How to Protect your Travel Gear for a Backpacking Trip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, but we trust Scotchgard with all of our best travel gear. All opinions are ours alone. #ProtectYourEverything #CollectiveBias

Planning is a whole lot harder than spontaneity, you know? In preparation for our 6+ month backpacking trip, I have found new respect for the world’s organizers and plan keepers. I’ve been on a continuous push to get things in order, yet everything I check off my list reminds me of two more that I haven’t done yet. There are insurance policies  to buy, addresses to change, bank accounts to set up, articles of furniture to sell, etc. Our quest for the best travel gear is seemingly unending. On top of that, everything in our backpacks – and the travel backpacks themselves – actually has to be worth it’s weight. 

When did leaving everything get so complicated, anyway?Checking out the View of San Francisco from Bernal Heights

Realistically, there’s only so much we can do to prepare. In Quito, it will just be us and all the things we remembered (or forgot) to do from home. Big trips should be an exercise in spontaneity, right? The kind with unfamiliar climates, unsteady bus rides, and crossed fingers that places look sort of like the pictures. And what good is an adventure if you take out all the risk, anyway? I’m hoping we can be just prepared enough so that once we’re in South America, we can go along for the ride.

In the name of preparedness, we partnered up with Scotchgard™Fabric & Upholstery Protector. We seriously go through an entire can of Scotchgard to make our gear indestructible before a backpacking trip, and thought you might have use for it too! Are you headed on a backpacking trip? Check out these 5 tips for protecting your essential travel gear.

5 Ways to Protect Your Best Travel Gear

1. Invest in Quality

It’s popular advice to only bring for your backpacking trip what you don’t mind losing. While I agree you shouldn’t gamble with the emerald brooch of your late great aunt, I actually think you should only bring traveling what you truly love. Buy gear that you trust will survive months of daily use. I mean, don’t blow your whole travel budget, but you will definitely get your money’s worth if you spend a bit more on your backpack, jackets, and shoes.

Daniel on top of Bernal Heights

2. Toughen Up your Stuff

Your gear inevitably gets beat up when you’re backpacking. Before you go, upgrade uncomfortable straps, replace faulty zippers, seal up seams, and waterproof EVERYTHING. We use Scotchgard Fabric Protector before every trip to ensure our best travel gear is ready to weather the elements.

Street Art on Bernal Heights

Protect Your Best Travel Gear with Scotchgard

The stuff repels liquids, blocks stains, and protects fabrics from just about anything without changing the look or feel of it. For our upcoming backpacking trip, we used Scotchgard Fabric Protector on our backpacks and denims, but there’s a whole lot more that you can use it on. An annual spray down keeps our backpacks looking as new as possible after all the hell we put them through.

3. Prepare for Things to Fall Apart

Travel with a small arsenal of junk drawer items, knowing that things can (and will) fall apart. In any backpacker’s bag should be duct tape, a mini sewing kit, plastic bags, and a multi-tool. Things you can order with a click at home become harder to find in remote areas or in another language. Save yourself some agony and go prepared with everything you’d need to repair or temporarily fix your broken gear.

Daniel on Bernal Heights Backpacking Trip Essentials - Duct Tape

4. Choose to Bring it Along or to Lock it Up

When we get to a new place, we gauge whether we feel safer walking around with our best travel gear hidden, or whether the hostel has a more reliable storage option. If you bring your stuff on you, be sure to use hidden pockets, bring a dummy wallet, and always carry your bag in front of you in crowds. If your gear stays behind, backpacker hostels offer lockers provided you bring your own lock, so a luggage lock and padlock are backpacking trip essentials. 

Backpacking Trip Essentials - Luggage Lock 1 Backpacking Trip Essentials - Luggage Lock 2

5. Know your Travel Insurance

While a good travel insurance policy isn’t the sexiest travel investment, it is totally worthwhile. You do everything you can to protect yourself on a backpacking trip, but ultimately, things happen. Come rain, bus accident, or scheisty pickpocketer, travel insurance gives you peace of mind. You’ll be able to go bravely and know that your best travel gear is insured and that you’re not out the full amount if something happens. If you’re adventurous, spend a bit of extra money to get an insurance policy that covers you for the range of far flung travel experiences. We’re working on a more comprehensive guide to travel insurance, so stay tuned!

Taylor + Daniel at Bernal Heights before South America Backpacking Trip

So there you have it — 5 easy ways to protect your gear before a backpacking trip. Thanks again to Scotchgard for helping make Travel Outlandish and our upcoming adventure possible! If you’ve got something you want to Scotchgard, you can get  $2 off  to try it out yourself! It was a bit tricky to find, but you can snag some at Target in the aisle with cleaning supplies.


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Are you headed on a backpacking trip? Come rain, bus accident, or scheisty pick pocketer, we're sharing 5 easy ways you can protect your best travel gear.

Are you headed on a backpacking trip? Share how you protect your best travel gear!


  • Reply
    Kerri Guisness
    September 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Love me some Scotchgard…on new shoes on my denim travel items… Have used for years! Great article on travel hints

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      September 9, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      It’s pretty great stuff, huh? I’m sure we’ll have a bit left over that we can send your way 😉

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Great advice! Duct tape travels the world over with us too. Never leave home without it 🙂

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      September 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      I feel like we never use it at home, but there always seems to be a use for it when we’re traveling!

  • Reply
    Sarah (JetSetting Fools)
    September 9, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Great tips! Haven’t used Scotchgard for travel…but thinking I might have to invest in some!

  • Reply
    Andrea Handojo
    September 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    I never thought of using Scotchgard to protect my backpack. With all the adventures it goes through, it’s definitely a great idea to keep it clean and lasting longer 🙂

    • Reply
      Taylor Record
      September 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      It’s seriously awesome, Andrea! We can’t recommend it enough.

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