Gift Guide for Backpackers

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Getting ready for the holidays? Here’s a gift guide for the backpackers in your life! Whether you’re gift shopping for long-term backpackers or weekend warrior backpackers, this gift guide for backpackers will help you find the perfect, practical, travel gift.

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Tips For Finding Gifts For Backpackers

As a backpacker, I think a lot about the weight that each item I bring adds to my bag. These items on my gift guide for backpackers are 100% worth the added weight, in the value and practicality that they add to the backpacking experience.  

When looking for gifts for backpackers, make sure the value added > weight added
Gifts for backpackers should be practical, and lightweight where possible. The priority is not getting something fashionable, especially when they’ll be stuffing everything into a large backpack. 
Trekking Mestia to Ushguli in Caucasus region, Georgia

Gift Guide for Backpackers - First, Backpacks!

1. A Backpacker's Backpack

If you’re looking for a backpacker’s gift for someone about to start their backpacking journey, find them an amazing bag! 

I always recommend my Gregory bag, the Gregory Jade 63 as the perfect backpacker’s backpack. It includes a small day-bag and a rain cover, which usually need to be purchased separately. It also has several compartments for keeping organized, and water bottle holders on the side, perfect for hiking or long transit days. 

Many backpackers love the Osprey backpack brand too. 

Tip: Gift a good bag lock for deterring theft and to use in hostel lockers. For those traveling with many electronics (or the extra paranoid), checkout wraparound bag netting

2. The Perfect Carry-On Bag

Carry-on bags are needed to keep passports, tickets, valuables and electronics with you when boarding flights, trains, or busses. The best bags have double zippers (to lock together for safety), many pockets for organization, and a side pocket to hold a water bottle. 

This bag from MATEIN has a special USB port to connect a traveler’s phone to a power bank too! 

Check out my long-haul flights carry-on essentials list for more gift ideas for backpackers

3. Anti-Theft Fanny Pack

Carrying a fanny pack is a good alternative to having a carry-on bag to accompany the larger backpack. Fanny packs are definitely back in style, and the more colorful, the better. 

Tinyat’s Travel fanny packs are anti-theft with the zipper tucked inside of it. They have many compartments, perfect for organizing valuables while keeping them at your fingertips. 

4. Passport Holder

Passport holders are great gifts for backpackers. With one of these, it’s easy to keep all valuables in one place.

This Vemingo Passport Holder opens up like a book, so your passport and boarding pass stay safe and sound. It’s roomy enough on the inside for several passports (for traveling families), or to keep your smartphone inside.

5. Reusable Shopping Bags

For environmentally-conscious backpackers, foldable, reusable shopping bags will come in handy for a variety of reasons. In countries with relaxed plastics laws, it’s great to shop with a reusable bag in hand. Shopping at local markets is also a great way to reduce your travel carbon footprint, where reusable bags will come in handy again. 

This lightweight bag from Baggu is made from recycled fabric, and folds to fit in the palm of your hand. 

Supplement this gift guide for backpackers by checking out my Sustainable Travel Packing List

Gift Guide for Backpackers - Electronics

1. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Probably my favorite travel essential, my Kindle Paperwhite is the perfect backpacker’s companion. If I were to pick the best item on this gift guide for backpackers, I would recommend this one. The Kindle is lightweight, holds thousands of books, has weeks of battery life, and a built-in backlight, perfect for reading at night. 

Check out the Kindle Essentials Bundle on Amazon

2. GoPro

The perfect gift for adventurous travelers, the GoPro is another backpacker’s gift guide staple. Though many backpackers rely on their phone for pictures, GoPros are perfect for taking action footage and footage underwater. It’s also super lightweight.

Is your backpacker headed to a destination with snorkeling, diving, paragliding, canyoneering, or motorcycling? Gift them a GoPro complete with attachments so they can take it anywhere.

3. Phone Battery Case

In an age where everything from boarding passes to maps to hotel bookings are saved in the phone, having a full battery has never been more critical. 

A sleek phone case with a built-in battery keeps backpackers connected for longer. 

