CleverHiker Gift Guide 2016
Outdoor adventure gifts are the best kind around. The gift ideas listed below are can’t miss recommendations for anyone that enjoys backpacking, hiking, and camping. So give a gift that gets someone outdoors this year. Give the gift of adventure!
Also, save yourself the hassle of mall shopping during the holidays. Order your gifts early online. Then pour yourself a glass of nog and kick back. The retailers I recommend have free shipping options (use Amazon Prime for unlimited free two-day shipping) and make returns easy.
Big Ticket Gifts
BIG AGNES COPPER SPUR UL2 Tent
The Copper Spur UL2 is an excellent lightweight tent with great features for backpackers of all levels. Its double-wall construction makes it easy to setup and great in nasty weather. It’s really light, but it still provides a good amount of interior space for 2 people. And it also has a range of convenient features like pockets and hang loops. REI is now offering a new HV model of this tent as well.
ZPACKS DUPLEX TENT
The Duplex is an ultralight backpackers dream come true. It’s my tent of choice for specialized ultralight backpacking and thru-hiking trips. The Duplex is built out of unbelievably light cuben fiber, which is a completely waterproof material that won’t sag like silnylon in the rain. This tent would make an excellent gift for a hardcore thru-hiker, but it’s a little specialized for the average backpacker.
REI QUARTER DOME 2 TENT
The REI Quarter Dome 2 has an excellent lightweight design with nearly vertical sidewalls for increased interior space. It’s solid in nasty weather and has convenient features like sidewall pockets and hang loops. It’s an excellent value buy for lightweight backpackers.
REI QUARTER DOME 1 TENT
If you’re looking for a solo backpacking tent that maximizes convenience and interior space at an affordable price, the REI Quarter Dome 1 is your jam. This tent’s asymmetric shape provides great liveability while keeping weight to a minimum.
REI HALF DOME 2 PLUS TENT
The Half Dome 2 Plus is one of REI’s most popular tents, and for good reason. It is durable, roomy, affordable, and great in nasty weather. It’s not a top option for ultralight backpackers, but it’s a great pick for backcountry trips and camping trips of all varieties.
ENLIGHTENED EQUIPMENT REVELATION QUILT
The Revelation Quilt is one of my favorite sleeping bags. I hate feeling constricted by tight fitting bags and the Revelation gives me the flexibility to spread out and sleep comfortably in the backcountry. It can be cinched up tight on chilly nights or used as a blanket in more temperate weather.
WESTERN MOUNTAINEERING SUMMERLITE SLEEPING BAG
The Summerlite is an incredibly light and warm sleeping bag for 3-season backpacking. It has a full-length zipper and continuous baffle construction, making it one of the lightest full-functioning sleeping bags on the market.
REI Igneo Sleeping Bag
If you’re looking for a lightweight down mummy bag at an affordable price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than the REI Igneo. This isn’t the lightest, warmest, or most compressible sleeping bag on the market, but it does come surprisingly close. The Joule is the women’s version of this bag.
The Poler Napsack makes a fun and functional gift for outdoor lovers. It’s a sleeping sack with openings for your arms and feet, so you never have to leave the warmth of your bag, even when walking around camp. It’s a fun option for summer camping trips and couch surfing.
THERM-A-REST NEOAIR XLITE
The NeoAir XLite sleeping pad is just about the perfect mattress for any 3-season outdoor adventure. It’s incredibly light, comfortable, and compactable. It also has great insulation properties (R-value: 3.2), so it keeps the cold ground at bay. You really can’t miss with this pad.
THERM-A-REST NEOAIR Xtherm
If you're looking for a pad that will be warm enough for winter treks, the NeoAir XTherm is your guy. The XTherm has an increased insulation (R-value: 5.7), which makes it great for chilly trips or cold sleepers. It's also incredibly light, comfortable, and compressible just like it's brother the XLite.
PATAGONIA M10 JACKET
The M10 jacket (in men's and women's) is my all-time favorite shell for ultralight backpacking rain protection. It’s incredibly light, breathable, and compactable. The material of this jacket feels comfortable against the skin - not plasticy like some other jackets - and it will keep you bone dry even in the harshest conditions.
