The ultimate guide to the best gifts for hikers so you can find the perfect gift for any hiking enthusiast.
We all have those friends or loved ones who always seem to be hiking in beautiful places on the weekends.
Perhaps you’re usually right beside them on those adventures because you’re a hiker yourself.
Regardless, if you’ve found this post, you’re probably looking for some gift ideas for the hiker in your life.
Speaking from personal experience as an avid hiker myself, most hikers prefer experiences over material things.
Because of this, it’s pretty easy to please when it comes to gift-giving because they get a lot of their happiness from the best free gift in life – nature.
With that said, hikers still need gear and practical items that make it easier to navigate the outdoors. And it never hurts to give a useful or fun item when it’s a special occasion.
If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your outdoorsy girlfriend/boyfriend, best friend, parent, or coworker, this detailed guide features hiking gifts for every type of hiker out there.
These are my picks for the top gifts for hikers, from the practical to those that are just for fun.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Short on Time? Here’s a Quick Look at my Recommendations
Best Gifts for Hikers
- Best Gift for Hikers Under $25 – Darn Tough Hiking Socks
- Best Gift for Hikers Under $50 – Hydro Flask
- Best Gift for Hikers Under $100 – US National Park Pass
- Best Hiking Gear Gift – Nano Puff Jacket
- Best Practical Hiking Gift – Complete First Aid Kit
- Best Unique Hiking Gift – ENO Hammock
- Best Gifts for Backpackers – Jetboil
- Best Hiking Book to Give as a Gift – The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs
- Best All-Around Gift to Give a Hiker – REI Gift Card
Best Gifts for Hikers Under $25
A good hiking gift that’s inexpensive and hard to get wrong is socks. Quality socks that are moisture-wicking and comfortable are one of the most important products a hiker can own.
And it’s hard to have too many socks, especially if you’re shopping for someone who’s a regular hiker.
The best sock brand out there that I use and numerous hikers swear by is Darn Tough hiking socks. I’ve never come across better socks than these for hiking.
Made from cozy merino wool, these socks keep your feet at the right temperature and provide ample cushioning and support.
I prefer their crew socks so my mid hiking boots don’t rub against my ankles too much.
Another one of the best gifts for people who like to hike, you can never have too many snacks for future outdoor journeys.
A few of my favorite hiking snacks to keep your energy up on the trail include beef jerky, peanut butter, and some good ol’ energy bars (right now I’ve been feeling RXBars for their minimal ingredients).
These snacks could be perfect stocking stuffers for hikers or good to include in a fun gift basket for your favorite hiker.
There’s nothing worse than sweat getting in your eyes right when you’re in the middle of your final ascent and just about to take in the grand views you’ve been looking forward to all day.
This is one of the many reasons why I love hiking with a buff – to prevent sweat or wispy hairs from getting in your eyes when you’re taking the trail by storm.
If you’re looking for the perfect present for an outdoorsy person, this affordable and stylish buff goes with everything.
And it’s not only great for keeping sweat and hair out of your face, it can also protect your neck from the sun or be used as a make-shift mask or face cover when need be.
Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors knows the elements can take a toll on your skin, especially your hands.
If you know someone who spends every weekend outdoors, this Burt’s Bees Hand Salve does wonders.
It’s the perfect inexpensive outdoor gift for him or her to include as an add-on thoughtful gift, especially if they’re prone to dry or cracked skin.
Along with the hiking snacks above, another thing you probably won’t find me without on a long hike is a chocolate bar.
There’s no better treat than a nice chocolate bar to munch on to keep energy up and to reward yourself after an especially steep climb.
These vegan Theo chocolate bars are easily one of the best gifts for hikers under $30 and could be a good addition to a hiking gift basket.
Maybe not the sexiest present on this list but iodine tablets are another great gift for hikers who like backpacking and exploring trails that don’t have potable water.
Iodine tablets are a sometimes easier and more lightweight alternative to a full-on water filter.
