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.
We’ve split the products into Budget Gifts, Mid-Range Gifts, High-End Gifts, and Big Ticket Gifts, because we know you have a budget in mind for that lucky backpacker. If you want to see all the gifts at once, check out the comparison table.
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – Budget (Under $25)
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.
Epic Bars – $2
If you haven’t had an Epic Bar yet, you’re missing out. These tasty protein-filled bars hit grocery stores everywhere, and we can’t seem to get enough. They use decent ingredients, often cut out unnecessary sugars and other less-than-helpful ingredients, and come in a variety of delicious flavors. Bison is our team’s favorite, but there are plenty to choose from. Get one, or a box.
MSR Mini-GroundHog 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Nalgene ATB – $8
Some products never get old, like Nalgene’s ATB Bottle. Meant primarily as a sports bottle, this basic, BPA-free plastic bottle has a protected dome lid, a pop cap, and a comfortable squeeze design for all your active hydration. It slips into almost any pocket, and doesn’t leak. You can twist off the whole cap and throw in ice cubers, too!
An excellent gift for any hiker who needs a bottle — and who doesn’t, really? Also great for hikers that occasionally bike or run, and those who like to trek through super dirty terrain. The Nalgene ATB won our Budget Pick for many backpacker types, too.
Platypus SoftBottle – $8.95
The SoftBottle from Platypus is a tough, simple water container. It rolls up when not in use, weighs an ounce, and slides easily into backpack side or mesh pockets. Our whole team uses these on long treks, typically to store unfiltered water, because the threads match Sawyer MINI and Squeeze water filters. It also won our Budget Pick water bottle for the Ultralight Backpacker.
As a gift, your backpacker will make use of this. We recommend the one liter size.
The GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug is a straightforward camp staple. It’s lightweight, made of durable plastic, has a cozy to keep your drink warm, and a loose handle for easy gripping. You can seal it shut so it won’t spill, and use the plastic mug as a measuring cup. Pretty impressive for its price.
An excellent gift for the backpacker who wants an outdoor specific mug, or a cook who likes to measure out liquids and drink a lot of coffee.
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.
Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth – $10.99
There’s a reason Nalgene’s 32oz Wide Mouth Bottle has been around forever. It’s lightweight, comes in a ton of fun colors, and it lasts. (Mine has been around for 10 years now). Easy to clean and the perfect size for a day of adventure, this bottle is a classic that your Backpacker will thank you for. Also, it’s essentially indestructible, and we’re impressed with how leak-proof it is. It won our Classic Pick water bottle Wilderness Backpackers.
An excellent gift for those who love staying hydrated, especially if they’re accident-prone. Also the best sticker canvas on the market.
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.
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.
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.
MPOWERD Luci Solar Light Outdoor 2.0 – $19.95
The collapsible solar lantern is incredibly versatile, and MPOWERD makes a huge range of lights. If you want the best light for your buck, the Luci Solar Light Outdoor 2.0 is where you should look. It collapses to an inch thick, floats, has straps for hanging, charges in 7 hours, lasts up to 24 hours, and outputs 75 lumens, more thane enough to make camp visible. This model is four ounces, but MPOWERD makes others that are lighter. They also have cool party versions in different colors. Take your pick.
We know, nobody gets excited when they’re gifted socks. Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks are the exception because they are trail-tested and backpacker approved. Extra padding in all the right places protects the feet from blisters and keeps toes warm. One backpacker said they’ve gone for “several days” without any “stank,” which makes us wonder if these socks are actually magic. Also, they have a lifetime warranty, which means you’re basically gifting your backpacker a pair of socks for life.
Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks are a great gift because no one buys expensive socks for themselves. If the backpacker on your list is eyeing a thru-hike, or any hike, these are the socks for them.
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.
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – Mid-Range ($25-$100)
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.
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.
Cairn Subscription – $29.95+
Cairn is the leading subscription box for outdoor people. You gift a month or two or six to your outdoor lover, they get a box full of goodies delivered right to their door. Our team has reviewed the service, and have included gear on this list because of it! Cairn does a great job creating unique boxes with useful gear, and there’s always a clutch item in the box. If you don’t know what your backpacker needs, consider gifting them this.
