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Published Sep 28, 2022 10:45 AM
Buying gifts for hikers can be tricky. You want to buy them something they’ll use and enjoy while on the trail. The best place to start is by simply asking them if they need any gear or want anything in particular. Then, you can move on to selecting a product that fits those needs.
If you want to surprise them, we’ve included a wide variety of products that any hiker would enjoy. Browse our selection of the best gifts for hikers to start brainstorming and potentially find the perfect present for the outdoor adventurer in your life.
Even if the hiker in your life has everything, an AllTrail subscription gives them access to thousands of trail maps they can use even offline. While AllTrails offers a free version that provides hiker feedback and general trail information, AllTrails Pro provides all that and much more. Compatible with Android and Apple devices, the Pro version lets your favorite hiker access more than 300,000 trail maps offline. That means they can print the map and download it before they go. It alerts them when they go off-route and give them real-time map details.
Plus, with the lifeline feature, AllTrail Pro gives you the peace of mind of their safety on the trail. Even if they have all the gear they need, a subscription to this or another mapping service can be a valuable gift.
Outdoor Minimalist: Waste Less Hiking, Camping, and Backpacking is a handbook for any outdoor enthusiast, no matter their skill level, and contains practical information on minimizing their environmental impact on and off the trail. . It helps readers be more mindful and aware of their overall outdoor impact, from the gear they buy to how they choose their travel destinations. This book is an excellent gift option if you are buying for a hiker that seemingly has it all. Not only does it provide insights into making more ethical gear purchases, but it can also help your giftee prolong their gear’s life with maintenance and repair tips.
Best for Day Hikers
While most day hikes are completed before the sun goes down, it never hurts to be prepared. Getting someone that loves to day hike a reliable and lightweight headlamp shows you care about them and their safety outdoors. We like that BioLite has many lumen options up to but chose this one with 330 lumens for the weight and functionality for day hiking. Lightweight with a non-slip fit, it boasts a rechargeable battery with up to 40 hours of life on the low setting.
Best for Backpackers
Unless the backpacker in your life needs something specific, getting them a few backpacking meals is a great gift idea—after all, having some delicious eats on hand never hurts for that last minute trip. The Good To Go Backpacking Meals come with various flavorful meal options, no matter your dietary restrictions. They are made from real food ingredients, do not contain preservatives, and are easy to rehydrate. Since most backpacking meals tend to be expensive, giving them as a gift is a way to give the backpacker in your life a bit of comfort to savor on the trail.
Best for Trail Runners
Having a way to track your mileage, pace, and location is excellent while trail running. The Garmin Instinct Solar GPS Watch can keep you on the right track while monitoring your physical activity levels without losing battery. It performs a wide range of health monitoring and connects you to your phone, so you never miss a call or message on the run. Trail runners, especially long-distance runners, will love that you can keep the GPS live with little worry about your battery running out thanks to its 30-hour battery life. Just 3 hours in the sun can recharge the watch.
Best for Ultralight Backpackers
Most ultralight backpackers already have what they need and tend to be the pickiest about the gear they purchase. Everything is weighed down to the ounce. So, get them something practical and helps them keep the equipment they have and love in good condition. Nikwax has a variety of products that can fit many gear maintenance and cleaning needs, but the Tech Wash and Waterproof wash-in solutions are the most popular and widely used. They can clean outdoor equipment along with waterproof synthetic fabrics.
Best for Hikers with Dogs
Dogs can get injured in many ways while out hiking. If you have a dog lover who loves bringing their pup hiking, they will love the peace of mind that the Fido Airlift Pro provides. Medium-extra large breed dogs tend to be the hardest to carry out of any trail when they need medical attention. The Fido Airlift Pro makes it easier to hike them out so you can get the help they need when they need it most. Available in M, L, and XL sizes, it’s made of tough 210-denier nylon and is compact and easy to pack.
