Choosing the perfect gift for a friend or family member can be stressful.
When that someone is a backpacker ... the task becomes even harder!
What do you give someone who's always on the road!?
Someone who loves to be minimalist and carry own the bear essentials.
Don't worry, we have you covered.
Based on years of personal backpacking experience, here's a thorough look at all the best backpacking gifts we have either been bought, or would like to be bought
(***cough, cough, wink wink ...)
From the smaller affordable options to more expensive travel gadgets, below you will find the perfect something for all types of backpacker, no matter their destination.
Want a quick answer?
Okay here are our 5 top picks straight off the bat ...
Vagabond Life offers a range of fun accessories that are the perfect gift for your backpacker friend.
The concept is simple: collect engraved rings for all the wonderful places they've visited and add them to Vagabond's Life keychains or necklaces.
It is an awesome way for travel lovers to commemorate their travels and carry their adventure memories wherever they go!
You can choose from necklaces and keychains and you can customize the rings based on the places they have travelled to and loved!
The best thing? Because it was founded by fellow travel addicts, Vagabond Life actually donates a share of their profit to environmental charities.
We love that the key chains come in a range of colours AND that you can opt for vegan leather.
If you’re unsure of what countries to purchase for your backpacker friend, you can always opt for the gift voucher option too, so they can choose their own travel rings.
Perfect for: Accessories lovers who want to commemorate their favourite countries
Not recommended for: People who don’t like small accessories (and might lose them!)
Price: Starting from $18 through their website
Each kit comes with everything you need to craft your very own cocktail anywhere, anytime. It’s also TSA-approved, which means they can create a gin & tonic even 30,000 feet in the air.
Sure, a portable cocktail kit is more of a novelty than anything. But rest assured they’ll have a good time and thank you for it! Especially on the flight out to their next big destination ... what better way to start their trip (speackign from personal experience).
Perfect for: Anyone who might crave a cocktail at the most random places
Not recommended for: Nondrinkers, naturally
Price: $23 on Amazon
A dry bag can be the perfect gift for someone who enjoys the outdoors, including those who frequently go on hiking trips and do water sports.
This specific one from Sea to Summit is a lightweight and multi-purpose one. It’s useful for protecting electronics and important travel documents from weather elements.
Perfect for: Hikers, campers, and outdoor lovers
Not recommended for: Backpackers who mostly travel to cities
This is the OG wall art for globetrotters, and one of the best gifts you can get a travel enthusiast. The idea is to track places they have visited around the world by scratching off each new destination.
Plus, it makes for an excellent decor piece that will remind them of their travels whenever they’re home!
Perfect for: Everyone, really
Not recommended for: Super long-term backpackers, because where would they hang the map?
Another unique gift idea for backpackers is a travel diary, which they can use to document and record their experiences.
There are tons of options out there, from empty journals to fun fill-in-the-blank travel diaries. The latter can be more convenient and interesting to fill for most, but some people prefer to journal on a blank canvas.
Perfect for: Journalers, people who like to document their travels
Not recommended for: Travellers who just don’t journal
The Active Roots Hammock can be a brilliant gift for any outdoor and camping enthusiast. It takes just two minutes to set up and can turn any hike on the mountain into a luxury getaway.
This hammock can fit up to 2 people and support 500 pounds while weighing only 2 pounds itself. In other words, perfect for backpackers!
Perfect for: Campers, hikers, and outdoorsy backpackers
Not recommended for: City lovers
The Tropicfeel Shell Backpack, also known as the modern-day travel backpack, might be the best backpack you can get for any trip. That’s because you can customise the bag to suit the length of your trip.
Whether your friend needs 22 litres for a weekend getaway or up to 40 litres to a months-long adventure, they will only ever need this one bag. Plus, it comes with built-in wardrobes and other unique features too. As well as being a fully sustainable, eco-friendly backpack.