Cairn also has an Obsidian subscription, which is much larger (and more expensive) products. If you want to get an awesome gift, this would be it.
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.
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.
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!
Another clutch item from Sea to Summit, the Ultra-Sil Travel Day Pack blows our team away with versatility. It’s a 2.5 ounce, 20-liter backpack that packs down to a minuscule package, and comes equipped with a carabiner for easy storage on your belt loop, backpack, or anywhere else, really. It works for groceries, international travel, and as a basic summit pack. Easy to find a use, and surprisingly sturdy.
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!
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.
REI Flash 18 Pack – $39.95
REI’s Flash 18 is a popular pack, and for good reason. It’s not too pricey, it is small, and it carries a simple day hike’s materials without issue. Shaped like a stuff sack, you simply open the drawstring, shove your stuff inside, and hit the trail. It has attachment points on the outside so you can carabiner stuff to it, and a basic strap system.
An excellent gift for the hiker who needs an easy bag to take on the trail. No hassle, no fuss, and no real moving parts or pockets to speak of. And you can use it as a summit pack in a pinch because it only weighs 10 ounces!
Hydro Flask 32 oz Standard Mouth – $39.95
Hydro Flask is everywhere, and their 32 oz Wide Mouth bottle is the reason why. Material grade stainless steel is coupled with a host of pleasing colors to create one of the most useful water carrying devices on the planet. The Wide Mouth is big enough for any ice cube, the size will get you seriously hydrated, and the Flex Lid cap allows for nearly perfect carry and storage. Most importantly, it’ll keep your ice in its natural state for hours. Piping hot stays that way, too.
An excellent gift for pretty much anybody, but hikers will love being able to keep a drink cold on a hot hike, or a cup of coffee scalding on a cold hike. This bottle will last a lifetime.
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!
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.
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.
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.
You may not know Geigerrig, but you should, and you should specifically get to know their Hydration Engine bladders. They can be used like a normal hydration bladder to sip water while you hike, but they also come with a pump, which creates pressure in the bag when used. This means water flows out crazy fast — either in your mouth or as a shower. You can use this bladder to rinse off, hose down wet dogs, or just drink extremely fast. The design is easy to clean and fill due to the slide-off top, and is thin enough that it doesn’t bulge in your backpack.
An excellent gift for any Hiker that uses a hydration pack. The Hydration Engine is a step up from other bladders due to the pressurized pump, and your backpacker will love it.
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.
Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp – $59.95
Black Diamond’s ReVolt Headlamp is compact and easy to use. It’s a rechargeable headlamp, which means no running out of power in the wilderness, and it uses AAA batteries for incredible versatility. Fully dimmable with red and white modes make this little light a feature-filled addition to any Backpacker’s kit. Did we mention that it won our Premium Pick award for Wilderness Backpackers, and that it’s waterproof?
An excellent gift for those who like to hike, climb, walk, run, read, or play in the dark. Also for those who love to charge things.
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.
Big Blue 28W Solar Charger – $59.95
Forgoing a premium brand name, Big Blue is relatively unknown, but they make a damn good solar charger. We took this over other, better-known competitors because it performs so well for the price. Four panels unfold in a 21 ounce design for a fully featured portable solar charger. It is well made, water resistant, and has a built in ammeter, which shows you just how many amps you have charged in the unit. The portable solar market is large, and growing, and we get asked often which unit to buy. For now, the price and functionality here can’t be beat.
Pair with a portable battery pack (like the PowerCore 10000 or Goal Zero Flip) and have tons of juice, or plug directly into your device.
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!
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.
Black Diamond Sprinter – $79.95
Black Diamond’s Sprinter Headlamp is built for a single purpose: running in the dark. Whether you’re on a trail just outside the city or running through the heart of it, the Sprinter will make sure you are seen and can see exactly where you’re going. A bright 200-lumen front bulb is made to light up a wide swath around you, and the red light on the back helps cars (or other runners/hikers) know you’re there. It has PowerTap, which turns on the high beams when you need them, and fits securely to any size head. Did we mention it’s rechargeable? Just plug in a micro-USB cable to the battery on the back of the headlamp. This headlamp won our Premium Pick Award for the Urban Hiker and Day Hiker.
