Top 7 Travel Items for Backpacking Trips

Travel Backpack
Author with REI Daypack at Crater Lake in Oregon

I have fine-tuned this list of “must-haves”, “can’t imagine traveling without”, and “items I swear by” over the past couple of years.  For many of these travel items, I learned about them through other travelers: reading reviews, blogs, or talking with other travelers.  I then spent a lot of time thoroughly researching the items before getting them.  But after thoroughly testing them out, I can happily give my own “this is the best thing that ever happened to me” nod of approval.

#1 REI Backpack

My travel backpack is the REI Co-op Grand Tour 80 Travel Pack (Women’s).  It fits nearly 80 litres of gear, weighs about 5 pounds, and has so many pockets!  The frame is also incredibly supportive on your back and doesn’t put a ton of weight/pressure on your shoulders.  The day pack that is attached to the front and the international carry-on size are two of my favorite parts of this backpack.  I have been able to travel with just this bag (and a purse) for up to two weeks and had plenty of room.

#2 Compression Bags

I love compression bags because they allow me to pack more clothing in a smaller space.  They also help keep my clothes organized.  For example, I tend to put things like my socks (that always go missing…) and underwear in one of the smaller containers.  I personally have two different brands of these bags (they come in sets of 2 or 3).  I think that they’re both great and essentially do the exact same thing: Gonex and Eagle Creek. They also make a great gift to get a traveler; I just got a set for my little brother for his first solo trip!

#3 Microfiber Towel

This towel was a surprise “extra” gift last year that my mom randomly picked up for me.  It quickly became one of my favorite travel items.  It’s a perfect packing item because it is compact and lightweight.  And it is a fantastic travel item because it dries so quickly.  I love not having to stress about travel with a wet towel because it’ll dry within hours – sometimes faster than this!

#4 Travel Steamer

Most of the time when I pack, I try and bring items that won’t wrinkle easily.  It got so annoying to have to worry about tracking down an iron while traveling.  But then I discovered the gloriousness that is a steamer and their availability in a compact travel size. This particular steamer comes with its own travel bag, it heats up quickly, and works like a charm.  It is not only a favorite item to travel with, but it is easily a favorite item in my day-to-day life as well!

#5 Emergency Kit

I’m not including any links because this is a kit that I’ve built myself.  This kit has things like an emergency glow stick, UV flashlight, bandaids, antibacterial wipes, medicine tape, etc. Essentially, this kit is tailored to me.  For example, my medicine tape is because I have bad knees and from time to time I need to tape them up in order for them to not be painful if I’m doing a lot of walking or hiking.  You know your own needs so you can tailor your kit to you!

#6 Belkin Multi-Port

I used to charge my electronics items one at a time using a single adapter and converter.  But then one of my travel friends should me her Belkin multi-port and I had one of those lightbulb moments: “Why have I never thought of this before?!”  I love that this multi-port not only has three outlets (US-style), two USB ports, but that it can swivel in order to adapt to the needs of the outlet. I am kind of surprised at how long I went without being able to charge multiple things at one time.  Choosing between my phone and my Kindle each night was very stressful for me!

#7 Luggage Scale

I actually have two luggage scales; one digital and one non-digital.  I tend to use my digital one more because I love the feature that allows you to convert the units.  However, the non-digital one can hold more weight.  They are both similar in size and easy to pack.  Whichever one I bring with, usually gets thrown in to an outer compartment of my backpack.  It has been an absolute lifesaver to be able to weigh my bags before I get to the airport.  Ultimately, this little thing saves me money by helping me avoid having bags that are overweight and then having to pay to check my bag.

EXTRA: Journal

I don’t have specific links because I don’t buy my own journals; they’re always gifts from people.  I enjoy receiving journals as gifts because I am not picky about size or style of journal.  Family and friends like picking out my next journal that they know will travel with me and it is always a safe, easy, and fun gift. Because the journals come from friends and family, it is like taking a piece of home with me, no matter how far I travel.

Travel Notebooks; Travel Items
Travel Journals

Whether you are a season pro or a first-timer, I hope that this list of my favorite travel items was useful for you.  Happy travels!


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