As a traveler, you have endless options for travel gear. A few products are great, plenty are okay, and lots are junk.
How can you sort through it all? Don’t. Let the experts do it for you. We (Fred and Jeremy, the co-founders of Tortuga Backpacks) are veteran travelers and industry pros as are all of the writers here on Packsmith.
This page is a curated, constantly-updated list of the best travel gear by category. When we find a better product than one currently listed, we’ll replace it.
Every recommendation on this page has been rigorously tested on multiple trips. Being novel isn’t enough to earn our recommendation. Gear must stand up to the rigors of the road.
Bookmark this page for an always up-to-date list of our favorite travel gear.
Best Travel Backpacks
The Outbreaker Collection ($269-299) Our flagship product. The carry on backpack designed for travelers, by travelers. Bring everything you need without checking a bag.
The Outbreaker travel backpacks come in two sizes, 35 and 45 L. They are carry-on-sized, front loading for easy organization, and lockable for security. Read reviews here.
For longer trips, the Outbreaker 45 L is the maximum carry on dimensions for most major airlines, allowing you to make the most of the space available to you without the additional cost of checking a bag. Well organized, with comfortable waist and shoulder straps, carrying it is a breeze.
For shorter trips, the Outbreaker 35 L is a smaller, lighter, one-size-fits-all backpack. Bring everything you need for an overnight or long weekend trip. The 35 L is perfect for domestic travelers, business travelers, and study abroad students.
Not sure which backpack is right for you? Compare both here.
Best Travel Clothes
After being long-time ExOfficio underwear fans, we now favor Uniqlo’s performance fabric underwear. These underwear have a nicer hand feel, are cheaper, and stay in place better than ExOfficio. Thanks to Snarky Nomad for tipping us off to our new favorite underwear.
High-quality underwear that dry fast, wick away moisture, and don’t stink. ExOfficio’s underwear is deal for long-haul flights and days spent on the move. Multiple styles available for both men and women.
Wool socks will keep your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Smartwool socks come in a variety of styles, from light athletic socks to thick, over-the-calf hiking socks. They’re reinforced through the arches and snug enough not to droop. They’re my everyday socks of choice, especially for wearing with boots.
Smartwool Socks ($10+)
Darn Tough also makes excellent wool socks. Their cushion crew socks are a good option if you need something thicker than dress socks but thinner than boot socks.
Scottevest’s travel vests have 24 hidden pockets to carry anything from sunglasses to an iPad. These vests are great for breezing through security and carrying extra stuff onto your flight.
Our Review: Scottevest Travel Vest for Men Review
Best Travel Accessories
GoToob’s refillable travel bottles come in multiple sizes but are all small enough to pack in your carry on luggage (3 oz. or less). If your favorite liquid toiletries don’t come in travel sizes, just squeeze the amount you need into a GoToob. You can find cheaper options at your local drug store, but they’re low quality and won’t last. Invest a few dollars in GoToob’s thick rubber bottles with “no-drip” caps.
TSA-Approved Luggage Lock
Use a combination lock, rather than a keyed lock, so that you don’t have to worry about losing the key. A cable lock will offer better flexibility when locking up your bag. This TSA-approved lock is Amazon’s best-selling luggage lock.
Travel Power Strip
This small power strip lets you charge multiple gadgets from one wall outlet with just one international power adapter. The Belkin surge protector also includes two USB ports so that you can charge up to 5 devices simultaneously.
Compact, quick-drying towel that folds up into a small zippered pocket. Ideal for using as a bath towel, beach towel, or picnic blanket.
Dr. Bronner’s soaps are called “magic” because they can clean anything. This liquid soap can be used as body wash, face wash, shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and an all-purpose cleaner. It’s organic, fair trade, and never tested on animals. For the best value, buy a large bottle of liquid soap and put the amount you need into a GoToob travel bottle (see above).
Travel Water Bottle
Vapur’s soft-sided bottle rolls up when it’s empty and can be hung from your belt or bag with a D-ring.
Have questions about these products or want our recommendations for other categories? Contact us.