Perfect for: Literally every backpacker
Not recommended for: Anyone who already has one
Price: $303 on their website
We discovered Loctote in late 2021 and since then I quickly fell in love with their Flak Sack! It's actually a drawstring bag, but has been designed to be one of the best anti-theft travel bags out there. And it's compact size means it can easily stuff down into the bottom of any rucksack.
It's then perfect for backpackers who just want a small, yet secure bag to take with them when out exploring cities or other crowded places, where bag theft is common. For a full rundown of the safety features and why this is such a useful gift, check out my review of Loctote here.
Perfect for: Any backpacker who is safety conscious
Not recommended for: Anyone who likes having their belongings stolen
Price: $169 on their website
Every camper or hiker needs a sleeping bag, and UST is one brand you might want to consider. The “wing” design can double as a pillow while also transforming the bag to a 17-degree or a 37-degree cocoon.
It’s available in the regular and short size. Also, there is a footbox for ventilation so they can cool down while sleeping!
Perfect for: Those travelling in changing outdoor temperatures
Not recommended for: Non-hikers and city people
It’s likely that most backpackers would already have a sleeping pad, but this one from Therm-a-Rest is a definite upgrade. Sure, it can be quite costly for a simple pad. Yet its quality is impressive.
This sleeping pad has the best warmth-to-weight you can find nowadays and is suitable to keep warm even in the most extreme conditions.
Perfect for: Mountaineers and alpinists who pack super light
Not recommended for: Those only backpacking in cities
Every outdoor enthusiast needs a good USB rechargeable headlamp. For this we recommend the Nitecore NU25. It’s incredibly lightweight but offers strong illumination at 360 lumens.
If your friend enjoys biking, hiking, camping, or walking, this might be the perfect gift for them. There are plenty of useful features and settings to make their next adventure safer and more enjoyable.
Perfect for: Outdoorsy backpackers
Not recommended for: People who stick to shopping malls and well-lit streets
Cheap trekking poles can be great for beginners, but you’d need durable and high-quality poles to conquer tougher terrains.
The Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock trekking poles are super strong and can last for years, all thanks to its built-in shock absorbing technology. They also feature a quick collapsibility and more comfortable grips.
Perfect for: All hikers and mountaineers
Not recommended for: Those not planning to hike at all
Emergency blankets may seem unnecessary, but it can actually be a life saver! This one is made from durable HeatFlex mylar and comes with a hood section. It can be used on its own or to enhance a sleeping bag.
Even better, it’s windproof, waterproof, and extremely cosy inside. The ultra-compact size makes it ideal for hikers and adventurers to always have in hand.
Perfect for: Hikers, ultramarathon runners, road trippers
Not recommended for: Non-outdoorsy people
Price: $14.95 on Amazon
A tent is a must-have for backpackers who love travelling in remote areas. So if they don’t have one yet or need an upgrade, consider the REI Co-op Half Dome SL 2+ Tent.
Extra light at just over 3 pounds, this tent can house up to 2 people and offers a spacious inside with comfy head and shoulder room.
Perfect for: Backpackers in remote areas
Not recommended for: Hotel sleepers
Price: $279 on their website
The best thing about packable daypacks is that they can shrink to the size of a tiny soda can when unused. But for any day hikes or adventures, it can expand and hold everything you need.
It weighs only four ounces and is ideal for outdoor travel, camping, day trips and even shopping. For the stylish backpackers who want to look good, there are several colours and patterns to choose from as well.
Perfect for: Minimalist backpackers
Not recommended for: No one, truly
When it comes to lightweight backpacking stoves, the BRS 3000T is the reigning product. It’s ridiculously light at only 25g and very compact, but can produce up to 2700W of heat.
This stove can boil a litre of water in just under 3 minutes, which is superb for any camping trip. It’s a unique and useful gift to help your backpacker friend cut down unnecessary weight from their gear.
Perfect for: Campers and hikers
Not recommended for: Non-outdoorsy travellers
Price: $16.90 on Amazon
The Ramble Mug by YETI is one of our favourite camp mugs. Its double-wall vacuum-insulated body means the content can stay hot or cold without burning or freezing your hand.
