The easiest way to light up an outdoor lover’s face is to invite them on a trip, or get them a sweet piece of gear. We’re hoping you have the trip planned, but with the holidays around the corner a gift is probably a good idea, too. We know there’s essentially too much gear to choose from, so we created a guide with the best gifts for hikers and backpackers in mind.
This is the holiday 2019 edition of our annual gift guide, and it has a whopping number of products. Keep in mind that this time of year has tons of sales, so we recommend clicking through to see live prices.
The best gifts for hikers and backpackers is split up by budget categories:
- Budget Gifts (Under $25)
- Mid-Range Gifts ($25-$100)
- High-End Gifts ($100-$248)
- Big Ticket Gifts ($249+)
You can also see them all side by side in the comparison table.
Get your loved one something special!
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – Budget (Under $25)
A water bottle is always a perfect gift for anyone — who doesn’t need to carry around that life-giving substance? But a water bottle for the child in your life is even better. The Eddy Kids bottle by CamelBak is designed to make children (and parents) happy and hydrated. It holds 12 ounces of water, which is just enough for a kid to carry when full, and means you won’t run out right away. The lid is the main feature, as it’s CamelBak’s popular Eddy flip valve, which just requires you to “flip, bite, and sip”. Kids do that like it’s second nature. It’s BPA, BPS, and BPF free, and every part is dishwasher safe.
The best part? They come in a huge variety of colorful designs, which kids love. Our favorite is the Narwhal (pictured here), mostly because it glows in the dark! A water bottle is endlessly useful, and spicing up the design makes this an excellent gift.See CamelBak Eddy Kids Bottle
Darn Tough is perhaps the most popular long-distance trail sock brand in the United States. It’s partly their lifetime warranty, which turns a single sock purchase into a forever sock. But, more than that, it’s the comfort and consistency the socks provide. The brand does one thing, and does it extremely well.
The Kelso Micro Crew Light Cushion is a new offering from the company, and one that is all about silky comfort. The blend on the Kelso is 53% Nylon, 44% Merino Wool, and 3% Lycra Spandex, which gives the sock a stretchy, soft feel when compared with other socks. It is still naturally antimicrobial, and is built to not be felt, in the best way possible.
If you want to give the gift of a forever sock that uses high-end materials and mixes warmth, breathability, and silky comfort, the Darn Tough Kelso is the way to go.See the Darn Tough Kelso
CamelBak Custom Bottle – $18+
Did you know that you can get almost anything custom printed on a CamelBak water bottle? And on nearly every bottle the company offers, too. If you’re all about a gift that shows forethought and detailed attention, this may be the ultimate way to prove it. You can choose your color, upload your own digital file, or choose from geographic images provided by CamelBak. Write a name, print a logo, make the gift as custom as you like, yet retain the high quality of CamelBak’s water bottle offerings.
We love this idea for a group gift, like for a family, wedding party, or co-workers. Note that if you go the custom route, you’ll need to order it before December 3rd to get it in time for Christmas.See CamelBak Custom Bottles
Smartwool is a powerhouse in the merino-based apparel world. The PhD line of socks is consistently one of the highest rated lines on the market, and we’re particularly fond of the Outdoor Light Micro Hiking Socks. Meant for those who want a minimal sock with maximum cushion, these ankle-high feet protectors are a healthy mix of Merino Wool, Nylon, and Elastane, which provide your feet with comfort, support, and breathability while moving fast.
The Outdoor Light Micro Hiking Socks use Smartwool’s Indestructawool technology, a patent-pending construction for long-lasting durability. They are lightly cushioned on the heel and ball of the foot, have almost no seams, and come in a variety of colors.
If you want a rather classic gift (socks!), but want to also impress your giftee, the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Hiking Socks are the perfect choice, especially for the runners you know.See Women’s Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Hiking Socks See Men’s Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro Hiking Socks
Justin’s Nut Butter Packets – $1.50
Justin’s Nut Butter packets have become the go-to outdoor snack. Full of protein, a tiny bit of sugar, and a mouth-watering taste, it’s hard to find something easier and more full of taste good-ness for taking on a backpacking or hiking trek. Grab one or a bunch for gifts (they make great stocking stuffers), and get some for yourself.See Justin's Nut Butter Packets
MSR Mini Ground Hog Tent Stakes – $2.50
The MSR Mini-GroundHog tent stake is one of the best small gifts you can get for a true backpacker. One never has enough tent stakes. The Mini GroundHogs don’t weigh much, hold well, and are super durable. We recommend grabbing at least four, but even one extra stake can come in handy! Also, size up to the regular GroundHog if weight isn’t an issue.See MSR Mini Ground Hog Tent Stakes
Never lose your sunglasses (or regular glasses) again. Croakies’ Terra Spec Cord Adjustable is a handy device that secures to the ends of your sunglasses, creating a reliable necklace so your shades don’t get lost. They are easily adjustable so you can get the right fit. They are easy to slip on and off, so you can swap between glasses.
An excellent gift for any forgetful backpacker or hiker, or anyone that likes to keep their hands (and pockets) free.See Croakies' Terra Spec Cord Adjustable
Everyone can agree that blisters turn awesome treks into nightmares. Adventure Medical Kits’ Moleskin Blister Dressings are pre-cut and ready to protect your fingers and toes. We hate blisters and love this simps solution that’s super easy to add to your first-aid kit. Chances are, the Backpacker on your list hates blisters too and doesn’t have anything in their kit to stop them. It’s the gift they’d never think to buy themselves.
