Essential Gear

 

Resources, Essential Gear

Here’s a list of the simple travel essentials that I never leave home without …

Related Travel Gear Posts

This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.


Alarm Clock

I hazard a guess at this being the number one most forgotten item when people set off on their travels. I certainly know it’s mine. You might be out of routine when you’re away, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to get up early sometimes. Be it an early bus ride or a scuba diving lesson, there are some things you just don’t want to miss out on. I love my trusty Casio model as it’s light, cheap and the batteries last forever. It also has a sliding front cover that stops buttons being accidentally pressed when in your bag = handy!

Anti Theft Backpack

New anti-theft technology has literally changed my life when it comes to not stressing about my valuables whilst on the road. Check out my review of the incredible Bobby Anti Theft Backpack which I now wouldn’t leave home without.

Combination Padlock

Useful for luggage in transit, tents in parks and lockers in hostels … and you never need to worry about forgetting a key! Make sure you buy a combination padlock that is study and large enough to fit most things, but not so heavy that you feel you are lugging a paperweight round in your bag. The Newbee range is super light.

Dr Bronner’s All-in-One Soap

A great space saver, this all-in-one product is the only thing you’ll need to take in your toiletries bag!

Eye Mask & Ear Plugs

In terms of an eye mask, it’s worth getting something decent that is totally light blocking and also soft on the eyes. I recommend the Alaska Bear Natural silk sleep mask, which is super comfortable and will keep your delicate eye area protected from bright LED lights and dry air.

Head Torch / Head Lamp

If you’ve ever set up a tent in the dark or wanted to read a book in a hostel dorm when everyone else is asleep, you’ll know that this hands-free lighting solution really is the only one to take with you. Fashion statement it is not. But practical? Woah mamma, is it ever! Check out my list of the top 3 headlamps for backpacking for some more recommendations.

Quick-Dry Shorts

I came across these in Nicaragua, when I met a girl cycling from Alaska to Argentina. They were all she wore and now, they are all I wear too! Perfect for hiking, swimming, down the beach or up a mountain, they are comfortable, cool and so easy to pull on in the morning, so that’s one less thing you have to think about! I recommend Nike Dri-Fit for keeping you super cool.

Mosquito Net

Both light-weight and compact, you’ll be super happy you’ve bought a mosquito net when the critters start attacking you in the night. I like the LIFESYSTEMS ones as I find them easy to hang and versatile regardless of the size of the bed, mattress or whatever else you might be sleeping on. This Universal Backpackers King Size Mosquito Net is also fantastic with its Tear Resistant Loop & Snug Fit Bottom. Plus you get a  FREE Carry Bag & Hanging Kit with it too!

Packing Cubes

Packing Cubes have made a huge difference when it comes to getting my luggage ready and almost everyone I know raves about them too.  See my post about the great Cabinzero packing cubes to learn how I was converted!

Phrasebook

I’ve always gone for Lonely Planet Phrasebooks as I’m familiar with their layout, meaning I can find information quickly and easily. With a good range of everyday useful words and phrases, handily sorted into sections, as well as simple grammar pointers, these little gems a great way to get started in another language or just to try and be a bit polite. They also have some hilarious translations – just look at the dating pages!

Sarong (or 3!)

Oh how versatile is the humble sarong! There are probably a million uses for this incredible piece of equipment, which is why I would NEVER travel without at least one. Check out my top reasons to travel with a sarong to learn why.

Silk Sleeping Bag Liner

Whether it’s to keep your sleeping bag clean or to sleep under something thin when it’s too hot for much else, silk sleeping bag liners will keep you cool and dry all night. Sometimes, if I’m looking to pack extra light, it’s all I take. Small, thin and compact., it can be stuffed into any pocket easily.

Sleeping Bag

If you’re taking a sleeping bag travelling, its got to be a snugpak– read my list of the best sleeping bags for backpackers to learn why. Go for a 2 season model in the tropics, 3 season everywhere else – unless you’re going to Antartica of course!

Swiss Army Knife

Is it a knife, is it a file, is it a bottle opener, is it a screw driver, is it a pair of scissors? Yes, yes, yes and yes. And it’s the sort of thing you’ll never realise is useful until you are in the situation when it’s required. I lost mine once in the back of an Albanian taxi – gutted! First thing I bought again as soon as I got home!

Lightweight Tent

It might mean carrying a bit of extra weight, but knowing you’ll always have a roof of some sort over your head, is a great way to travel. It can also save you a lot on accommodation costs, particularly in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I carried my tent through Latin America and Southern Africa and it saved me a ton! Make sure you pick a tent appropriate for the climate of your destination. I love my trusty Gelert tent and do think it might be the best backpacker tent ever! Read more about choosing a tent in my handy guide here.

Travel Cutlery Set

It doesn’t matter whether you plan to go camping or not, a set of eating tools is definitely handy to have for long bus journeys or dirty hostel kitchens. It’s a staple for me when I travel, along with an airlock tupperware that can be used as a plate, bowl or cup, allowing me to munch happily on the road wherever I am. I recommend  the titanium, lightweight travel cutlery set by FitnessCity – it won’t take up room or rust.

Travel Towel

I’ve gone for cheap travel towels in the past and believe me, you’ll soon realise they’re not worth it when they stink within a week. Buy something that is microfiber and feels more like a towel than a chamois cloth! Travel Towels are ridiculously helpful if you’re trying to conserve space and Sea to Summit offer the best I’ve found.

Universal Sink Plug

A small, but surprisingly useful piece of kit. Handy when you want to wash a pair of undies in a sink and you finally give-in to the science that even thick socks don’t keep the water from going done the plughole!

Water Filtration Bottle

This is such a great product to have whether you’re going hiking, camping or hitting some more off the beaten track destinations. The inbuilt filters remove 99.9% of bacteria, keeping you safe and hydrated no matter where in the world you are. Read my review of the Water-To-Go Filter Bottle for more info about these great pieces of travel gear.

World Power Adapter

Never risk not being able to charge your camera wherever you are. Skross are a great brand of world power adapter, that offer flexibility, including USB chargers for apple products in their models too.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Top