The MagSlider Lid is a trademark feature that will keep the heat or cold for longer. So yes, that means keeping coffee, tea, chili, oatmeal, or even soup well-insulated!
Perfect for: Coffee and tea lovers
Not recommended for: People who hate hot drinks...
Avid travellers would be familiar with Buff, aka the original creator of versatile headwears. A single piece of their headband can be used in 8+ ways, from holding up hair, as a bandana, hairtie, mask, or even neck scarf!
It’s also made from recycled materials and can protect against the sun (with UPF 50+) or dust.
Perfect for: Stylish travellers
Not recommended for: People who don’t wanna look cool in headbands
Patagonia is a household name when it comes to outdoor clothing, and gifting their Down Sweater is a foolproof way to impress your friend. Especially if you know they’ll be travelling during winter or to colder places.
This down sweater is very warm and offers impeccable quality for its price. It’s also lightweight, windproof, and made from traceable down.
Perfect for: Year-long and wintertime backpackers
Not recommended for: Those travelling to warm climates
Canvas pants are an essential in any backpacker’s wardrobe. It’s super comfortable, versatile and can be used for anything from lounging to rock climbing.
There are features like zipper pockets, ventilation, discrete EDC pockets, and roll-up cuffs. The best thing is that it’s multipurpose without looking merely tactical.
Perfect for: Backpackers who wear pants
Not recommended for: Backpackers who don’t wear pants
Looking for the best hiking or running shorts with zippers for your backpacking friend? This Nine Trails Shorts from Patagonia uses recycled shell fabric that is water repellent and extremely lightweight.
It also features an antimicrobial treatment to ward off unpleasant odours, while the 3 zippered pockets can be handy to keep even a phone!
Here's the women’s version.
Perfect for: Runners
Not recommended for: Those with already too many shorts
One of the best gifts you can get for backpackers is a good pair of sandals. These ones are durable, lightweight, and simple. It has a unique barefoot-friendly feeling plus while offering great protection.
We especially love them for walking and hiking when you don’t want to wear chunky boots, but you can use them for yoga and light work outs too.
Check out the women’s Genesis Sandal.
Perfect for: Everyone!
Not recommended for: Virtually nobody
Price: $39.99 on their website
We’ve mentioned the Tropicfeel backpack earlier, but their shoe line is no less impressive. In fact, each of Tropicfeel's shoes are perfect for different reasons, though our favorite has to be Sunset.
The sneakers are a hybrid of aqua shoes, sport shoes, hiking shoes, and casual shoes all in one! It means it’s water resistant, comfortable, lightweight, and fashionable.
Perfect for: Everyday explorers, city lovers and casual hikers
Not recommended for: Extreme hikers and mountaineers
Price: $107 on their website
Getting socks for an adventurer friend might sound boring, but it’s one of those overlooked essentials that any backpacker would appreciate. Why not get them a pair of high-quality socks that are time tested and super durable?
Of course, there are endless styles and models from Darn Tough, but the Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks is one of the classics. It’s fast drying, breathable and comfortable.
Perfect for: Casual and experienced hikers alike
Not recommended for: People who don’t wear socks?
It’s hard to find good sunglasses that can stay on while running, especially a stylish one that can double as your everyday sunnies.
The Goodr OGs come with polarized lenses and UV protection, while the lightweight frame is very comfortable to wear. Plus, there’s a ton of design options to choose from.
Perfect for: Everyone, especially runners
Not recommended for: Someone who already rocks Goodr sunglasses
One of the best things about this Xpacks Trucker Hat is the mesh back, which offers excellent breathability and sun protection. It’s also very lightweight and versatile, perfect for trekking and exploring cities alike.
This hat is suitable for both men and women, thanks to its neutral design, and can fit most heads.
Perfect for: Fashionistas who’d love a breathable hat
Not recommended for: Hat haters
Price: $25 on their website
If your friend likes to explore places in cold climates, chances are they would need a good beanie. This knit acrylic beanie from Carhartt is perfectly warm, stylish, and lightweight.