An excellent gift for those heading out on long treks who like ready-to-use first aid supplies.See Adventure Medical Kits' Moleskin Blister Dressings
humangear GoBites Duo – $6.95
The humangear GoBites Duo found their way to us through Cairn, and we love the simple design. It’s a spoon and fork in two separate pieces that clips together to store easily. You can also clip it together to create either a really long spoon, or a really long fork. While a spork works, this gives you more versatility and two utensils, so you’ll always have a spare.
It’s easy to clean, and very light. Any backpacker will be stoked!See humangear GoBites Duo
Vapur Incognito Flask – $6.99
Drinking in the woods is nothing new, but a soft flask is. There are a handful of these around, but we think the Vapur Incognito has the best size and functionality. Fill it with up to 300 ml of delicious spirits, and pass around the campfire. You’ll enjoy the drink, and the lightweight nature of this durable plastic.See Vapur Incognito Flask
Hydration is necessary on a backpacking trip. NUUN has created delicious, sugar-free electrolyte tabs that help you replenish everything you’re sweating out. We take these on all our trips, and find that we can hike longer, sleep better, and get through with less fatigue than if we didn’t have them. They also taste good and spice up the otherwise boring routine of regular ol’ water.
If your backpacker uses Crystal Light or wants something tasty and healthy to drink on the trail, these tabs are excellent.See NUUN Hydration Tabs
Rite In the Rain Journal – $10
The age old problem of writing in the rain has been solved. At least, if you get this journal. The paper doesn’t come undone when wet, and you can still write when its raining if you use a pencil or a Rite in the Rain pen — we’ve also found a standard ballpoint pen works pretty well. Writing in the wilderness is essential, and these light, fairly cheap products (that come in many variations) are a fantastic gift.See Rite in the Rain Journal
Stasher Sandwich Bag – $11
Stasher Bags are an awesome product — they are self-sealing, air-tight, and made of plastic-free silicone. Think of a Ziplock that will last forever, can be boiled, thrown in the dishwasher, or frozen, and is inherently food-safe. The Bags come in three sizes — Half Gallon, Sandwich, and Snack — and can be used to safely store just about anything. They’re nice to touch, too.
An excellent gift for any hiker that wants to take leftovers on the road, or keep a fresh snack on hand. They also work to store tubes of liquids on planes or organize your supplements. Since you can boil them, the Half Gallon size is excellent for backpacking trips.See Stasher Sandwich Bags
Goal Zero Flip 10 Power Bank – $19.95
A small power bank is never a bad thing, especially for people that regularly head into the wilderness. Smartphones have become the default camera and map for most people, and having an extra charge is important. Especially when it only weighs 2 ounces and fits anywhere. Goal Zero has legendary quality, too, so you can buy this electronic with confidence.See Goal Zero Flip 10
HeroClip Carabiner – $19.95
We know, nearly $20 for a carabiner sounds a little crazy. But the HeroClip has practically re-invented the carabiner, and that makes it a fantastic gift. It has a your standard carabiner functionality that holds 50 pounds, but it also has a second arm that swivels and acts as a hanging device. This allows you to, for instance, clip a gravity filter and then hang it easily, all in one device.
We guarantee the backpacker in your life will find a use for this sweet little clip.See HeroClip Carabiner
Sawyer MINI Water Filter – $24.95
The Sawyer MINI Water Filter is the minimalist water filter method you want for any backpacking trip. Using the included squeeze bag you can refill water bottles and other containers with fresh, clean drinking water. The MINI also attaches directly to most bladders if you’re looking to drink on the move. We love its compact size, its versatility, and its price point, which is why it won our Budget Pick award for the Ultralight Backpacker.
An excellent gift for backpackers who want the smallest, lightest water filter on the market.See Sawyer MINI Water Filter
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – Mid-Range ($25-$100)
Nomadik Adventure Box – $29.95
Nomadik hand picks premium brands for inclusion in their monthly adventure boxes. These arrive on your doorstep, include a variety of unique outdoor products, and always provide more retail value than you (or your gifter) paid for them. Plans start at $29.95, and Nomadik tells you exactly what you’ll get in the Holiday Box (shipping now) — it includes the ever useful HeroClip, a pocket stove, a gaiter, instant drinks, bars, and a handy self-charging light.
The real benefit of Nomadik comes when you subscribe to a year (or a few months) of boxes, because they start to build out your adventure kit, and products don’t often overlap. Their service will constantly introduce your gif-tee to brands they’ve never heard of, which is fun, and makes it so you have a pulse on the outdoor gear market.
If you don’t know what exactly to get your outdoor adventurer, the Nomadik Adventure Box is an excellent choice.See Nomadik Adventure Box
Hydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug – $29.95
Sometimes the simple things are the best things. The Hydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug doesn’t have bells and whistles, it doesn’t revolutionize anything, and it doesn’t work for every kind of outdoor activity. Instead, it is the perfect device for drinking hot liquid casually, almost nostalgically. We don’t use that word often — in fact, almost never.