Best for Women
Anyone that squats while they pee will appreciate the Kula Cloth. A pee rag is one way that makes peeing outdoors more manageable and more hygienic. Made from non-toxic antimicrobial materials, the reusable Kula Cloth stays fresh even while backpacking. It is easy to clean while on the trail, so it is perfect for women who love long-distance hiking. It reduces waste by eliminating your need to use toilet paper or wipes after you pee, making time outdoors a little less wasteful. Plus, it comes in tons of fun designs.
Best for Solo Hikers
If you worry about your loved ones when they hike or camp alone, the SPOT Gen4 Satellite GPS Messenger gives them a way to check in or call for help even when there’s no cell service. This small and compact device—which comes with a carabiner to clip to their pack—allows users to preprogram messages to send for check-ins and to send their location to pre-selected phone numbers thanks to its GPS technology. If there is an emergency, they have unlimited SOS messages to alert rescue teams that they need assistance. Subscriptions are required.
Best for Beginners
No matter your skill level, a first aid kit is one of the essentials all hikers should carry, and this pre-made kit is the perfect size for one person. There are several Adventure Medical Kit options, but this is an ultralight option perfect for day hikes, travel, and backpacking. It comes in a waterproof container and includes basic supplies like TK.
Best for Summer Hikes
Water is essential for any hike, especially summer ones, and having a water bottle with a built-in filter ensures your giftee will never run out of potable drinking water. The dual-use system allows hikers to fill up on the go, and because you drink right from the filter, there is no wait time for clean water. It removes parasites, bacteria, and microplastics for up to 500 gallons of water. The compact and collapsible water bottle is lightweight, easy to use, and can be used as a standard water filter while backpacking.
Best for Winter Hikes
Hiking in the winter can be unpredictable and dangerous if you don’t have appropriate traction aids or footwear. They’re not always necessary, but they’re nice to have on hand. Kahtoola Microspikes are a reliable and easy-to-carry traction sytem that any winter hiking enthusiast will love. Easy to put on and take off boots, the Microspikes give you a sure footing on ice and packed snow on trail runs or casual moonlight strolls. They’re available in a range of sizes and boast reinforced eyelets for durability.
Best for Desert Hikes
Desert hiking enthusiasts know that sun protection is a must. Upgrade sun protection by gifting them a lightweight, cooling, sun-protecting shirt. The Burgeon Outdoor Sunseeker Hoodie is a sustainably made product designed and sewn in New Hampshire. Available in sizes XS to XXL and rated for UPF 15+, it can function as a base layer in a layering system or as a stand-alone shirt on hot hikes. It is a packable shirt to toss in your day pack and works well in various weather conditions.
Best for Mountain Hikes
Anyone that hikes alone in the mountains, works in wilderness areas, or travels to places with limited cell phone service can benefit from the Garmin InReach Mini. It is a compact satellite transmitter that is easy to have on hand and does not take long to set up before you go. It has a range of capabilities, from SOS alerting to two-way messaging, and the ability to pre-plan routes and waypoints on downloadable maps. Some of the highlights include the user-friendly interface, accurate GPS tracking, NOAA charts, 24/7 SOS alert, and up to 50 hours of battery life.
Best for Eco-Conscious Hikers
Towels are an underrated piece of gear used for numerous outdoor activities. The Lava Linens Mini Everything Towel is a sustainable and durable option if you are gifting an eco-conscious hiker. It’s made of French linen (flax), which is an extremely strong plant fiber, so it can absorb 50% more water than the standard microfiber towel of the same size. It has a built-in hemp loop for quick drying while backpacking and is easy to keep clean since dirt shakes right off.
Best for Park Enthusiasts
Buy the park enthusiast in your life an annual or lifetime interagency pass with access to all National Parks and National Forests across the country so they can continue to enjoy more time outdoors. There are several pass options, and you can choose the one you think best fits your giftee’s lifestyle. The annual pass is only around $80—which covers entrance fees and basic amenities at over 2,000 sites—and you can have up to two pass holders on each pass.