The simple design with the brand’s logo patch also makes it super versatile. Wear it under a hat, hoodie, or even for ear protection.
Perfect for: Year-round travellers
Not recommended for: Travels to the tropics
Who doesn’t love a nice all-season glove that can protect them from the cold during backpacking trips?
These Sealskinz gloves are 100% waterproof and windproof. It’s ideal to wear in all temperatures, and will certainly benefit those who travel during both the colder and warmer seasons.
Perfect for: Long-term travellers who brave all four seasons
Not recommended for: People in warm climates
Hiking shoes can be an expensive gift. Instead, why not get them some gaiters to keep their legs dry and warm while adventuring in wet climates?
These Outdoor Research gaiters fit snugly around the footwear to keep away dirt, twigs, and snow. The 420D nylon packcloth is both lightweight and durable, whereas the design makes it super easy to put on.
Perfect for: Hikers of wet and humid climates
Not recommended for: Non-hikers
Not the cheapest gifts, but definitely appreciated and memorable. If you have a particularly close friend or family member who loves backpacking, consider getting them a good travel camera to document their adventures.
The GoPro Hero 9 Black should be your first choice when looking for a camera to gift a backpacker. It’s waterproof, small, lightweight, durable, and can capture impressive video footage.
In other words, perfect to document extreme adventures! No doubt your backpacker friend will be delighted to get this. You can also try some of these GoPro alternatives.
Perfect for: Extreme adventurers and sports enthusiasts
Not recommended for: People who don’t like documenting their travels
Taking photos on a smartphone nowadays can produce pretty impressive results, but having a camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 is certainly life changing.
It’s lightweight and compact enough to be backpacker-friendly. Yet the performance and results are extremely professional, and taking stunning travel photos won’t be easier.
Perfect for: Photography enthusiasts
Not recommended for: People who can’t bother to carry a camera
Price: $749.95 on Amazon
This is the gadget to get for shooting multiple angles with just a single device that is super lightweight and compact. It features an invisible selfie stick mode to get third-person perspective even when they’re alone.
What’s even better is that it is waterproof to 10 metres, which means your friend can take it surfing or swimming!
Perfect for: Solo backpackers who travel ultra-light
Not recommended for: Those who prioritize photo quality over size and weight
Backpacking equals travelling light, but that doesn’t mean one can’t have a fancy drone to capture some of the breathtaking landscapes and fun activities. Our drone was a key part of our Sri Lanka packing list and our Bali packing list, despite backpacking both of these places. It allowed us to capture some epic shots that would have otherwise been impossible.
Well, if you want a big and unique gift that they certainly won’t forget, the DJI Mavic Mini 2 is a wonderful travel drone. This lightweight device is still small and easy to pack, but can take their documentation to a whole new level.
If this is a bit pricey, you can instead check out these alternatives to DJI. They are mostly much more affordable and with a similar spec.
Perfect for: Backpackers who love photography and filmmaking
Not recommended for: The non-tech savvy travellers
Price: $599 on Amazon
The Canon G7X Mark ii is hands down our favourite camera for blogging when travelling. If you want to splurge for your friend who blogs or simply loves photography, you can’t go wrong with this.
It’s lightweight and compact but boasts astounding focusing speed and performance. Plus, it offers the chance to upgrade its lenses to suit a variety of photography styles.
Perfect for: Photographers and travel bloggers
Not recommended for: Those who will only use it once
Alternatively, if your friend already uses a specific camera, you're better off picking up a new lens for that exact camera. We have some really useful and in-depth lens buying guides for the following cameras:
Reading while travelling is amazing, but books can be so heavy and backpack space is precious. That’s how a Kindle e-reader can solve the problem.
It can hold thousands of books in a single device and reads much like real paper without hurting the eyes. As a bonus, you might want to load a few ebooks onto it too!
For a more premium option, check out the Kindle Oasis ($249.99).