PATAGONIA DOWN SWEATER HOODy
The Down Sweater Hoody (in men's and women's) is slightly heavier than Patagonia’s Ultralight Down Hoody, but it’s also a bit warmer, tougher, and more cost effective. It’s an excellent piece of gear for any backcountry traveler and also great for keeping warm around town.
HMG 2400 Windrider Backpack
The HMG 2400 Windrider is a burly, light, and highly weather resistant backpack with a solid feel. It has a simple design that keeps weight to a minimum, but it's sturdy frame will transfer the load to your hips better than most ultralight packs.
OSPREY EXOS 48 Backpack
The Exos 48 is an excellent backpack for those looking to hike light, but still wanting the comforts of a traditional pack. It’s loaded with great features like a breathable mesh back panel, shoulder strap pouches, and a removable top lid. The Exos 58 is the same design pack with a larger carrying capacity, making it a popular option as well.
Exped Lightning 45 Backpack
The Exped Lightning 45 has an excellent suspension system for a lightweight pack. It transfers weight to the hips really well and also promotes great back ventilation. It has a simple, sleek design, a good price point, and it looks stylish too. My biggest complaint is that I wish it had more exterior storage space.
OSPREY STRATOS & SIRRUS DAYPACKS
The Osprey Stratos 24 for men and Sirrus 24 for women are excellent daypacks loaded with convenient features. The airflow back mesh panel, water bottle holsters, hip pouches, water reservoir pocket, trekking pole straps, and large pockets for cargo make this pack an ideal choice for epic day trips.
MSR LIGHTNING ASCENT SNOWSHOES
The MSR Lightning Ascents (in men’s and women’s sizes) are best-in-class snowshoes that will make any winter trekker swoon. Along with solid overall construction, they have excellent traction, which is critical on icy surfaces. Their three-strap bindings keep your feet secure and are easy to adjust. They also come with televators, which are advantageous on hilly terrain. I prefer the smaller 22 in. size for maneuverability with the option to add 5 inch flotation tails when there’s a lot of deep powder.
YETI TUNDRA 45 COOLER
The Yeti Tundra 45 is one of the most durable and highest quality coolers on the market. Yeti Coolers are nearly indestructible, they stay cold for a preposterously long time, and they come in a range of sizes. That quality does come at a cost, but if you’re looking for the best cooler out there, this is your guy.
SONY RX100 CAMERA
I love nature photography, but I don't want to lug 10 pounds of photo gear with me on backpacking trips. That's why I hike with the Sony RX100. The digital sensor in this camera is much larger than most point-and-shoot models, which means I get fantastic photos from a compact, lightweight camera.
KINDLE PAPERWHITE 6”
I absolutely love my Kindle Paperwhite. I’m reading a lot more these days because it makes reading easier. It’s gentle on the eyes, has a backlight for nighttime reading, and makes finding great books simple. I take mine with me on almost every trip I take, especially solo jaunts in the backcountry.
GOAL ZERO GUIDE 10 PLUS SOLAR CHARGER
The Goal Zero 10 Plus Solar Charger is a highly convenient, reliable, and packable solar charger to juice up your devices in the field. It's a bit too heavy for lightweight backpacking, but it's still a really handy tool for backcountry travel.
PENDLETON GLACIER NP BLANKET
Pendleton Blankets are beautiful, warm, comfortable, and they make fantastic gifts. I own two Pendleton blankets and I’ve given a few away to family and friends over the years. They’re my all-time favorite in-home blankets and they make excellent gifts as well.
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Disclosure: The trust of my audience is of the utmost importance to me. That’s why I only recommend equipment I love from companies I trust. I have not been paid to review any of the products listed above. A couple items were provided to me for free to review, but I purchased most of this equipment myself. Also, I am under no obligation to give positive reviews to any of the products listed above. This gear just rocks. This page contains affiliate links. Check out my terms page for more info.