Wondering what to get the person in your family who lives out of a backpack? Don’t want to weigh them down or give them something they can’t take with them? Chances are there are a lot of upgrades or useful things they’d like but can’t really justify buying when they have something similar that sort of works, or little gadgets that are shiny and exciting, but the two paperclips and shoe and a coconut they put together to do something similar works okay for now.
GIFTS FOR THE HARDCORE ADVENTURER
These are the gifts for your friend or family member you worry about sometimes, because last you heard they were climbing a mountain, sleeping rough on a beach, or doing a motorbike end-to-end country trip.
I want one of these so much, because they’re lighter than a tent and great for travelling with through hot countries. Find a handy beach and just string it right up, whether you’re sleeping there or just relaxing. It’s light, waterproof, and has hardcore straps (which you need to buy, they don’t come with the hammock). This one, the Eagles Nest Outfitters Hammock, packs down to the size of a grapefruit and is about mid-range price wise, you know it’s not going to fall apart beneath you in the night, but neither will it break the bank.
Buy the straps here: Eagles Nest Outfitters Atlas Polyester Hammock Hanging Straps (FFP)
This is one for the ladies. I really wished I had one of these the other day when I was on a night train in Vietnam and my thighs were burning from hovering over the toilet seat that looked like a hotbed of who knows what. Maybe too much information, but the Shewee takes the stress out of long bus journeys, hitchhiking trips, and anywhere where you really don’t want to be touching the seat. The name is also nicely comical – maybe a gift for that female friend who keeps finding herself caught short? You can buy either the extreme version which comes with a little packaway pot, or just the basic version which is the ‘funnel’.
A laundry kit
At the moment I’m travelling with too many clothes for this to be necessary, but I’m downsizing to just hand luggage next year and can see a lot of hand washing on my horizon. Here’s the essential hand washing kit for hardcore travellers, as compiled by yours truly after wandering round and asking a lot of people for recommendations. These are all items I’ve heard of being used a lot by travellers, so they come with recommendations. A little note – if the person does a lot of travel in South East Asia, this won’t be as helpful because laundry here is cheap and easy to get done everywhere.
Item one: a hand washing (portable washing machine) bag. As a bonus A portion of the proceeds from Scrubba sales go towards providing clean drinking water in areas of the world with those in need.
Item two: a pegless clothesline (too many times I’ve had to cover a dorm bed with my underwear in the hope it dries) –Sea to Summit Lite Line Clothesline
Item three: a laundry detergent. This one does everything: hand soap, face, hair, dishes, clothes, etc. And it’s biodegradable so you won’t be polluting any streams when washing your breakfast dishes. Sierra Dawn Campsuds All Purpose Cleaner, 2-Ounce
Extreme traveller First Aid Kit
For someone who’s getting bumps and scrapes a lot, sometimes a simple plaster doesn’t quite cut it. Liquid skin sprays an antiseptic liquid bandage over the would and is very useful for small cuts and scrapes that travellers mysteriously pick up everywhere. Compeed are also something that I try to keep in my kit, as I find that the non-brand name blister plasters just don’t have the sticking power, but they’re a little expensive. To top off the set, for an extreme traveller it can be worth having a stop bleeding quick kit, for when they’re far from civilisation and hospitals.
Buy liquid skin here: New-Skin Liquid Bandage, First Aid Liquid Antiseptic, 1-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4)
Compeed here: Compeed Blister Relief Pack Plasters – Medium – White
And stop bleeding quick kit here: AllaQuix Stop Bleeding Quick Kit – First-Aid Trauma Kit with AllaQuix Professional-Grade Hemostatic Gauze (Blood Clotting Bandage)
GIFTS FOR THE MINIMALIST/DIGITAL NOMAD
These are the gifts for the travel who packs ultra light but still has a lot of technology our gear to haul around. They’re also for the traveller who likes to stay stylish, because let’s face it – the majority of us who live full time on the road sometimes like to have nice things.