Perfect for: Avid and casual readers alike
Not recommended for: Illiterate people
Price: $79.99 on Amazon
There’s nothing more annoying than tangled earbuds, especially when you’re hurrying in an airport or walking in an unfamiliar city.
For backpackers who use an iPhone or other Apple products, it’s almost always a good idea to get them a pair of AirPods Pro. It’s very immersive and suitable to wear when running too.
Perfect for: Apple users
Not recommended for: Android fans
And for the non-Apple user backpackers, you won’t go wrong with these Amazon Echo Buds. It’s quite affordable for the quality it offers, which includes active noise cancellation, crisp audio, and sweat-resistant build.
Moreover, the Echo Buds can give up to 5 hours of battery life or 15 hours with the charging case. Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks during transit.
Perfect for: Virtually everyone
Not recommended for: Apple users, who will be better off using AirPods
Price: $119.99 on Amazon
Every backpacker would do well with a good quality portable speaker that takes up little space and weighs nothing, but can turn awkward silences into a party fit for a king.
We love this JBL speaker for its 10 hours of playtime and IPX7 waterproofing. Meanwhile, the integrated carabiner means it can easily clip on backpacks.
Perfect for: Fun, party-loving fellows
Not recommended for: People who hate music
Extreme hikers or adventurers might need a rugged GPS watch at some point. The Garmin Instinct can withstand tough environments and has incredible thermal, shock and water resistance.
It comes with built-in 1 axis compass and multiple global navigation systems, can track heart rate and other activities too. With a trackback feature, this watch can be useful for camping or hiking trips.
Perfect for: Extreme adventurers, hikers, and campers
Not recommended for: People who don’t like “outdoorsy” watch designs
For the tech savvy travellers, a fast-charging portable charger will be an appreciated gift. Whether to keep their phones and camera batteries full or headlamps working, there’s always a need for good power banks.
Perfect for: Avid Instagrammers, mobile gamers
Not recommended for: Technology-free travellers
On that note, consider buying a portable power station like the Jackery Explorer 500. It lets you power anything, anywhere.
This gift is probably more ideal for friends going on road trips or living in campervans, otherwise it might be too large and heavy. Still, a fully charged Jackery Stations (with optional solar panel) can power multiple laptops, tablets, phones, and cameras over and over again.
You can read more in my in-depth review of Jackery.
Or, check out other brands that may be better for you, in my roundup of the best portable power stations for travellers.
Perfect for: Backpackers travelling with an army of gadgets
Not recommended for: Technology-free travellers, lightweight solo backpackers
One of the best luxury items you can get for a backpacker is a portable espresso machine that’s compact enough to fit in their backpack. The Wacaco Minipresso lets you brew fresh espresso even in the most remote mountains.
It operates manually so there’s no need for battery or electricity to work. Simple, lightweight, and versatile: the perfect gift for a backpacker!
Perfect for: Coffee lovers
Not recommended for: Tea people
One of the most unique gift ideas for backpackers to try is the Peak Design Capture Camera Clip, which can be a game changer when it comes to taking photos while hiking or trekking.
It lets you clip your camera to your camera backpack securely so it’s always ready to capture the scene when needed. No more stowing away the camera in the depths of a bag and leaving beautiful landscapes unphotographed.
Perfect for: Backpackers who want to use their cameras more
Not recommended for: People without a camera
If you’re willing to splurge and get a high-end gift that can also be an investment, the Dell XPS is our favourite travel laptop. It’s perfect for any aspiring travel nomad or bloggers who will be working on the computer a lot while travelling.
This laptop is incredibly lightweight, has impeccable performance and a long-lasting battery. It also features a beautiful Infinity Edge screen for a stunning display.
Perfect for: Travel nomads and bloggers
Not recommended for: Again, the tech-free backpackers
Every backpacker needs a good set of multipurpose knives, and the Trango Piranha Knife can be a unique AND useful gift. It’s a super versatile tool that weighs practically nothing while being able to cut through so much.
This knife clips to a key ring or carabiner for easy access, and even comes with a handy bottle opener.