Even if your giftee doesn’t plan on needing them because they stick to more populated trails, they’re still good to have on hand in a survival kit.
You never know when they might come in handy in case of an emergency.
Best Gifts for Hikers Under $50
A durable water bottle that doesn’t leak and can handle the toughest terrains is one of those must-have pieces of gear for any hiker.
It’s one of the more practical gifts for a hiker if they’re in need of a new or better water bottle for the trail.
And it doesn’t get much better than the Hydro Flask.
The Hydro Flask has become one of the most popular hiking water bottles for a reason – it’s tough and very well insulated.
This water bottle can be used for hot or cold drinks, keeping drinks hot for six hours and cold for 24 hours.
It’s easy to attach to any backpack with its handle and it’s also BPA free and resistant to bacteria and odors.
Another one of the best gifts for a hiker or anyone who does a lot of outdoor or adventure activities is a durable phone case.
Lifeproof and Otterbox are the two brands I’d recommend for quality and durable phone cases that last for years, but I’ve had more experience using Lifeproof cases.
The Lifeproof FRĒ is waterproof, includes a scratch-proof protector, and is shock proof and can withstand freezing temperatures.
In this day and age, phones have become our lifelines and that can especially be the case when you’re in the wild and might need a phone in case of an emergency.
Making sure your giftee has something that will protect their phone, even if they accidentally drop it in a lake or it falls on the hard ground, is priceless.
Another practical present for hikers, every serious hiker uses a hydration bladder in their packs to make it as easy as possible to stay hydrated on the trail.
And the great thing about hydration packs is that they all have a very similar design and size (usually 2L or 3L).
This means that no matter what brand you buy, it’ll probably work in the pack your loved one uses.
The only thing you have to watch out for is some smaller packs are designed specifically for 2L, so make sure your giftee has a big enough pack if you want to get the 3L version.
I personally always prefer carrying 3L with me because I drink a lot of water on the trail and I would rather carry too much than not enough.
Although you can find super cheap hydration bladders online, they’re not always the most durable.
This Gregory Mountain reservoir is a little more pricey, but still an affordable present that’s a much higher quality version that will last for years.
Every hiker needs a solid pair of polarized sunglasses that will protect their eyes no matter how high in elevation they go.
These unisex sunglasses are a cool gift for a hiker and the perfect combination of style and durability at an affordable price point.
They offer 100% UV protection, comfortably stay in place, and they’re made from polycarbonate lenses, which are 20x more impact-resistant than glass.
Another practical present for outdoorsy people, this tactical waterproof and shockproof compass is everything you would want in a compass at an affordable price.
This is a great gift idea for the more old school hiker who doesn’t feel like they need a full on GPS device.
And, in general, you never know when a compass might come in handy when all of your tech devices run out of battery.
If you’re looking for affordable navigation gifts for hikers, a lightweight and quality compass is always a good option.
If you’re looking for more sentimental gift ideas for hikers or a personalized hiking gift, this engraved compass is a good alternative to a more tactical compass.
This vintage compass is engraved with the classic Thoreau quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
It’s a little touch of inspiration for any outdoor enthusiast as they set out on their next journey.
The JOBY Gorillapod is the perfect gift idea for hikers who enjoy taking pictures on the trail.
It’s one of those cool hiking gadgets that’s fun to have on the trail for more professional shots and when you want to test out different angles.
I often do day hikes with my JOBY Gorillapod because it’s such a durable tripod and you can literally attach it to anything with grip.
There are a few different Gorillapods out there, depending on what type of camera your giftee uses – from iPhone to mirrorless or DSLR.
This is an especially good present for solo hikers who want to have pictures of themselves on their hike but don’t want to lug around a bulky tripod.
Best Gifts for Hikers Under $100
One of the best gifts for nature lovers, a US National Parks Pass comes out to under $100 and offers up a whole year of free entry to any of the US National Parks.
If I had to choose one gift on this list, this is one of my favorites because it gives someone a whole year of outdoor adventures at 2000 sites across the country at no cost to them.