Why is Hydro Flask’s rather simple take on the age-old mug perfection? It prolongs the sensation of a warm cup in your hands on a chilly morning. It feels good to grip. It comes with an unobtrusive lid, which means it is portable, less prone to spills, and can trap in heat for even longer. And it has thin walls so it holds more liquid than your average cup. All of this extends that wistful, greet-the-day moment far beyond a normal mug. And it does this without fuss, day after day.
We bet you, your family, or your friend’s morning coffee ritual is already pretty great. Consider gifting the the Hydro Flask Coffee Mug to make it perfect.See Hydro Flask Coffee Mug
BattlBox Subscription Box – $29+
If you’ve got an outdoor prepper in the family or friend circle and don’t know exactly what to get them, BattlBox is the best gift you can give. It’s a subscription service for monthly boxes of gear — all the items have to do with outdoors and survival, all of them have been tested and approved by the master preppers at BattlBox, and they all come in a neat, themed package.
If you’ve ever had the experience of a box of goodies showing up at your door (Amazon, anyone?), this quadruples that feeling. You can start with the Basic package at $29 per month, and you can grab just one box if that’s your style. But BattlBox really shines at the $60 per month and above mark, as the items become increasingly high-end and useful. Knives, axes, backpacks, and survival blankets, you name it! You can also choose boxes by theme, like a Med-Kit Gift Box or a Safe 4 Kids Gift Box, depending on your loved one.
BattlBox gets you a serious discount on individual items with this model, and it’s a gift that just keeps giving.See BattlBox Gift Box
LuminAID has a good name — it provides aid in the form of solar lights to underdeveloped communities around the world, and has built an impressive solar lantern brand in the process. Its newest product, and most powerful, is the PackLite Titan 2 in 1 Phone Charger. As the name implies, this is a serious solar lantern that combines bright light, quick solar charging, and a phone port.
The PackLite Titan has a few design twists, like the (literally) twisting origami fold, which allows you to pack the square-shaped lantern flat with one fluid movement. It has five light settings, the brightest of which is 300 lumens, which can last up to 5 hours. On Low (10 lumens) it can run for 100 hours, which is an insanely long time. It uses a 60% larger solar panel than previous LuminAID lanterns, which means it can fully recharge in 16-20 hours of sunlight. Or, you can recharge it via USB in just four hours.
It comes with all the LuminAID features, like a handy strap for hanging or clipping to a backpack, a clear battery indicator, and protected USB charging ports. The whole thing is quite waterproof, it self infales, and it weighs just under 11 ounces.
The LuminAID PackLite Titan is an outstanding gift, because it supports a good cause, is useful in emergency and wilderness situations, and is a fun, functional piece of kit.See LuminAID PackLite Titan Lantern
There are countless day packs out there, and it’s hard to know which one is worthy of gifting. Mystery Ranch, typically known for over-the-top backpacking packs and hunting gear, decided to tackle the simple, compressible day pack. The In & Out was born, and we are super impressed.
When you’re backpacking or traveling it’s great to have a secondary backpack that packs down, stows away, and can be busted out when you need to reach a summit or run errands around town. However, these packs are usually flimsy, offer no support, don’t have enough pockets, and generally can’t carry the load.
The In & Out stuffs easily into the zippered front mesh pocket when stored away, but when fully deployed it’s a legitimate day pack for hiking. It’s a sizeable 18 liters, has a zippered large chute main compartment, an external zippered mesh pocket (where you stuff the pack into), one small mesh water bottle holder, compression straps, daisy chain loops, and fully padded shoulder straps. It weighs a pound, uses very robust 100D CORDURA Mini Ripstop fabric, and even has space for a hydration bladder.
The In & Out is a fantastic gift for pretty much anyone. It’s a small backpack that can carry exactly what you need, and you can pack it away so it fits anywhere.See Mystery Ranch In & Out Pack
Eukarya Origin Headlamp – $99
Eukarya is a brand dedicated to form, function, and incredible materials, and the Origin Headlamp is its flagship product. The Origin is unique, bright, and singular in design, and this makes it stand out in the crowded field of headlamps.
Eukarya made a design decision when creating the Origin (and its other products) — spare no expense. The Origin is costly because it’s beautiful, and made from materials that put other headlamps in the dust. It has a milled aluminum frame, a cherry wood body, and a black anodized aluminum inlay. These create a headlamp that’s crazy durable, yet looks more like the forest you’re hiking through than a piece of gear.
The Origin has a max brightness of 300 lumens, it has three modes (High, Low, Strobe), and uses a rechargeable battery with up to 15 hours of life.
If you’re looking for a higher end headlamp that’s designed with beauty in mind while also stacking up to all the major headlamps, the Eukarya Origin is a great choice. You can choose from different wood patterns and colors, too!See Eukarya Origin Headlamp
Headsweats Trucker Hat – $26
A trucker hat is a beautiful thing, and Headsweats knows how to make ’em. While there is plenty of headwear that works for outdoor folks, we still think the basic trucker hat is the most versatile and reliable. Headsweats takes that basic package and uses Eventure woven and stretch mesh fabrics for a very breathable, quick-dry experience. There are also tons of designs to choose from — one of the reasons we love this brand.See Headsweats Trucker Hat
PackTowl Towel – $9.95 – $39.95
PackTowl’s Personal Towel comes in four handy sizes and a bunch of colors. Our favorite is the Hand Towel size, but if the backpacker on your list is looking for a larger quick-dry microfiber towel, consider a larger one. These towels are soft, oh-so-packable, and surprisingly light.
