CleverHiker Gift Guide 2018
Outdoor adventure gifts are the best kind around. The items listed below are can’t miss recommendations for anyone that enjoys backpacking, hiking, and camping. We have stocking stuffers, mid-range gifts, and big ticket gifts to choose from. So give a gift that gets someone outdoors this year!
Also, save yourself the hassle of mall shopping during the holidays and order your gifts online. Then pour yourself a glass of nog and kick back. The retailers we recommend have free shipping options (use Amazon Prime for unlimited free two-day shipping) and make returns easy.
Those with an active lifestyle, a job that won’t allow a traditional metal ring, or anyone who travels frequently, may find the Qalo Silicone Band to be a good substitute. We like the simplicity and comfort of the Qalo Band and it’s available in both men’s and women’s style.
More than ever before, people are using their smartphone cameras to take most of their pictures. But sometimes your smartphone lense just won’t cut it. Upgrade your phone’s camera with this compact and convenient lens kit, which offers a macro and wide angle lens. It’s compatible with most phones and makes a world of a difference in photo quality.
The lightweight (2 oz) and compact Katadyn BeFree Water Filter Bottle is a convenient and compact upgrade in the water filtration world. It’s quite fast as well, filtering around one liter per minute. These have been known to pop a leak, so make sure you pack some Tenacious Tape.
It can be hard to eat real food when backpacking, but these little packets of goodness come along with us on every trip. They’re calorically dense, nutritious, and versatile. We mix it in our oatmeal, spread it on our apple, or just eat it out of the package. Buy in bulk and you’ll save some moolah.
The eVAC Dry Sack has a genius design that allows air to get out but won’t let water in. This allows for maximum compression in your pack, while keeping important items dry. These stuff sacks are worth the price tag when the weather turns bad. We find the 8L and the 13L sizes to be most useful for our needs. For a lighter and more cost effective alternative, try the Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks.
Cleaning and waterproofing your quality rain shells will help you get the most out of them for the long run. That’s why this Nikwax Hardshell Kit makes an excellent small gift for adventurers. Also, Nikwax Down Wash is a great product for revitalizing stinky down jackets and sleeping bags. Get the soft fluff back!
The 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles books series is a great hiking resource and has many books based on cities scattered across the US. We love how the author organizes the content based on the type of hike you’re looking for, distances, seasons, etc. Check to see if they have your city and you won't be disappointed.
The second edition Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide, written by National Geographic 2007 Adventurer of the Year Andrew Skurka, is an excellent read for backpackers of all kinds. Skurka gives gear and technique tips, covering a range of important topics. It’s a solid gift for beginners and experts alike.
A lot of tents come with low quality stakes and many ultralight shelters require strong stakes and guylines for a good pitch. The Kungix Aluminum Reflective Stakes are durable, lightweight, affordable, and have great holding power. They’re not the lightest on the market, but they are much tougher than expensive carbon fiber stakes.
If you give the gift of Darn Tough Socks, you’re giving someone a pair of socks for life, which is rad. Darn Tough has an unconditional lifetime guarantee on their socks, no strings attached. So if you wear them out, you get a new pair. Also, it doesn’t hurt that they’re super comfortable and highly functional. If you order directly through Darn Tough, you'll get free shipping through the end of the year.
We prefer low-cut running socks for our hiking trips (We wear trail running shoes, not boots) and these Balega socks are the best we’ve found yet. They breathe well, last a long time, and have a good amount of padding. They also have a thick lip on the heel of the sock so they won’t slip down into your shoe.
Because every stocking needs some underwear. ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs and ExOfficio Women’s Briefs are great for day-to-day use, but they’re also amazing on the trail. They are moisture-wicking, made from quick-dry material, and they’re the most comfortable underwear we’ve ever worn. Period.
This simple and classic keychain Swiss Army knife is light and useful, both on the trail and around town. This is our knife of choice for thru-hiking and ultralight adventure. It makes a great little gift too. If you’re looking for a more heavy duty multi-tool, you may want to try the Leatherman Wave.
Grinding coffee beans just before you brew is one of the most important steps to making great coffee. The Porlex Mini hand grinder is a portable and effective way to grind beans on the go. We use this little guy with our AeroPress or JavaDrip on camping trips and around the house and love it!
The AeroPress is one of our all-time favorite coffee makers. The key with the AeroPress is that the grounds don’t soak in hot water too long. That makes the coffee tastes smooth, not bitter. We use it to make coffee on camping trips, but we also use it for single cup coffee at home.
Permethrin is a chemical that you spray on clothing before heading into the woods for bug protection. It works well and it’s much more effective than using bug spray on clothing. Use a combination of Permethrin on clothing and a small amount of 30% DEET on skin for maximum bug protection.
This might not be the sexiest gift on the list, but little plastic containers (and Ziplocs bags) are a huge part of any backpacker’s game plan. The Nalgene Travel Kit helps save space and cut down on unnecessary weight for toiletries, bio soap, and cooking accessories like olive oil and hot sauce.
When we go on backcountry trips we try to keep weight to a minimum, but we also want to stay fresh and clean. A Packtowl Towel makes a perfect accessory for drying off after washing up or a swim. They’re super absorbent, crazy light, and they dry off very quickly. They make a great small gift for any backpacker.
The BRS Ultralight Stove is so cheap and light (1 oz) that it’s almost certainly within every backpacker’s budget. It's not the highest quality stove on the market and has downsides (no simmer control, not terribly fuel efficient), but if you're looking for a budget ultralight option, this is a good pick.
The functionality of Snow Peak’s Long Folding Spoon is fantastic. It’s long enough to scrape the bottom of deep rehydrated dinner bags, it folds up small enough to fit in our Mini Solo Cookset, and it’s strong enough that it won’t snap in half in the peanut butter jar like cheap plastic alternatives.
We trek through wet, muddy, and rugged trail conditions all year, which can take a massive toll on our devices. The LifeProof Fre phone case is trustworthy and waterproof, ensuring that your device is protected while still allowing for full functionality in poor conditions. We rarely hit the trail without ours.
Regional passes and permits are another great way to give the gift of nature to friends and family. In Oregon and Washington, for example, we have the Northwest Forest Pass. This pass gives free entry and parking to some of the most iconic national forests of the Pacific Northwest.
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