This pass works in all 50 states and 10% of proceeds go back into the National Park Foundation so it’s Win-Win!
If you’re looking for a good gift for a hiker and you’re willing to splurge a little, look no further than this Gregory Nano Daypack.
The great thing about Gregory is how long you can wear their packs and still come away from the day feeling comfortable.
Daypacks are essential day hiking gear and an especially good pick for regular hikers.
This frameless and unisex pack includes a 3L internal hydration sleeve, a waist belt, an easy-pull top drawcord, attachment loops, and plenty of pockets to organize hiking accessories.
I usually don’t recommend buying a backpack for someone else since it can be a very personal gift.
With that said, daypacks are much easier to gift since they’re usually unisex and one size fits all, which is why I’m recommending this particular pack.
If your hiker prefers having a proper water filter system as opposed to just iodine tablets, this GRAYL Geopress Purifier is one of the best gifts for hiking any trail.
I recommend this bottle over something like a Lifestraw, which is cheap but can be hit or miss with how well it works.
The GRAYL Geopress water bottle is not only easy to use on the trail, it can be taken around the world to purify freshwater from waterborne pathogens.
Activated carbon also prevents chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, and microplastics from being ingested.
If you’re looking for unique Christmas gifts for outdoorsy people, it doesn’t get much better than clean drinking water.
A portable charger is one of the best presents for hikers who like to stay connected, even when they’re in nature.
One of the best Amazon hiking gifts, this Anker Portable Charger can charge two devices at the same time and provides multiple charges before needing to be recharged itself.
Most importantly, this charger is durable and perfect for a backpacking adventure or a long hike where it’s important for a phone, GoPro, fitness watch, or Kindle to not run out of battery.
Best Hiking Gear Gifts
An item that seems to be part of everyone’s Christmas list these days, the Nano Puff Jacket is hands down the best trail jacket for avid hikers.
It’ll not only keep you warm, but it’s also extremely lightweight and super packable. Nano Puffs can fit into your pocket when rolled up!
This is one of the best hiking gifts for women or men on the go, who need something to keep them warm on the trail but who don’t want to pack a bulky jacket.
They’re also great as an everyday jacket if you live somewhere like the Bay Area where everyone dresses like they’re about to go on a hike.
An alternative option to the Nano Puff, a good rain jacket can be one of the best gifts for hikers or campers who live in wetter climates, like the Pacific Northwest.
A good rain jacket that’s made with hiking in mind can make the outdoors that much more enjoyable.
This particular GTX jacket by REI Co-op is not only breathable and lightweight, it’s windproof and quiet too.
It also features a durable 2-layer GORE-TEX fabric for the outer shell.
I’ll preface this product write-up by saying that I don’t usually recommend purchasing hiking boots as a present since they can be very personal to the hiker.
With that said, if you talk to your loved one ahead of time about what size and color they want, this can be a fantastic gift idea because a quality hiking boot is an important piece of gear.
I’ve been hiking in my Merrell Moab 2 Mid boots for a while now and they’ve been a gamechanger for not having sore feet, ankles, or knees after long hikes.
If you’re looking for gifts for an outdoorsy person in your life, these comfortable boots are versatile and come in a few different colors.
Oh, and the best part? They’re completely waterproof.
One of the more versatile gifts for hikers, hiking sandals can come in handy for letting feet breathe on trails or to simply have a nice pair of sandals for around camp.
These open-toed Teva Hurricane Sandals provide plenty of support and can be used as impromptu water shoes as well with their waterproof nature.
Not to mention, they’re lightweight and extremely comfy.
If your loved one happens to enjoy winter or cold morning hikes or enjoys trail running, these Smartwool Liner Tech-Compatible Gloves are a good bet.
Plus, they’re one of the best REI gifts under $25.
There’s nothing worse than freezing hands while on the trail.
Luckily, these merino wool and acrylic blend gloves keep out moisture and insulate even when wet to make sure freezing hands don’t happen.
