Ear Plugs: Vital for Backpacking Travel or Camping Holiday

The $1 spent on foam ear plugs during my recent backpacking trip from Adelaide to Darwin was definitely the best value for money investment I could have made to make sure my trip was enjoyable.

Several times I was in a youth hostel where other people in the same dorm room were:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Talking to each other at night
  • Staying out late at night partying and then making noise when they entered the dorm room after midnight

foam ear plugs

Similarly while on 4WD tours with Groovy Grape, Wayoutback and Adventure Tours Australia when we camped outside in swags some people stayed up late talking but once my earplugs were in I went to sleep within minutes instead of hearing them talk and not sleeping until it was quiet


Cheap foam earplugs are designed for temporary protection against noise. I wouldn’t bother buying expensive ones because ear plugs are easy to lose so if they only cost you a $1 you can always keep a spare pair while travelling. They should be available at any chemist or pharmacy.

Current earplug material was discovered in 1967, at National Research in the USA, by Ross Gardner and his team. As part of of a project on sealing joints, they developed a resin with energy absorption properties. This E-A-R material was later developed into commercial memory foam earplugs.

Most earplugs are made of memory foam that is typically rolled into a tightly compressed cylinder (without creases) by the wearer’s fingers and then inserted in the ear canal. Once released, the earplug expands until it seals the canal, blocking the sound vibrations that reach the eardrum. Other plugs simply push into the ear canal without being rolled first.

12 thoughts on “Ear Plugs: Vital for Backpacking Travel or Camping Holiday”

  1. I agree, these are absolutely amazing. A few days ago we went to the race track to see the truck race, and it was so loud, almost deafening. Then I put these in, most of the sound was blocked out and it made the experience so much more pleasurable. ?

  2. i agree with you. i already bought one pair because last time when i went to chicago, it was really bad experience when two ladies were sitting beside my seat and were continuously chatting.

  3. I wouldn’t travel anywhere without earplugs – never mind just hostels.
    I certainly wouldn’t be without them on planes, trains, coaches or when camping..

  4. Earplugs are definitely an essential part of a backpackers kit – I remember many nights in backpacker dorms where the guy next / above / below me snored loud enough to make the walls shake!!

    I can’t imagine the sleepless nights I would have had without the use of these tiny bits of foam – that and alcohol ensure a sound nights sleep!

  5. I agree with you that ear plugs are definately part of any experienced travelers backpack or suitcase. I have found even the most expensive hotels to have some noisy guests. This is especially true during graduations and weddings where the noise level on an entire floor can become unbearable. The worst time to travel is of course during the summer months when all the little kiddies are out of school and screaming down the hallways waking up everyone on the floor. Thanks for pointing out this brand of ear plug I have never heard of before. I am sure to try them out and see how they are compared with others I am using right now.

  6. I definitely agree with you about buying cheap ear plugs. Aside from the benefits you’ve mentioned, it can also counter the “defeaning” effect you’d get whenever you feel the effects of air pressure change on your body.

    I can best use it on airplanes, especially during take-offs and touchdowns.

  7. Ear plugs are totally invaluable… I had to live in a room with 3 other people for a while, and I never would have gotten any sleep without them. I can imagine they’d be crucial in hostels- even though I didn’t have that problem in the one hostel I went to in France. Thanks for the tip, though- this is an ingenious invention that I had totally forgotten about until now.

  8. Hey there,
    The ear plugs are awesome. I learned that lesson myself. I work at the hotel by the airport and we have many pilots and flight attendants staying there, so I don’t have to spend the money for ear plugs. A buck is not much, but still when you give them out to your friends buck + buck growes into couple of hundreds ;).

  9. True to your words, This is something that all would prefer to have handy while traveling. Having this handy assures you a great sleep no matter where you are put up for the night this really works great and is worth while moving around places.

  10. I totally agree. Ear plugs are one of the most essential (and light weight) travel items. If you are on a bus in Thailand with Thai comedy shows on video the whole trip, you know why. Or speed boats in Laos. Never without.

  11. you would be suprised with the amount of people that actually now carry a set of earplugs when travelling. Actually although you have had really good experience using foam earplugs there are earplugs made from much better and long lasting materials, such as silicone.

    Silicone earplugs although costing a bit more than the conventional foam earplugs actually last a lot longer and are also a lot more comfortable to wear.

    One thing you should ought to be made aware when wearing earplugs is to not push then too far into the aar canal. They do not need to be pused deep into the ear to help block out background noise.

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