Best Gifts for Backpackers in 2017

Dan Vineberg

As we look forward to 2017, here are seven gift ideas for backpackers or travellers.

Power Bank

Maybe you think modern technology is turning us all into anti-social jerks. Or maybe you spend nine hours a day playing Pokemon Go. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure: smart phones aren't going anywhere. And neither, apparantly, is their neverending need to be charged. So this year, buy the backpacker in your life something you can be sure any traveller will appreciate: a power bank.

ALLPOWERS 15600mAh Portable External Battery Charger Power Bank

The ALLPOWERS 15600mAh Portable External Battery Charger Power Bank provides up to four full charges to a modern smart phone. It's also compact, making it a useful gift for travellers. So that means no more having to huddle by that one lonely power outlet beside the out-of-service bathroom at the airport in Chiang Mai. A power bank will be a welcome addition to any modern traveller's luggage.

Cost: As low as $17.99 on Amazon.

Best Suited for: Travellers under the age of 35. (Older travellers may appreciate a power bank too, but it's no secret that millennials spend more time on their phones than their parents.)

Water Filter

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that getting sick while travelling sucks. On the list of bad things to happen while travelling, it's right between: getting mugged on the first day and having a stranger take the arm rest for the entirety of a ten hour flight. Come on, man, I've got elbows too!

GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier

With the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier, you won't have to worry about having clean, safe to drink water any more. Provide peace of mind with this filter that removes 99.99% of waterborne bacteria.

Cost: $59.50 on Amazon.

Best Suited for: Backpackers who frequent countries with compromised water quality. (South East Asia, Latin America, India, parts of Africa, and more.)

Packing Cubes

Buying gifts can be tough. Especially for a backpacker - what do you get someone whose whole life fits in a bag? How about something to better organize that bag?

bagail packing cubes

Buy this set of 4 packing cubes for your backpacker friend and they might hesitate. They might give you a weird look. HECK, THEY MIGHT EVEN RAISE AN EYEBROW. But after their first time using these bad boys they will be begging for forgiveness.

I tell you this as a recent convert to the church of packing cubes (I got mine within the last year). It has been one of my best backpacking decisions ever. Not only do they allow me to fit more than ever before in my bag, but things in my bag are much easier to find than before. Because there's nothing worse than having to empty your whole backpack just to find a matching pair of socks.

Cost: Buy a set of 4 for only $19.54 on Amazon.

Best Suited for: Any backpacker who could go with being a bit more organized.

Odor and Stain Resistent Apparel

Let us cross our fingers that Facebook and Instagram never develop smell-technology. If they do, those backpacking around the world pictures are suddenly going to seem a lot less cool. I'm a backpacker who stays in hostels, so I say from experience that sometimes backpackers stink!

It's not all the time. It's not even most of the time. But every backpacker can relate to those days where you have a long plane ride, then another plane ride, then a bus ride, then a hot, sweaty walk before reaching your day's destination. Wouldn't it be great, for these days, to know that you're wearing clothing that stays cleaner for longer?

In comes Ably Apparel. Ably has designed shirts and hoodies that are all cotton, but extra-resistant to stains and odours thanks to Filium, a special technology that, umm... you know what, I'm going to leave it to the Ably team to explain it. Click to learn more.

Ably Apparel unbelivably
image source:

Disclaimer: This inclusion is sponsored by Ably Apparel, who sent me a shirt earlier this month. Though I haven't had a chance to travel with it yet, the first thing I did was pour coffee down the front, and it passed the test! Coffee video coming soon on my YouTube channel!

Cost: Starting at $48 on Ably's website.

Best Suited for: That messy backpacker in your life who always has a stain on their shirt. 😉

Nah for real though, this is a nice gift for anyone who wants to keep fresh while travelling.

Scratchable World Travel Map

This backpacker gift recommendation is a throwback to a post I wrote back in 2014, Cool Gifts For Travellers. The NOMAD Progressive World Traveler Map has earned its return to the travel gift list based purely on my own use: after returning from South East Asia a couple of months ago, I had a rush of excitement when I scratched off Vietnam, Cambodia and Taiwan.

NOMAD Progressive World Traveler Map

Some gifts like Ably's shirt or GRAYL's water filter will be useful on your backpacking journey. Others will serve you when you come home, and remind you of all the adventures you had. The NOMAD Progressive World Traveler Map is a gift that reminds you of great memories!

Cost: Starting at $25.99 on Amazon.

Best Suited for: A globe trotter who is leaving on an international adventure sometime soon.

Wreck This Journal

Backpacking and world travel has changed the way so many of us see the world. For those who like to write or to document the journey, there's still a great appeal to journaling. So how about a gift that has changed the way we think about a journal?

Wreck This Journal

Wreck This Journal encourages the owner to follow a variety of prompts, such as:

"Acquire a napkin from a restaurant. Write a secret on it. Glue it here."

In the end, you'll have a journal that will not only document your backpacking journey with words, but with so much more. I've yet to try one out myself, but it looks like a really cool - and affordable - gift idea.

Cost: Buy it for only $10.78 on Amazon.

Best Suited for: The traveller in your life with an artistic, creative personality.


Okay, so maybe the other travel gifts didn't excite you. You're looking for something more advanced, more breathtaking, more... flying.

DJI Mavic Pro
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Enter: the DJI Mavic Pro Collapsible Quadcopter. DJI's previous release, the Phantom 4, set the standard for personal drone technology. Now DJI has taken it to the next level with Mavic Pro, a drone with foldable propellers. Previous releases were large enough to require their own carrying bags. But the Mavic Pro is compact enough to reasonably be carried in a traveller's backpack.

So buy the DJI Mavic Pro Collapsible Quadcopter for the backpacker in your life for whom you will spare no expense. Actually, while you're at it, buy me one too. Seriously. Please.

Cost: Brace yourself. The DJI Mavic Pro sells for $1,614.99 on Amazon.

Best Suited for: The backpacker in your life who wants to shoot beautiful arial videos.

Oh, and ideally someone who doesn't mind carrying around a drone, too.

So that's it - my favourite gift ideas for backpackers in 2017. Do you have any travel gift ideas that I might have left out? Leave a comment down below. Bonus points if it uses innovative technology, or it's just flat out unique!

As always, I'm Dan from The New Travel. Thanks for reading.

Dan Vineberg

You may also be interested in reading: Every Backpack Tells a Story.

Or, find out what goes into my own backpack: Packing for Vietnam! (video)

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