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 actually makes good gifts for backpackers.
I mean, we get it, you’ve got all the best intentions but inevitably your galavanting pal is going to end up with another pair of socks to add to the ever growing pile! I love the feel of new socks just as much as the next guy, but there are actually a shit ton of epic backpacking gifts out there that can make a real difference to your bezzie mate’s next trip.
“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…
But whether you’re on the look out for a fun but useful stocking filler or you’re going to be an absolute legend and sort your sibling out with the best bloody backpack money can buy, we’ve got it all here for your browsing pleasure!
So without any further hesitation, let’s get this show on the road with my favourite gift ideas for backpackers!
The Best Gifts for Backpackers
So what do all of those security guards see when they run my bag through the X-ray machine? Well here’s a good look. Take these as inspiration for your own backpacking gift ideas when shopping for that special someone.
This list comprises useful items that I or my intrepid team of nomads have actually used over the years. This stuff has been tried and tested by hardcore backpackers and travellers…so get ready.
Read on amigos for the best affordable gifts for travellers in your life…
If you’re just not sure what to buy for your travel-loving pal after reading this post, then why not just take the easy option and get them a gift card?! This one needs no real explanation – you just get the REI gift card and the lucky traveller can spend $25 on whatever they need from REI.
Perhaps they will $25 to buy themselves a camp coffee maker (coming up later), or they put it towards a new expensive Mutha Hubba tent.
The downside with gift cards is that people know exactly how much money you spent on them, which can sometimes be kinda awkward if they end up spending more on you!
Right then, if you’re still not quite sure what to get your mates as a gift but know they need some quality gear for their next adventures, then why not sign them up to REI? This opens up a whole world of awesome travel and outdoor products and you’ll be sure they’ll find something they’ll need!
A membership brings benefits such as 10% off many products, free U.S standard delivery, exclusive offers and coupons, members events, discounts on rentals as well as bike and snow shop services.
The best bit about this membership is that it’s lifetime, so you just like getting a puppy for Christmas, it’s for life! It literally is the gift that keeps on giving for a lifetime of travel and adventures!
Every traveller needs a camera, right?
The performance of action cameras has increased significantly, whilst the overall price has come down – making them more affordable. Whilst GoPro’s are still kind of pricey for most travellers, the OCLU is a worthy affordable replacement.
For any traveller having an awesome action camera is the dream. This is a pretty fail-safe gift for the backpacker in your life. Give the gift of photography and the recipient will make memories with it for years to come… or just flood your insta with selfies but at least they’re having fun!
Want to save the world, stay hydrated and stop your mate getting the shits in India!?
Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to the oceans and planet – Be a part of the solution and invest in a filter water bottle.
The Grayl Geopress water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. We use it on our own adventures to purify often nasty-looking water and it does a beautiful job – we have yet to get sick! This is what the whole Broke Backpacker team uses– in mountains, cities, jungles – we love it – it’s a total game changer.
This is not a cheap gift but it’s guaranteed to go down well, be used, loved and simply appreciated by the lucky recipient.
5. An eSim
If you want your besties to keep in contact with you and not forget your very existence whilst they’re galavanting around the world … then give them no excuse! An eSim is the perfect way to help keep your buddy safe, connected and most importantly, insta ready!
The best thing about them is that they’re easy to set up (often it can be done before you travel), they are super reliable and they save on single-use plastic, so it’s a win all around!
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 Osprey Nebula as it’s ideal for day hikes, commuters, or even longer trips for light packers.
Osprey is our favourite overall backpack brand and has an epic range. All of their packs also come with their all-mighty, lifetime guarantee which makes them a true investment. Buying a backpacker is pretty much the ultimate gift too, let’s be honest!
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.
Black Diamond makes some of the best head value torches in the business; the Astro 300 is my favourite pick it has brightness settings and a powerful battery.
It’s one of the greatest gifts for backpackers who love adventure, this will light their way for years to come! Plus it is rechargeable which means buying polluting batteries is a thing of the past!
Do You Want to Travel FOREVER??
Pop your email in below to get a FREE copy of ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day!’.
If you’re looking for something small but mightly useful, then a good quality surge-protecting travel adapter is something anyone travelling overseas can make use of. It’s often one of the most overlooked and yet most useful bits of kit us backpackers require.
I mean, think about it, these days we all have heaps of different devices we need to keep charged including cameras, phones, tablets and even laptops. These are also usually not cheap either, so we want to be sure to use a good quality adapter that will protect our devices and not blow up when we need it most!
Thankfully this gift is cheap, compact and will 100% be appreciated!
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 are 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. Even if you’re buddy isn’t going to be sleeping in this, they’ll love it as a space to chill on the beach.
Backpackers are always trying to make the most of the space and weight they have in their bags, so if you’re looking to help out then this packable backpack from Nomatic is the perfect way. Often packable bags can be a bit, well, lame! But in true Nomatic style, the Navigator Collapsible is by far the best on the market with a laptop sleeve and moulded back panel.