Perfect for: Hikers, campers, solo backpackers
Not recommended for: Carry-on only travellers
The Swiss Army Classic is exactly what its name suggests: a classic. It doesn’t matter if a backpacker loves hiking or simply exploring cities, they will appreciate having a pair of these on hand.
It’s light and compact, but contains useful tools like scissors, blade, screwdriver, a nail file, and even tweezers. This minimalist tool can prove extremely handy on the road.
Perfect for: Ultralight hikers and backpackers
Not recommended for: Extreme adventurers who might need something stronger
Insulated water bottles can be a backpacker’s best friend, especially during hot days or super cold nights. The Hydro Flask Bottle can keep beverages cold for 24 hours and hot drinks for 12 hours.
It’s doubtless one of the best water bottle brands you’ll find out there, and suited for a backpacker wherever they’re off to.
Perfect for: People who’s reducing their plastic use
Not recommended for: No one!
There’s nothing like a water filter to ensure that a camping trip goes as smoothly as possible. The Sawyer Squeeze is a compact and lightweight water filter system weighing just 3 ounces.
Small and mighty, it can provide clean and healthy water in the backcountry and other remote places. Just fill it up with lake water, squeeze it, and clean water will come right out.
Perfect for: Hikers and campers, hygienic people
Not recommended for: People travelling to countries with drinkable tap water
For an even more thorough sterilization, the Katadyn Steripen Classic 3 UV purifier will ensure all your drinking water is perfectly safe from bacteria and viruses.
This handheld device can purify 1 litre of water in just 90 seconds, and up to 150 litres on a set of AA batteries. It’s the perfect tool to have when exploring mountains or other remote areas.
Perfect for: Hikers, mountaineers, explorers of isolated nature
Not recommended for: Those travelling to places with easily accessible drinking water
The Garmin InReach Mini is a must-have for extreme explorers of rugged countryside and remote locations. It’s a small satellite communicator that allows 2-way text messaging and can trigger SOS message
Sure, it can be a bit of an investment. But if you’re looking for something for your best friend or closest family member, this is excellent for peace of mind.
Perfect for: People you care about
Not recommended for: Backpackers of only cities
It’s true. A money belt, simple as it may seem, may be hands-down the best gift you can get for a backpacker. They don’t know it yet, but this thing can prove super useful during travels!
Hide important documents like passports, ID cards, and some money in a money belt. This one from Eagle Creek even comes with RFID blocking technology to protect credit cards.
Perfect for: All backpackers ever
Not recommended for: No one. Please protect your valuables!
Losing money to pickpockets can be a nightmare, especially in a foreign and unfamiliar country. Among the many ways to hide your valuables, a travel scarf with hidden pockets and zippers might be the most fashionable one.
This ELZAMA Infinity Loop Zipper Scarf is revolutionary and comes in tons of stylish colours. Don’t worry, it’s thin, breathable, and very comfortable.
Perfect for: Classy people with a sense of fashion
Not recommended for: People travelling to tropical countries
Price: $12.99 on Amazon
When looking for gifts for beginner backpackers, consider these Bamboo Earth shampoo and conditioner bars. Instead of carrying bulky, spillable bottles, these bars can be life-changing.
Not only do they diminish in size and weight as they are used up, they’re also aromatic, easy to use, and eco-friendly.
Perfect for: Environmentally conscious travellers
Not recommended for: People who don’t shower
Microfiber towels are great for a few reasons. They are lightweight, fast-drying, compact, and multipurpose. In short, the perfect towel for a globetrotting backpacker.
This Active Roots towel folds up into a tiny mesh bag that your friend will barely notice. Use it as a bath towel, camping towel, yoga towel, beach towel, gym towel, etc. Better yet, 50% from each sale will go to the Elephant Conservation Center in Laos.
Perfect for: Campers and backpackers
Not recommended for: Once again, people who don’t shower
The future is here! Say goodbye to forgetting pin combinations and losing luggage keys. This smart padlock will unlock with just a touch of the finger while offering top-notch security.