An excellent gift for anyone who wants a bit more comfort in the wild, and those alpine lake swimmers.See PackTowl's Personal Towel
Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack – $29.95+
Sea to Summit makes almost too many goodies, and the eVent Compression Dry Sack is one of our favorites. It protects any of your gear from water, has a fabulous compression system that lets air out while being waterproof, and weighs well under 10 ounces, depending on size. This is perfect for storing down-filled items, electronics, or for any water-heavy activity. Your backpacker will be stoked.See Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack
Undewear? Yeah, underwear. ExOfficio is the dominant “sports” underwear for the outdoor world, and for good reason. The Give-N-Go collection for both men and women somehow repels stink even after days of use, can wash clean with a few simple swirls in water, and feels great against the skin. If you’re a socks and undwear gifter, give the Give-N-Go. You will be thanked.See Men's ExOfficio Give-N-Go Mesh Boxer Briefs See Women's ExOfficio Sports Mesh Briefs
A specific stuff sack for your pillow is a luxury, and Hyperlite Mountain Gear is all about stripping down to the basics — yet, somehow, the company has made an incredibly useful product and gift here. This stuff sack is made of Dyneema Cuben Fiber, a crazy light, waterproof, tear-proof material. The sack is coated on the inside with Polartec 100-weight fleece, making a perfect place to lie your head at night. Use it as a normal waterproof stuff sack while hiking, turn it into a cozy pillow at night by stuffing in your down jacket, extra clothes, etc. We love this thing!See Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sack Pillow
Leatherman Squirt PS4 – $34.95
Everyone needs a multi-tool, and Leatherman is the place to get one. The Squirt PS4 is just one tool in a massive lineup, but we like it because it’s got the tools you need — pliers (needle-nose and regular), scissors, screwdrivers, wire cutters, file, straight knife, and bottle opener — but comes in a crazy light, 2 ounce package. This makes it easy to throw in a backpack for a hike or full trip, and saves time when looking for all your tools!See Leatherman Squirt PS4
Aeropress Coffee Maker – $34.99
Ah, coffee. Any backpacker knows just how difficult it can be to make a good cup of coffee in the wilderness. Yes, tiny packets of instant coffee work (and we recommend Starbucks Via for that), but if you want a real cup, and the experience of brewing it, you want an Aeropress. And it only weighs 6 ounces. We have yet to find a more fully functional backcountry coffee brewing device. It does have a number of pieces, so get familiar before you take it on a trip.See Aeropress Coffee Maker
Everyone outdoor person needs a compass. Chances are, the backpacker you have in mind has a tiny compass that barely tells the right direction. Suunto is a leader in compasses, and the M3 D Leader compass is simple, affordable, and will give the basic tools required to not only know the direction, but navigate unruly terrain if necessary. It’s not top of the line, but most backpackers don’t need that — or even know how to use it!See Suunto M3 D Leader Compass
The Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System 1L is a great companion for backpacking treks. Bacteria and protozoa are easily removed with the hollow fiber filter, and the flow rate on this is the fastest on the market. The filter and water bottle come together, and it’s uber light to boot! The Katadyn BeFree .6L won our Budget Pick award for the Day Hiker, and the larger form factor is ideal for wilderness backpacking. Give your Backpacker the gift of clean drinking water!
An excellent gift for the lover of quick and easy water filtration who also has a hankering for collapsible bottles.See Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System
MSR PocketRocket 2 – $44.95
The MSR PocketRocket 2 is the a lightweight, powerful canister stove. It has extremely fast boil times, origami-like folding, and outstanding durability, making it a default choice for most backpackers. The pot holders are stable and reach surprisingly far for how small the stove is, and the simmer is incredible. This backpacking stove won our Classic Pick award for the Ultralight Backpacker because it’s so easy to use and it won’t let you down.
An excellent gift for anyone who wants a no-brainer stove that’s also stupidly small. Also for those who want to boil water immediately.See MSR PocketRocket 2
Feathered Friends may have the “best travel pillow in the world” with the Geoduck Travel Pillow. Named after a burrowing clam, you’ll want to burrow into this fluffy slice of heaven. It’s compressible and stuffs into itself, making it super convenient to carry around. Your Backpacker will get great use of the Geoduck Travel Pillow in the backcountry, in the car, on a plane, and anywhere else you can think to trek.
An excellent gift for backpackers on the go in the wild and around the world.See Feathered Friends Geoduck Travel Pillow
Anker PowerCore 10000 – $50
Anker is a juggernaut in the portable battery bank space (and other small electronics), and the PowerCore 10000 is our go-to for serious charging capability. It provides almost 3.5 charges for most smartphones, has a high-speed charging port, and weighs 6 ounces. For outdoor folk that want to charge anywhere, the PowerCore 10000 will get the job done. And it fits in your pocket.See Anker PowerCore 10000
Snow Peak Trek 1400 Titanium Cookset – $59.95
If your backpacker wants to bring just one ultralight pot and pan, the Snow Peak Trek 1400 Titanium Cookset is it. This 7.4 ounce set gives you lots of cooking ability with a 1.4L pot and a frypan which doubles as the pot lid (and as a bowl). Made from titanium for increased strength and reduced weight, this cookset is corrosion-resistant and won’t have that weird metallic smell or taste that some pots suffer from. Nesting is easy with this set, which is designed to fit Snow Peak’s Trek 700 and Trek 900 series pots. Or, save the space for your stove, canister, bowl, mug, silverware, and whatever you want to stash in there.