Best for Under $100
The VSSL Essentials Fix Kit is one of many of VSSL’s compact and handy kit designs. The Fix Kit is one of our favorite budget gifts because it will help keep your giftee going on the trail even if something goes wrong with their gear. In a compact waterproof container, the Fix Kit is fully stocked with gear tape, a sewing kit, zip ties, gear twists, and a whistle. If you’re willing to spend a little bit more for a more comprehensive kit, we recommend the VSSL Camp Supplies Kit.
Best for Under $50
Any dry bag is a great gift, especially on a budget. Even if they already have a few, having more on hand never hurts. Dry bags help keep gear organized and dry. We like the Matador Dry Bags because they’re submersible in water up to 1 meter, making them excellent for hiking and water sports like paddling. Another unique feature is the small clear panel on the side of the bag that allows your giftee to see the contents so they don’t have to open every bag to get what they need. Available in 2- and 8-liter capacities, the bags are made of waterproof 70-denier ripstop nylon and feature a roll-top closure.
Best for Under $25
As our top pick for the best wool hiking socks, the Swiftwick Pursuit Hiking Socks are a practical and affordable gift any hiker will surely enjoy. They boast optimal moisture control and a comfortable fit, and are even slip-resistant. Even if you don’t want to spend much money on a hiking gift, a decent pair of socks—especially ones with a lifetime warranty—are a safe bet.
Best for Under $10
Looking for a small gift or stocking stuffer that the hiker in your life will appreciate? The Gear AID Repair Patches are easy to use and will definitely come in handy. Even if your giftee doesn’t need to repair anything right now, they can use them to add to their repair kit for future backpacking trips. The pre-cut 3-inch round patches can repair synthetic materials and are a quick fix for on-the-trail repair needs.
Things to Consider Before Buying Gifts for Hikers
The first thing to consider when buying a gift for a hiker in your life is whether or not they need said gift. Many outdoor enthusiasts are challenging to shop for because they seemingly already have all the gear they need. So, what can you do?
First, ask them what they want and need. Often we feel like the gift needs to be a complete surprise, but then we miss out on gifting them something they have been waiting to buy for themselves. Sometimes, it may be a renewal of a subscription or a park pass they frequent. Set yourself up for success when purchasing gifts, ensuring you invest in something they will use.
If you still feel the need to surprise them with a gift, consider where they enjoy hiking and if there are things that can enhance those experiences. Are there backpacking meals they enjoy? Buy them a few to save for upcoming trips. Do they often bring their dog on day hikes or backpacking trips? Make sure they have gear for their pup! Have they complained about a pair of old hiking pants or boots that need to be replaced soon? Buy them an upgrade or a gift card to an outdoor retailer so they can pick one out themselves.
How much do gifts for hikers cost?
The average price comes down to the item itself. Because there’s such a wide range of options, presents can range in price from $5 to $500+. A budget helps you set realistic spending parameters and find gifts that work for everyone.
What should you give a person who loves hiking?
You should them something they need, or something that you know for sure they will use. Most hikers already have a range of gear, and chintzy gadgets tend to weigh down their packs. Spend your money wisely and get them a practical gift.
What should every hiker have?
Every hiker should have at least the 10 essentials and a bag to carry their items:
Safety gear (light, fire, whistle, etc)
First aid kit
Knife or multi-tool
What should you give a novice hiker?
Most novice hikers won’t have much when it comes to equipment, so getting them a few of the basics is an excellent place to start. A high-quality day pack, a water filtration system, a compass, or even a decent pair of hiking socks are all good options. You can’t go wrong with a gift card to a local outdoor retailer.
Finding the best gifts is a very personalized decision. Everyone has their preferences, and each environment demands different things from us when we enter those landscapes. Knowing the individual you are buying for is one of the most important aspects of getting a thoughtful gift. But when in doubt, ask. If they say they don’t need anything, consider planning a hiking excursion together instead.
We included a wide range of categories to choose the best gift for hikers. We then analyzed commonly used and needed equipment for hikers of all ages. Certain qualities such as product durability, versatility, and price were also factored into the decisions. Personal experience with the equipment, verified customer testimonials, and company/product research guided final gift choices, but the most significant emphasis was on the intended use.
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