Usually its foreign foods, dodgy hostels and homesickness that travellers fear when booking a trip, for us it’s packing. When a fashion graduate and self-confessed gadget geek booked a round the world trip, the idea of fitting everything into only one backpack seemed harder than a task on The Apprentice.

Looking back at our mistakes, what we actually needed and what we wished we’d left behind (although at times this was each other), we have created a list of backpacking travel essentials that we cannot travel without. Whether it’s a weekend away or a gap year these items will save space, time and money to ensure your next adventure is the best one yet. These are all the must have travel items that we have on our backpacking packing list, why not add them to yours too!

Travel Tip

Before reading our backpacking travel essentials, why not take a look at our resources page, where you can download the ultimate packing list, so you’ll never lose it! Our resources page also has a free downloadable budget tracker, perfect for backpackers!


Probably the most essential item on your packing list. Get it wrong not only will it break, leaving you and your dirty knickers stranded but it’ll leave your back broken also. So many people have asked why backpacks and not wheeled suitcases. Simply, it is far easier to navigate cities, packed metro trains and cobbled streets with this on your back instead of dragging along wheels. We did thorough research before buying ours, the same way you’d investigate any new life long companion. We opted for the backpack below, and found this style the best for the following reasons:

Osprey Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack
40 Reviews
Osprey Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack

  • It opens around the edge the same way a holdall does. This means you can see the entire contents at once and don't have to rummage through the entire bag.
  • There is a removable day bag that can be zipped on and off. Perfect for hand luggage or shorter trips.
  • The shoulder straps can be zipped inside the bag so the backpack turns into a holdall, making it much easier for airports (means the straps won't get caught in baggage conveyors).


RIP to all the money we wasted on the army of battery powered USB portable chargers over the years. The ones that would work a few times and then give up (they’re £2 for a reason). We cannot recommend enough investing in a durable portable charger that you charge and lasts numerous times not just once or twice. This has proved a lifesaver for road trips as we use our phones as a Sat Nav so it guarantees we’ve still battery power to take photos once we arrive. Essential for music festivals, camping and to ensure you can snap every moment without your phone dying. We opted for the one below and never looked back.

Anker Powercore 20100
7,185 Reviews
Anker Powercore 20100
  • The Anker Advantage: Join the 20 million+ powered by our leading technology.
  • Ultra-High Capacity: Weighs as little as a can of soup (12.5 oz) yet charges the iPhone 8 almost seven times, the Galaxy S8 five times or the iPad mini 4 twice.
  • High-speed charging: PowerIQ and VoltageBoost combine to deliver the fastest possible charge(does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge). Recharges itself in 10 hours with a 2 amp charger, phone chargers...


If like us, you enjoy a little continent skipping, buying multiple adaptors requires money and space which backpackers are very limited of. This nifty device is a multi-regional adaptor which works in Australia, America and Europe due to the changeable pins. It also allows USB charging meaning the hairdryer and phone charger can be plugged in from power socket. Hallelujah.

Universal Travel Adaptor
398 Reviews
Universal Travel Adaptor
  • This Universal Adapter has 3 USB Ports and 1 Type-c Port, the input voltage of the USB is 100-240VAC, Means you can use it around the world to charging multiple USB devices at the same time,like your...
  • This Universal Plug Adapter universally compatible in over 200 countries. Fits electrical outlets in most commonly visited countries including France, Europe, USA, UK, Canada, Brazil, Argentina,...
  • Safety Certification including FCC Safety Certification - FCC and CE.Power Rating 8A max. 100-240Vac (800W max. At 100Vac. 1900W max. At 240Vac).


When I found out how much Darren had spent on the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones I went bat s**t crazy. Costing the equivalent of a plane ticket I hoped they performed miracles and I can now confirm, they do just that. Built with noise cancelling technology not only do they play all music, audio books and podcasts with HD sound (if that’s even a thing) you cannot hear a single thing around you. So, if drowning out the noise of your travel partner/hostel companions is essential to your backpacking success then add these to your basket now. They also connect via bluetooth instead of annoying tangly cables.

Bose QC35 Headphones
989 Reviews
Bose QC35 Headphones
  • Comfortable and lightweight - only 308 grams
  • High quality noise cancellation. Audio cable is 119.9 cm
  • Volume-optimised EQ for balanced audio performance at any volume

Or an alternative…

If like me, you are also a tad terrifying of flying I cannot recommend these headphones enough. During a flight I cannot hear a single thing from the engine etc, making me instantly more calm. If also like me, you’re a bargain hunter, I found a decent equivalent that are good sound quality and wireless. Not quite up to the Bose standard but a close second.

iDeaUSA Wireless Headphones
22 Reviews
iDeaUSA Wireless Headphones
  • BLUETOOTH WIRELESS HEADPHONES - Spend a little to upgrade your smart device listening experience a lot. Bass is rich and pronounced. The mid and high ranges are also clear and balanced. Even you turn...
  • CONNECTS WIRELESSLY HOUR UPON HOUR - A built-in rechargeable 500mAh battery holds a ton of juice to keep you listening to your favorite music, radio and videos from multiple smart devices via...
  • COMFORTABLE AND LIGHTWEIGHT - Featuring wide wall foam ear pads with soft touch protein leather for a supremely comfortable on-ear fit. Padded and adjustable contoured headband, pivoting earcups that...