These gloves also have good grip and touch screen capabilities, so your giftee won’t have to take off their gloves in order to use their phone or touch screen camera.
This is one of the best hiking gifts for men or women who tend to get cold hands or who need a quality pair of warm gloves.
Looking to give your loved one heated gloves instead? Check out my full guide on the best heated gloves.
Stylish hiking hats that effectively block UVA and UVB rays are a necessity for long days on the trail.
A good hiking hat should be practical, provide decent sun coverage, and be versatile enough for all types of outdoor adventures.
And if you’re looking for gifts for people who love the outdoors, this Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat from REI is a good option.
This hat is not only water-repellent, but has UPF 50 sun protection and a moisture wicking sweatband to keep sweat out of eyes.
One of the best hiking gear gifts, if you’re looking for cool outdoor gifts for hiker friends, these colorful trekking poles are a good option.
It took me a while to understand the magic of hiking poles and how much better they can be for your knees and balance.
But I eventually came around to how useful they can be if you hike regularly and want to go easier on your joints.
The REI Co-op Traverse Trekking Poles can be comfortably used for any terrain, no matter how rocky, and they’re easily adjustable for all heights.
They’re made of lightweight and durable aluminum and perfect for long hikes.
Looking for gifts for backpackers that are essential for safety and peace of mind?
This handheld Garmin eTrex GPS for hikers is a solid choice for anyone who likes to get off the beaten path.
The device has dual satellite support, detailed topographic maps with roads and trails marked, and 25 hours of battery life when actively using GPS mode.
It would be hard to get lost for good with this powerful handheld GPS.
This would be a great gift idea for anyone who’s looking to splurge a little on someone who loves exploring backcountry trails.
Read my full guide on the best handheld GPS devices.
If you’re looking to splurge on some luxe hiking gear for a nice gift, this tactical GPS watch by Garmin is one of the best hiking and backpacking gadgets on the market.
Built to be highly durable for any kind of weather or activity, this watch has a lot of bells and whistles to it and packs in a lot for such a small piece of equipment.
From fitness features that let you track your heart rate to different types of navigation features and dual position GPS, this watch has all the tech you could possibly need for a successful backcountry adventure.
This is one of the top hiking gadgets on this list if you’re looking to go big with your hiking gift.
Read my full guide on the best outdoor watches.
Another practical gift for outdoorsy people, hiking gaiters can come in handy on snowy trails or simply when you want to keep your shoes free of dirt and rocks.
These gaiters by Outdoor Research are perfect for the hiker in your life who loves mountain treks, hiking in colder weather, or who often goes off-trail to explore less developed trails.
These Nikon Trailblazer Binoculars are one of the best hiking gift ideas for anyone who is into birdwatching or animal spotting on the trail.
They’re small, light, and packable and they’re a great hiking accessory that allows hikers to see the world around them up close and in high definition.
Plus, they’re waterproof and fog proof.
Read my full guide on the best compact binoculars for outdoorsy people.
Best Practical Hiking Gifts
Something that every hiker needs, no matter how capable they think they are, is a first aid kit.
You never know what might happen on the trail, so it’s best to be prepared for anything.
This compact Adventure Medical Kit has everything someone might need for unexpected scrapes and injuries and only weighs less than half a pound.
One of those practical gifts for hikers that most hikers can never have too much of.
I’m someone who has very sensitive feet so I always bring ample moleskin with me on the trail, especially for multi-day backpacking adventures.
Moleskin may not be a “fun” present but it’ll be much appreciated by the hiker in your life, especially if they’re prone to blisters.
One of the more unique gifts for hikers and backpackers, the Kula Cloth is a sustainable way for her to keep herself clean after doing her business in the wild.
The antimicrobial cloth is washable, keeps your hands dry, and makes it easier than ever for women to use the bathroom in the wild.
Plus, it’s easy to fit into a backpack with its lightweight nature. It’s the perfect outdoorsy gift for her that she might not even realize she needs.
