You have surely heard the old (and somewhat clished) adage that “a bad workman blames his tools” right? Well what is often overlooked here, is that a bad workman chooses bad tools to begin with, whereas a master craftsman selects only the finest instruments of trade.

And as self-professed master travellers, the Broke Backpacker team only use the finest travel gear. While it is not always particularly cheap, we view good quality travel paraphernalia as an investment that facilitates countless years an endless miles of happy adventuring.

In this post we are going to introduce you to our favourite travel gear. The team have all picked their favourite items of travel gear and over the course of the next 3000 words, are going to tell you why they love it and why you will love it too.

Crua Thermal Tent

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The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

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!

The Broke Backpacker’s Top Travel Gear

Osprey Quasar 28L

Osprey Quasar 28L Backpack

  • > Capacity: 28 liters
  • > Weight: 1.69 lbs (0.77 kg)
  • > Price: $79.73
Grayls Geopress Water Bottle

Grayl GeoPress

  • > Capacity: 24 fl. oz.
  • > Weight: 15.9 ounces
  • > Price: $99.95
REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent with Footprint

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent with Footprint

  • > Capacity: 2-person
  • > Weight: 4 lbs. 11.5 oz. / 1.8 kg
  • > Price: $329.00
KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots Women

Keen Targhee III Women’s

  • > Waterproof 
  • > Weight: 1 lb. 12.4 oz.
  • > Price: $165
Osprey farpoint 40

Osprey Farpoint 40L

  • > Capacity: 40 Litres
  • > Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
  • > Price: $185
MSR PocketRocket 2

MSR Pocket Rocket 2

  • > Boil time (MSR IsoPro), 1 liter: 3.5 minutes
  • > Weight: 73g
  • > Price: $104.95
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT Sleeping Pad

Thermarest Neoair XLite NXT Sleeping Pad

  • > Capacity: 1-person
  • > Weight: Large: 1 lb. 1 oz.
  • > Price: $199.95 – $239.95
Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid GORE-TEX Hiking Boots Women's

Salomon Women’s X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

  • > Technology: GORE-TEX
  • > Weight: 1 lb. 10.1 oz.
  • > Price: $175
big agnes tiger wall ul2 review

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Solution Dye

  • > Packed size: 14 x 46cm
  • > Packed weight: 1.13kg
  • > Price: $449.95

Let’s Get Into It – The Best Travel Gear By The Broke Backpacker

Word up. Over the years we have tried absolutely loads of different items of travel kit. We have tried and tested the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ‘fell to pieces before I even got out of the airport’. As such whittling this list down to just a handful (or three-hands-full) was not an easy undertaking. 

Here are our favourite pieces of travel gear as chosen by the Broke Backpacker team.

Osprey Ariel Backpack

Osprey Womens Backpack Ariel Plus 60
  • Capacity: 60L
  • Dimensions: (inches)  9″ H x 21″ W x 14″ D ( cm) – 22 h x 53 w
  • Weight: 3.42 lbs / 1.5 kg
  • Price: $289.99

The Osprey Ariel Travel bag is perfect for those loooonger trips. At 60L, the layout of this bag fits clothes like a breeze. it is the perfect travel companion for serious backpackers as well as hikers. Its side access is perfect for finding anything in the bag, and the attachable waist straps help weight distribution whenever the bag is packed heavy. I

Osprey Ariel 60

Crafted with water-resistant materials and coming with a rain-cover, this bag has you covered no matter what Mother Nature has in store. Including a laptop sleeve for easy access and a foldable laundry basket. Its top is great for storing those items you need fast access to, the bottom part perfect for shoes or toiletry bags so its perfectly well organised.

Recently, I took it on a one month trip to Portugal and was amazed by its ease of use and how much I could fit. Despite packing all my essentials, there was still room to spare for souvenirs. Given its capacity, I could rely on it for several months and some of our team have lived for 6 months at a time out of the Ariel and its brother the Osprey Aether. For those who appreciate traveling light without compromising on space, I highly recommend this bag.