An excellent gift for the Ultralight Backpacker that wants to make one-pot meals or boil water at their heart’s content. You can get the smaller sets if your Backpacker doesn’t need the largest size.See Snow Peak Trek 1400 Titanium Cookset
ENO DoubleNest Hammock – $70
ENO — Eagles Nest Outfitter — makes hammocks. If you want to hang, in the backyard or the campsite, this is where you should start your search. The DoubleNest is their flagship model, technically large enough for two, but for overnight sleeping we recommend this model for one person. The fabrics are a very durable 70D nylon taffeta, there are solid carabiners attached, and it weighs just over a pound. Hammocks are currently quite popular alternatives to tents due to the weight — give the gift of a new way to sleep in the backcountry!See ENO DoubleNest Hammock
Ursack Major Bear Bag – $79.95
The Ursack Major Bear Bag is made from “bulletproof” Spectra fabric to keep even the toughest bears out of your food while you’re sleeping. Recommended by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (that’s a thing!), it comes with 6 feet of cord to tie the bag shut — you’ll need separate rope to attach it to a tree or bear pole. When packed efficiently, the Major can hold about five days worth of food for a single person. You’ll be wondering why you used a bear canister for so long when you switch to this ultralight bag. (Note: The Ursack not considered enough protection in some wilderness areas, and you still need to hang the bag.)
An excellent gift for anyone who occasionally has to fend off bears, but doesn’t want the weight of a heavy plastic model.See Ursack Major Gear Bag
National Parks Pass – $79.99
We love our National Parks, and if you have a difficult Backpacker who needs a gift, an Annual National Parks Pass is the way to go. This pass gets you entry to over 2,000 national recreation areas for a full year. We’ve written about buying a National Parks Pass for yourself before, because this land is our land and it’s meant to be explored. Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving.
An excellent gift for someone looking to get outside and explore new places, for friends hoping to check all 59 National Parks off their list, or for families living near any of the 2,000 national recreation areas included in the Pass.See Annual National Parks Pass
The prAna Zion Stretch Pants are something of a legend. They have been called “zombie-apocalypse-survivor” pants by our team, and are one of those pieces of gear you find in countless pack lists. They have deep pockets, they are crazy durable, and they breathe surprisingly well. Sun protection, too. But the main claim to fame is the “Stretch” fabric, which prAna perfected and uses in this pant, the women’s Halle pant, and other iterations. It’s amazing and helps Hikers scramble rocks very effectively.
An excellent gift for any backpacker, hiker, or camper. Any active person, basically. The Stretch Zion’s (or Halle’s, the women’s version) will last an extremely long time, and are cut a bit tighter than most of those safari-looking hiker pants. Give the gift of leg coverage!See prAna Zion Stretch Collection
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – High-End ($100-$248)
Smartwool Merino 250 ¼ Zip – $105
The Smartwool Merino 250 line of base layers is what we (and most outdoorsy gearheads) measure all wool-based base layers against. The line is consistently warm, breathable, stretchy, and stink-free, year after year. In fact, if you purchased one of these baselayers within the last decade, it’s almost guaranteed to be tucked away in a drawer right now.
Why is the Merino 250 so enduringly popular? First, it’s made of 100% Merino wool. That means it’s 100% natural, stink-resistant, and provides a shocking amount of warmth for a relatively thin layer. Second: Smartwool understands fit. In this piece it’s all about the seams: there are special seam-free shoulder panels that are backpack-friendly, and seams that transition from back to front to keep the piece aligned on your body. This, plus the quarter zip and soft high-collar, make for an extremely versatile base layer.
The Smartwool Merino 250 baselayer — with a quarter zip or in the crew cut — is like gifting the warmest, most comfortable, longest lasting shirt. But it works in normal life, and on any kind of backpacking or camping trip, too.See Women’s Smartwool Merino 250 ¼ Zip See Men’s Smartwool Merino 250 ¼ Zip
The CamelBak MULE is an iconic hydration backpack. It helped launch the idea of CamelBak’s ingenious contribution to the outdoor industry (a hydration bladder), and remains a leading mountain biking and hiking backpack today. The MULE has a narrow design, a spacious front stuff compartment, two large zippered pockets for gear storage, and a specific hydration bladder pocket. It also comes with the CRUX Reservoir, which is CamelBak’s best revoir yet.
We reviewed this product and found it to be nearly perfect for every hike or bike activity. There’s a Magnetic Tube Trap to keep your water valve on your chest. The back panel is built with mesh for maximum breathability, and you can remove the hip belt if it’s not your style. It’s a compact pack at just 12 liters, but it’ll fit everything needed for a day hike or bike ride.
We can’t think of a better gift for the active loved one in your life, especially if they’re constantly carrying stuff on the trail!See Men’s CamelBak MULE See Women’s CamelBakLUXE
Outdoor Vitals has made a name for itself as Direct-to-Consumer camping gear manufacturer that offers budget-friendly products made with premium materials. The Atlas LofTek Hybrid Sleeping Bag features Outdoor Vitals’ new LoffTek Hybrid insulation, which is an 80/20 mix of synthetic and hydrophobic treated down. The warmth is comparable to a 650-fill down bag, but it excels in wet weather, staying lofted longer and drying out much quicker than similar bags.