Another necessary product in the wild, The Deuce Backcountry Trowel allows your loved one to be responsible in the outdoors and to dig in even in the toughest dirt.
Although no one likes to talk about this side of backpacking, pooping in the wild is necessary when you’re doing thru hikes, multi-day treks, or when you just really need to go.
Depending on where you’re hiking, you might need to carry your poop out, but for most places, you’ll simply bury it. That’s where this trowel comes in.
A lot of hikers just get a cheap version to throw in their bag and call it a day.
Unfortunately, cheap trowels can break pretty easily and that can be especially bad when you have a lot more of your hike left.
The Deuce is pretty much unbreakable and will last for years. And as a bonus, it can also be used to loosen up tough ground for tent stakes as well.
Let’s be honest, whether you’re backpacking the PCT or doing a 10-mile local day hike, keeping your crotch area clean can be hard when you’re constantly working up a sweat.
That’s why moisture-wicking underwear can be one of the best gifts for outdoorsy women or men to keep them dry.
Cotton just doesn’t cut it when it comes to strenuous activities and having breathable underwear can be a serious game changer for being comfortable on the trail.
An outdoor gift that is super practical in case of an emergency, whether you’re hiking or backpacking.
These ‘Don’t Die in the Woods’ Emergency Blankets should be in any survival kit for the outdoors.
These lightweight blankets are not only packable, but known to be some of the toughest emergency blankets in the world.
They reflect up to 90% of body heat to prevent hypothermia and can easily be converted into an emergency shelter or sleeping bag.
A practical present that’s also inexpensive, a safety whistle is something that every hiker should carry because it can make all the difference in emergencies.
Whether you’re injured or in danger, a safety whistle alerts other hikers who might be in the distance that you’re in need of help.
This is a great stocking stuffer idea or a nice small present to add onto something else.
A satellite communicator is a practical gift that’s important for all hikers and backpackers to have in their pack.
It allows them to easily get help or contact you if they need to reach you on the trail in case of an emergency.
The Garmin inReach Mini is my favorite pick for a good satellite communicator because it’s lightweight, easy to use, and very packable.
With the InReach Mini, your loved one can use features like 2-way messaging (regardless of cell service), tracking, and send an SOS signal.
This is one of the more expensive gifts on this list, but if you’re looking for a nicer present this is one of my top recommendations.
Another product that your giftee will hopefully never have to use but that’s nice to have, bear spray is a good gift for anyone who does a lot of hikes in bear country.
Although bear attacks are rare, they’re still a possibility and it’s good to be prepared.
Having bear spray when you come across an aggressive bear in the wild can be a matter of life or death.
And this particular bear spray was created by a grizzly bear survivor, so you know it’s made with first-hand experience in mind.
If you’re looking for a good stocking stuffer for hikers, you can’t go wrong with Gear Aid Tenacious Tape.
This stuff is magic for keeping gear lasting longer, even with the wear and tear that happens over the years.
It’s handy to have on the trail since it barely takes up any space but can make all the difference if you discover a tear in your tent three days into a week-long backpacking trip.
Good for long day hikes or backpacking trips, hydration tablets add electrolytes back into a hiker’s body after hours on the trail.
I always feel better having hydration tablets or electrolyte powder after a long day of hiking and it can keep overall energy and morale up on longer backpacking trips.
It’s also one of those inexpensive gifts that a hiker can never have too much of, so they’re a good bet regardless of who you’re shopping for.
Best Unique Gifts for Hikers
If you’re looking for the best gifts for casual hikers, another piece of unique hiking gear and one of my favorite pieces of outdoor gear that I own is an ENO hammock.
For long hiking days, hammocks are the perfect way to rest while you eat your lunch and take the weight off your feet.
Whether you have a friend who wants to try out hammock camping or simply hikes a lot, these hammocks are compact, light, and can easily clip onto any backpack.
One of the best gifts for hikers who have a rugged lifestyle and a camera that I regularly travel with, GoPros are an especially good camera option for hikers because of how small, light, and durable they are.