An excellent gift for the hiker that is obsessed with running after dark or before dawn. If someone in your life just can’t find the right headlamp for running, get them this.
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.
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!
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – High-End ($100-$248)
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.
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!
Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket – $139
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!
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.
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 – $159.00
The Kelty Cosmic Down 20 is an iconic down sleeping bag. Heralded as the entry-level option for any backpacker, this bag is warm, spacious, fairly lightweight, and surprisingly affordable. It’s still a High-End Gift (at least, from our perspective), but it’s one that your aspiring backpacker will love. If the Igneo is a step too high, the Cosmic Down will absolutely get the job done. This bag won our Budget Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.
There are also 40 and 0 degree versions, if you need a different temperature rating.
Osprey Manta AG 28 and Mira AG 26 – $165
Osprey’s packs are loved by all types of backpackers and hikers, and the Manta AG 28 is no exception. A fairly large day hiking backpack, the Manta series is meant for long hikes when you need support. The Anti-Gravity suspension is basically more comfortable than any other day hiking pack, and can hold up to 30 pounds. And the included Hydraulics LT 2.5 hydration bladder is a nice touch. There’s tons of storage, hip belt pockets, and an included rain cover. The Manta AG 28 won our Premium Pick for the Day Hiker and is meant for serious hikers.
An excellent gift for hikers who love to go on long hikes, be extremely prepared, and be in charge of a group. Also works for extreme ultralight backpackers who want a very small pack to overnight with.
REI Magma 850 – $189
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 high cost. 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. This jacket also won our Classic Pick for the Day Hiker and Urban Hiker!
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.
Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor – $199.95
The Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor is a unique ultralight backpack that can handle a surprisingly heavy load. It comes from the Sierra Designs and the mind of Andrew Skurka, a famous ultralight backpacker, and is laid out exceptionally well. It has hip belt pockets, a small top lid for essentials, and one long chute for all your gear. Its claim to fame is the “flex” — you can compress it to 40 liters of storage, or 60 liters, with straps on the outside. This helps thru hikers adjust the size and carry of the pack as they move. This pack won our Budget Pick award for Ultralight Backpackers!
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.
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 for 2017 and 2018 — read the full review.
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers – Big Ticket ($249+)
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!
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.
REI Igneo 17 and Joule 21 — $299
The REI Igneo 17 Sleeping Bag is an excellent update to REI’s down bags that have been around for years. It has unique baffle construction to increase warmth: horizontal baffles on the top and bottom, and vertical baffles on the side. Plus, it’s lightweight, super compressible, water resistant, and durable. The 17-degree rating gives it a warm edge over most 20-degree bags, which is great for cold sleepers. Offered in men’s and women’s models, this impressive sleeping bag won our Classic Pick award for the Wilderness Backpacker.
An excellent gift for someone who runs cold, loves a tight-fitting mummy bag, or wants to starting getting serious lightweight gear for the backcountry. The Joule 21 is the women-specific bag, and the fit is excellent.
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody – $299
The Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody is a synthetic insulated jacket that mirrors the weight and warmth of down using PlumaFill. At 9.3 ounces for a fully hooded jacket, it’s uber light and has a distinctive patterned look that Patagonia is known for. Every design element is top notch, and there are two zippered hand pockets. We’re fans of synthetic puffies because they’re quick drying and warm without making you feel like you’re wearing a marshmallow. This jacket won our Premium Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker!
An excellent gift for lovers of puffy jackets, those that want synthetic over down, or Patagonia die-hards.
Gregory Baltoro 65 and Deva 60 – $299.95
Gregory’s Baltoro 65 is a beast of a backpack. It’s designed with access at its core: top load access, U-zip access, side zip pockets, floating lid with pockets, and a sleeping bag compartment. This model also comes with a rain cover and a SideKick water bladder/day pack. It’s jam-packed with features, but the biggest highlight is the heavy duty hip belt and harness. Extreme comfort for heavy loads — so extreme that it won our Premium Pick for the Wilderness Backpacker.
An excellent gift for someone who likes lots of pockets to compartmentalize their gear, and someone who wants a “do it all” wilderness backpack. The Deva 60 is the women-specific version, and is fantastic as well.
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.