4. Portable Power Bank

Another essential item for my gift guide for backpackers: portable power banks. Bring them on day-trips, as a carry-on essential, and use them in hostels with too-few outlets.

The technology of power banks is constantly improving. Check out imuto’s portable power pack with 30000 mAh of energy storage capacity (most power banks of this size have 10000-20000 mAh of battery juice). It’s available with USB, or USB-C ports. 

5. GPS Outdoor Watch

For the outdoorsy backpackers, this GPS watch will be a great addition to their travel gear. 

The Garmin Instinct watch tracks heart rate and activity each day, and has three different built-in navigation satellite systems including GPS. It also includes a compass and a barometric altimeter to track your hiking progress. For the tech-savvy outdoor-lover, this is a must-gift! 

Gift Guide for Backpackers - Health & Hygiene

1. Steripen or Lifestraw

It might be debatable whether this item on my gift guide for backpackers is worth its weight in practicality for all travelers. 

For hikers and backpackers bound for remote locations however, it is a great gift. Steripens use UV light to kill 99.9% of harmful bacteria in water. 

Another similar, more lightweight item is the LifeStraw, although it takes more time to purify the same amount of water. 

2. Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

As sustainable travel habits are on the rise, so are the use of shampoo and conditioner bars. This is a trendy AND practical gift for backpackers on your Christmas list. 

Help prevent millions of tiny travel-sized bottles from ending up in landfills by switching to these Ethique bars.

3. Collapsible Water Bottles

Prevent dehydration for adventurous backpackers by gifting collapsible water bottles. When the bottles fold small, they’re easy to carry around instead of being thrown out. 

Not only do reusable water bottles reduce waste, but having them around ensures keeping hydrated stays a top priority.

Gift Guide for Backpackers - Other Essentials

1. Airbnb Gift Card

Can’t decide what to gift from this gift guide for backpackers? You really can’t go wrong with an Airbnb Gift Card. Backpackers are known for staying in hostels, but everyone can benefit from staying a night or two in a nicer Airbnb once in a while. 

Send this gift for backpackers electronically, or order a physical card to gift as a stocking stuffer. 

2. Tiny Travel Umbrella

Compact and wind-proof travel umbrellas are great gifts for backpackers because they’ll come in handy wherever they go. 

The tinier the umbrella, the more likely they’ll pack it in their day-bag and have it during those unexpected storms.

3. Comfy Travel Sandals

More practical than flip-flops, comfortable travel sandals are backpackers staple, especially when traveling to hot destinations. These Sanuk sandals are made with yoga-mat materials for the base, perfect for long days of walking. 

The Sanuk brand has a variety of ethical travel sandals, and they have comfy hemp loafers too! 

Gift Guide for Backpackers - Less Practical, But Cool Items

1. Portable Bluetooth Speaker

For music-loving backpackers, carrying portable speakers adds a lot of fun to their travels. Ditch the heavy, pill-shaped portable speakers and try out JBL’s tiny Clip speakers.

Their battery life lasts for 10 hours of music, and they’re waterproof too! 


2. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Another luxury gift item for music-loving backpackers is noise-cancelling headphones. It’s actually super common to see backpackers with headphones, which are especially great for long hours in transit, and snoring dorm bed neighbors. 

Nice Sony or Bose headphones will set you back $300 USD, but these Mpow headphones are a stylish $50 USD.

3. Camera With Film

This is a trendy gift for a backpacker if there ever was one, but it’s also great for sharing experiences with locals. After receiving permission from a local villager to take a picture of them, how happy would they be if you could gift them with a polaroid of their portrait? 

This may seem unexciting for those of us with selfie-taking smartphones. But for remote villagers without mirrors in their possessions, polaroids of themselves could be a real treasure. 

4. Bucketlist Travel Books

This gift for backpackers might not be something that they bring with them abroad. However, these books are guaranteed to fuel wanderlust and will delight any traveler with pages on pages of beautiful pictures and information about remote and adventurous countries. 

Gifting to Backpackers? Pin this post!

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gifts for backpackers, backpacker gift guide, what to buy for backpackers for christmas
gifts for backpackers, backpacker gift guide, what to buy for backpackers for christmas

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