It’s definitely a useful and fun gift for backpackers. The only thing to note is that it does operate on battery, though a single charge can last up to six months of standby time.
Perfect for: Everyone who wants to keep their belongings safe
Not recommended for: Old-school people refusing to befriend technology
Price: $35.99 on Amazon
Packing cubes are a key part of any travel packing list; especially for backpackers, where space is at a premium. The Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Cube Set contains three cubes in different sizes to organize accessories, underwear, and other clothing items.
The best thing about these cubes is that they have a mesh lining so you can always see what’s inside each cube. No more guessing where that piece of shirt is!
Perfect for: Organization junkies, packing aficionados
Not recommended for: Literally no one
We understand you may not want to splurge or spend hundreds of dollars to give someone a brand-new drone. But who says affordable gifts can’t be memorable and thoughtful?
Coghlan’s Four Function Whistle is a fun multipurpose whistle that also comes with a magnifier, compass, and two-scale thermometer. It’s the perfect companion for a hiking or camping trip as it can help with orienteering and navigation.
The whistle itself is loud enough to alert others, and can easily clip onto a backpack, zipper, or belt.
Perfect for: Hikers and mountaineers, outdoors navigators
Not recommended for: People only travelling to cities and towns
One of the best inexpensive gifts for hikers is the GEAR AID Tenacious Tape. It’s small and cheap but a single roll can come a long way.
Fix tents, ski pants, sleeping bags, and even down jackets. This versatile tape is waterproof and weatherproof, making it super durable and also washable.
Perfect for: All backpackers you know
Not recommended for: Nobody
Backpack space might be the most valuable thing for a backpacker, but some people can’t help but bring a piece of luxury on their trips, like a notebook.
If your friend is one of those people who enjoy journaling as they travel, a Rite in the Rain all-weather journal might be what they need. It’s small, compact, and contains 50 sheets of waterproof paper. Just enough to hold all those creative and reflective thoughts!
Perfect for: Creative travellers, avid documenters
Not recommended for: Non-journaling folks
For backpackers who like to experiment with phone photography, why not buy them a camera lens kit? It’s affordable, compact, and easy to use, but can truly elevate their travel photos.
This lens kit comes with 3 different angles, including the wide angle, fish eye, and macro lens, for a variety of shots. It also fits different phones and tablets, from iPhone to Androids alike.
Perfect for: Phone photography enthusiasts
Not recommended for: Anti-camera travel purists
Price: $5.97 on Amazon
Yet another one of the best cheap gifts for backpackers to get is something fun yet useful. This UCO Collapsible Cup is ideal for backpacking, hiking, and camping, thanks to the sturdy yet collapsible design.
What’s great is that the carabiner attachment means you can easily clip it on your bag to save more space.
Perfect for: Tea drinkers, coffee lovers, campers and hikers
Not recommended for: Non-campers who won’t be adventuring outdoors
While not the cheapest of our “cheap gifts” list, or the most practical, this book can be a brilliant present for a backpacker. It’s a compilation of 50 epic hikes across the globe that will inspire countless adventures.
From the calming journey to Mt. Kailash Pilgrimage Circuit to daring quests on the Pacific Crest Trail, this illustrated book is a must-have for any backpacker.
Perfect for: Book lovers, hikers
Not recommended for: People who will only use it as a coffee table decor
On the Road is arguably one of the greatest books ever written about road trips and travel. If you have a friend or family who will be hitting the road soon, this could be the perfect gift to accompany them.
For many backpackers, Jack Kerouac is an inspirational figure and his writing style is truly immersive and gripping.
Perfect for: Bibliophiles, introverts, people going on long train rides
Not recommended for: Non-readers
The problem with buying a gift for backpackers is that more stuff doesn’t always mean a good thing. Some of the more unique hiking gifts you can get that won’t fill their backpacks are experience gifts. Here are some of our favourites!
There are many packages that Tinggly offers, but the Happy Birthday Collection can be a good place to start. Choose the digital or physical box version, and your friend will soon be off to a worldwide adventure.
