My FAVORITE (& Affordable) MUST-HAVE Item

Backpacking Africa Gear: The ONE item you seriously need!

As most of  you know, I’m obsessed with Clever Travel Companion gear. Mostly because before my trip, I wasted my money on lots of useless stuff. And Clever is one of the only things that actually helped me. Plus, it survived my entire trip which says a lot about it’s quality and durability. Because I pretty much destroyed everything else.

I’ve been slowly building up my Clever Travel collection because it’s the best backpacking Africa gear around. First I bought the black tank top which I completely adore. Most recently I bought the black leggings. This is my review on them & what I’ll buy next!

Backpacking Africa for Beginners, Clever Travel Companion Review The black tank top I used from Clever Travel Companion

But first, real quickly….


Clever Travel Companion sells travel clothes that have hidden pockets inside them which turns out to be the best backpacking Africa gear you need. I used my black tank top during my backpacking trip to conceal my passport, credit card, cash, and sometimes even my iPhone depending on how unsafe I felt.

It’s different than other clothing gear, especially workout gear, that has pockets because Clever clothes:

  • Have really small zippers so nothing can fall out and no thieves can reach in
  • The pockets are big enough to fit your entire passport plus even more stuff
  • The pockets are intentionally put in places that are most convenient and hidden from outsiders


I don’t recommend a lot of things to buy before your trip. Other than water sanitation pills, a good tent and backpack, and something from Clever, there’s very little else I encourage readers to buy. That’s one of the reasons I get called “naive” on other blogs and forums. (Never mind the fact, it’s from people who have never even been to Africa. But that’s a different issue… grrrr!).

But seriously, you don’t need a lot to backpack Africa. Clever Companion, helps with the few crimes that you are likely to face though. This includes:


    I heard quite a few incidents where a taxi driver would take someone to the wrong location, out of town, and ask the passenger for their wallet. You’re clearly screwed when this happens. But if you always keep a $100, a credit card, and your passport tucked in your pocket, you won’t be giving up everything. You’ll at least have money for a hotel that night until you sort everything out.


    Unfortunately some of the worst thieves of all are other backpackers or staff at the backpacking lodges. While some hostels have lockers for you, many do not. When this happened, I would leave my money and passport inside my Clever Tank Top and fold it up with my other clothes. That way if someone went through my stuff, they wouldn’t see it. And they wouldn’t steal a dirty, and definitely smelly, tank top. (Laundry is a legit issue when traveling…)


    Pick-pocketers are everywhere in Addis Ababa along with every major city in Africa/the world. Just assume that anything you put in your jean pockets will get taken. Especially in Africa, you’ll find yourself in crowded cities, overflowing buses, at really cool music festivals like FESTAC, or at a local market.


    It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen. There are lots of ways to prevent this (seriously, read my book). But if someone does come at you and takes your bag, it’s handy to have your most important valuables in your pocket where they can’t see. Basically, you’re outsmarting the thief.


    Somewhere along your trip, you’re just going to have a moment. Chalk it up to no sleep, too much beer, or traveler’s diarrhea that makes your bus take off without you. But you’re going to leave your bag somewhere very inconvenient. It happens. But at least if you lose your bag, you’re still have some money and ID on you. That’s what Clever allows you to do… be a dumbass, without totally ruining your trip.

[Don’t be freaked out about these warnings. This kind of stuff happens in every country around the world. Just come prepared, and know that Africa isn’t more dangerous than other areas in the world.]


I bought the women’s small black leggings this time. Overall I really like them. If I’m just going out for a normal day in Ethiopia, I’ll wear them with some cash and my credit card inside. It feels nice walking around without a purse, and definitely makes me less of a target. If I need to be more secure, I’ll put small cash in the pants so I can easily access it and pay for stuff. And then I’ll wear my blank top with a shirt over it to hide my biggest valuables.

backpacking africa gear, clever travel companion, travel pants My new black leggings!

Here are some more details.


  • There are two pockets. This allows for two places for you to keep your stuff. I usually fill one with small change that I easily access, and another has my passport or credit card in it that I keep just for emergencies.
  • Super convenient. Leggings by far, are just awesome, when traveling. They’re comfortable, and you can wear them anywhere. It’s nice to have a normal wardrobe staple double as a place to hide stuff.
  • Not weird looking. One thing I don’t like about my black tanktop is that it looks weird to have a zipper in the middle. But having pockets in leggings is normal. So you can pull money out of there without people giving you a double look.
  • High quality! I feel like this word gets overly used to the point that it means nothing. But these pants are seriously good stuff. All of my H&M and Forever 21 leggings get holes in them super quickly. (I mean I pay $3 for them so what should I expect?). But these leggings along with my Clever tank top are built to last. I honestly think they’re worth every dollar. And I am super cheap, so that says a lot!


  • Too big! The pants are definitely a little too large for me. I think all their stuff runs big actually. Normally I wear a size small from Forever 21 or H&M. But I should have bought the Extra Small leggings from Clever.
  • They run a little short. I’m 5’4” and the pants hit me right at the ankle. I like it because normally leggings are too long on me and come over my feet. But if you’re a super tall girl, just be aware that this is the style. They’re also not super skinny around the ankles. My other leggings hug my skin where as this has a little extra space.


Yes, I have a slight love affair with this company. But everything about them pretty much rocks, and I know personally how much they’ve helped me and other travelers. Next up on my to-buy list includes:

Clever Travel Companion Underwear… My husband makes fun of me for wanting this, but it’s definitely the most hidden, secure product they make. It’s great if you’re in a riskier area, or if you’re like me and tend to get yourself into ridiculous situations. I would personally pair the underwear with another Clever product. For example, I’d put a $100, my passport, and a credit card in the underwear. But I’d put smaller bills in my Clever tank top so that no sales clerk has to see me pull money out of my underwear and hand it to them. That’s just weird.

Clever Underwear. Super secure! Men & Women’s available

Clever Travel Companion T-Shirt with 2 Side Pockets…. My friend Ansh bought this and I’ve been jealous ever since. He’s wearing the t-shirt in the backpacking Africa gear video if you want to see what it looks like. The nice thing about the t-shirt is you can almost wear it by itself without anyone noticing. Whereas my black tank top has a zipper in the middle so I usually throw another t-shirt or sweatshirt over it.

PS- They also have men’s and kid’s stuff

Anyways, hope this helps! Seriously, go buy this awesome backpacking africa travel gear now! Just trust me, and know that as someone who has backpacked (and now currently lives in) Africa– this actually will help you lots. And if you have any other questions about the pants just let me know in the comments below!