Choosing the best travel gear for any kind of trip can seem like a daunting task! It’s especially difficult if you’re planning your first long-term trip! We went on our first big gap year in 2013 and we’ve been on the hunt for the best travel gear ever since. We’ve acquired some pretty cool stuff over the years. A friend of ours once said, “Man, you guys have some cool travel stuff!”
We’re excited to finally share our favorite travel gear for all types of travel with you. You can find everything on Amazon and we are part of the Amazon Affiliates program so we’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase. There’s no extra charge for you so it’s a win-win. Let’s dive in!
The Best Travel Gear for All Types of Travel
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Bags, Backpacks, and Packing Gear
Backpacks are one of the most important pieces of travel gear!
Have you ever heard of Osprey? I hadn’t until I went to purchase a backpack for our gap year trip. The biggest difference between Osprey and all the other huge brands selling gear (Columbia, Patagonia, The North Face) is that Osprey only makes backpacks. They are experts in their field and it shows. They are so confident in their product that they offer a lifetime warranty. Osprey will repair any rip, tear, or broken zipper. All you have to do is send it to them.
The best part about Osprey backpacks is that you can choose different sizes based on your height and waist size. Even better, the waist strap molds to your hips, making it extremely comfortable to carry for long periods of time. It also sits closer to your body which makes it feel lighter than it actually is. I love having a backpack that perfectly fits my 5’2 (1.57 m) frame.
They are a bit pricey but they are very worth the money. It’s perfect for travelers who are preparing for a big trip that will involve a lot of overland travel.
Backpacks for Women
I bought the Osprey Women’s Aerial Backpack back in 2013 and it’s still going strong. It has served me well for all different types of travel and it’s survived being checked on multiple flights. Things I love about it:
- It has a zipper opening on the front so I don’t have to go through the top for everything.
- The top compartment detaches to become a daypack and even has its own straps allowing you to snap it around your waist or sling over your shoulder.
- It has multiple pockets to help me stay organized and holds all of my necessary (and unnecessary; over-packer here!) items.
- It has straps and compartments for camping gear such as poles and a sleeping mat.
If you don’t need the extra compartments for intensive trekking and camping then the Osprey Pack Fairview 70 Travel Backpack is probably a better choice. There are many great selling points about the Fairview:
- It has a stow-away hip belt that can disappear when you’re checking it.
- There is a lockable laptop sleeve for your computer or tablet.
- It has a zip-off daypack perfect for weekend getaways.
Backpacks for Men
The Osprey Rook 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack is just like the Aerial mentioned above. It’s great for packing lots of stuff for long-term travel in a variety of places. The top compartment detaches to create the perfect weekend or day trip bag. There are also lots of compartments for keeping things organized. Learn more here.
If you don’t need something that big then the Osprey Packs Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack is probably better. It’s just like the Osprey Pack Fairview mentioned above but made for men. There are mesh pockets and compression straps that keep everything from moving around in transit. The zip-off daypack is great for weekend trips where you don’t need to bring your whole life with you. Learn more here.
Not everyone wants to bring more than they need and check a bag every time they fly. That’s why the Victoriatourist V6002 Laptop Backpack is one of the best carry-on bags for travelers. It’s big enough to hold your laptop, tablet, cords, external hard drives, clothes, and a few other items.
Sasha has been using it since 2015 and loves it. He uses it to carry around all his cameras when we’re out sightseeing. I used it to go to Singapore to get my visa for Bali in order to cut down on costs. Learn more about the pros and cons here.
Last year, I bought this laptop backpack and I love it! I used to use a bag with a shoulder strap and it held up beautifully through our adventures in Bali, Mexico, and our first big digital nomad stint in South America. But I find this one to be much more comfortable and easier to pack. I highly recommend it for anyone traveling with their computer!
Ever since we started traveling full time, it doesn’t really make sense for me to carry around a purse. I’ve started using the KAVU Rope Bag in place of a purse and I absolutely love it.
It’s big enough to fit lots of different things and with 5 pockets, it’s easy to stay organized. I love that I can wear it as a sling on my back or over one shoulder in typical purse fashion. There are so many different designs to choose from but I think this one is particularly cute. This bag is perfect for any female traveler. Check out other designs here.
This is perfect for the outdoor-loving traveler. You can take it on day hikes or short weekend trips. When you’re not using it, it folds up into a small ball and doesn’t’ take up much space in your luggage. It has two pockets for water bottles and it’s waterproof. Check out other colors here.
