When you’d like to buy a special someone a gift catered to hiking, walking into a big outdoor store or an outfitter shop can be a bit daunting. You may start thinking, “Ahh! There’s so much stuff! What do I get? How do I narrow it down? And what does he/she really need or want anyway?”
Whether you’re a well-intentioned non-hiker or a savvy outdoors person, there are always new upgrades to improve gear and the luxuries that make hiking/camping trips more enjoyable and comfortable. The main consideration is you want to give something practical centered on the person in mind with their needs and interests. And practical can also be a fun item, depending on who you’re shopping for. Think of it as ‘appropriate gifting’ – it doesn’t have to be costly, but it has to be usable. No one needs a random device or piece of gear to store in a closet that’s impractical for his or her needs in the outdoors.
We’ve got you covered with our guide on the Best Gifts for a Hiker. We make it simple to do some online shopping with a click of a button by listing the gifts in different categories to suit all budgets. As long as you know a little about the person you’re buying for – a day hiker, an avid backpacker, a car camping and road trip adventurer, or a long-distance hiker who aims to be as ultralight as possible – each gift description will make it easy for you to narrow down your choice to give the best, most thoughtful gift.
Best Gifts Under $20
Darn Tough Socks
Really, giving socks is not a lame or boring gift for hikers! Quality socks are essential when on a hike to keep our feet dry and comfortable. Darn Tough is one of the leaders in merino wool socks that wick moisture away and help to prevent blisters. They offer a huge array of styles, lengths and colors. In this case, you can’t go wrong with giving socks, no matter who the hiker is that you’re giving a gift.
We have quite a few different items that are listed on REI; get deals here on REI.
Price Range: many under $20, a few pairs a bit over.
Here we link to the popular Quarter Cushion model, which is under $20.
MPOWERD Luci EMRG: Solar Inflatable Light
Completely solar and never needing batteries, this is a great gift as an alternative to a headlamp to illuminate a tent at night. Just attach it to the outside of a backpack during the day while hiking to charge up in the sun. An added bonus is that it’s super lightweight at only 2.8 oz. It’s also designed for emergencies with 5 modes (low, high, flashing, S.O.S., and steady red), so this pocket-sized lantern, flashlight, and S.O.S beacon is a total package deal.
Price Range: $10.99 to $12.73
Swiss Army Classic Knife
When out on a hiking excursion, you really don’t need all the bells and whistles of a fancy multi-purpose tool. It’s good to have something handy for the basics, and the Swiss Army Classic Knife will do the trick. It’s a lightweight (only 1.3 oz.), all-purpose option with scissors, blade, screwdriver, tweezers, nail file and toothpick. It also has a Lanyard ring so you can attach it to a loop on your pack so it’s always handy. If you buy on Amazon, you have loads of colors to choose from.
Price Range: $17.00 – $19.72
Amazing Grass Individual Packets
If you’ve got a hiker in your life who is health conscious with food choices, check out Amazing Grass. This package deal includes the Green Superfood Variety Pack: 10 Flavors of Super Greens Powder with Spirulina, Digestive Enzymes & Probiotics. Mix into your water bottle while on a hike or backpacking trip and you’ve got a substantial dose of farm-fresh greens, fruits and veggies, while also jam-packed with superfoods. These packets are gluten-free, sugar-free, Non GMO, organic and plant-based.
Price: $12.99 | Buy Here on Amazon
Altra Trail Gaiters
These are an absolute game changer when it comes to hiking in sandy, desert-like terrain or where there is a lot of loose dirt and small stones. Trail gaiters help keep the trail away from your feet and socks so you don’t have to stop every five minutes to get a pebble out of your shoe. Popular with long-distance hikers and those who hike in desert regions. They’re also breathable and abrasion resistant, so they’re up for the job of hiking those extra miles in all sorts of landscapes.
Price: $19.95 | Buy Here on REI
We also love Kahtoola’s (higher priced)
TheTentLab The Deuce #2 UL Backcountry Trowel
A trowel is a necessity for any backpacker camping, as it supports Leave No Trace Principles and will ensure the good karma for your hiker friend because he or she will do the right thing when it comes to pooping in the woods. So you really can’t go wrong with this gift for any hiker, because even day hikers have random moments of when nature calls. The Deuce is extremely lightweight at only 0.6 oz. and can also function as a tent stake, bottle opener, and bear canister screw…to name a few alternative uses. On Amazon, there are a ton of jazzy colors so your potty experience is more entertaining.