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 – $449.95
The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 may look like a sci-fi spaceship, but it packs tons of features that we love — color-coded setup, tons of internal storage options, two doors, and a hubbed pole design. It’s thoughtfully designed on the inside for maximum headspace, allowing two people to comfortably maneuver in the morning, and is uber light. This tent won our Premium Pick award for the Wilderness Backpacker and doesn’t sacrifice features, stability, or ease of setup.
An excellent gift for one or two people looking to seriously upgrade their backpacking home. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better freestanding tent. Give this gift to someone you truly love, or to yourself!
Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers Comparison Table
|Budget Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||Live Prices|
|Justin’s Nut Butter Packets||$1.50||See live price|
|Epic Bars||$2||See live price|
|MSR Mini-GroundHog Tent Stakes||$2.50||See live price|
|Croakies Terra Spec Cord Adjustable||$5||See live price|
|Adventure Medical Kits Moleskin Blister Dressing||$5.95||See live price|
|humangear GoBites Duo||$6.95||See live price|
|Vapur Incognito Flask||$6.99||See live price|
|NUUN Active Hydration||$7||See live price|
|Nalgene ATB||$8||See live price|
|Platypus SoftBottle||$8.95||See live price|
|GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug||$9.95||See live price|
|Rite in the Rain Journal||$10||See live price|
|Nalgene 32 oz Wide Mouth||$10.99||See live price|
|Stasher Sandwich Bag||$11||See live price|
|Goal Zero Flip 10 Power Bank||$19.95||See live price|
|HeroClip Carabiner||$19.95||See live price|
|MPOWERD Luci Solar Light Outdoor 2.0||$19.95||See live price|
|Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks||$21||See live price|
|Sawyer MINI Water Filter||$24.95||See live price|
|Mid-Range Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||Live Prices|
|Headsweats Trucker Hat||$26||See live price|
|PackTowl Personal Towel||$10-$40||See live price|
|Cairn Subscription||$29.95+||See live price|
|Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack||$29.95+||See live price|
|ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs and Sports Mesh||$30||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sack Pillow||$31.45||See live price|
|Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Travel Day Pack||$32.95||See live price|
|Leatherman Squirt PS4||$34.95||See live price|
|Aeropress Coffee Maker||$34.95||See live price|
|REI Flash 18||$39.95||See live price|
|Hydro Flask 32 oz Wide Mouth||$39.95||See live price|
|Suunto M-3 D Leader Compass||$44||See live price|
|Katadyn BeFree||$44.95||See live price|
|MSR PocketRocket 2||$44.95||See live price|
|Feathered Friends Geoduck Travel Pillow||$45||See live price|
|Geigerrig Hydration Engine 3L||$49||See live price|
|Anker PowerCore 10000||$50||See live price|
|Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp||$59.95||See live price|
|Snow Peak Trek 1400 Titanium Cookset||$59.95||See live price|
|Big Blue 28W Solar Charger||$59.95||See live price|
|ENO DoubleNest Hammock||$69.95||See live price|
|Ursack Major Bear Bag||$79.95||See live price|
|Black Diamond Sprinter||$79.95||See live price|
|National Parks Pass||$79.99||See live price|
|prAna Zion Stretch and Halle Pants||$85||See live price|
|High-End Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||See Live Prices|
|Marmot PreCip||$100||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|Amazon Kindle Paperwhite||$119.99||See live price|
|Patagonia Better Sweater Jacket||$139||See live price for Women’s and Men’s|
|NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad||$159||See live price|
|Kelty Cosmic Down 20||$159.95||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|Osprey Manta AG 28 and Mira Ag 26||$165||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|REI Magma 850 Jacket||$189||See live price for Women’s and Men’s|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Sleeping Pad||$199||See live price|
|Sierra Designs Flex Capacitor||$199.95||See live price|
|Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Boots||$230||See live for Men’s and Women’s|
|Rab Xenon X Hoody||$235||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|Big Ticket Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers||MSRP||See Live Prices|
|Outdoor Research Ascendent Hoody||$249||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt||$270+||See live price|
|REI Igneo 17||$299||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody||$299||See live price for Men’s and Women’s|
|Gregory Baltoro 65||$299||See live prices for Men’s and Women’s|
|Garmin inReach Mini 2-Way Satellite Communicator||$350||See live price|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2||$449.95||See live price|
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