The sleeping bag remains highly compressible, just like a down bag, and is offered in three levels of warmth — 0-degree, 15-degree, and 30-degree. It’s shaped in an expanded mummy, has an unconventional zipper down the middle (instead of off to the side), which allows it to unfold like a quilt, and includes a fully functional compression sack.
We are rarely excited by sleeping bags (let’s be honest, there are so many) but the Atlas line with the new LoftTek insulation is promising. Especially for the price, which is hundreds of dollars cheaper than comparable products.
If you are looking to give the gift of weather-worthy warmth in the backcountry, and want high-end value at a budget price, the Outdoor Vitals Atlas LoftTek Sleeping Bag is the pick.See Outdoor Vitals Atlas LoftTek Hybrid Sleeping Bag
Vessi Cityscape Sneaker – $129
For those who prefer a sleek sneaker-style hiker in lieu of a colorful boot, Vessi is the brand to check out. Built on the idea that you can actually use one pair of shoes for everything, the Cityscape Sneaker works all day in almost any environment — from pavement to the office to a local hike to the gym.
Vessi’s main feature is called the “Magic Layer,” better known as Dyma-tex, which is a patented (and very secret) knit fabric that’s 100% waterproof. The knit fabric means it breathes well, but the waterproof means you can trek in rain and snow. They are also extremely light — about 7 ounces — and have a cushioned sole that gives some bounce to your step.
Shoes always make a great gift, and the Vessi Cityscape Sneaker is perfect for those understated outdoorsy people in your life.See Women’s Vessi Cityscape Sneaker See Men’s Vessi Cityscape Sneaker
Hydro Flask is best known for its insulation, and the Unbound Series Soft Cooler takes what you probably know about the company (dope bottles) and changes the game. This soft cooler is a backpack. That should give you pause for thought, because while coolers in general are having a heyday, a comfortable, wearable cooler that not only keeps things cold, but can carry whatever you need on a hike, is an incredible idea.
Hydro Flask did not skimp on the extras, which make the Unberound Series Soft Cooler outstanding. First, it’s a 22-liter backpack, which can fit 34 cans without ice, roughly 16 cans with ice, or a full day’s worth of chilled snacks. The inside is lined with Smart Insulation, which keeps stuff cold for up to two days. It uses a heavy-duty YKK AQUASEAL zipper with welded seams, which means it does not leak. There’s a stretch mesh pocket for external storage, another external zippered pocket for stashing small items, and padded straps for carrying comfort. It stays upright no matter what, and weighs just over three pounds, which is very light compared even to non-cooler backpacks.
If you’ve got a cooler-happy person on your gift list, the Hydro Flask Unbound Series 22L Soft Cooler will give them some icy stoke.See Hydro Flask Unbound 22L Soft Cooler
Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo – $230
Six Moon Designs is a cottage gear ultralight brand that has made waves in the outdoor world with innovative shelters, backpacks, and accessories. The Lunar Solo is one of their iconic tents: it’s meant for a single person, weighs one pound 10 ounces (that’s not a typo), and has a full vestibule for storing your backpack and shoes at night.
The Lunar Solo has been around a while, and remains one of the most affordable, ultralight shelters on the market. Six Moon Designs recently updated its fabric, which is now 100% silicone coated polyester, which allows you to seriously compress the tent when packing up and decreases fabric stretch when fully assembled. The Lunar Solo sets up in less than two minutes, is completely watertight, and uses a single center pole through the middle for weight savings and lots of headroom.
If you’re looking for the ultimate ultralight tent gift, the Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo is the one.See Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo
Marmot PreCip – $100
The PreCip rain jacket from Marmot is arguably the most-used rain jacket in the outdoor world. It recently got an upgrade and has lighter fabric and improved breathability. Velcro and draw-string adjustments make it easy to fend off rain, and a relaxed fit means you can layer to your heart’s content — even with a puffer. We’re impressed by the packability this jacket has, as it packs down into one pocket. The PreCip is a go-to choice for anyone shopping for an under $100 rain jacket, and is won our Budget Pick award for the Wilderness Backpacker, Day Hiker, and Car Camper, so you know it’s versatile.
An excellent gift for backpackers in wet climates, and the person on your list who always forgets a rain jacket. Also great for backpackers who want a single rain jacket for any active pursuit.See Men's Marmot PreCip See Women's Marmot PreCip
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – $119.99
The Kindle Paperwhite is the epitome of an e-book reader. It is backlit, has Amazon’s incredible ink-like accuracy, and can hold thousands of books. If you you know an outdoor person who loves to read — and there are a lot of them — the Kindle Paperwhite is an excellent gift. We’d also suggest throwing in a copy fo Walden or A Walk in the Woods, just to get them started. This is Amazon’s latest version, and it has longer battery life and a larger hard drive so you can read even more!See Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Patagonia’s Better Sweater Fleece Jacket has become a familiar site in the city-bound outdoor community. The fleece is warmer than most due to the thick heathered fabric, cozy beyond all measure, and layers extremely well. It has zippered hand pockets for storage and a chest/arm zip for small items like chapstick. The style is impeccable, and you’ll look at home in the office or at the park.