A packable backpack is one of those things you often overlook when planning out a trip and it’s something you never knew you needed until you have it. So it’s likely your travelling chum hasn’t got one and will absolutely love it when they do!
Sticking with the theme of collapsible gear, why not take things a step further and get your mates this epic collapsible sling? We said backpackers love teeny tiny super light things, well this sling literally folds down smaller than a CD case (if anyone remembers what one of those is!) It’s also cheaper than the larger bag if you’re budget doesn’t stretch that far but you like the concept!
Slings are the perfect complimentary bag for travellers when it comes to keeping their gear safe and close to them. They can be used for things like passports, wallets, phones and small cameras whilst whizzing through the airport or just out and about on the daily!
Like all decent people, us backpackers love coffee. However, when we head out camping or trekking, our mornings really are the worst without our helping of the black stuff. Fortunately though, with this purpose-built camping coffee press, we can get our fix even when deep in the woods.
Give the gift of sweet, sweet coffee to the caffeine addict in your life. It’s a travel coffee maker for caffeine connoisseurs.
Keeping a journal is one of the best things to do when travelling. The Drifter Leather Journal by Kodiak is our favourite, it works great for digital nomads and organised backpackers and can be used as a planner or a dream diary – whatever you want!
Keep on track with your goals, travels and save those precious memories, especially the ones you do not want to share online! This one is bound in beautiful leather so it looks beautiful and will withstand life on the road.
14. Nomatic Wallet
For those looking for a classic, affordable and always appreciated gift, then this Nomatic Wallet is the perfect option. This nifty little wallet is super compact and is the ideal way to keep cards and a small number of notes, coins and a key safe and secure. We also love the little tab mechanism for pulling out the contents!
With Nomatic you also know you’re investing in a product that is high quality and built to last, so your gift will be appreciated and used for years to come both home and away.
This multi-tool is 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, especially on desert islands!
Leatherman makes a whole range of these including different tools. Our pick, however, is the Skeletool CX Multi-Tool.
Hand’s down, this is a must-have for any nomad, backpacker, hiker, adventurer or regular traveller. You can conceal PLENTY in here and since the belt clasp is not metal, you can wear this belt through an airport scanner without setting it off. Winner winner, chicken dinner!
This is my favourite travel accessory by far and is vital for keeping my cash and Rizla papers safe when I’m 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.
17. Abaco Sunglasses
The ultimate in adventure sunnies, these sunglasses are pretty much bulletproof and are very affordable to boot. Best of all, you can design your own pair online out of thousands of possible combinations making these one of the best gifts for backpackers around!
Want more info, check out our in-depth sunglasses review on these epic sunglasses.
Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.
So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉Buy on REI!
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 Moment Camera lenses. I’ve been messing around with mine for a couple of months now and they have turned my average photos into some influencer type shiz!
The best thing about these camera lenses, they are surprisingly affordable compared to lenses for DSLR cameras! I recommend the super fisheye lens for epic landscape shots and annoying your partner with hilarious portraits!
Every traveller needs a good rain jacket for those not exactly infrequent occasions when the heavens open. This Packable and lightweight rain jacket is rainproof, stylish and wonderfully priced. It will easily pop into your big backpack or your day pack so it’s great for taking hiking or even for days out to the shops when it’s looking a bit cloudy overhead.
I have tried many rain jackets over the years and this one has offered the best performance of any other by far for the price and they also claim it will last a lifetime … so get out there and put it to the test!
Holy moly! – A fingerprint padlock?! The future is here and we’re all for it! Every backpacker will inevitably need a padlock whether that’s for the hostel locker, securing the zippers on your backpack or for winding someone with a flesh tunnel up! Ahh, they’re fun for all the family!
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 that I can’t quite get my head around, but I’m all for it! This is a product which every backpacker will need at some point and again, they’re probably too busy packing elephant pants to remember it!
21. Anti Odour Socks
Ok, so I know we mentioned socks in the beginning, but if you’re going to go down the route of gifting this most classic of items then at least do it properly! No crappy Sport Direct gear here, nah son! Instead, we’re getting all technical and providing you with a two-pack of anti-odour moisture-wicking fancy pants socks!
Travellers and just generally people with feet will always love a new pair of fluffy socks! But beyond that, they’ll love how these bad boys keep their stinky backpacking shoes from getting a bit pongy in the old rucksack! Better still, they’re ankle socks too meaning they’re perfect for warmer climates where their odour-resistant properties will be even more appreciated!
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 travelling musician.
Our highest recommendation for a travel guitar is the Martin Travel Guitar, it’s top quality and super sturdy so your pal will be annoying fellow campers and hostel dwellers for years to come! 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, where electricity isn’t always guaranteed. No matter how many gadgets I have to keep myself 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 and I am a huge fan of Goal Zero portable power banks.
They come in a variety of energy storage options. I personally go for the biggest one they have as I can keep my phone charging for weeks and it’s still super portable and doesn’t weigh me down.
