Backpacking Gifts for every budget

2020 has been a rough year for avid travelers, but 2021 offers lots of hope that we will all get out there again! This holiday season, explore our list of backpacking gifts for the travel lovers in your life while they dream of future adventures. Any one of these travel and backpacking gadgets will help get them excited for the day when they can safely hit the road again.

Backpacking Gifts Under $20

Any item from this list would make a great stand-alone gift or stocking stuffer. Or, why not create your own gift basket full of useful travel and backpacking gadgets for the savvy backpacker in your life?

1. Sleeping Bag Liner – One of our favorite backpacking gifts – washable, compact, and soft. We’ve loved having these in hostels and guest houses just to ensure hygienic peace of mind. Plus – these handy liners mean that your sleeping bag will stay clean since you can just remove the liner and throw it in the wash. This version is silky soft and stays durable after washing.

2. Portable Phone Tripod with Remote – Looking for that perfect travel gadget for the solo traveler in your life? This tripod can be used as a mini selfie stick or to capture a solo shot in the midst of an awesome backdrop. Plus, this tripod will help them capture the perfect night shot, which requires that the camera is perfectly still. This version has adjustable legs plus a Bluetooth remote to snap pics from afar.

Backpacking gifts for solo travelers

3. Waterproof phone case – Great for the traveler who enjoys the great outdoors– rain or shine.  Some waterproof cases are advanced enough that they allow you to take underwater pictures. This universal waterproof case fits all varieties of smartphones and keeps phones perfectly dry, even underwater.

4. Scarf with hidden zipper pocket – When we first learned about hidden pocket scarves, we were thrilled to finally leave the old-fashioned travel belt behind! A hidden pocket scarf is a stylish decoy and is even more subtle than the traditional travel belt. We love this one with two well-concealed pockets and a variety of colors and patterns to choose from.

5. Door Stop Security Alarm – Help ensure peace of mind with this doorstop alarm. If the door is opened unexpectedly, an alarm will sound. This one is an affordable and high-quality version.

6. Quick-dry Travel Towel – A quick-dry towel is an essential item on any travel packing list. Help get their travel kit started with this budget-friendly but high-quality option. This version includes 3 various sizes, perfect for camping, hiking, or long backpacking trips.
7. Portable Luggage Scale – On more than one occasion, we have been desperate to calculate our luggage weight before the airport to avoid excessive baggage fees. A portable luggage scale has solved our problems and prevented us from frantically reshuffling our luggage items in the airport departure hall! This version by etekcity has never failed us.
A travel scale - one of the most essential backpacking gifts

Mid-Range Travel & Backpacking Gifts ($20-$50)

8. Portable Power BankIt’s a backpacker’s worst nightmare: scrambling to find the hostel address while your phone’s battery slowly ticks lower and lower. An external power source is one of the most useful gadgets for travel lovers. The Anker Power Core 10000 is our favorite in terms of power capacity and compact size.

9. Scratch Off World MapHelp the world traveler in your life display their past adventures and get inspiration for where to head next. We have had this one hanging in our living room for years and love taking it down to commemorate when we travel to new places.
Scratch-off map, a fun backpacker gift

10. Travel Size First Aid Kit – For minor injuries, a travel-sized first aid kit is a practical and savvy choice. This one has the most bang for your buck in terms of items, affordable price, and compact size

11. Sleep Eye MaskWe wouldn’t dream of boarding an international flight without our own personal sleep mask. It makes all the difference when it comes to avoiding jet lag and adjusting to new time zones. It blocks out light and helps us achieve deep sleep – even when our airplane seat neighbor insists on staying up all night watching movies. This version comfortably wraps around your head and even includes a travel pouch.

12. Adjustable Travel PillowThe next generation of airplane pillows, this one is made with memory foam and can be molded into different shapes to be used for your neck, lumbar, or leg support. The cover is removable and washable, making it one of the best backpacking gifts.
Practical backpacking gift - a neck pillow for long journeys

13. Outdoor Bluetooth SpeakerWe love this version which has a 100-foot wireless range, and which produces crystal-clear stereo sound.

14. Books to inspire travel – While the COVID pandemic still lingers, help soothe their Wanderlust with a travel-themed book like National Geographic Destinations of a Lifetime, or 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. These also make gorgeous coffee table books to display their love for travel when the backpacker in your life is just relaxing at home.

15. Lifestraw Water Filterspractical for camping, hiking, or traveling in places without safe drinking water. The lifestraw is a light-weight but life-saving addition to any backpacking kit.
Lifestraw - a potentialls life-saving backpacker gift

High-End Travel Gadgets for Backpackers

16. Apple Air Podsdefinitely on the pricey side but one of the newest travel gadgets for backpackers and digital nomads who don’t want to have to deal with a mess of cables on the road.

17. Wireless HotspotThis 4G/LTE portable wireless hotspot is perfect for the digital nomad, travel blogger, or offroad adventure.

18. Kindle Paperwhite1 Kindle can replace over 10,000 books. Your backpacker can load up thousands of titles, from casual reads to pass the long journeys, or travel guides. When space is essential, a kindle can be one of the most valuable items in their pack. This listing on amazon comes with a stylish leather cover in a variety of colors.
Practical backpacking gift - an e-reader!

19. Noise-cancelling headphones – The plane, train, or bus journey is sometimes the only chance a hard-core backpacker has to relax and recharge while on the road. These high-quality noise-cancelling headphones come in handy on long journeys when you just want to zone out.

20. DSLR Camera – One of the best starter DSLR cameras, this Lumix version is the top-rated model among amateur photographers. It is compact and packs a punch in terms of features, which can help the backpacker in your life take their travel photos to the next level.

Ultimate backpacking gift - a DSLR camera

 

21. Beginner’s Travel Telescope – Or the best gift of all during quarantine, a telescope to explore the night sky. This highly recommended amateur star-gazer model might help soothe the earthly wanderlust by allowing your backpacker to explore the craters of the moon, the moons of Jupiter, or the rings of Saturn.

22. GoPro Camera – One of the ultimate travel gifts for backpackers, a GoPro camera is still the preferred way to document adventures among the travel community. The durable and compact GoPro cameras produce high-quality images and videos that can capture intense activities from sky diving to deep-sea diving.

And the Best Gift for Backpackers: The Gift of Future Travel!

23. Travel Gift Certificate: Give the gift of future travel to the backpacker in your life by giving them a gift card to use on Get Your Guide, a tour and activity company that offers 35,000+ different experiences around the globe. The travel gift card is valid for up to 3 years from the date of purchase and can be redeemed for any of the experiences on Get Your Guide’s site for any time in the future when travel and backpacking become possible again!

Have you Caught the Travel Bug Yet?

If just scanning this list has gotten you excited to get out there and travel yourself, browse our extensive list of country guides for ideas on where to go next. Or scan our blog for inspirational travel itineraries, budget tips, and more!

About the author

Monica Wörner, Owner of The Backpacking Site
Monica Wörner
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Monica is an avid traveler and backpacker who seeks to inspire others to embark on great adventures off the beaten path. Originally from California, she has travelled to over 60 countries, most of which she explored while backpacking or camping. She currently lives in Berlin, Germany with her husband, who she met in Costa Rica while they were both solo-backpacking!

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