An excellent gift for any hiker who complains of a chill when Autumn comes around. Also works for those wanting a coveted sweater that will last many years, and the person who likes to layer. This jacket won our Classic Pick for Urban Hikers!See Women's Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket See Men's Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket
NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad – $159.95
NEMO’s Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad is one of lightest pads on the market, has three inches of plush comfort, and packs down to the size of a water bottle. It’s comfortable and packable — every backpacker’s dream. This sleeping pad won our Classic Pick award for the Wilderness Backpacker. It has also received a few key upgrades in 2018, including a flat valve and an included pump sack!
An excellent gift for the size or weight-obsessed backpacker on your list, or anyone who needs one of those “new-fangled” air sleeping pads for backcountry adventures.See NEMO Tensor Insulated
REI Magma 850 Hoodie 2 – $219
REI’s Magma 850 down jackets and hoodies have all the makings of a high-end down puffy — 850-fill goose down coated with DWR that’s RDS certified, variable baffles, zippered hand pockets, and a Pertex shell — without the exorbitant cost (though they’re still a pricey item!). And it weighs around 11 ounces.
An excellent gift for any hiker in a cold climate, but specifically adept at blending into an urban scene due to low-profile branding and mellow colors. A one-stop-shop down jacket that will work for the city and mountain alike, so you’d be gifting versatility and warmth. A version of this jacket also won our Classic Pick for the Day Hiker and Urban Hiker!See Women's REI Magma 850 Down Hoody 2 See Men's REI Magma 850 Down Hoody 2
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm – $199.95-$239.95
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm sleeping pad is legendary. Light, rugged, and warm, the NeoAir XTherm set many of the standards for sleeping pads. Reflective layers keep heat where it’s supposed to be, making this a true four-season sleeping pad. Both mummy and rectangular shapes are available in multiple widths to make back and side sleepers comfortable. Packed up, it’s not much bigger than a Nalgene bottle. We love this pad, and it won our Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.
An excellent gift for gram counters, toss-and-turners, and those who want the best ultralight sleeping pad on the market.See Therm-a-Rest for the NeoAir XTherm
Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boots – $230
Shoes don’t always make gift lists due to the unique shapes of people’s feet — but the Salomon Quest 4D GTX boots blew us away. The have insane grip and very durable materials, making for a true backpacking boot that will last for years. They’re waterproof and made with Nubuck leather. Check out review of the Quest 4D 3 GTX.
Salomon does typically have a narrow fit, so check in on your recipient’s shoe preference before purchase.See Men’s Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX See Women’s Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX
Rab Xenon X Hoody – $235
The Rab Xenon X Hoody is one of the comfiest and warmest lightweight synthetic insulated jackets we have ever used. The interior fabric is a dream to touch, and the unbaffled design makes the warmth uniform throughout. Solid pockets, a helmet capable hood, and a two-way zipper make the Xenon quite versatile as well.
Any backpacker would be incredibly stoked to receive the Xenon, even more so if they regular trek in damp climates. It won our Classic Pick — read the full review.See Men’s Rab Xenon X Hoody See Women’s Rab Xenon X Hoody
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – Big Ticket ($249+)
Nomatic 40L Travel Bag – $279.99
Whether you’re a backpacker or world-traveler, a do-it-all airplane compatible backpack is a necessity. Nomatic makes world-class backpacks, laptop bags, and luggage — and our hands-down favorite product is wildly versatile 40L Travel Bag.
The size means you can carry a week’s worth of clothing and gear, and it still fits in overhead compartments, so no checking required. The Nomatic Travel Bag has an almost inordinate amount of zippered compartments, all of which are fantastically designed to store your items in thoughtful, uses places. It has a specific area for shoes, laptop, tablet, passport, chargers, at-hand items like a fleece jacket, fleece-lined smartphone pocket, and more. It’s also equally functional as a backpack and duffel, and comes with an included hip belt. The best part is that they’re gusseted correctly, so even when totally stuffed the zippers work!
Top that off with waterproof materials and zippers, a full duffel-style opening, and an included laundry bag, and you are literally set to travel just about anywhere.See Nomatic 40L Travel Bag
The Mystery Ranch Glacier backpacking pack is a beast, and it was recently updated to include an impressive range of features. Mystery Ranch is known for innovative carrying technology, and the Glacier uses the new Astral Frame, which supports loads well above 50 pounds, uses four composite stays for incredible weight distribution, and the patented Futura Yoke for small adjustments and ample space between your back and the pack. All of this means an exceptional carry, which is Mystery Ranch’s bread and butter.
The Glacier is a built for extended backcountry treks with intelligent organization and tough materials. There are two “torpedo” pockets along the front which allow easy access to as-needed items like rain jackets, a warming layer, or your stove setup. Two low mesh water bottle pockets can be reached without taking the pack off, and the bottom sleeping bag compartment has a unique straight zipper that makes packing up easy peasy.
It’s a premium backpack that will carry any load, and go the distance. And, if you’re the type to do a summit push, the top lid converts to a fully functional and supportive backpack!