Price Range: $19.50 – $24.95
In terms of a multi functional piece of clothing, a buff reigns supreme. It can be used as a neck warmer, headband, towel, wrist thingie to wipe away sweat, face mask and more. It’s truly one of the most practical pieces of clothing a hiker can have.
Price Range: $11.73 – $20.00 There are some listed for more than $20, but there are definitely plenty to choose from in the budget price range.
WildernessNavigation: Finding Your Way Using Map, Compass, Altimeter & GPS – Third Edition Book
New or intermediate hikers can navigate their way around trails using a GPS, hiking app, or trail signs. Yet the outdoors world becomes a whole new playground when a hiker learns how to use a map and compass. If you know a hiker who wants to take things to the next level in both a comprehensive and fun way, this is a great book as a gift.
Platypus PlatyPreserve Portable Wine Bag – 27 fl. oz.
Not everyone is out to crush big miles hiking – some folks prefer to stroll for a few miles with all the luxuries from home and make camp. For the wine lover in your life who enjoys the outdoors, the PlatyPreserve Portable Wine Bottle with its flexible, collapsible design is an excellent choice. The durable materials guarantee leak protection and the food-grade lining is 100% taste-free, ensuring the delicious taste of wine only. No matter whether he or she prefers a fine vintage or a box-of-wine varietal, it’s all good with this gift.
Rawlogy Original Ultralight Cork Massage Ball
Yep, those muscles will LOVE this gift. Rawology’s Ultralight Cork Massage Ball will treat your favorite hiker to much needed relief for sole muscles and tension. Made from renewable cork, it’s lightweight, eco-friendly, water resistant and highly durable. For the hiker who believes in self-care and taking care of the body so it maintains optimal performance and well-being, this gift is a lovely choice.
Price: $14.00 | Buy Here on Amazon
Best Gifts Under $50
FRDM Hiking Gloves Or Other Gloves
Gloves are hugely helpful for fall hikes, winter hikes and spring hikes. These Vigor liners are some of the most versatile and awesome gloves for hikers. You can also go with thicker gloves for winter hiking, but these are probably the most versatile, and add a whole bunch of warmth if you wear them under a thick winter glove alone. These are perfect for more technical hiking, trail running, or even on fishing trips.
Smartwool Merino Wool 250 Beanie
Let’s face it: hats get funky and need to be washed, too. A straight-up wool hat can be difficult to wash and is sometimes itchy. Enter the Smartwool Beanie made of soft merino wool. It keeps you warm and it’s stylish to wear, with different colors and designs.
Price Range: $23.73 – $30.00
Petzl Actik Headlamp – Or Another High Quality Headlamp
For your backpacking hiker, a headlamp is a give-in. With 350 lumens and a multi-beam design, the Actik allows for several brightness levels. It’s got all the wanted and needed features for a headlamp, but the main reason this is a good gift is because of its purpose – safety. Even on a day hike something can go awry and you may find yourself out there into the evening, so having a headlamp in your bag with extra batteries is just good common sense.
If you’d like to consider some other headlamps, have a look at these:
Hiking Hats From Tenth Street or Similar
A hiker needs protection from the sun, and a hiking hat that is breathable, durable, and can get dirty is the way to go. Whether they like snapbacks, or bucket style hats, you’ll be able to find a hat for your hiker friend.
Price: You’ll find endless options under $50
Cotopaxi Bataan Fanny Pack
This fanny pack has become super popular with long-distance hikers who need another spot for those miscellaneous items we need easy access to, like earbuds, chapstick, phone, snacks, map, sunscreen, etc. It’s also very practical for day hikers who don’t need to carry a lot for a shorter jaunt. Cotopaxi supports Del Dia products which are designed by employees in the Philippines with full creative control over the product’s colors; no two are the same. The fanny pack is 3 liter capacity with two internal mesh pockets. Overall, it’s a cool, practical gift for a hiker who likes some color and flair.
Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger Power Bank
Having a portable charger can be handy for a long-distance hike, especially if you have navigation on your phone. It’s also great if you like to listen to audiobooks, music, or podcasts when hiking. The PowerCore by Anker is a solid option with two ports that provides up to five phone charges and high-speed charging. It weighs in at 8.47 oz., so not too heavy for an adventure. We also love the myCharge pack.
