Kobo Aura HD
When you’re going away for a length of time, a book is perfect for passing the time. Obviously, carrying several big paperbacks would be madness. An eBook device is a better solution as it’ll stow in your bag nicely.
The Kobo Aura HD weighs just 240g, and although it’s marginally heavier than its nearest rival – the Kindle Paperwhite – its 6.8 inch screen is bigger and significantly higher quality at 265 dpi or 1440 x1080 pixels; almost equivalent to a Full HD TV. It also has a built-in light for reading at night, as well as WiFi, 4GB storage and support for all the popular eBook formats.
£130 | Kobo
Tikka RXP Head Torch
The Tikka headlamp is the bread and butter in Petzl’s lineup of head torches – a handy accessory for those nights at the campsite – and it’s now been updated with the firm’s halo Reactive Lighting technology, which automatically adjusts light output depending on the environment. This allows you to get the correct amount of light when you need it, and when you don’t – it won’t eat into your precious battery life.
£70 | Petzl
Ultimate Ear Sleep Plug
Chances are at some point during your travelling jaunts, you'll be sharing a room with others, whether it's in a hostel or an airport floor. To get some decent sleep without distractions, a pair of custom-fit ear plugs is going to be your best friend. Ultimate Ear have a plug specifically for sleeping, which moulds itself to your particular ear canal for the best fit possible, reducing sound by up to 30 decibels.
£65 | Ultimate Ear
Sony Xperia Z2
No adventure would be complete without a smartphone to aid you, whether it’s to check where you’re going, or find out what’s happening back home. You’ll need one with a great camera as you’ll be doing a lot of snapping on your travels, and the Xperia Z2 is a great choice with a colossal 20.7MP G lens with LED flash and the ability to record video in 4K. In-built noise cancellation also makes it perfect for crowded public transport, but the Z2’s standout feature is its signature waterproof and dust resistant exterior, allowing you to use it under water for up to 30 minutes.
£540 (SIM free) | Sony
Yes, it might look like a duller-than-ditchwater router, but this diminuitive device has a trick up its sleeve - as well as being able to offer you a wireless hotspot wherever you go - using your 3G or 4G data - it also doubles as a charger, keeping your devices topped up, even when you're miles away from a mains socket.
£135 | D-Link
A gap year is likely to be one of the best times you'll have in your life; how will you document all the good times? Easy - the Lifelogger is a wearable camera that sits over your ear and tracks your happenings with hi-definition video and audio at the push of a button, with live streaming and automatic uploads to the Cloud whenever you're near a Wi-Fi hotspot. It's a bit like Google Glass, without the glasses bit or the price tag.
£130 | Lifelogger
The North Face Speedlight
If you’re spending your gap year somewhere hot, you’ll naturally pack shorts, but The North Face Speedlight shorts could be the only pair of shorts you need for the majority of your activities. They’re perfect for any adventure where water is involved, thanks to their water resistant and quick drying nature, and the stretchy fabric means you can get really physical without feeling restricted. The built-in elasticated belt is ideal as well if you – ahem – manage to put on a few pounds during your vacation.
£60 | The North Face
Aquapac Wet & Dry Backpack
Most backpacks are not fully waterproof, so if it rains heavily you either have to pull out a waterproof cover – if you have one – or your stuff inside eventually gets wet. A dry bag is a must-have accessory if your year out takes you anywhere you’re going to encounter the wet, and Aquapac’s Wet & Dry backpack takes this totally-waterproof luggage approach and adds carry handles to it. It has additional side pockets to carry bottles, a carabiner on the front for easy attachment and it comes in three different flavours – 15L, 25L and 35L.
£65 (15L) | Aquapac
Most so-called 'portable' speakers are big enough to look comfortable sat next to your home hi-fi system, and whilst they sound great, those travelling with strict luggage restrictions will get a hernia before being able to have any fun. Cue Philips' SoundShooter - a grenade-like portable Bluetooth speaker that gives more sound than you'd expect from such a tiny package. It can attach securely to your belt via the built-in carabiner, so you've always got access to some tunes when you like. Our advice when travelling to a 'hot' country - get the brightly coloured version...
£40 | Philips
Merrell All Out Fuse
Merrell is well known for making some seriously comfy and hard-wearing shoes, and its All Out Fuse trail running shoes are the best thing to have supporting your feet when you’re out walking for a whole day, across a variety of terrain. A breathable mesh lining keeps your feet cool and M Select Fresh odour control system means these shoes won’t start to stink even if your feet start to pong after an epic mission. Like running shoes, the All Out Fuse are lightweight and low-cut so they won’t take up much space in your luggage.
£90 | Merrell