Before we had packing cubes, going in and out of the bag always resulted in a huge mess, especially when I couldn’t find what I needed on the first try. Now that we have packing cubes, I feel so much more organized. They’re like having drawers inside of your bag making them one of my favorite pieces of travel gear.
There are a million brands of packing cubes out there. We prefer the AmazonBasics 4-cube Packing Set because you can purchase them in sets of 4 with multiple sizes. They unzip all the way around the top making it easier to find things. When you’re not using them they lay flat and don’t take up a lot of space. You can also wash them in the washing machine. Click here to see the color options.
Travel Gear for Health, Sleep, and Toiletries
This is an item that I believe every traveler must have. They’re light, compact, soft, and this particular brand comes in a 3-pack. The main towel is huge! It’s great for laying out on the beach or drying off after a shower in a place that doesn’t provide towels. The other two towels make great hand towels or sweat rags at the gym. They dry in about 4 hours max.
Nothing really beats soft, fuzzy towels but they just take up so much space in a bag. These microfiber towels are great for any type of travel. Check them out here.
A hanging toiletries bag makes packing up my toiletries so much easier. Rather than having my jewelry, makeup, makeup remover, deodorant, toothbrush, lotion, etc. scattered in different pockets in my bag, I can keep them all in one place, even when we’re not moving around. There are multiple pockets that help keep things organized and easy to find. Check it out here.
Sasha swears by these earplugs. A friend introduced us to them when Sasha forgot to bring his earplugs to a concert. He was hooked immediately. Not only are they great for protecting your hearing at concerts, but they’re perfect for sleeping in noisy places like hostel dorms or big cities.
What’s more, they’re the earplugs used by Olympic swimmers to protect them from getting swimmer’s ear. This is ideal for the light sleeper, avid swimmer, or live music goer. Check the price!
Everyone loves memory foam. It’s far more comfortable than inflatable pillows and microbeads. This pillow will help make long travel days much more comfortable. Head over to Amazon to check it out.
Just what the doctor ordered for long flights, bus, or train rides. This pillow wraps around your neck and is scientifically proven to support your neck while you sleep. It’s so much better than the typical neck pillows that don’t do much in the way of actually supporting your neck. It folds up small and doesn’t take up space when you’re not using it. Read reviews about it here.
If you want to stay hydrated and save the planet at the same time, this is the water bottle for that very purpose. The 2-stage filtration system kills 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and protozoan. It also has a carbon capsule that eliminates bad taste, odor, chlorine, and organic chemical matter.
It’s perfect for hiking or travel in places with low water quality. Say goodbye to plastic and hello to your new best friend. Hydration is happiness, my friends. Click here to see the different options.
The Best Clothing Items to Take on a Trip
This is the best rain jacket I have ever owned. It is definitely waterproof and has kept me dry at music festivals and wandering around new cities on rainy days. See it here.
This is an awesome jacket made for men. Waterproof, breathable, 3 zipper pockets, perfect for anyone spending lots of time outdoors. Read all the details here.
Sasha doesn’t even carry a wallet any more thanks to his money belt. It is perfectly hidden under his clothes and keeps his cash, cards, and phone safe from pick-pockets. I also use it when I don’t feel like carrying my KAVU bag.
Sometimes having a bag is just inconvenient and this money belt is a great way for me to keep all my important things with me since most of my clothing doesn’t have pockets. See the options here.
If the above money belt is too much of a “fanny pack” for you, then you’ll probably like this one better. It’s slim but has two pockets that can fit an iPhone 7, 7+, 6, 6+, SE, 5, Samsung Note, keys, cash, and cards.
It’s also great for running! It won’t bounce or chafe and it’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about sweat ruining your phone. Read reviews here.
Travel Gear for Gadgets and Electronics
This is perfect for the business traveler or digital nomad. Small cords and chargers are the easiest to lose and the hardest to replace. Having a special bag to keep them all in one place makes a world of difference. This bag ticks all the boxes. Click here to read all about it.
Powerful and portable this is one of the best gifts for travelers who want to stay connected. There’s no denying that Apple computers are some of the best out there. They’re easy to use, last a long time, and this particular model is on sale for less than the typical Apple computer (2015 model).
It’s great if you’re not doing really intensive stuff like video editing. Sasha has been using the same MacBook Pro since 2012 and he works it to death editing videos. So if his computer can last that long, surely the Air can last even longer! See all the specs here.
If you’re not ready to spend $900 on a computer (which I totally get), this 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop is fabulous! It’s great for travelers who are trying to keep their pack light. I have the same laptop made by Toshiba. They have discontinued their model which is why I’m recommending Lenovo.