Price: $31.99-$35.99 | Buy Here on Amazon
Coleman Two Burner Classic Camping Stove
For the car camping enthusiast, Coleman is a name that’s recognized for its classic stove. Sometimes you just don’t want to break out a backpacking stove when you have the space in your car for something bigger. This stove has two adjustable burners that run off of propane and wind-blocking panels to protect from sudden breezes. At a great price, this is an excellent necessity item for anyone who enjoys camping (and eating!) while traveling.
Price: $43.88 | Buy Here on Amazon
AeroPress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press
Some of us just aren’t willing to give up good coffee while either car camping or on trail hiking. This model by AeroPress offers a fantastic solution that’s portable, easy and convenient. What’s special about AeroPress is that it makes coffee with a smooth finish, without the bitterness of French Press style. The AeroPress Go features a small and light size of around 11 oz. that makes 1-3 cups per press, and both a mug and lid that double as a traveling case. Perfect while camping for rapid brewing of hot coffee in about 1 minute or cold brew coffee in around 2 minutes. Really now, there’s no need to give up what you love while hiking.
Price: $31.95 | Buy Here on Amazon
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Dry Sack
Having a dry sack for your sleeping bag is a BIG priority while backpacking. If your sleeping bag gets wet, you could be in store for a cold and potentially dangerous night. This dry sack by Sea to Summit is lightweight, waterproof and compresses clothing and gear to 1/3 the volume while keeping it dry. With that said, it can also be used for clothing or other items you need to protect. It comes in different sizes depending on the number of liters you want it to hold.
Price Range: $24.95 – $52.95
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System – Or Gravity Filter System
We all need water to stay hydrated while on a hike, and water’s heavy! There’s no need to carry liters upon liters of water in your pack when you’ve got an easy filtration system. The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter has a field weight of only 3 oz., and it makes filtering water simple – you just fill a pouch and squeeze water into your mouth or a bottle. No wait time is gold, especially when on a long-distance hike and time is of essence. Giardia and other water-borne bacteria is no joke and no fun to deal with health-wise. Help a hiker friend out by gifting this very practical and usable present. We also love gravity filters. Check this one out.
SOL Escape Lite Bivy
In terms of venturing on a hike, it’s important to always be prepared just in case. Even with the best navigation, weather can change suddenly and a hiker may find himself lost in the woods. To avoid this, one can choose to play it safe by throwing a few extra, essential items in the backpack. The SOL Escape Lite Bivy is one of those items, weighing only 5.5 oz but packing in enormous benefits. It can be used as a sleeping bag liner to increase warmth (added perk for those of us who sleep cold!), a sleeping bag shell to fend off rain or as an emergency bivy. This is a thoughtful insurance-type gift for someone you care about who spends a lot of time hiking.
Best Gifts Under $100
Hiking Daypack – Granite Gear or Similar
A quality backpack makes for a more comfortable and safe hike. Having the right style and size pack for the situation is so awesome, plus daypacks are useful for a lot more than hiking. Here we recommend Granite Gear, Gossamer Gear, in the under $100 segment.
Hiking Microspikes – Kahtoola Or Similar
Anyone hiking in an area where ice or snow is a potential, microspikes are an absolute must. They keep you much safer, prevent falls, and turn impossible sections of ice into easy sections to walk on. This is an essential item to every 3-4 season hiker. We recommend Kahtoola Microspikes that are $65+ up, but if you are a budget buyer, you can get less expensive microspikes on Amazon. Simply put, Kahtoola Spikes will last longer than cheaper versions. We have a full review here on Kahtoola.
Price Range: $62 – $70.00
REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Chair
This may not be something that an ultralight hiker would want to carry, but sometimes we want a little extra comfort at the end of a long day walking. The REI Flexlite Camp Chair fits the bill of not being too heavy (1 lb. 11 oz.) and it folds up easy for travel. It has a ripstop seat and tent-like frame which passes the durability test. Plus it’s got a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish to resist moisture and stains.
If you’d like other camp chair options to suit the unique needs of the person you’re shopping for, check these out, too: Helinox Chair Zero, REI Flexlite Air Chair, Leki Chiller Chair, GCI Outdoor Director’s Chair, REI Flash Trail Seat
America the Beautiful Pass
This is a really clutch gift for the hikers you know who are up for traveling around and hiking in gorgeous places. It’s good for a year’s worth of visits, so it’s a stellar value with access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country, including all our national parks. The pass covers entrance for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person (kids 15 & under get in free). If you’ve got a family you’d like to give something special, the America the Beautiful Pass is the ticket.
