As backpackers, we’re always on the lookout for a bargain. But when it comes to travel gear, it’s better to invest in high-quality products made by well-respected brands. Yes, you’ll initially spend more but a good quality product will last longer and won’t need to be replaced on the road. (Some even have a lifetime guarantee!) Investing in good gear means there’s less long term impact on your bank balance, plus you won’t be throwing broken gear into a landfill.

Here at South East Asia Backpacker we really hate crappy items that break after a couple of uses – what a waste!

Our policy: On this page, you’ll find gear guides and reviews of some of the best travel gear in the world. We only write about gear that we have bought, tested or would buy ourselves. We encourage you to buy direct wherever possible. Some of the guides below include links to affiliate companies where we earn a small commission when you purchase the product – at no extra cost to you.


When backpacking, it’s wise to take two bags with you… The first, a larger backpack which will contain all of your clothes, shoes, toiletries and accessories and a smaller backpack which contains your valuables (passport, money, camera, phone etc.). When in transit on flights or long bus/train journeys, you can keep your larger bag in the luggage storage compartment under the bus or check it in on a flight. However, your smaller backpack should stay close to your body at all times.

When you’re safely in your hostel, you can then store your valuables somewhere safe (like a locker) and use the smaller backpack as a daypack for trips! Check out our guides to the best backpacks and the best daypack below, as well as the best waterproof backpacks if you are travelling during the rainy season. Also, see our guide to the best backpacks with wheels if you’re a traveller who doesn’t fancy the idea of hauling your stuff around on your back.


On occasion, we have been given the tough job (who are we kidding?) of reviewing some of the best backpacks on the market. Brands like Osprey, Tortuga and Salkan are popular amongst backpackers but are they all they’re cracked up to be? If you’re considering buying one of the backpacks below, check out our in-depth reviews. We delve into what we like and dislike about each bag, as well as giving hints and tips for getting the most out of your gear!


It can be tricky deciding what to pack for a backpacking trip. Over the years, we’ve made all of the packing mistakes so you don’t have to! Check out our ultimate packing list for Southeast Asia below. It contains detailed advice on everything you’ll need for a long-term backpacking trip in Southeast Asia. Remember that packing light is the way to go and many items can be purchased once you’re over there. Oh, and if you love being organised, you might want to get yourself some packing cubes – they will make it much easier to locate all of the items in your backpack making life on the road so much easier!


Some of the items in this list are essential (like a face mask!), while some items are not for everyone. Whether you’re a travelling yogi, ukelele player or are looking for the perfect gift to buy the backpacker in your life, these gear guides will give you the best advice on the top quality travel gear in each category.


From lightweight laptops to universal travel adaptors and travel cameras, check out our guides on the best travel technology for backpackers.

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