This is a serious gift for a serious backpacker. Anyone who treks into the wilderness would be beyond excited to get the Mystery Ranch Glacier.See Men’s Mystery Ranch Glacier See Women’s Mystery Ranch Glacier
The Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody is a surprising jacket. We list it as a synthetic insulated jacket, which it is, but the Polartec Alpha insulation is left open to the skin, creating a cozy fleece-like feel. The exterior has Pertex Microlight stertch fabric, which sheds enough water and snow to almost make this a softshell jacket. The main thing, though, is that it breathes like crazy. This is a midlayer, because it’s not nearly warm enough standing around camp, but if you’re on the move you’d be hard-pressed to find a better breathable layer with ample protection. We reviewed the Ascendant Hoody and it won our Classic Pick award for the Day Hiker!See Men's Outdoor Research Ascendant Jacket See Women's Outdoor Research Ascendant Jacket
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt is the epitome of a new form of warmth while sleeping. Quilts forgo zippers and a bottom half — basically one big blanket — and have straps that allow you to stay just as warm as if you were in a sleeping bag. The Revelation is the most versatile model from Enlightened Equipment. It has a small zipper for a secure footbox or a totally open quilt, straps to attach around a sleeping pad, and cinches around the feet and head for maximum warmth. The best part? These quilts are totally customizable, from color to temperature to size. Get the one that works for you. We also reviewed and awarded the Revelation Quilt with our Classic Pick for Ultralight Backpackers.See Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt
The Garmin inReach Mini 2-way Satellite Communicator is a gift that could save a life. Being able to send out an SOS — and even better, text with your loved ones — while in the backcountry is absolutely necessary for long treks. We think the inReach Mini is the best tool for this right now, as it’s small, relatively affordable, highly reliable, and rugged. And only weighs 3.5 ounces.
There is a lot of functionality packed into these little devices, including a high sensitivty GPS tracker, an SOS button, an app for easier navigation, and a handful of compatible smart devices.See Garmin inReach Mini 2-way Satellite Communicator
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers Comparison Table
|Best Budget Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||See Products|
|CamelBak Eddy Kids .4L Bottle||$13||See It|
|Darn Tough Kelso Micro Crew Light Cushion||$21||See It|
|CamelBak Custom Bottle||$18+||See It|
|Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Micro||$18.95||Women’s, Men’s|
|Justin’s Nut Butter Packets||$1.50||See It|
|MSR Mini Ground Hog Tent Stakes||$2.50||See It|
|Croakies Terra Spec Cord Adjustable||$5||See It|
|Adventure Medical Kits Moleskin Blister Dressing||$5.95||See It|
|humangear GoBites Duo||$6.95||See It|
|Vapur Incognito Flask||$6.99||See It|
|NUUN Active Hydration||$7||See It|
|Rite in the Rain Journal||$10||See It|
|Stasher Sandwich Bag||$11||See It|
|Goal Zero Flip 10 Power Bank||$19.95||See It|
|HeroClip Carabiner||$19.95||See It|
|Sawyer MINI Water Filter||$24.95||See It|
|Best Mid-Range Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||See Product|
|Nomadik Adventure Box||$29+||See It|
|Hydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug||$29.95||See It|
|BattlBox Subscription Box||$29+||See It|
|LuminAID PackLite Titan 2 in 1 Phone Charger||$69.99||See It|
|Mystery Ranch In & Out Pack||$79||See It|
|Eukarya Origin Headlamp||$99||See It|
|Headsweats Trucker Hat||$26||See It|
|PackTowl Personal Towel||$10-$40||See It|
|Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack||$29.95+||See It|
|ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs and Sports Mesh||$30||Men’s, Women’s|
|Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sack Pillow||$31.45||See It|
|Leatherman Squirt PS4||$34.95||See It|
|Aeropress Coffee Maker||$34.95||See It|
|Suunto M-3 D Leader Compass||$44||See It|
|Katadyn BeFree||$44.95||See It|
|MSR PocketRocket 2||$44.95||See It|
|Feathered Friends Geoduck Travel Pillow||$45||See It|
|Anker PowerCore 10000||$50||See It|
|Snow Peak Trek 1400 Titanium Cookset||$59.95||See It|
|ENO DoubleNest Hammock||$69.95||See It|
|Ursack Major Bear Bag||$79.95||See It|
|National Parks Pass||$79.99||See It|
|prAna Zion Stretch and Halle Pants||$85||See It|
|High-End Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||See Products|
|Smartwool Merino 250 1/4 Zip||$105||Men’s, Women’s|
|CamelBak MULE 100 oz Hydration Pack||$110||Men’s, Women’s|
|Outdoor Vitals Atlas LoftTek Hybrid Sleeping Bag||$129+||See It|
|Vessi Cityscape Sneaker||$129||Men’s, Women’s|
|Hydro Flask Unbound Series 22 L Soft Cooler||$199.95||See Product|
|Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo||$230||See Product|
|Marmot PreCip||$100||Men’s, Women’s|
|Amazon Kindle Paperwhite||$119.99||See It|
|Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket||$139||Women’s, Men’s|
|NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad||$159||See It|
|REI Magma 850 Hoodie 2||$219||Women’s, Men’s|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad||$199||See It|
|Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boots||$230||Men’s, Women’s|
|Rab Xenon X Hoody||$235||Men’s, Women’s|
|Big Ticket Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||See Products|
|Nomatic 40L Travel Bag||$279.99||See It|
|Mystery Ranch Glacier Backpack||$350||Men’s, Women’s|
|Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoody||$249||Men’s, Women’s|
|Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt||$270+||See It|
|Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator||$350||See It|
This article contains sponsored material from a number of brands.
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