12 Epic Travel Gifts for Backpackers

Leaving town for awhile sure does spoil a girl. Between the dinners and drinks bought my incredibly generous friends, multiple parties and one epic send-off package of travel gifts, I felt all the love leaving Chicago. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the globe-trotter in your life, look no further. Here’s to the best useful travel gifts for a traveler, perfect for the holidays coming up – and many that are small enough to be great stocking stuffers. Below you’ll also find a few extra recommendations of other gifts I received and a few things I bought myself but would work great as gifts too!

The Epic Send-off Travel Gifts Package

The best part of this gift? The girls packed the following essential items into a small daypack – loved the creative presentation of my backpacker gift!

1. Packable Daypack

Any backpacker is going to need something light that he or she can stuff with a few things used for daytime sightseeing or a short hike. There are lots of options out there, but Eagle Creek and REI both make a high quality product that doesn’t take up too much space!

Travel Gifts - REI Flashpack

2. FLIGHT 001 IN-FLIGHT Seat Pak

I am so excited about being able to use this organizer for all of my carry-on necessities. I love that it has multiple zippers to keep everything in it’s place. I hate having to dig around in my backpack for whatever I need while I’m on a flight. With this, I’ll have everything I need and can keep the whole pack in my seatback pocket!

Travel Gifts - Seat Pak Gear Culture


3. Thermarest Compressible Pillow

I had contemplated buying one for myself before my trip. I can definitely fall asleep in any moving vehicle – just ask anyone who’s gone on a road trip with me – but the quality of my sleep is going to increase drastically with an actual pillow that I can pull out while in transit. I’ts one of those items that’s a very, very, very nice-to-have. I love that this guy folds right up!

Travel Gifts - Thermarest Compressible Pillow

4. Cotton Buds Tissue To Go

CLEARLY a must for Southeast Asia! We all know that traveling and stomachs typically do not get along, so having an extra roll in a region that’s known for lacking in TP and abundant in street food, will be bowel-saving. I plan to use and refill this container throughout my trip so that I always have some on me.

Travel Gifts - Cotton Buds Tissue To Go - REI

5. Emergency Kit

(1 Woolite Travel Detergent Packet, 1 Allergy Medicine, 2 Vicks Dayquil, 2 Alcohol Swabs, 1 Mini Nail File, 2 Multi-Size Safety Pins, 3 Bobby Pins, 4 Pepto-Bismol Tablets)

What a GENIUS idea! My girls put together the most awesome backpacker emergency kit with just enough to take care of me in a mini-crisis. Get creative and add what you think your traveler needs! I love that mine has a hair tie, bobby pins and a mini nail file – essentials for a female traveler.

Travel Gifts - Emergency Backpacker Kit

The All-In-One Travel Gift

6. SCOTTeVEST Women’s Travel Vest

This was a gift from my mom that I am really excited about. This vest is lined with a million pockets on the inside  so you’re not flashing what you have to everyone and their mother. The lightweight material will be great to bring out on long hikes to even out the weight that I’m carrying. I’ve never been much a vest-girl, but I think this will be a really useful addition to my camping and hiking wardrobe. My mom – an expert hiker – swears by it. They make a men’s vest and a few jacket styles as well.

Travel Gifts - Scottevest

Additional Travel Gifts

There are a few things I purchased myself that belong on your gift-list for the travelers in your life. Here you go!

7. Cocoon Silk Mummy Liner

I went back and forth myself on whether to buy myself this little – but not so cheap – silk liner. I imagine I will find myself in many instances where I just want the comfort of knowing that the sheet that’s touching my body is clean and bug-free. For any travelers who are grime -resistant, this makes a great addition to the pack. And, it’s incredibly small and light.

Travel Gifts - Cocoon Mummy Liner

8. Microfiber Towel

This was a MUST gift for myself. I’m going to be in hostels, on beaches, and doing some camping – this towel will be a critical piece of my packing. I went for the larger size so I can wrap myself in it. It dries fast and takes up very little space.

Travel Gifts - Sunland Microfiber Towel

9. SteriPEN UV Water Purifier

This is a potential gift from my mother (*wink*). You know, each person has his or her own fears for what will happen while they travel. I’m more of a – bring some anti-biotics and hope all goes well – type of traveler and I will rarely say no to street food, but I think this would decrease the amount of times I’m dipping into the cipro and needing that emergency toilet paper roll!

Travel Gifts - SteriPEN

10. & 11. Sun Bum Sunscreen& Ben’s 30% Deet Bug Spray

These are products that I purchased for my trip after reviewing the many options. While it may seem funny to buy someone sunscreen and bugspray, I think they could be a great addition to your gift for your traveler. Especially if he or she is going to a place with lots of sun and lots of bugs (Southeast Asia for sure), your traveler is going to need as much SPF and DEET as he or she can get!