Osprey Quasar 28L Backpack

Osprey Quasar 28L
  • Capacity: 28 liters
  • Dimensions: 18.9 x 11.81 x 10.63 inches
  • Weight: 1.69 lbs (0.77 kg)
  • Price: $79.73

The Osprey Quasar is a popular backpack designed for daily use, commuting, and light hiking. The pack is designed with a myriad of compartments and pockets that make organization a bloody delight;.  The main compartment is pretty spacious and also includes a padded sleeve suitable for laptops, making it an ideal choice for commuters, students or Digital Nomads. The Quasar also boasts mesh side pockets perfect for water bottles and other essentials which is why it doubles up as a great travel pack.

The Quasar also features a padded back panel and shoulder straps that are both ergonomic and breathable, ensuring that carrying your belongings, even for extended periods stays comfy. The sternum strap and hip belt further distribute the load, making it easier on the back and shoulders.  Like most Osprey products, the Quasar is built to last and I have used mine day in day out for years now.

I really bloody love this pack as my full Osprey Quasar review makes clear. I bought my first one in 2017, used it every day and took it around the world. It’s an ideal pack for day to day use (gym, shopping), for day hikes using a travel day pack and you can even take it on weekend trips if you pack sensibly.

Grayl GeoPress

grayl water bottle on a forest floor
  • Capacity: 24 fl. oz.
  • Dimensions: 10.4 x 5.6 x 3.4 inches
  • Weight: 15.9 ounces
  • Price: $99.95

Water is kinda important to me and I expect you feel exactly the same. But, getting access to it (and the clean kind especially) when out on the road and hiking on the trails can sometimes prove challenging. Well the Grayl Geo Press is a filtered water bottle that is the perfect backpacking and hiking companion.

Functioning as both a bottle and purifier, the Geopress boasts an innovative design that allows users to purify water in mere seconds, removing harmful pathogens, particulates, chemicals, and heavy metals. Its simplicity lies in its “Fill. Press. Drink.” approach, eliminating the need for cumbersome pumping, waiting, or additional tools.

The Grayl Geo Press is not the cheapest water bottle out there but it really does stand heads and tails above the rest and is a truly worthwhile travel investment.

The best present of all… is CONVENIENCE!

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!

REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent with Footprint

half dome 2 plus tent review
  • Capacity: 2-person
  • Dimensions: 90 x 54 inches ( 228 x 137 cm)
  • Weight: 4 lbs. 11.5 oz. / 1.8 kg
  • Price: $329

Let me introduce the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent with Footprint. Super light at just 3 lbs. 15 oz., it’s a breeze to pack in a backpack. And should Mother Nature surprise you with a sprinkle or two, the tent’s got you covered with its handy rainfly.

Now, I’m truly not a camping pro, but the color-coded poles and clear instructions made the setup so easy for me to understand. Inside, the pockets and hang loops kept things tidy.

I took this tent on a trip to the Florida Keys and, it held up like a champ even when a tropical storm paid a visit. I was snug as a bug, and completely dry thanks to the rainfly! That easy setup? It truly lived up to the hype. I was impressed by the quick and efficient assembly, it really made the process so enjoyable for me.

Keen Targhee III Women’s

KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid Hiking Boots Women
  • Weight: 1 lb. 12.4 oz.
  • Price: $165

The Keen Targhee III Waterproof Hiking Boot boasts an array of impressive features that make it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Its waterproof and breathable membrane ensures your feet stay dry even in wet conditions, while the rubber outsole with 4mm multi-directional lugs provides exceptional traction on various terrains. To enhance stability, this hiking shoe incorporates an injected TPU heel-capture system, offering lightweight support for your adventures. 