I use this computer for my online teaching job and the touchscreen makes writing on the lessons so much easier. I don’t have to deal with sore wrists from using the trackpad all the time. The only real downside to this computer is that it’s less powerful than typical laptops and therefore runs a bit slower. As long as you’re not doing any video editing or full-on web design, then it’s perfect for web browsing, email, and music. Learn more here.
This is a fantastic camera for travelers. It’s much lighter than a DSLR and the photos are just as amazing. It has a 24.3-effective-megapixel APS-C image sensor which is the same size found in most DSLR cameras. You can easily switch to video mode and take high-quality, full HD movies.
Sasha bought this as a Christmas gift for himself in 2014 and it’s still going strong. Click here to see all the specs.
On our last trip home, Sasha was set on buying a drone. He did tons of research online, watched so many videos of different brands, and even went to Best Buy to look at the options. Since we’re already traveling with a lot of stuff, he didn’t want to get a huge one that required its own large backpack.
He had read about the DJI Spark and was totally into it. We’ve been really happy with it so far. It’s produced great photos and videos of our South America adventure. One of the best parts is that all the videos and photos are stored in the app on your phone. The camera has wifi so even if you don’t have data on your phone, you can still fly.
This is the best camera for travelers who just want a simple, portable camera to document their travels. The new Hero6 just came out a few months ago and it has a ton of new features making it better than any of the previous ones.
The coolest feature, I think, is that it automatically sends the footage to your phone and makes a sweet edited video called QuickStory. It’s faster than the Hero5 and has a new chip that takes better images, something GoPro cameras in the past have fallen short on. It’s waterproof up to 33ft (10 m) without any casing. The new screen now has touch zoom and it’s easier than ever to frame a photo or watch the playback of your videos, something you can’t do on previous models.
I’ve had a Kindle Fire since they first came out back in 2012. It’s perfect for when I don’t feel like using my laptop. It stores so many books, magazines, e-books that you can download for free from bloggers, and it plays videos so it’s like having a portable TV. It’s kept me company on many a long bus ride. It’s a great gift even for someone who doesn’t travel that much. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you have access to streaming videos and a book lending library.
If you’re just looking for an e-reader without all the bells and whistles, the Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for just that. The battery lasts for weeks on a single charge. It looks the same as reading a normal book, no glare from the sunlight. There is a built-in light for reading in the dark, too. The new version has a much higher screen resolution that looks much better than the older models. Learn how this model is better.
This is great for travelers who have a lot of electronics. It’s super useful as more and more electronics can be charged with a USB cable. If you’re out all day taking photos, using GPS, and data the batteries start to run down quickly. It’s never any fun to be only halfway through your day with a bunch of dead batteries. Having a power bank on hand will ensure your electronics stay charged. Get more info here.
If you only suffer from a dead phone battery and want a lighter load, the Mophie Juice Pack Air is a better choice than the power bank. It can fully recharge a phone two times. There is also an on/off switch allowing you to choose when you boost your phone.
It’s the perfect thing to have when you’re trying to find your accommodation at midnight after a long bus ride where you were scrolling through Facebook the entire time (or is that only me?). Get the right size here.
This isn’t really a gadget but it’s great for holding one of your most important gadgets while you walk in the park or workout in the gym. Sasha and I love getting a good workout which can be hard on the road. If we’re staying somewhere for at least a month, we seek out a gym to join. I can’t go to the gym without my own music or podcasts to listen to.
This armband is great for many reasons; it’s water resistant and there’s a cord wrap to keep the excess from your headphones from getting in your way. It’s fitted to hug your phone so it’s not bouncing around while you’re running or bench pressing. This particular model fits an iPhone 8, 7, 6, and 6s in a slim case or no case, as well as an SE, 5, or 5s in a chunky case such as Otterbox. They have a smaller version for iPhone SE, 5, and 5s with no case. Read more reviews here.
Finding the best travel gear can be an overwhelming task but with the help of this guide, it should be a lot easier! This guide will help you choose the best gear for you so you can focus on the more important tasks of planning your trip and all the awesome things you’ll do. We personally use most of the travel gear listed here and if we don’t, we know someone who does.
Here are some posts about places we’ve traveled where all this travel gear came in handy:
- Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu: The Adventurous Way to get to the Ancient City
- Traveling from the USA to Mexico Overland
- Traveling from Jakarta to Bali, Indonesia Overland
As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions about any of the travel gear listed in this post or about traveling in general. We’re happy to help!
What’s your favorite travel gear? Tell me in the comments!
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