Price: $79.95 | Buy Here on REI
(FYI that REI donates 10% of sale proceeds to the National Parks Foundation)
Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium Cook-set
Snow Peak makes some awesome products and they’ve got an upstanding reputation for their backpacking cookware. Most hikers on backpacking trips just need one pot for everything, so it has to be a good one. The 900 is big enough for hearty dinners and can fit a massive cup of coffee, which means all bases are covered. The fry-pan doubles as a lid and the whole package only weighs 6 oz. This is an ideal gift choice for an upcoming thru-hiker or someone who backpacks a lot.
If you think a smaller and slightly lighter choice would suit the hiker you’re buying for, consider the Snow Peak Trek 700 here.
ENO DoubleNest Hammock
Hammocks are quite the rage these days as alternatives to tents while camping and for ultimate lounging. ‘Hammocking’ should be a verb, in our opinion. ENO is surely on board with this concept and the DoubleNest is light and compact enough for backpacking, yet also suits backyard luxury. It sets up fast and has ample room for two people, plus it packs down to the size of a grapefruit AND only weighs a little over one pound. There are heaps of colors to choose from to make it distinctly yours…just in case you set it up at a festival and can’t find yours amidst a sea of other bright hammocks.
There are many hammock options out there, and here are some others to peek at:
Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals
Having alternate shoes to change into is a real nice treat after having your feet in hiking boots or trail runners all day. Letting your feet breathe is one of the best feelings after a long day hiking, and Xero sandals may be a sweet addition to a trip. The Z-Trail Sandals give a combination of being protective, lightweight, comfortable and durable. There are a lot more perks to these shoes, but one of the coolest traits is how they’re only 10mm thick, meaning they’ll roll up to fit in your pack or pocket – not many shoes can do that! Any backpacker or car camper could benefit from owning a pair of these.
Merino Wool Base Layers
Merino wool has considerable advantages over polyester and synthetic clothing: merino wool is antimicrobial and there’s less of a smelly factor; it’s softer and feels better against the skin; and it has superior wicking properties while working with regulation of your temperature while moving or still. These work well to keep you insulated and as sleep layers, too.
Price Range: $86-$100
Here are some top and bottom base layers we recommend that make for great gifts you can’t go wrong with purchasing for any hiker:
Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew Top for Women, Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Crew Top for Men, Smartwool Intraknit Merino 250 Base Layer Bottoms for Women, Smartwool Merino 250 3/4 Base Layer Bottoms – Men’s. There are also tons on Amazon.
Trekking poles are another one of those items that can be a game changer for hikers. They can offer steadiness on uneven terrain and can help to hoist you up a mountain on a tough climb. Plus, they give your arms something to do while your legs do the majority of the work. Basically, trekking poles are like an added safety support system and can be a wise gift for a hiker of any age. Black Diamond produces some quality trekking poles and the Black Diamond Trail Back Trekking Poles have ergonomic rubber grips with rib patterns to decrease vibration, in addition to nonslip EVA foam grip extensions. They’re also easy to adjust, which is important – it’s a pain when they’re not.
Here are some other trekking poles that we recommend:
Patagonia Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie
One of the best brands on the market for outdoor clothing and with a strong environmental and ethical mission, Patagonia rocks. The Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie is made of eco-friendly materials and it’s an ideal mid-layer jacket to keep you warm. Besides for hiking, it’s a fine choice for climbing and other snow sports. There’s an array of colors to choose from, too.
Price Range: $149-$249
You may also be interested in these other models of the Nano Puff:
Many hikers and outdoorsy folks are jumping on the CBD trends. The holidays represent a great time for others to try CBD products for the first time to see if they have benefit, or to gift CBD lovers with tinctures, salves, lotions, lip balms, and other products. We have had the ability to test out some products from 43 CBD out of Colorado, as well as CBD Living, a California based company sourcing from Colorado. We definitely recommend both of these organizations, and we highly recommend tinctures from 43 CBD, while CBD Living has some awesome products for consumption, or for your pets that you should check out.
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
One of the lightest rain jackets out there in gear land, the Helium is a well-known choice for long-distance hikers who care about every ounce they pack. It’s noted for the 2.5-layer Pertex Shield which offers windproof, waterproof and breathable protection. The real reason this is a noteworthy gift is because rain gear shouldn’t be neglected by any hiker. It’s easy to skip it because we all hope for sunny days, but the reality is that rain happens in the mountains – anytime. So why not add a lightweight but effective rain coat to a hiker’s backpack to stay dry and safe?
