The Best Gifts for Hikers and Backpackers in 2018
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.
SEE THE REST OF THE GIFT GUIDE HERE: