Do you have an avid hiker in your life? Not sure what to get them? Finding the best gifts for hiking enthusiasts can be tricky, because they often have lots of gear. Here are a few things to think about when shopping for that hiking aficionado in your life.
How to Pick the Perfect Gift for Hikers
The great thing about hiking gifts is that most of them can be used on the trail as well, as off the trail. And, several of the gift ideas I provide below definitely fit that criteria. However, before I dive into the list of the hiking gifts, I want to say something about the process of picking gifts for hikers.
Hikers are a special breed, that consistently feel the call of nature. They experience joy by walking into the woods and leaving the material goods of traditional society behind. That’s unique. Therefore, it’s important to take that into account when buying a gift for your favorite hiker.
Hiking is an activity of minimalism. Therefore, careful thought should be put into gifts for this crowd. Unless a gift serves a certain purpose, and function, it’s excess weight on the trail.
The Best Hiking Gifts Serve a Purpose
The best hiking gifts serve a purpose, and they do it efficiently. These are the types of items and possessions that bring joy on the trail.
There are a lot of different hiking gift blog posts out there that recommend junk. But, no hiker is going to want more junk. As a hiker, the goal is to have less gear. Less is more, because less brings freedom. It weighs less. But, to get by on less gear, you need that gear to be really good.
That’s why I’ve put together the following list of hiking gifts.
The gifts I recommend below are high quality, high function, and guaranteed to make your loved one smile in the backcountry every time they use it.
In this guide you won’t find a long extensive list of all hiking items out there. Items like sleeping bags, shoes, tents and backpacks have been intentionally left off because these items tend to be highly personal. Instead, these are the types of gifts that every hiker will life. I’ve sorted through the gear to identify only the best. Enjoy… and happy gift giving.
NOTE: Many of the links below are affiliate links for Amazon. That means if you make a purchase after following those links, I’ll receive a very small percentage of that purchase.
Top Hiking Gifts for Comfort, Safety and Luxury
If you’re looking to find something quick, without reading any further, I’ll make this simple for you. If you want a great gift that will keep your loved one comfy, safe, or spoiled, check out the following gift ideas.
Hiking Gifts for Comfort on the Trail
If you’re looking for something to keep your loved one comfy on the trail, check out these items. These will make sure their warm, comfortable and thinking of you:
Hiking Gifts to Keep Them Safe
Safety is always a priority in the backcountry. So, if you’re looking for something to keep your loved one safe, here are a couple items.
Hiking Gifts Intended to Spoil
To spoil them on the trail in the lap of luxury consider:
- Fancy Sipping Chocolate
- A Titanium Spork to Stir it in
- A Titanium Mug to Sip it From
- And a Backwoods French Press for Making Mochas
The Best Hiking Gifts by Price
Okay, so the list above was just to get us started. If you’re looking for some more hiking gift ideas, check out the following items, in order of cost. Wether you have a budget under $25 or one above $100, you’ll find a variety of gift options.
Stocking Stuffer Items Less than $25
It may not be the sexiest, swankiest gift, but you can’t go wrong with socks. Wether you’re on or off the trail, who doesn’t love to coat their feet in comfort?
There are a variety of brands to choose from, but if you really want to treat your special someone, to a special something, I recommend Darn Tough socks. These are the superior sock for hiking, and all around usage as well. I used to wear Smart Wool socks, but since trying Darn Tough, I’m a changed man.
With Darn Tough, my feet have never been happier. They’re warm, comfy, and durable. All of my Darn Tough socks remain hole-less, even though I’ve had them for a couple years. And trust me, these feet have seen some miles.
I’ve never worn these, but my wife swears by them. They’re especially good for people who get blisters when they hike. So, if you know someone that applies to, toss some toe socks at ’em.
Injinji tends to be the best brand in this category.
After a long, cold, calorie burning day on the trail, nothing is better than some hot chocolate. But you don’t want that low quality junk. On the trail, it’s important to treat yourself. Nib Moir Hot Chocolate is the finest quality mix I’ve found. It’s organic, and ethically traded. Plus, they offer three flavors: traditional, mint, and spicy. You can’t go wrong.
As a bonus, this gift goes great served in the best hiking mug of all time.
Sea to Summit Dry Sacks
There’s nothing worse than soggy gear after a rainstorm. So, to keep things dry, hikers can use dry sacks. Sea to Summit carries some of the best quality sacks. With this gift, your special someone will think of you every time they’re hiking in the rain. What a hero you’ll be!
There’s nothing better than titanium when it comes to cooking and eating utensils. It’s light weight, sleek, and durable. As far as I’m concerned, Snow peak offers the best cooking utensils and equipment available for hiking. However, I’m also a big fan of my Sea to Summit Titanium Spork. If you don’t lose it, this is the type of gear that will last a lifetime.
Lightweight Hiking Knife
Remember those fancy Swiss utility knives that stuffed everything into a foldable knife. Or, the giant Rambo/Crocodile Dundee knives from the eighties? It seemed like a good idea at the time. Why not stuff a blade, scissors, a compass, magnifying glass, tweezers and oh yeah, a toothpick into one tool?
Yeah, turns out that was WAY overkill. Instead, all you need is something slim, and functional. I prefer these tiny lightweight knives from Gerber. They’re perfect for cutting twine, widdling sticks, or cutting the cheese.
Hiking Gifts for Less than $50
Titanium Hiking Mugs
Did I mention yet that I love Snow Peak gear? I’m pretty sure that anyone that uses it will never want anything else. These stackable hiking mugs are especially awesome. They may not have handles, but they’re double walled titanium. So, that means the heat won’t transfer through the mug, and they won’t burn your hands. Hence, you don’t need any stupid handles. They’re too good for it.
Plus, they come in several different sizes, which stack within each other. That saves you room in your backpack. Just don’t forget your lid… you have to buy that separately.
For a full review, check out my previous article on the Snow Peak titanium mug.
Wether you need to keep the sun or rain off of you, hiking hats are excellent gifts. For those with long hair, they can keep it out of their face, so they can enjoy that mountain view, unencumbered.
ExOfficio make some very fine hiking hats that also have an invisible and scentless insect repellant called BugsAway. Outdoor Research also offers a fine selection of sun hats.
A Cap and Mitts
When it’s frigid hiking, sometimes you just need a cap and some mitts to warm your fingertips. Smart Wool will keep that heat with soft merino wool hats, gloves, and mittens. Or, sometimes you don’t even need a full cap that covers your head. You just need a headband to keep your ears warm.
Petzl Emergency Headlamp
I’ve gone on multi week hiking trips armed with just this one headlamp. I’ve descended from day long climbing adventures down steep gullies, illuminated by this tiny lamp. It’s small, but mighty.
Works perfect as a lightweight backup headlamp.
Do you have a loved one who loves to wander through the woods. Do they love maps, compasses, and planning trips. Maybe the ultimate gift would be a navigation class. These classes typically cover navigation basics, and they’re offered by a number of organizations including REI.
Hiking Gifts Less than $100
Snow Peak Titanium French Press
This is one of those items that’s intended to spoil your hiker. Do you technically need a French press when hiking? No, it’s a total luxury item. And typically luxury items equate to needless weight.
The hardcore ultralight hiker might scoff at this – then pick the coffee grounds from their teeth, as they swish it down with another gulp of cowboy coffee. But, if you have a coffee crazed hiker in your life, this is just the type of luxury they’ll love.
Since it’s titanium, it’s super light weight. For the gift of fresh brewed coffee, that weight is well worth it.
Snow Peak Kanpai Bottle
This is another gift item that most people will enjoy both on and off the trail. It’s a vacuum sealed, double walled container that’s meant to keep items hot or cold for a long long time. That makes this item ideal for day hiking. Rather than carrying along a French press, you can brew some coffee at home and bring it with you. Or, heat up some soup and bring it along for the ride.
Lightweight Titanium Cook Set
With this cook set, your beloved hiker will be well equipped for cooking in the woods. It comes with a total of 4 titanium cooking items, including two pots, and two pans. For a complete setup, you can combine these with a spork, and the SnowPeak Titanium Stove for a full cook set. Your backwood chef will be sure to thank you.
Hiking Base Layer
This is kind of like socks. Socks make everyone happy. And, if you buy the write base layer, that’ll make everyone happy as well. You see, you’re base layer is key to hiking comfortably. It’s the most central clothing layer that touches your body. Therefore, it needs to be comfortable, warm, quick to dry, and ideally… odor resistant.
For the best quality base layers I recommend Patagonia, Icebreaker, or Smart Wool.
FYI: Base layers are also often referred to as thermal layers, or long underwear.
Hiking Gifts Over $100
The Mini allows backwoods hikers to stay connected to the outside world, just in case of an emergency. It allows hikers to send and receive text messages, and track their hike online, so it can be shared with friends and family. That way you can make sure they’re safe and on-schedule. It also allows them to trigger an SOS alert in the case of an emergency, which automatically contacts the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team.
In addition to the communication features above, the Garmin InReach Explorer+ also allows you to upload maps and use GPS navigation, and track weather.
Since both devices rely on satellite communication, there is a monthly fee required, which is in addition to the cost of each unit. The subscription costs run at around $15 per month and can be paused during months it’s not needed. You can check out subscription info here.
A Smart Watch for the Trail
When it comes to tracking, GPS, and smart tech, Garmin has made a well deserved name for itself. It’s respected among aviators, mariners, and outdoors men and women of all calibers. And there are a variety of impressive watches out there for fitness tracking, but none of them quite compare to the value and functionality of the Garmin Instinct, when it comes to value and function.
With the Garmin Instinct you get basically everything you need for the trail. But that also makes it a great watch for every day use. It tracks steps, altitude, reminds you to move if you’ve been sedentary, and what else?
Well, it tracks heart rate, gives you metrics on your heart rate variability, and provides GPS functionality. With it’s Trackback function, it will also help you map your way back from where you came.
Then there’s all of the traditional fitness tracker / smart watch features. It can be used to control music on your phone, receive text messages, and track different types of activities from running to hiking, and swimming. For all of it’s function at a reasonable price, it’s super high value.
I bought it for my wife, and she loves it.
Air Sleeping Pad
I used to sleep on a thin foam mat for years because I was too cheap to buy a comfy air sleeping pad. Let’s face it, comfort comes at a cost. So, as a thrifty dirtbag hiker, it’s hard to cough up the dough for these types of luxuries. But, that makes them a perfect gift.
The key with sleeping pads, is you want something comfy, but light. Sometimes the more comfortable pads can weigh more. But, the following pads are excellent choices that provide comfort, while also maintaining a light weight profile. Each of these are also thermally insulated, so they’re designed to keep in warmth.
The best options include:
- Klymit’s Static V Ultralite SL Sleeping Pad
- Therm-a-Rest’s NeoAir Xlite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress
- Sea to Summit Ultralight Insulated Mat Sleeping Pad
Although, my personal favorite is the Klymit Static V, pictured here.
Hiking Gifts for Him & Her
Lastly, I’d like to touch on hiking gifts for him and her, because it’s a common question. What should I get for her? What about him?
The reality is that most hiking gifts are androgynous. Most of the gifts you find on this list will be equally enjoyed by both men and women. Of course, with clothing there are often men and women’s variations naturally built in. And, that brings me to something very important when it comes to hiking for both men and women. Underwear.
Underwear is very important when you’re hiking. You don’t want cotton undies that are going to get wet with sweat or damp with rain because they won’t dry. You want something that’s going to dry quickly, and that are easy to clean on the trail.
So, for hiking gifts for him and her I recommend two brands of underwear: ExOfficio and Patagonia.
For men, go with the ExOfficio Give N Go Brief. I don’t recommend boxers or boxer briefs because they get bunched up when you’re hiking, and they’re not comfortable. For the best men’s hiking undies, go with these:
Trust me. Underwear is important on the trail. It’s gotta be comfortable.
Other Gift Ideas for Hikers?
Do you have any other hiking gift ideas? Let us know your thoughts, or questions. We’re always looking for good ideas to share.