Price Range: $110-$159
Ultimate Gifts for Hikers (AKA High Ticket Gifts over $200)
Garmin inReach Mini
Oh, the gadgets that exist today. If you want your dear hiker to feel safe and stay in touch no matter what, this would be the gift to give. The inReach is a small, lightweight satellite communicator that enables two way text messaging. It also provides a slew of other bells and whistles (think maps, weather, S.O.S signaling) that may require a satellite subscription. In sum, it’s another item that acts as a safety net for someone who hikes alone, or you just want to keep tabs on.
Price Range: From $349
Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1 Tent
Now here’s a super-fly, new model of the Copper Spur by Big Agnes. It’s been updated to be lighter with stronger materials and hardware that makes set up simpler. At a weight of only 2 lbs. 6 oz., this is a fabulous choice as a lightweight, 3-season tent for a hiker who is concerned about weight. Many ultralight tents are very costly, so this is a middle-ground option.
There’s also a 2-person model here if you’re shopping for a couple, or for someone who likes more space.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad
Ah, a good night’s sleep is what we really dream of while hiking. Seriously, whether you’re car camping or backpacking, a poor night’s sleep sets you up for the blahs the next day. The NeoAir is kind-of like the icing on the cake when it comes to sleeping pads, and for good reason. It’s comfortable, lightweight and its technology helps to trap radiant heat. The low-bulk materials allows you to pack it down small and it comes in a variety of sizes to suit your preferred length. If you want to hook a hiker up with coziness, get the NeoAir.
Price Range: $145-$225
Western Mountaineering UltraLite Sleeping Bag (20 Degrees)
Anything by Western Mountaineering is going to be amazing, and their sleeping bags are some of the best on the market to keep you toasty PLUS being lightweight. So, that comes with a price, but let me tell you, it’s worth it when you’re freezing your a** off on a cold night. It’s loaded with ultra-premium, 850-fill down insulation to retain your body’s warmth and maintain a super-high warmth-to-weight ratio. This bag also has neat-o features like interlocking draft tubes that prevent heat loss and slightly narrower shoulder girth which helps eliminate pockets of dead air for improved warmth retention. If you know a hiker that sleeps cold and you want to give the ultimate gift, this sleeping bag screams love all over.
Price Range: $510-$540
Garmin Vivoactive 3, 4 or Other Hiking Watch
Smart watches today are amazing. Especially the ones designed for athletes and hikers. They can track your routes via GPS, tell you your heart rate, alert others of emergencies, tell you your elevation, and so much more. One of the best gifts you could get a hiker, backpacker, or trail runner is a watch with GPS capabilities. The higher end ones from Suunto or Garmin are expensive, but have incredible features. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is simple, but awesome, and gets the job done. We have a full review here.
Price Range: $100-$279 (High end watches $600 – $900)
An Adventure Van Rental Or Trip
We couldn’t make this an ultimate list if we didn’t recommend gifting an experience. Hikers tend to be adventurers, meaning, they love experiences. So what could be better than getting them a unique, beautiful, or just plain old cool experience? For instance, reserving an adventure camper van so they can take it to the trails, sleep right at the base of a mountain, and eat lunch in the comfort of a warm van? Or grab them a hotel or AirBnb in a beautiful place. Curious what an adventure van is? Check out our experience with A-Lodge out of Boulder, Colorado.
Price Range: $300-$1000
There’s truly something for everyone out there, and it can be fun to choose a gift once you know what sort of hiker you’re shopping for. Intention goes a long way and how much you spend doesn’t always equate with intention. As long as you keep the main thought of giving something practical centered on the person in mind with their needs and interests, you’ll be all set.
Heather Rideout has been a life-long outdoors woman. Her pursuits and passion with hiking and camping have taken her around the world for many long distance trips; such as backpacking in Nepal, India, South America, Morocco, Europe, and North America. Heather has hiked the Appalachian Trail, 2,250 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, and a route of 1,500 miles combining several Camino routes through Spain and Portugal. She has been a blogger for ‘The Trek,’ and recorded an episode with one of her outdoor stories for the podcast ‘Out There.’ Heather shares some of her writing on her website, www.wanderyoga.com