Travel Gifts - Ben's Bugspray and Sun Bum Sunscreen

12. Mini External Battery Charger

This is one of the travel gifts to myself. I’m confident it’s going to save me when my phone dies and I’m nowhere near an outlet. Whether I’m on a train, camping or just using my phone too much as I take lots of pictures, I know this cute and handy back up charge will ensure I have the power I need to keep my phone up and running. It’s small, relatively lightweight and comes in so many fun colors!

Travel Gifts - Chromo Mini Charger

As you know, I’m about to take off on my first big backpacking trip! By clicking through the links to purchase these items, I will earn a small commission that will help me while I’m on the road! You sure bet I’ll be paying it forward :).

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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I'm Emily - a twenty-something female travel-enthusiast - here to serve and inspire you. Need help planning your next trip? Email me at emily [at] letsroamwild [dot] com and tag your own travel pics to share with the world @letsroamwild.

17 Responses to 12 Epic Travel Gifts for Backpackers

  1. Sky November 14, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I love this list – there are a bunch of things I never even thought about taking…

    I also bought myself the mummy liner silk – then i worried that I might not even need it. I’m glad I’m not the only one who bought one!
    Sky recently posted…Yes, I Am Terrified. Yes, I’m Still GoingMy Profile

    • Emily Moyer November 14, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks, Sky! I stalked so many packing blogs to figure out what to bring and I got lucky with some of these awesome travel gifts:). People are pretty love it or hate it with the mummy liner, but I think it’ll actually make me feel a little better in some of the hostels I’ll be staying.

  2. Kristen Noelle @ Peaches, Beaches, & Urbanistas November 14, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    CLUTCH-sauce. *emails to self*
    Kristen Noelle @ Peaches, Beaches, & Urbanistas recently posted…Discovering Aloha on Oahu | Part IMy Profile

    • Emily Moyer November 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

      Haha so glad it’s helpful! Next week comes the ultimate Southeast Asia packing list…

  3. Petra @ The Global Couple November 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    This is an awesome list! Definitely some handy things for SE Asia in there (the TP especially…). Have an epic trip!!!

    – Petra
    Petra @ The Global Couple recently posted…36 hours in Whistler, Canada: The off-seasonMy Profile

    • Emily Moyer November 14, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

      I know – I so do not want to be stranded with Delhi Belly and no TP…and thanks!

  4. Renuka November 15, 2014 at 2:50 am #

    A fabulous list for any traveler, not just a backpacker. I like the compressible pillow a lot. 🙂 Most of the time I don’t like the pillows given in hotel rooms.
    Renuka recently posted…22 ‘Perky’ Photos Of SydneyMy Profile

    • Emily Moyer November 18, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Oh I’m so glad! I actually am glad I got it as a gift since I wasn’t sold on buying one yet. However, I went on a plane ride recently and forgot to use it :/. Need to move it to the front of the carry on backpack 😉

  5. Christie of The Butterfly Editions November 15, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    A great list! I am definitely an advocate of the silk liner, I’ve had mine a few years now and its been SO useful – not only saved me many a dirty hostel bed right across Asia but is great to snuggle up in on an overnight bus/train or if you find yourself sleeping in an airport etc. I recommend silk liners to everyone! I also love my micro fibre towel 🙂

    • Emily Moyer November 18, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Hey Christie! Thanks! I think I’ll definitely be glad to have it 🙂

  6. Matt D. November 15, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    That mini charger sure looks handy and it’s compact, too. That travel vest looks good, too. You got a nice list here.
    Matt D. recently posted…100 Reasons It’s Really Great To Be A Guy!My Profile

    • Emily Moyer November 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

      Thanks! Yeah I’m feeling like both will end up being real essentials for this trip.

  7. Kendra Granniss November 17, 2014 at 7:58 am #

    I just got my microfiber towels. I love them so far! Now I need to work on getting the silk sleep liner and extra extra sunscreen!

    • Emily Moyer November 17, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      Hey Kendra! You totally do – and don’t forget bug spray!! 🙂

  8. Brandon Perlow November 19, 2014 at 2:23 am #

    Great list! I have a very similar vest that is great for traveling, lots of pockets are key! Two travel tips (that you probably don’t need to buy, so not necessarily for this list):

    1) Bring a couple zip-lock bags for instant waterproofing, especially for your passport and phone. A couple plastic bags are also good to separate wet/sweat-soaked clothes within your pack.

    2) A mini (or even keychain) flashlight can be extremely helpful with all the camping you are doing for that time when your phone AND USB-charger are both totally dead.

    • Emily Moyer November 20, 2014 at 7:33 am #

      These are great ideas, thanks for sharing, Brandon! I literally just packed a few ziplocks per your recommendation. I have a mini headlamp which I’ll be using for camping 🙂

      • Brandon Perlow November 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

        You bet! 🙂

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