The Big Trip: maybe it’s your gap year, an extended holiday or a ‘finding yourself again’ personal journey – traveling far and away remains ever-popular. The almost irresistible lure of distant and exotic lands just can’t be ignored for many of us. If you’re planning on going away for longer than the usual 10 day package, you’ll want to take a look at these game-changing gadgets.
Whether the destination is Asia, South America, Europe or Australia, your kit would do well to include a few of these ‘must-have’ packables. Any one of these could well come in handy on more than one occasion and some we won’t leave the airport without!
We’ve done the research and compiled five of the most genuinely useful and innovative gadgets from around the web. Having these in your bag will elevate you from first-timer status to veteran without breaking the bank – or carrying around the kitchen sink! Take a look at the list we curated below and you’ll agree some of the wonderful products available nowadays are nothing short of genius.
Keeping clean clothes is a top priority, especially for backpackers and outdoors camping. Sometimes access to washing facilities or running water might be days away, making it hard to stay on top of. You won’t have to scrub your smalls in a stream with a wooden washboard though, because solutions like the Scrubba Wash Bag exist.
As you’d expect, the bag’s high-tech material is light and rolls up to pack away just about anywhere. The real beauty with these is in just how much they take the chore out of cleaning your week-old clothes. Acting as a manual washing machine of sorts, all you do is pop in your items along with soap and close it up. To clean, knead the bag itself for a few minutes and let it do the hard work.
How does that clean the clothes, you ask? Well look inside inside the lining of the bag and you’ll see hundreds of individual little ‘nodules’. These work by separating the fibres of the fabric and break up dirt. With such a simple and clever idea, a little elbow grease goes a long way and wash day goes from dreaded to delightful.
Female Urination Devices (FUDs)
Who hasn’t at least one time in their lives found themselves ‘caught short’? Experiencing the pain and discomfort of being unable to answer the call of nature is a nightmare. For those of us with small bladders and a love of caffeine, it’s a more regular occurrence than we’d like. It could be on a 12-hour coach journey, a mountaineering trek or to avoid sitting on that visibly unsanitary washroom seat. There are more reasons to have one than not.
The choice on the market is quite diverse so we’ve picked out two that we think should cover most scenarios. One being a washable plastic funnel and the other a single-use disposable variation.
First up is the SheWee – it’s the original and with a name as catchy as that we’re sure you’ve heard of it before. And for good reason too because what it does, it does very well. The plastic funnel and tube are molded to enable users to have a comfortable and mess-free pee while standing up. Just the thing for when sitting is not an option.
Next, the SaniGirl Funnel is a disposable paperboard type, also a funnel, and is 100% recyclable and sanitary. What’s unique about SaniGirl is that they’ve got a smaller size designed for girls 3 – 11 so no one is left out. These are great to have in the bag ‘for emergencies’ because they’re compact and discreet.
Water Purifier Bottle
It’s easy to assume something as essential as water will be available anytime you need it. Depending on your destination, the opposite could be true. If you’re intending to spend time exploring the wilderness or far from civilisation, carrying a flask or a plastic water bottle goes without saying. The more experienced travellers out there know there are many other reasons to need fresh water on the go which might not be obvious.
It’s well known that in many countries drinking local tap water is a free ticket to an extended toilet visit (or a serious illness – read more if you’re worried about your trip here). This is because it contains local bacteria your gut isn’t used to. Even if you’re careful and stick to bottled water, ice cubes in a refreshing cocktail or a washed salad can still spell disaster.
The next entry makes great sense for trips like these. Water-to-Go is an easy to use, portable bottle that will give you peace of mind that the water you’re about to drink is safe. It works by filtering out more than 99% of the unwanted contaminants while you fill it, leaving the water safe to drink. The filter does need to be replaced, but after you pour about 200 litres through it. This means there’s little need to cart around lots of replacement filters. A nice secondary benefit of keeping one of these is that it helps you reduce reliance on single use plastics as well!
Door Safety Device
As the inventor of our favourite gadget on this list discovered while on holiday in Mexico – not all doors are created equal. Frustrated with having to prop a chair against his hotel door because the lock didn’t work, he devised this clever bit of kit. More than just a doorstop, it makes sure any inswinging door can be quickly and securely closed.
Have you ever used a public restroom and kept one foot against the door while trying to do your thing? If so, the DoorJammer is for you. Its universal design works great just about anywhere you go making it a true must-have for festivals, hostels or shared accommodation. All places where room privacy is a luxury you can’t rely on having.
These compact little devices fit to the bottom of a door in seconds and are about the size of your phone. This means stashing one in your bag isn’t a problem. The patented system of hinges has a quick-release so if you do need to get it off in a hurry, simply lift and pull.
With one of these, you can ensure peace of mind while changing, bathing or sleeping. They’re great even if you just want to pop your headphones on and zone out without having to be vigilant of someone walking in.
Solar USB Charger
It can be a great idea to ban tech while on holiday. It’ll give you more time to appreciate the surroundings and sights of your dream destination. Even so, these days you simply can’t go anywhere without your smartphone – it’s a vital tool for having GPS, torch and emergency dial functions. Only the most back-to-nature of trips will have us going full tech-less so phones remain an integral part of essential packing equipment.
By now, most of us will have at least one portable battery to ensure we’re snapping those once-in-a-lifetime pics even after a full day’s sightseeing. The problem is where to get charge from if you’re going off-grid. While on hiking or traveling excursions, it’s easy to go a few days without finding a charge point.
That’s why the savvy keep a portable USB solar charger in their bag and throw those cares to the wind. No power? No worries! All you need with one of these gadgets in your bag is what nature already gave you – the sun. So simple it barely needs explaining but all you do is place them in direct sunlight and plug your battery or device in. Wait a while and voila: unlimited, free charge! This Nekteck model is a great budget option that still offers a lot of the features the more expensive makes do.