They can choose from more than 400 experiences in over 100 countries, from white water rafting in Indonesia to bungee jumping in India.
Perfect for: World traveller who thrives on once-in-a-lifetime experiences
Not recommended for: Indecisive peeps, because the choices are endless
Price: $89 on their website
Similarly, another treasure trove of experiences is GetYourGuide, which is undeniably one of the best places to book tours and activities around the world.
What’s so great about gift cards is that you’re allowing them to choose what they want to do when they want to do it!
Perfect for: Backpackers you love
Not recommended for: No one, really
Price: Customizable on their website
For US residents or anyone you know will be in the US for the year, consider getting them an annual National Parks pass. This is a sure way to win their hearts as it opens all national parks across the country for them, for an entire year!
We’re talking about 58 national parks across all fifty states in America, from Yosemite to Bryce Canyon and beyond.
Perfect for: American friends going on a nationwide road trip
Not recommended for: Non-US residents
Price: $80 on the NPS website
For more gift card options, you can’t go wrong with something from Airbnb. From romantic getaways in Paris to unique Airbnb Experiences off the coasts of Thailand, there is something from everyone.
The unique thing about these Experiences is that they are led by locals who will personalize each trip for your friend.
The only downside is that Airbnb gift cards are currently only available in the United States...
Perfect for: Literally anyone!
Not recommended for: People not in the US
Price: Customizable on their website
For the adventure junkies in your life, maybe enrolling them in a survival course could be a great idea. The Bear Grylls Survival Academy has multiple locations across the world.
From hunting for food in the wilderness to building shelter, the experience can encompass a whole lot of things.
Perfect for: Hardcore adventurers who love visiting remote places
Not recommended for: Urban travellers who stick to well-populated cities
Price: Varies on their website
If you have those friends who are constantly snapping photos with their phone or camera, consider paying for an online photography class!
The School of Photography is just one company that offers an array of courses covering a range of topics. From specialized beginner classes to specific niches like landscape photography, this will let your backpacker friend elevate their photography skill.
Perfect for: People who love snapping photos on their phones/ cameras
Not recommended for: Non-photographers
Price: Varies on their website
Everyone loves getting pampered, especially people who travel a lot. And yes, backpacking can be exhausting. So, why not let your friends indulge in a rejuvenating spa session and unwind?
Perfect for: Every single backpacker there is
Not recommended for: People who hate to feel relaxed!
Price: Varies depending on package
Before choosing the best gift for a backpacker, you should consider your budget. How much are you willing to spend for a gift? You may want to splurge for a particularly close friend or family member, or set a more reasonable budget.
Whatever it is, having a range to start with can be very useful. This will narrow down your choices and make the job easier.
Next, try to find out the things they already have and what they might need. It won’t do anyone any good to give someone their second pair of sandals, or an expensive backpack when they have just bought a new one.
Style of travel is something to take into account too. Some backpackers travel only with a carry-on, in which case you need to buy things that are TSA-approved. Also, will they be hiking through the backcountry and doing plenty of hiking, or sticking mostly to large cities?
Don’t forget to think about where your friend will be backpacking, as the destination will affect the gifts you can get them. For instance, it makes no sense to buy a down jacket for someone going to Southeast Asia. Likewise, a water filtration system is probably unnecessary for someone travelling to major European cities.
Useful gifts can be unique too, but sometimes you might have to choose between the two. For example, something like a carry-on cocktail kit is definitely unique. But how useful are they really for a backpacker?
Meanwhile, practical stuff like a money belt or a pair of high-quality socks may feel like a mainstream gift, though you know they’ll be used a lot.
From backpacking gear and travel clothing to electronics and unique experiences, we hope we’ve covered it all.
This post alone should be enough to help you find the best gift for the special backpacker in your life, though additional research never hurts.
Don’t forget to think about what they specifically need and what they might already have so your gift doesn’t end up unused.
And if you think we missed any travel essential that a backpacker would appreciate, feel free to drop a comment below.
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