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 some of our favorite backpacking products in the outdoor world.
We’ve split the products into High-End Gifts, Mid-Range Gifts, and Budget Gifts, because we know you have a budget in mind for that lucky Backpacker. These gifts are specifically tailored to the Wilderness Backpacker — people who trek into the wilderness for a few nights, make camp, and generally commune with nature. It’s easy to find something to give them, but hard to find the right thing. Enjoy the highly curated list of gifts your Wilderness Backpacker buddy, relative, or significant other will love.
Eddie Bauer EverTherm Down Hooded Jacket — $279
Eddie Bauer’s new EverTherm Down Hooded Jacket packs more warmth in less packaging. ThinDown uses down in sheets, rather than plumes, which allows the jacket to have no baffles or quilting. This reduces cold spots! The EverTherm is designed to fit midlayers underneath and a rain shell over the top. It’s like wearing a big, cozy blanket in the wild without the cold spots found in traditional puffies.
An excellent gift for backpackers who want a down puffy without the bulk, those who don’t love the marshmallow puffer look, or those who love trying brand new gear.
NEMO Tensor 20R Sleeping Pad — $119.95
NEMO’s Tensor 20R 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.
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.
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.
Check out the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2.
Gregory Baltoro 65 — $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.
Check out the Gregory Baltoro 65.
REI Igneo 17 and REI 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.
Feathered Friends Geoduck Travel Pillow — $45
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.
Check out the Feathered Friends Geoduck Travel Pillow.
Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System 1L — $44.95
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.
Check out the Katadyn BeFree Water Filtration System 1L.
Zpacks Ultralight Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles — $99 for two
Zpacks Ultralight Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles are slim and ultralight, coming in at a 6.7 ounces per pole. Made from super-strong carbon fiber, these trekking poles won’t let you down. Adjustable in two points, you can amble up the hills and dales or take on the tallest peaks. This trusty sidekick will keep you steady all the way to the top. It works for Ultralight Backpackers as well as Wilderness Backpackers!
An excellent gift for anyone looking to backpack quickly and keep the weight down. Also great for those who complain of achy knees after a trip.
Check out the Zpacks Ultralight Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles.
Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 Auto– $49.95
Cooking in the wilderness can be a challenge, and your stove shouldn’t make it any harder. Snow Peak’s GigaPower 2.0 Auto comes with a fully adjustable burner and a Piezo ignition for an easy start. A wide flame, large put supports, and excellent simmer make this stove perfect for backcountry cooking. The GigaPower 2.0 Auto won our Classic Pick award for the Wilderness Backpacker.
An excellent gift for those who like compact gear, lightweight gear, and luxury brand names like Snow Peak.
Check out the Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 Auto.
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.
Check out the Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp.
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.
Check out the Annual National Parks Pass.
SealLine Blocker Dry Sack — $14.95-$29.95
SealLine’s collection of Blocker Dry Sacks come in three easy sizes for the adventurer on your list. All your gear stays dry and ready to use with welded seams, and the rectangular shape packs well. A little extra protection goes a long way towards a stress-free trip.
An excellent gift for the Backpacker who worries more about rain and gear getting wet than anything else. Also great for those who love to keep gear organized and easy to pack.
Check out the SealLine Blocker Dry Sack.
GSI Outdoors Microlite 500 Flip — $25.95
The GSI Outdoors Microlite 500 Flip is a handy insulated bottle that’s ready to hit the road. We love the 500 ml size (16 ounces) because it’s plenty to drink in the wilderness and only weighs 7.9 ounces for total insulation! It’s rare to find an insulated water bottle that works for backpacking, and this is it.
An excellent gift for the Wilderness Backpacker who wants piping hot (or cold) liquid on demand.
Check out the GSI Outdoors Microlite 500 Flip.
Adventure Medical Kits Moleskin Blister Dressing — $5.95
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.
Check out the Adventure Medical Kits Moleskin Blister Dressings.
PackTowl Personal 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.
Check out the PackTowl Personal Towel.
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.
An excellent gift for those who love staying hydrated, especially if they’re accident-prone. Also the best sticker canvas on the market.
Check out the Nalgene 32oz Wide Mouth water bottle.
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