 Crafted from premium materials, the shoe is made with genuinely sustainable leather from an LWG-certified tannery. The speed-lace webbing system allows for a snug and secure fit, and the quick-dry lining ensures comfort during active use. A signature Keen feature, the shoe comes with a thick rubber toecap – which may not be the most fashionable feature but is undeniably helpful. For long-lasting comfort, the shoe includes a removable PU insole.

Keen Womens Targhee III

I usually mentally prepare myself for some agony when breaking in a new shoe – especially a hiking boot. But as soon as I put the Targhee III on, they were unbelievably comfortable. My feet are slightly on the broad side, and I could fit my insoles in the shoe, and it didn’t feel tight. An issue shared by all low-rise hikers, a little water can come in just around the ankle collar – so if you’re looking for something 100% waterproof go for a high-rise boot. However, I’ve used the shoes in classic British weather conditions – wet, windy, muddy – and they’ve stayed dry.

Osprey Farpoint 40L

Osprey farpoint 40
  • Capacity: 40 Litres
  • Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 8 oz.
  • Price: $185

The Osprey Farpoint 40 offers a host of benefits for travellers. The backpack meets carry-on size restrictions for most airlines, and its large front shove-it pocket and external zip pocket simplify airport security procedures and make accessing essentials a breeze. The backpack opens like a suitcase, a user-friendly design that significantly enhances organization and accessibility compared to traditional top-load backpacks. There aren’t many compartments in the backpack, which could make it difficult to locate your belongings but thats the only real drawback.

Osprey Farpoint 40L Backpack

The Osprey Farpoint 40 travel backpack is a versatile, comfortable option for travellers and incorporates sustainable materials and practices. Crafted from 450D recycled polyester, this backpack demonstrates a commitment to sustainability. The backpack features a hip belt and harness that evenly distributes weight, making it comfortable for city exploration and hikes. Additionally, the convenience of being able to zip away the harness, straps, and hip belt at the back adds to the backpack’s versatility and ease of use.

All in a I’m a huge, big fan of the Osprey Farpoint 40L. I love the versatility of this backpack – I’ve used it on hikes, but also for quick city trips. It’s super comfortable to wear, especially as you can adjust the straps to specifically align to your body and distribute the weight evenly. I worry about taking this pack on longer backpacking trips – 40L is only so much space. You can increase space by adding a 13L Daylite pack (or any other backpack) to the back of the Farpoint, but one of the defining features too.

MSR Pocket Rocket 2

  • Weight: 73g
  • Boil time (MSR IsoPro), 1 liter: 3.5 minutes
  • Burn time (max flame): 1 hr
  • Price: $104.95

Look, I’ve seen a load of outdoor cooking stoves over the years. Let me tell you, the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 sits firmly at the top of the pecking order. With the perfect balance of weight, size, and POWER, this little beast has become a permanent fixture on my tiny packing list. The clever 

It fits your standard size of Isobutane-propane gas canister that’s readily available – so you don’t struggle to get the gas you need when you arrive anywhere. 16 oz BPA free bowl is safe for hot and cold use.

I tested this against the Jetboil, and although they both have their pros, there was no doubt that the MSR was the clear winner for me. That mainly came down to the ability to use all kinds of pots and pas with the Pocket Rocket. Although the Jetboil does have a slightly faster boil time, you can only fit one design of cooking pot (their own!) on the jet boil. With the Pocket Rocket, you are not limited.

Thermarest Neoair XLite NXT Sleeping Pad

Thermarest NeoAir Xlite
  • Capacity: 1-person
  • Dimensions: Large: 77 x 25 x 3 inches
  • Weight: Large: 1 lb. 1 oz.
  • Price: $199.95 – $239.95

Sleeping in the great outdoors involves challenges. Challenges become a whole lot easier when you get a good night’s rest. This super-lightweight sleeping mat is a solid addition to anyone’s sleep system. Using the ThermaCapture™ technology and a Triangular Core Matrix™ the mat it designed to keep your body temperate in and regulated, and your hardworking bones and muscles all in the right places for optimal rest.