I usually travel with a couple of portable batteries because, if the opportunity arises, they make a truly excellent gift for people you may meet living in the mountains. For me, they are a must-have on any backpacker’s checklist so I am 100% sure anyone who receives one will be buzzin’!
I am somewhat obsessed with Buffs, having a collection of half a dozen I’ve actually never been photographed without one since 2007! They are so adaptable they can be used as a scarf, hat, headband, mask and even a headscarf if you’re visiting religious sites.
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. They also come in mega useful on colder days in the mountains, windy bike rides and even impromptu bank heists!
Luci Lights have been a TBB team favourite for a number of years now. I use them on all of my backpacking and camping trips, in rooms with bad/harsh light or just as a nightlight after watching Hereditary on my own!
They are great for camping trips but what I really like about them is that the soft, warm light can make any old hostel dorm a bit more of a home without being too intrusive or bright. Not only that but they collapse down into a super compact package and can be charged via solar panels.
26. 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, women who wander, people with ears and those who don’t listen to Ed Sheeran!
There are loads of USB and wireless speakers out there and they seriously differ in quality. For something that mixes good sound quality, battery life and compatibility with a range of devices check out this one.
Worried your backpacker pal isn’t getting enough nourishment on the road? Summon the inner Nan inside you and get them this so they can cook no matter what random places they wind up in!
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. The best part about this camp stove is it is absolutely TINY too, so it packs away nicely and doesn’t ruin my aging back on my longer hikes!
On the Road is the seminal novel by beat writer Jack Kerouac. It’s a stream-of-consciousness account of two buddies travelling in 1950s America, encountering jazz, drugs and good times as they go.
Based on the writer’s own, real-life adventures it’s the original pilot for the buddy, road trip genre. It’s become 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 his book offers the perfect companion on long night buses.
Here are some other great books for some on-the-go reading.
Our GREATEST Travel Secrets…
Pop your email here & get the original Broke Backpacker Bible for FREE.
31. Swiss Army Knife
I never hit the road without a trusty knife, or two. I own over a dozen knives but the Swiss Army Knife is hands down the best knife in my collection. It has a decent blade with loads of awesome accessories such as a tin opener, bottle opener and tweezers all of which are ideal for backpackers with as wild eyebrows as I have!
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for any traveller, a knife is always a good choice, especially a Swiss Army Knife! Just remind them to put it in their checked luggage when they’re at the airport!
Another backpacker favourite for staying organised is a hanging toiletry bag. It’s mega helpful to have all of your accessories neatly gathered in one bag that you can hang for easy accessibility, especially when counter space isn’t plentiful or even available… which is common at campsites and in hostels!
A well-organised bag is worth having whether you’re hanging it off a tree whilst camping or a hook in the wall – it helps to have quick access to all your stuff. This one is waterproof and stain-resistant which means it lasts for years and years. It’s a high-quality piece of essential backpacking gear which makes a great for any traveller, backpacker or not!
The Scrubba Wash Bag is another one of those affordable items that you never knew you needed until it becomes something you can’t travel without. This ingenious little bag allows travellers to wash their clothes on the road without any hassle or mess and better still, it folds down to pretty much nothing!
So, no more smelly undies or dirty T-shirts with this convenient and easy-to-use travel gift. This item is useful for anyone heading off on longer trips but will particularly benefit someone who might be going off camping or spending time away from places where they might be able to do their laundry.
A quick-drying towel is the ultimate in lightweight backpacking accessories that cuts down some serious weight and space from a conventional towel. Sure, you can air dry on a nudist beach in the South of France, but it might be frowned upon in a busy hostel in Bangkok! So, we’re all gonna need a towel at some point and they are freaking heavy!
That is where a micro-fibre Sea to Summit towel comes in. They are super convenient to throw inside a backpack with the included pouch and not only are they mega light but they dry in no time so you can be on the move in a flash! They’re a great stocking filler for travellers, camping enthusiasts as well as those into watersports.
Often times your buddy might be too carried away organising their flights, buying gear and planning out their route to remember to get insured. Take the burden off them and make sure they’re safe and protected on their trip.
Faye is one of the best insurance providers and being able to review and manage their policy through an easy-to-use app makes it super convenient, especially if they need to make a claim. Their policies also cover health and gear not just basic travel insurance and they can even add their dog on too.
World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
FAQ about the Best Gift for Backpackers
Still have some questions? No problem! We’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked questions below. Here’s what people usually want to know:
Final Thoughts On The Best Gift for Backpackers
Ok folks, we’ve come to the end of this incredible adventure together, from socks to guitars, inspirational travel novels to collapsable bags, it’s been a journey! Hopefully, this list has inspired you to pick up some kick-ass gear for the traveller in your life that will make their trip even more fun and memorable.
At least this way when they’re swinging on a hammock, playing their guitar and charging multiple devices on some sun-soaked paradise island they’ll think of you back home in rainy Rotherham! If you pick the right gift, they might even invite you along next time!!
Happy gifting guys!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!