Best Instruments for Camping and Backpacking

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Music fills our lives with great energy, it uplifts people and creates an ambiance of fun and relaxation. When on the go, it is ideal to take your camping instruments with you, however, some of them are just too cumbersome to carry with you. Still you may want to explore more than just a camping guitar. When going camping or backpacking there are instruments that are very convenient to transport. You don’t have to sacrifice during your trips, you can still enjoy your tunes when using easy-to-carry instruments that make any trip, long or short, much sweeter.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group of people, bringing a musical instrument is a way to get closer and enhance your trip. Plus, being in new places, especially the outdoors can be inspirational and boost your creativity. Perhaps you’ll discover a new musical side of you.

Let’s explore some popular instruments for travelers who want to stay connected to their musical side while on the road. The following instruments make good travel companions because they are lightweight, easy to carry, durable in all types of climates, and simple to maintain. They are perfect for both beginners and maestros. Let’s tune into the following:


The ukulele is by far one of the most popular instruments for traveling because it easily fits inside of a backpack and delivers a big sound. Think of it as a miniature camping guitar that only weighs 1.5 pounds. It has sound quality and resonance that can stand up to other instruments. The “Uke” as some people like to call it, originated in Hawaii. Its sound makes you feel like you’re on an island.

It’s a good idea to carry extra strings with you just in case you need a replacement. You may tune it by ear unless you want to carry an electric tuner and batteries. You’ll want to keep it away from water, so it is a good idea to have a waterproof cover that can protect it.

Ukulele Camping


When you think of a harmonica, you may automatically be reminded of street musicians. It’s great for on-the-go performances since it can fit in your jacket pocket and it delivers powerful sound. There are various types of harmonicas, which is great because you can take several with you on your trip without you even noticing you’re carrying them.

Some harmonicas are designed to play all keys, others are limited to a specific minor or major scale. It is perfect for folk music and for those who like to compose pieces on the fly.


Like most people, you probably haven’t heard about the Ocarina (unless you play Zelda). First, of all, it is a beautiful piece of art! Made from ceramic, you’ll be pleased to show it to people who appreciate beautiful form and color. If you’re into making ceramics, why not try to make your own? It is a wind instrument that originated in ancient Chinese and Mesoamerican cultures.

The sound it produces is a high pitched mystical and clear tone that takes you to those films where there’s a vast landscape with an eagle soaring through the mountains. You’ll feel like you’re in an enchanted world holding a magical piece that fits in the palm of your hand.



The flute is used in just about every culture. It is one of the most ancient instruments in the world. Its smooth and sweet sound is sure to liven or soothe the environment. There are many types of flutes from all around the world. They are made from metal, wood, bamboo, or other materials. They are usually very sturdy, but not unbreakable, so be sure to pack it carefully where it is not exposed to pressure.

You may think the flute only plays indigenous sounds, but it is used a lot in rock music as well. Its potential should not be underestimated. Plus, it is very friendly for both beginners and experts alike.

Camping FluteKalimba

This African instrument is great for camping trips as its sound takes you deeper into nature. It is also called mbira or thumb piano and it is found all around the world, particularly in Europe and the United States. It is as big as a cell phone making it very convenient to fit in your pocket. Made from metal tines and a wooden board, the Kalimba plays a fun sound that can accompany any other musical instrument and can certainly stand on its own. The simple yet unique sound of the kalimba transports you to a world where simplicity shines bright. It is sometimes underestimated, but those who practice it a lot are able to create amazing musical pieces.


Percussion is a great way to liven the atmosphere and what better way than with a playful tambourine? It is fun for any group, with no musical skill required. It is perfect for sing-alongs or to accompany other instruments. The nice thing about a tambourine is that is very sturdy and doesn’t need much protection. You can easily pop it in your bag and forget about it knowing that it will arrive in one piece. However, you’ll want to keep it dry to avoid rust on the metal pieces.

Tambourine - camping instrumentsMandolin

This instrument is an absolute pleasure to listen to providing a good range with the ability to make chords. It requires careful transporting, but it is certainly worth the extra effort. You’ll have to keep it well-tuned and some of them can be very fragile. Nonetheless, you’ll be glad you have it with you as it allows for fun improvisation and various melodies. It is commonly found in bluegrass and folk music, but it can be flexible for all types of works. Its construction is very delicate, so if you have large fingers, you may have difficulty with it.


Guitars are great instruments for car camping and are one of the most popular musical instruments. Not only are they easy to learn, but who hasn’t dreamt of listening to an acoustic guitar next to a campfire. Most acoustic guitars weigh between 2.5 lbs and 5 lbs so you don’t want to be carrying these very far. An electric guitar is definitely out of the question unless you bring a battery-powered amp. Find a camping guitar that is lightweight and easy to carry.

See our recommended guitars for travel.

Camping Guitar Violin

Believe it or not, the violin is a very popular instrument for traveling. It may seem to be cumbersome, but its hard carrying case is very lightweight and convenient for stuffing into a backpack. The sound of a violin will transport you to a world where you’ll feel like you’re carrying magic around with you. Be sure to take additional strings and choose a hard case if possible. There are smaller violins you may want to consider, they also deliver a great sound.

Traveling with Violin


A little percussion goes a long way. The djumbe has a fascinating quality that brings crowds together. Don’t be surprised if people start to dance or sing along with your beats. The amazing thing about this instrument is that you don’t need to know what you’re doing. Your body immediately gets into the beat of the drum and you start to follow your own rhythm, much like your heartbeat. It is certainly a musical instrument that will create a serene atmosphere that can turn into an upbeat party as well. They come in different sizes, and in this case, the smaller the better. The larger ones are pretty bulky and heavy. The smaller ones, however, won’t be much trouble to transport.

djumbe - camping instrumentsReady to Hit the Road?

Ready to pack your bags and get in tune with your roaming musical side? Give one of these instruments a try on your next trip and don’t forget the most convenient and precious instrument of all, your voice! Once you start traveling with music on top of your priority list you won’t want to ever go on an adventure without camping instruments.


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