The GoPro Hero9 takes high quality shots, can withstand any climate, and is completely waterproof.
GoPro cameras are made with rugged adventure activities in mind, which is why they are such a good choice to have out on the trail.
Since this is one of the more expensive items on this list, it could be a good wedding gift for hikers.
Or, in general, it could be one of the best gifts for hiking couples who love documenting their time outside.
The perfect present to include in a hiking gift basket or as a stocking stuffer for hikers, this hiking journal features a waterproof design.
This means it can be used in any kind of weather to write field notes on trail adventures. It’s also lightweight and easy to fit into a hiking backpack.
Looking for cool things to get people who hike a lot?
Subscription boxes have become all the rage in pretty much every industry these days, so it’s not surprising that there are quite a few out there for outdoor enthusiasts.
One of the best ones I’ve come across is Cairn, which sends you curated quality outdoor products, including food, gear, and practical accessories.
This is a great gift for campers and hikers and anyone in your life who is all about the outdoors and trendy new products that are also practical.
If you’re looking for cheap hiking gear to give as a gift that is versatile and fun, a lightweight fanny pack can be a good addition to any hiking outfit.
Fanny packs are ideal for when you don’t want to reach into your bag every time to grab something small – whether that’s a phone, chapstick, sunscreen, or a small snack.
This is the perfect gift for day hikers and for someone who likes a little flair and 80s throwback.
It’s also a good present for anyone who needs a practical way to keep items handy and accessible on the trail.
One of the more fun gifts for hikers on this list, who doesn’t like drinking wine with a friend or loved one in a beautiful location?
This portable wine tote by Platypus allows your giftee to transport a full bottle of wine in a lightweight and airtight container that won’t spill or take up too much room in their pack.
The wine bag can be perfect for casual hikes or backcountry adventures for a glass or two of wine once you get to your camp.
This is one of the best hiking gifts for the wine lover in your life who also loves to hike and enjoy the great outdoors.
Another fun gift for hiking enthusiasts, this scratch map is all about bucket list adventures and inspiration.
The hiker in your life can use it to keep track of which trails they still want to tackle and which ones they’ve already done.
It’s the perfect gift for anyone in your life who loves lists, the feeling of checking things off, and who’s a regular hiker.
One of those gifts for hikers that they’re sure to use is getting them a state or regional park pass so they can explore their local parks for free.
Similar to the America the Beautiful Pass that covers US National Parks, most states have state park passes as well.
For California, you can find a few different state passes here, depending on which part of the state they live in and what they’re likely to visit.
Alternatively, a lot of regions and even counties have their own park passes as well.
For instance, in the East Bay there’s an annual membership you can purchase for the East Bay Regional Parks.
If they spend a lot of their time enjoying the trails at their local parks, these passes or memberships usually give them free entry and parking and discounted camping for the year.
A unique gift for the hikers and backpackers in your life is giving them a practical course that they can use on their next adventure.
REI hosts a number of affordable wilderness survival and first aid courses throughout the year at their store locations across the US.
Book an upcoming course for your giftee to give them the tools they need to be as prepared as possible for the outdoors.
Another one of the best hiking gifts for the adventurer in your life is paying for a guided hiking trip through REI.
Unlike the courses that are more practical, this would be a present that’s just for fun that will allow them to enjoy new trails with a group of likeminded people.
Guided trips aren’t cheap but if you want to splurge or get them something for a special occasion, they can be a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime type of gift for your favorite hiker.
One of the more unique hiking gifts on this list, you might not think a Kindle would be included on a list of must-have hiking items.
However, if you’re an avid reader, taking a Kindle with you on the trail can be magical.
Personally, I take my Kindle on hikes because it’s easy to fit into my backpack and I love reading in beautiful places.
If you know someone who also loves to read and who loves hiking and camping, a Kindle is the perfect way to allow them to read wherever they want (without the extra weight of physical books).
