All Those Clever Little Things…
You probably won’t know you need half of these things until you see them! (Which might be a curse more than anything). Us travellers are always on the lookout for things to make our backpacks lighter, our long journeys more comfortable, our electronics last longer, and our travel photos look better. So if there is a travel gadget for that, we’re listening! What’s more, the travel gadgets we suggest for your New Zealand gap year are within most backpackers’ budgets. (With the exception of an action camera and pocket-sized printer we couldn’t resist adding to the list). So take a look at all the travel gadgets for your gap year in New Zealand!
For a complete list of things to pack for a trip around New Zealand, check out our complete New Zealand Packing List.
1. Credit Card Utility Knife
Pack a few useful tools into a convenient slim shape and you’ve got the most useful card in your wallet. Many brands have their version of the “utility card” or “credit card knife” so browse around for one that meets your needs. Make sure to pack it in your check-in baggage at the airport though or you will have to surrender it when passing through the security gates.
Check out the awesome Tactical Credit Card, a must-have on the go!
2. A Well-built Backpack
You will carry it for months so make sure that you have the best backpack you can. Check out all your desired backpack’s features, from a breathable back to adjustable body straps. Make sure to also have well-padded shoulder straps. (For more tips on how to pick a good backpack, check out our guide on that very subject). While you are at it, don’t forget to get a rain cover for your backpack, New Zealand’s weather is known to be unpredictable.
Check out our recommended backpacks in What is the Best Backpack for New Zealand?
3. Luggage Handle Cover
If you choose to get yourself a suitcase instead of a backpack, you will find this item to be a lifesaver. Made of silicone or a cushioned polyester, handle covers cover your luggage’s handle (duh!) and make them much more comfortable to carry. Plus, you’ll find it much easier to spot your luggage at the airport. Win-win!
Get yourself a pack of 5 luggage handle cover for a bargain!
4. Wide Lens for Your Phone
There’s a lot of epic New Zealand scenery to capture, so a wide-angle lens is perfect! These wide lenses stick to your phone using a small rubber clamp. Some of them have a system to switch from a wide-angle to an even wider one. Some others have the option to attach different filters to them too. Shop around: they are cheap and will make a real difference to your on-the-go photos.
Amir is a brand that offers high-quality wide lenses compatible with most phones.
5. Action Camera
Whatever brand you prefer, the action camera is a great way to capture your whole trip while not having to carry a ton of different heavy cameras. Waterproof, wide lens, small and shockproof: it has it all for the adventurous traveller. Try not to get carried away when shopping for accessories though – stick to what you will really use.
Check out the latest GoPro on Amazon!
6. Universal Travel Adapter
Not only are New Zealand’s plug sockets probably different than what you use back at home, but so are the plugs in other countries that you may visit on your way across the world. We suggest investing in a universal adapter so you are covered wherever the travel bug takes you. If we were to be picky, we’d recommend one that has surge protection for extra security.
This travel adapter even has a couple of USB plugs on its sides. Handy!
7. Pants/Shorts Combo
Shopping for hiking gear can be a daunting task. By trying to conciliate usability and light packing you will end up having to make many compromises. Luckily, there are now more options than ever to make your life easier. Invest in a combo pant/shorts that will offer versatility against the ever-changing weather in New Zealand and save you packing two items.
Columbia is the leader in that niche with their great convertible hiking pants.
8. Travel Towel
Travel towels are compact, hygienic and dry in a heartbeat. Traditional towels are huge, end up smelling pretty awful, and seem to never dry when you are constantly on the move. That’s a slam dunk for microfibre, ladies and gentlemen! Cotton is defeated a million to zero! In conclusion, microfibre travel towels are a must-have. We consider this one of the 15 Essentials to Pack for New Zealand.
Microlite has towels of all sizes to suit every need, we advise to go for XL.
With the rise of high-intensity LEDs at a very affordable price, getting a powerful torch/flashlight has never been cheaper. Check out that the torch you purchase actually has good lighting. To do so, compare the lumens: the higher the better. Make sure to pick one that runs on common batteries like AAA. Better yet, take a rechargeable one.
The JUNINP Headlight is a strong choice in this category.
Water on the go is a major issue for backpackers. While tap water is perfectly drinkable in New Zealand, it is always a pain to have to carry bulky water bottles when hiking to a mountain top. CamelBak have an integrated water flask in their backpacks linked to a tube that makes drinking and hiking a breeze. Use it once and you’ll never go hike without it.