Like matching Tupperware or handheld hoovers packing pouches were items I felt were reserved for only the super organised and not actually essential. Why not save myself the money and just chuck it all in? So, so wrong. Dedicate a category per pouch, for example underwear in one, dirty clothing in another, toiletries in another etc and hunting down items will become so much quicker than emptying the entire contents of your bag for one pair of pants. No longer will you have to sniff to decide what’s clean or not, as you keep all the dirty separate from the wearable and at times we even packed an overnight pouch (just Pj’s, 1 change of underwear etc) so we don’t even have to take out all pouches if we were in a destination for only 1 sleep. The best part? I genuinely believe travel pouches mean you can pack more in your backpack, we now can’t imagine travelling without them. We opted for the Amazon Basics set of pouches, with one set per person and an extra set, because…Lauren.

Amazon Travel Pouches
663 Reviews
Amazon Travel Pouches
  • Double zipper pulls make opening/closing simple and fast
  • Mesh top panel for easy identification of contents, and ventilation
  • Soft mesh won't damage delicate fabrics


From the blue lagoon to beer spas, selfies with turtles to treks up mountains, the GoPro captures it all. This is number one out of all our essential travel gadgets. Although there are numerous new styles since, we find this one does everything we need both underwater or hiking high in the clouds. Note, some require you to buy an extra waterproof case and won’t be waterproof straight out of the box.

GoPro Hero 4
80 Reviews
GoPro Hero 4
  • Built-In Touch Display: Frame your shots. Easily adjust settings. Play back videos and photos. Improved Camera Control: New dedicated button enables quick access to camera settings. Simplified menus...
  • Fast, Powerful Photo Capture: Captures high-quality 12MP photos at speeds of up to 30 fps.
  • Built-In WiFi + Bluetooth: Delivers enhanced connectivity to the GoPro App, Smart Remote

Three Top Tips for Buying a GoPro :

  1. Remember a waterproof selfie stick if using in the sea! We made this error using an ordinary selfie stick but salt water erodes the metal resulting in it snapping. We recommend this waterproof selfie stick.
  2. It is recommended that a Class 10 SD card is used. We forgot ours during our trip to Europe resulting in lost footage as the files were corrupted. We recommend this SD card.
  3. Do not waste money on the official GoPro accessories. Definitely do your research (or have a look at the research we have done for you) for the best and cheapest dupes that do the same job but at a fraction of the cost.


One of the best pieces advice we were ever given. Bring a head torch. Admittedly, I laughed out loud – Loz wearing a head torch, think again mate. However this is essential in so many places such as campervans and tents or sunrise hikes. It’s impossible to see the lava in Hawaii without one as you need to hike for 4 miles in the dark, our accommodation in Fiji requested we took one when we booked and so many sunrise and sunset photos would not be possible without trusty headlight help.  Don’t count on your phone as batteries die and dropping my phone down a volcanic crater wasn’t on the bucket list.

Head Torch - Cool and Fashionable
741 Reviews
Head Torch - Cool and Fashionable
  • 4 Lighting Modes. Totally 20 LEDs (18 White LED and 2 Red LED), 3 levels of white light brightness(2 leds, 10 leds and 18 leds) and a red flashing mode are available.
  • Lightweight & Adjustable. Weighing only 2.85oz and with its easily adjustable, elastic headband, it is perfect for anyone who needs a headlamp.
  • Water Resistance. The IP44 rating means it is protected against splashing water from all angles.


This word may sound like a small, mythical creature but in real life it is far more majestic. Essentially it is a selfie stick however, we feel like absolute numpties whipping out a selfie stick in public and the footage is so shaky anyway that we simply don’t bother. Until this game changer. It can hold both a GoPro & phone but counter-balances the weight as you move, ensuring smooth flawless footage. You can record panorama views without swivelling a selfie stick around – simply through the click of a button. Through the app you can even track your face meaning those awkward cut off selfies are no more and every person and their granny can now be a Vlogger with ease.

Zhiyun Smooth-Q Gimbal
1 Reviews
Zhiyun Smooth-Q Gimbal
  • Specially designed for all smartphones within 7 inch screen. The smooth 3 Gimbal is better than Smooth Q. Very good.
  • Built-in independent IMU module, ensure the stability and fluency of your videos / Short films / recording during exercise.
  • Low power consumption, portable, durable, stable and flexible, no alveolar.

Still not convinced?

Watch this review for a footage comparison between the gimbal we chose and filming by hand.

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