my pack. Check out this post for a full breakdown on the best stoves to take backpacking.
The bible for travellers hitting the road for the first time and in need of some adventure inspiration on how to travel with no money. Jack Kerouac is the daddy of all backpackers and he writes like a dream. Here are some other great books for some on the go reading.
Imagine being able to drink a cup of hot coffee in the middle of a thick snow or a cool refreshing drink in a blazing desert. This travel mug is also a thermos which can keep hot things hot and cold things cold, an amazing gift for backpackers!
A classic but a goodie, every backpacker should have a travel money belt. This one is RFID blocking meaning your card details can’t be swiped by pesky criminals!
The ultimate gift for travellers who think they are Indiana Jones… I’ve had mine for over eight years and it’s fantastic in hot or wet environments. If you’re heading into the jungle, it’s well worth having…
36. Garmin vívoactive Smartwatch
A smartwatch is a great gift for travellers who move around constantly. It has a range of apps for health and fitness, social networking and tons of fun entertainment apps – something to keep them occupied on arduous train journeys and long haul flights!
Hands down one of the cheapest gifts for backpackers on the list; if your buddy is travelling with a companion then this makes the perfect mini gift.
Do you have any idea how much extra weight a few books add? Way, way too much. Plus, for those picky readers out there, finding an engaging book at book exchanges in foreign countries can be a tricky game to play. The first time I hit the road, I had about a dozen books on me; it was nuts. Fortunately, there’s now Kindle. Bonus points: throw in an Amazon gift voucher so we can buy ourselves a few books. If you’re in search of travel reading inspiration, check out the ultimate list of books to read on the road.
I never hit the road without a trusty knife, or two. I own over a dozen knives but the Bushcraft is hands down the best knife in my collection. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for a male traveller, a knife is always a good choice!
This T-shirt has 5 discreet pockets where you can hide your valuables. It is also a perfect gift idea for travellers and travelling photographers – you will never lose that sneaky lens cap again!
These electronic candles are a total god-damn game changer. When you’re camping out, enjoying a cheeky smoke beneath the stars or getting cosy with your camping buddy, these candles are awesome for setting up some ambience. They flicker convincingly, don’t blow out like normal candles and won’t set fire to your tent… They are also super cheap with a whole pack of 24 costing less than $10.
An adventure compass makes the perfect gift for backpackers still in touch with the old ways of exploring and with a bit of a romantic side. This particular one is truly gorgeous and looks a lot more expensive than it is, so makes an impressive budget gift for a backpacker. Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is engraved within.
Get a pair of these really cool unisex gloves. They areanti-skid, waterproof, windproof and can be used on all touchscreen devices. One of the smartest gifts for backpackers.
What possible better gift you can give to somebody than the gift of experience? With a Tinggly Bucketlist Giftset, you can give the traveller in your life the experience of a lifetime from a huge range of options. The Giftset is essentially a voucher for them to go and have the experience of a lifetime!
If you’re constantly on the road like myself, insurance is the gift that keeps on giving… I’ve had to claim three times on my insurance over the last nine years of travelling and each time I’ve been thankful I had it sorted. One of the best gifts for backpackers too tight to buy their own insurance!
So there you have it, the ultimate list of gifts for backpackers. Now go make their day! Check out these posts for even more inspiration.
- Gift Ideas for the Climbers in Your Life
- Epic Camping Gift Ideas for Hikers and Adventurers
- The Ultimate Backpacking Packing List
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