Thermarest Neoair Xlite Nxt Sleeping Mat

The inflation sack that it comes with was a bit of a mindfuck at first. But after finally figuring out the technique and value system, it was easybreezy, and I need not look like a tool when using this inflation sack again. Although it is definitely easier to blow up using your mouth, this sack avoids moisture getting into the pad to give it a better chance at long life. 

If you sleep on your back, this is something dreams are made of. I’m telling you, it competes with all the best memory foam mattresses I’ve slept on. The problem is I’m a committed sidesleeper. And even for me, in my short 5 foot 2 frame, the mat was way too narrow to get my leg in a comfortable position where it won’t slip off the mat. If there’s no compromise for you being a sidesleeper, you should definitely consider the regular wide version. If they did a short wide version, I would be seriously impressed.

Salomon Women’s X Ultra 4 Mid GTX

  • Weight: 1 lb. 10.1 oz.
  • Type: High ankle
  • Material type: textile, leather
  • Technology: GORE-TEX
  • Price: $175

Now, in my opinion, it’s not really fair that most hiking boots are designed for men. But when you trust in a company like Salomon, your hikes take a different turn. Built to keep you dry with trusty GORE-TEX technology, the Salmon X Ultra 4 Mid GTX hiking boots keep you supported, dry, and comfortable on all kinds of terrain. The Ortholite comfort insoles are a gift. Designed to support your feet and ankles with a soft cuff, mouldable soles, and a lower density chassis, whether you’re climbing mountains or decending, your delicate little toes are going to be doing it in style.

“Good boots shouldn’t need breaking in,” my good friend said to me. So, of course, I had to give this theory a hardcore test. I put these little beauties of my feetsies and felt these little clouds hug my feet. They hugged me from all sides and within minutes, I completely forgot they were there. I can confirm, these boots definitely did not need breaking in. I knew that the Salomon X Ultra 4 and I were going to go on many, many great adventures together. 

Look, I really don’t have many bad things to say about these boots. I feel like I’m disrespecting my mother by speaking badly about them: if you haven’t noticed, I think these boots are really special. But if I’m going to be picky about something, I have to say it would be great to have a storage for lace loops as I did almost deck it once or twice because my laces caught on the lace loop of the other boot. As a solution, I simply tuck in the laces but it does affect the comfort of the boot ever so slightly.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Solution Dye

Big Agnes Tiger Wall UL 2 Solution Dyed Tent
  • Packed size: 14 x 46cm
  • Packed weight: 1.13kg
  • Head height: 99cm
  • Floor length: 218cm
  • Floor width: 132 – 107cm
  • Price: $449.95

Big Anges have really outdone themselves with the Tigerwall UL Solution Dye series. Now being their smallest and lightest tent, it is designed to be the perfect travel companion for 3-season multi-day trips. When this parcel arrived in the post, at first, I thought I had the wrong order; it was way too small for a 2-person tent. How wrong I was. Every tiny detail, from the poles to the pegs have been meticulously thought about to reduce every single gram – yet maintaining that balance of strength and structure. 

The single pole structure is made with DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum. It comes in a Y-shape with a small, built-in T-bone to add the necessary dimensions, while also creating a super-fast build time. The inner canopy is made of a breathable ripstop nylon/polyester mesh which allows perfect airflow with a bug protector. It has a large built-in pocket for storage. It also has Media pockets above sleeping area.

As much as I love the Big Anges Tigerwall, like everything, it comes with its flaws. The footprint is made of the same Silicone-treated ripstop Solution Dye nylon that the rain cover is made from. Still, nothing is perfect!

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    Final Thoughts On Our Fave Gear

    Well that’s all we have time for folks! Out of all the travel gear we loved and loathed, these are the top picks. Maybe we will add or take away from this post at some point so do chec back in in the future. 

    Did we feature your fave piece of gear in our list? Or maybe you fell we missed something? Either way let us know in the comments!

    See you on the road.