I’m travelling with compression sacks right now, but I’ve seen this in action and I want to trade. These are so perfect for someone travelling out just hand luggage, and they’ll vastly increase the amount you can travel with and keep your stuff organised. If I don’t find these under the tree, I’ll go out and get them myself I want them that much.
I’m losing count of the number of cables and headphones I’ve destroyed by having them jammed down the bottom of my back and them getting crushed, or occasionally sitting my overheating laptop on them and melting them a little (oops!). This would save me all that bother and make me feel really organised.
USB charging port
Not the most romantic of gifts, perhaps, but very practical if like me you have a lot of devices to charge and are constantly running out of places to plug them in.
Again something I’ve been meaning to get for a while, the Gorilla Pod is a tiny tripod that will attach anywhere and is very light to carry. This one is dslr suitable, too, although probably don’t strap on your massive Canon with a zoom lens.
GIFTS FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS/ECO TRAVELLER
This is the list mainly for women because, let’s face it, I am one and at the end of the day this is what I’d want. This is list is designed for travellers who stay fit, do Yoga, and try to stay feeling nice while on the road.
Versa: Convertible Dress, Skirt, Shirt, Tunic, Halter Top. Magic Versatile Infinity Dress.
I’ve seen various bloggers and things online talking about convertible travel clothing: a scarf that has pockets, a scarf that’s a dress and a top and a skirt, but the thing is that I haven’t seen any I like or would wear. Much as I love the idea of having one item in my backpack that can be 30 different items of clothing, I also want to wear the majority of those 30 items. So I went onto Etsy and found one, and I really like it and would definitely wear it myself/appreciate it as a Christmas gift. It works for Yoga, the beach, or a nice dinner, and it’s more boho than boring which fits my style. Best of all, it’s supporting an independent seller and it’s made from Organic cotton, which fits into my ethics of not buying clothing from a store.
Follow this link to be taken straight to it: Etsy UK
Lightweight travel Yoga mat
I like travelling with a Yoga mat: between teaching, self-practice, and sleeping rough it gets a lot of use. And there is no way it will fit in my backpack next year when I downsize. After a little internet hunting and asking around, I’ve found two alternatives that I’m eager to try out. The first is a lightweight Yoga mat, and after reading reviews the consensus seems to go with the Manduka mat – although the Gaiam Banyan and Bo Foldable Yoga Mat seems like a close contender, it’s lighter, thinner and cheaper. Yoga Nomads has done various in depth reviews that you can find here.
This is the Manduka:
And this is the Gaiam Banyan:
The second alternative can also buy Yoga Paws, which take out the mat from the equation. I don’t personally know anyone who’s used them, but I’d be curious to try them or hear from people who have.
I used to have quite a lot of perfume, and sometimes I miss it but it’s just too impractical to travel with. Solid perfumes, which are about the size of a tin of lip balm, are the perfect size for travel. Etsy has a really good selection of handmade natural vegan ones that are very reasonably priced, so you can order a few to save on postage. This Etsy UK link will take you straight to the ones below.
GIFTS THAT ARE A LITTLE FANCIER
More my ‘if I win the lottery’ list than things I expect to be receiving for Christmas, here’s the latest in travel suitable gadgets that I’d love to have in my bag.
My Kindle is about to celebrate its 4th birthday, and it’s still going strong – it’s now my oldest piece of technology except for my iPod classic that I no longer use much. I would love, however, to have a Paperwhite that’s a little better organised, a little nicer to look at, lighter in weight and can be read with the lights off.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be upgrading to this at the end of the year, unless I find any research towards the contrary between now and then. It’s (along with the slightly advanced version the TX1 which you can find here: Fujifilm X-T1 16 MP Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 Lens one of the best cameras for travellers who like their photography, as it’s very light and versatile without (debatably) a compromise on image quality from an SLR.
Got any more ideas? Let me know in the comments below.
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