Fit a Camelbak reservoir in any backpack, no need to buy the full backpack.
11. Flat Water Bottle
If water bottles are more your style, consider a flat one. They are a huge help when trying to fit a lot in your bag and most of them come with a carabiner so you can clip them onto your bag for easy access. Plus, you will avoid you having to buy a water bottle every so often so you’ll help to save the planet!
Some even have a filter and carabiner to be attached outside of your backpack.
12. Pocket Printer
Yep, that black thing is a printer. It moves over a sheet of paper and prints that CV you badly need for your interview. Admittedly, almost every hostel will print your CV for you for a small fee, but we were so amazed by this “travel-size pocket printer” that we couldn’t help but feature it on this list!
You can even print full pages with this Canon Portable Printer.
13. Neck Pillow
Remember when neck pillows were just those inflatable plastic ones that were so uncomfortable anyway? Now they come in all fabrics and shapes with all the features you could dream of, from hoodies to headphones to water bottles and even a cellphone pocket. Let’s be honest, you don’t even need a backpack anymore – just this pillow around your neck.
Some neck pillows even come with pretty awesome designs.
14. Folding Cup and Plate
Grab your bowl, plate or cup and shake it into shape. Serve, eat, clean and fold it back into a small travel size piece of silicone. It’s perfect to take for meals anywhere: on a lakeshore or a snowy mountain top. Make sure to clean them well when you are back at your hostel though. A simple rinse won’t be enough before storing them for a few weeks.
Go for the bowls & spoon/fork combo so you have everything you need in one go.
15. Waterproof Phone Case
Waterproof, sandproof, shockproof… cases can practically protect your phone against the apocalypse. Not that you will really need to swim with your phone, but if it can withstand a depth of 3 metres, it will surely withstand a New Zealand rainstorm. Consider a case that has integrated battery space for those times when you are about to run out.
In that category, Amever phone cases are the toughest in town.
16. Power Bank
Keep a spare power bank in your backpack at all times to get that extra power boost or that emergency phone call even if your battery runs out. Most power banks are incredibly small and will fit anywhere. Some even have an integrated solar panel to recharge them anywhere. Handy!
We recommend going for a power bank with a minimum of 20000mAh for long-lasting power.
17. Earplugs/Noise-cancelling Headphones
Cheap and incredibly useful, earplugs are a backpacker must-have. Hostel rooms are shared between 4 to 10 people and it can get pretty noisy at night, especially with that token snorer. Invest in earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones to guarantee yourself a peaceful night. Make sure to get some comfortable ones, which will make a world of difference.
Let’s be honest, noise-cancelling earphones are the best! Give it a try!
18. Cable Organiser
No matter how “unplugged” we want to be, we always end up carrying a lot of cables. Spend a few dollars to get yourself a bunch of cable organisers and save yourself the hassle of having to untangle or fold cables every time you need to use them.
Check out those cute ones!
19. Wireless Amplifier USB Adapter
Get that WiFi! The built-in WiFi antenna in most laptops have quite a short-range and are not as powerful as desktop ones. However, when on the road, you will want to have as much range as possible, as well as enough speed to upload your pictures fast enough. Get yourself a WiFi amplifier, plug it into a USB port in your laptop, and you will be surprised! For tips on how to find WiFi in New Zealand, check out How to get Internet and WiFi in New Zealand.
Small and incredibly useful, if you are scared of the uneven internet connection in hostels, this wifi USB amplifier will be a lifesaver to you!
On a rainy day or a long-haul flight, there is nothing better than crawling up with a good book. Well… books are heavy, thus not really backpacker-friendly. If you do not have a tablet, look into e-readers so you can carry thousands of books with you at all times. We suggest you purchase the Lord of The Rings trilogy as your first e-book to get you into the Middle-earth spirit!
For under $100, get the market leader Kindle for huge compatibility or download the Free Kindle App to get access to a huge range of e-books right on your phone. Consider also trying Kindle Unlimited for free for 30 days to get unlimited books and audiobooks during your flight.
A mouldable glue that turns into rubber, Sugru can be used to fix or modify just about anything. If your hiking shoes break, just stick some Sugru in there. If your cables start to come loose, Sugru them back together. Just get creative!
Seriously, get yourself some SUGRU before leaving, you will NOT find any in New Zealand!
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