LARABAR VARIETY BOX
LARABAR makes delicious, natural energy bars using a few simple and recognizable ingredients. They’re healthy, minimally processed, and GMO-free. Introduce your favorite hiker to these bars and they’ll love you forever.
SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER
The Sawyer Mini makes a great holiday gift for those on the go. It’s guaranteed to filter up to 100,000 gallons of water, it can be used in a variety of different ways, and it weighs only 2oz. It’s an ideal tool for ultralight backpacking, quick trips, and trail running. For a filter with a better flow rate, check out the Mini’s big brother the Squeeze.
THE DEUCE OF SPADES
Many backpackers don’t use a trowel in the backcountry, which leads to improper human waste disposal – one of the biggest problems in popular wilderness areas. The Deuce of Spades is an excellent solution to this issue and a great gift. Not only does it have the perfect name, it’s also incredibly light and effective.
SEA TO SUMMIT DRY SACKS
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. I find the 8L and the 13L sizes to be most useful for my needs.
NIKWAX HARDSHELL CLEANER AND WATERPROOFING
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.
THE ULTIMATE HIKER’S GEAR GUIDE
The 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.
Let’s not pretend like I have any idea what I’m talking about when it comes to the Diva Cup. That said, women absolutely love this thing and I’ve had a few ladies tell me my gift guide wouldn’t be complete without it.
VARGO TITANIUM TENT STAKES
Going ultralight starts with replacing the heaviest items in your pack, but there’s often room to cut weight in overlooked places as well, like tent stakes. The Vargo Titanium Stakes (.25oz per stake) are a solid buy and my choice for best value. For top-of-the-line ultralight stakes, check out the MSR Carbon Core Stakes (.2oz per stake). And for the most economical option, go with the REI Aluminum Hook Stakes (.35oz per stake).
STANLEY STAINLESS STEEL FLASK
Good whiskey should be considered a near-essential item on backcountry treks. That’s why flasks can make great gifts for outdoor adventurers. This Stanley Adventure Flask is a rugged and stylish favorite for outdoor use.
DARN TOUGH SOCKs
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.
BALEGA RUNNING SOCKS
I prefer low-cut running socks for my hiking trips (I wear trail running shoes, not boots) and these Balega socks are the best I’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.
EXOFFICIO BOXER BRIEFs
Because every stocking needs some underwear. ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer 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 boxer brief I’ve ever worn. Period.
JOBY GORILLAPOD CAMERA TRIPOD
This handy Joby Tripod is great for securing small cameras on uneven terrain. It’s also light and compact enough to take on any outdoor adventure. For the price and weight, this little guy makes a great gift.
OUTSIDE MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION
Outside Magazine is one of my favorite mags. It has interesting articles and makes a great gift for anyone with an active lifestyle. For trips, gear, and fitness tips, it’s a solid read.
SEA TO SUMMIT DRY SACKS
These Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks are lighter and more cost effective than the eVAC Dry Sacks. They won’t compress like the eVAC sacks, but still do an excellent job of keeping gear dry and they come in a range of sizes. I use a combination of eVAC and Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks on my trips. I find the 2L and 4L sizes to be most useful for my needs.
Cheryl Strayed’s bestseller Wild is a great book about hiking and life. Cheryl tells the story of her life unraveling and her impulsive, yet brave decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s not strictly a story about hiking, but it is an excellent read on the power of healing through nature.
LUCI SOLAR LANTERN
The Luci is a lightweight, solar-powered, waterproof lantern that makes an excellent gift for nature lovers of all kinds. It’s functional enough to use while car camping and light enough to take on the trail.
SWISS ARMY CLASSIC KNIFE
This simple and classic keychain Swiss Army knife is light and useful, both on the trail and around town. This is my knife of choice for thru-hiking and ultralight adventure. It makes a great little gift too.
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.
NALGENE TRAVEL KIT
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.
BACKPACKER MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION
A gift subscription to Backpacker Magazine is a good gift for any hiking nut. They’ll get to drool over epic nature pictures, learn about new hikes, key in on gear releases, and brush up on trail skills.
THE BACKPACKER'S FIELD MANUAL
The Backpacker's Field Manual is the most comprehensive and trusted backpacking book on the market. It was first published in the 90s, but it’s been updated several times to include new developments in the backpacking world, like ultralight techniques.
PACKTOWL NANO TOWEL
When I go on backcountry trips I try to keep weight to an absolute minimum. A Nano 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.
A WALK IN THE WOODS
Bill Bryson’s bestseller A Walk In The Woods is a must-read classic for anyone that enjoys backpacking. It’s a witty and fun read about setting out to hike the Appalachian Trail and the trials that ensue.
TENACIOUS REPAIR TAPE
Clear Tenacious Tape is fantastic for repairing rips and holes in most outdoor gear. It’s a really great all-purpose solution for outdoor lovers, because eventually everybody will need to repair burns, holes, and cuts in their well-worn gear.
GSI Outdoor Table SPOON
For most backpackers, a lightweight spoon is the only piece silverware needed for backcountry trips. And sometimes the simplest tools work the best. This GSI Table Spoon is sturdy, affordable, and light. It’s the ideal backcountry cooking companion.
REGIONAL PERMITS & PASSES
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.
MAPS & GUIDeBOOKS
Every hiker loves books and maps that describe great hikes around an area. For example, I find the Backpacking Washington & Backpacking Oregon books to be very useful for planning backcountry trips in the PNW. I also love the books: 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland & Seattle. Those types of books and maps can make excellent gifts.
REI GIFT CARD
If all else fails, you can't go wrong with an REI Gift Card. Any outdoor gear junkie will salivate over a free trip to REI. So no matter what, you've always got this great option in your back pocket.
POPULAR CLEVERHIKER CONTENT
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- 7 BEST SLEEPING BAGS 2016
- TOP GEAR PICKS 2016
- TOP 12 BEGINNER BACKPACKING BLUNDERS
- 5 REASONS TO DITCH YOUR HIKING BOOTS
- 7 BEST STOVES 2016
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- 10 BEST HAMMOCKS 2016
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- LIGHTWEIGHT GEAR TUTORIAL VIDEOS
- ESSENTIAL TRAIL SKILLS TUTORIAL VIDEOS
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 of 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.