Best Gifts for Backpackers
A great camping stocking stuffer idea, tent stakes are affordable, ultralight, and a super practical gift for backpacking.
The tent stakes that come with tents tend to be pretty cheap and can easily break on the trail, which is why it’s good to invest in a quality pair that’ll last for years.
These MSR Groundhog stakes are some of the best on the market, easy to fit into any tent bag, and perfect for rugged outdoor camping adventures.
A super light camp chair is a good backpacking gift idea for the friend who enjoys backcountry camping.
This camp chair by Helinox adds a lot of comfort to a backpacking trip without adding too much weight (it only weighs one pound).
Plus, it completely packs down so it can fit into any bag, no matter how full it is.
It’s also a versatile present since it can be used for any kind of outdoor activity besides just hiking and camping – including tailgating, concerts, and other outdoor events.
Another great Christmas gift for the outdoorsy person in your life, the Marmot Tungsten is the perfect ultralight tent to take on the trail.
Besides being super light at just over four pounds, this tent is durable, breathable, ideal for 3-season camping, and includes a footprint.
Like I mentioned above, I don’t usually recommend buying gear that’s more personal (including tents).
However, if you feel like you know your backpacker well enough and you know they’re looking for a new tent, this could be a good option.
It’s easily one of the best backpacking gifts in this gift guide for anyone who enjoys multi-day hikes.
One of the best camping gifts under $25, a MSR Pocket Rocket Stove is a must-have piece of gear for the regular camper or backpacker.
Weighing only 2.6 ounces and easily fitting into any standard fuel canister, this ultralight stove boils water in three and a half minutes and can hold a variety of cookware on top of it.
It’s perfect for backpacking trips and can be an ideal item to put into a camping gift basket (adding in some MSR fuel canisters to go with it).
A slightly heavier but alternative option to the Pocket Rocket Stove is the Jetboil. I’m a recent Jetboil convert after using one while backpacking the Trans-Catalina Trail.
Jetboils are now one of my favorite pieces of gear for backpacking trips. They boil water in 90 seconds and they’re great for making coffee or tea or for freeze dried meals.
A Jetboil is a practical gift for campers and it might just be a gamechanger for your giftee if they haven’t used one before.
Speaking of freeze dried meals, another good backpacking gift is a pack of Mountain House meals.
Although there are a lot of freeze dried meal companies out there these days, I generally go for Mountain House for their tasty meals that pack light and are easy to make.
For their meals, you just add boiled water and let them cook for less than 10 minutes in the pouch, no clean up necessary.
Plus, you can really never have too many of these meal pouches since they last for decades.
This variety pack comes with 12 pouches (24 servings) and five different flavors.
There’s nothing like waking up to a warm cup of coffee when you’re backpacking. It’s a little taste of luxury when you’re roughing it without all of your other usual comforts.
Being a coffee enthusiast, I’m not usually one to recommend instant coffee.
However, if you don’t want to carry a lot of weight but still want to caffeinate, these Starbucks Via Packets can be the perfect addition to your backpacking packing list.
Your giftee just has to add hot water into their camp mug and they’ll have an instant steaming cup of coffee anywhere.
An ultralight microfiber towel is a must when you’re backpacking. You never know when you might need to wipe off or get clean when you’re in the wild.
And it doesn’t get much better than this Packtowl Personal Towel, which folds down into a small pouch, absorbs four times its weight in water, and is quick drying.
One of the more practical gift ideas for a hiker that is useful is a Swiss Army Knife.
You can’t go wrong with a product that is known around the world as a go-to outdoor item.
A versatile Swiss Army Knife can come in handy for a number of outdoor situations and every backpacker should carry one with them at all times.
It also happens to be a very affordable present that would be perfect for someone who’s new to hiking or who hasn’t purchased their own yet.
A nice ultralight headlamp is a must-have whether you’re backpacking, car camping, or trail running.
And if the backpacker in your life is looking to upgrade to one that is more durable and that will last for years, this one by Black Diamond can be an ideal gift (that’s also affordable).
