The Best Travel Gear for Your Next Big Trip

By Nick Hilden
Loading up on the best travel gear.

For those afflicted with wanderlust, there’s nothing quite like getting a great piece of travel gear. Whether it’s something small that makes your journey more convenient in some tiny way, or an awesome travel bag to shoulder through the miles, the right piece of gear can radically improve your travel experience.

But not all travel gear is created equal. Much of it is outright useless. To separate the good from the bad, we’re looking at some of the best travel gear on the market today. Below are specific suggestions you’ll also find links to various guides that provide recommendations for travel gear from different categories.

Outbreaker Backpack 45L

The Best Travel Backpack

The most, most important piece of gear is the one that will carry the rest of your gear: your travel backpack.

I’m a firm believer in one bag travel which allows you to go carry-on-only, eliminating the stress, hassle, and expense of checking a bag.

From my experience, the best carry on luggage is a travel backpack rather than a suitcase. A backpack is easy to grab and go. This is particularly true if you’ll be someplace with cobblestone streets, which are notoriously difficult to navigate with wheeled suitcases.

The Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack is the best travel bag. I’ve traveled all over the world with mine, shouldering it from Paris to Thailand, Mexico to the Middle East, and a million places in between. While I’ve tried other bags, I always go back to the Outbreaker.

No other carry-on-sized travel backpack allows you to pack so much into the limited space provided by airline carry on restrictions.  The Outbreaker maximizes every square inch while providing an outstanding level of organization.

At the same time, the Outbreaker is supremely comfortable thanks to its fully adjustable harness and thick padding, which makes it comfortable enough to wear for hours on end if necessary. The sailcloth exterior is waterproof and super tough, ensuring that your gear stays dry and your bag will hold up through years of travel.

She's packing essential travel gear.

Travel Gear Guides

Beyond these specific travel products, we’ve got plenty of information about travel gear for different categories and tips on traveling with it. Check out the links below and learn how to upgrade your travel gear game.

Travel Bags and Carry

Travel Electronics

Travel Health and Hygiene

The best travel gear.

Travel Accessories

As far as specific pieces of travel gear go, here are a few things that have made my travels notably better.

  • Flexo-Line XL Clothesline: Every minimalist traveler ends up handwashing their clothes. But there isn’t always a great place to hang them to dry. This portable clothesline from Flexo-Line takes up virtually no space in your bag and can work in any hotel room or Airbnb.
  • Earth Breeze Laundry Detergent Sheets: You’ll also need detergent when doing laundry. These detergent sheets are super packable and designed for sensitive skin.
  • Sea to Summit TravellingLight Hanging Toiletry Bag: If you’re looking for a way to keep all your toiletries corralled, this is a fantastic option. It minimizes the space it takes up in your larger bag and then opens up for access once you’re at your destination. It also has a hook for hanging somewhere convenient.
  • PackTowl Personal: Made from quick-drying microfiber, this travel towel is fast drying and extremely packable.
  • Beats Fit Pro: Headphones are a must, and this pair from Beats by Dre is particularly travel-ready. They’re tiny and take up next to zero space. They have active noise canceling, which helps on a noisy plane. And they fit super snugly, meaning that they won’t fall out at the gym or while running to catch your connection. They cost $250 new but can be found “renewed” (refurbished) on Amazon for $115.
  • VPLONG Universal Travel Adapter: This adapter does it all. It works in electrical outlets worldwide and provides inputs for A/C plugs, USB-A, and USB-C.
  • imuto 100W Laptop Power Bank: While there are a lot of power banks out there, few offer the minimum 60W charging power necessary to charge a laptop. This one will charge pretty much any device you can pack.
  • Vapur Element: Water bottles are great for staying hydrated on the go. The Vapur Element is a perfect option because it folds down so small when empty.
  • Kindle Paperwhite: The Kindle is still the best e-reader. This edition is particularly good for travelers as it’s waterproof.
  • Xasla Mini Portable Fan: This fan is a lifesaver in hotels without air conditioning. It’s strong, durable, silent, and uses barely any space in your bag.
  • ZH Mini-Traveler: If you need something durable for protecting small, fragile items in your bag (think sunglasses or breakable souvenirs), this hardshell case is tough and compact.

Conclusion

Start with great luggage. Then pack it up with the best travel gear you can find. The right tools for your trip will make it faster, easier, and cheaper to travel.