Sometimes you don’t have a lot of room in your bag or you’re trying to reduce the number of things you’re bringing. Multi-purpose travel items help you manage both. They might cost you a little more, but their usefulness and practicality are often worth the difference.
Here are seven multi-purpose things I would definitely bring on my next backpacking trip:
- Hiking pants. They’re a little dorky, but their ability to convert into shorts or capris make them great for changing temperatures and small packs. Splurge for a nicer, more stylish pair with features like hidden security pockets, UV protection and quick-dry fabric.
- Chawel: It cost more than a regular travel towel and took up more space, but it was also a sleeping bag liner and a blanket.
- A Buff: It’s a headband, a kerchief, a hairband, a beanie and lots of other things. My knockoff was $10 at Europe Bound.
- A sarong. A skirt, scarf, dress, shawl, spare bedsheet and more.
- Rainjackets. A great windbreaker on breezy days, you can also combine it with a fleece jacket or down sweater to retain even more warmth.
- Space blanket: Helps keep you warm, signal for help in case of emergency and makes a decent liner for your tent. A friend was given one for free after she ran the Toronto Marathon and she kindly gave it to me.
- And of course, an iPhone or iPod touch. The mini-computer in your pocket can pretty much do anything. Apple’s App Store has a lot of great travel-related apps for hostels, weather, flights, guidebooks, language translation, even bike-sharing services and comparing exchange rates.
Also notable: Rock climbing tape is incredibly useful in a first-aid kit. It can reinforce fingers and wrists, provide better grip on wooden hiking poles and be used with gauze to create flexible bandages of all sizes with the perfect amount of stickiness. It’s also highly water-resistant. I split mine in half and packed it with a small pair of scissors.
What are some of your favourite multi-purpose items for travel?