Weighing only 3 ounces and easy to fit into any bag, this waterproof headlamp does its job well, emitting up to 350 lumens and having a beam distance of 279 feet.
One of the more unique items in this gift guide but still very practical is a food dehydrator.
A food dehydrator allows backpackers to make their own beef jerky or dried fruit for packable trail snacks.
It can be a convenient way to prepare for long hiking trips and to quickly dehydrate the food they’ll need for the trail.
Best Hiking Books to Give as a Gift
A practical book for anyone who loves to get lost in the wilderness, The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs brings things back to basics and away from our reliance on technology.
This book will give your giftee the tools they need to find their way if they get lost through noticing the right cues in nature.
It also goes through the art of predicting the weather, locating water, tracking animals, and all the other basic survival skills that any regular hiker should know.
Looking for a good present for someone hiking the Appalachian Trail or another one of America’s most famous hiking trails?
This beautiful coffee table book is an ideal gift for an avid hiker. It takes you on a journey through 11 trails in the National Scenic Trails System in the US.
It also includes plenty of stunning pictures to inspire a future hiking trip, as well as stories, history, maps, and the highlights of each trail.
Another good gift option for hikers who love to read, if your hiker loves spending time in various parks, you can’t get wrong with this inspiring book.
From the best city parks to national parks around the US, this book gives your hiker all of the information they would possibly need to plan trips to the most beautiful spots in America.
And, most importantly, they’ll get an idea of the best hikes to do around those parks.
If you’re looking to gift a hiking book that will give someone all the inspiration they need for their own solo thru hiking journey (especially if they’re a woman), I can’t think of a better book than Wild.
I read Wild when I was in college and it was eye-opening and inspiring to read the honest account of a woman who tackled the Pacific Crest Trail by herself.
It’s still uncommon to hear solo hiking stories from female perspectives and this is one of the best I’ve read.
I’m a big fan of Bill Bryson and his way of weaving together wit, humor, and unique observations.
A Walk in the Woods is no exception.
This is a great gift for casual hikers and for anyone who enjoys humor and a realistic take on what multi-day hiking is actually like – especially from someone new to it.
One of the most thrilling books I’ve read in my life.
I literally found myself on the edge of my seat throughout the second half of this book. It was so intense.
Into Thin Air might not be for the faint of heart, but it paints an honest picture of what hiking Mt Everest is like and the real first-hand dangers attached to it.
This is one of those books that is extremely hard to put down, especially if you’re into adventure stories and hiking.
Plus, Krakauer is a brilliant writer who knows how to keep a reader engaged.
Another book about the Appalachian Trail, Becoming Odyssa is similar to Wild but for the other side of the country instead of the Pacific Crest Trail.
The narrative is from a woman who decides to hike the Appalachian Trail by herself after graduating from college, even though she doesn’t have a ton of experience with backpacking.
Ultimately, it ends up being a book where she learns a lot about herself and how nature and hiking helped her do that.
Another non-fiction book about hiking, Women Who Hike features twenty inspiring women as they talk about their favorite trails and how to become more comfortable hiking alone as a woman.
This is the perfect hiking gift for any woman who’s ever wanted to hit the trail by herself but wasn’t sure where to start.
Best Overall Gift to Give a Hiker
And finally, the last gift in this guide that you really can’t go wrong with when it comes to hikers is an REI gift card.
REI is the go-to outdoor store for hikers and campers because you can find pretty much anything you need there.
Their stores are also conveniently located around the US and they have an online store that has everything that your hiker’s heart might desire.
Whether they’re looking for ultralight gear, a new backpack, a sleeping bag, or something else, giving them a gift card allows them to pick out exactly what they want and need right now.
It’s definitely the safest bet on this list and an easy last-minute gift idea as well if you’re short on time.
There you have it!
My complete list of the best gifts for hikers – from the practical to the funny and more inspirational.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Christmas, birthday, or anniversary gift, these hiking gifts are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face if they love being outside.
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