Are you hunting for the perfect gift to give your favorite hiker? Are you tired of handing out those impersonal gift cards? But how do you find the best gifts for hikers, and how do you know if you’re buying the right gear, the right brand, or the right size?
Here at The Adventure Junkies, we know exactly what you’re going through. With all the different gadgets and gear out there, trying to find something both thoughtful and useful can be daunting. No wonder gift cards are so popular. But that’s what gift-giving is all about: searching for that special item that says, “I know you.”
In this guide, we’ll show you that it’s easy to find the gifts that hikers need and love, no matter the size of your budget, or whether your hiker is a beginner or a grizzled legend.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
12 AWESOME GIFTS FOR HIKERS
A gift should be about what the giftee wants, not what you think they should have. That’s great advice, but when it comes to buying gifts for hikers, the two motives often converge; the things that hikers want are usually the things they need and ought to have.
So if you think some of these suggestions seem rather utilitarian for gifts, that’s because they are — and that’s a good thing. You wouldn’t want to get too personal with your gift anyway. Shy away from sized items, such as clothes, shoes, and backpacks. These are bedrock purchases that every hiker must make alone.
Most of the suggestions below are about keeping your hiker safe and comfortable in the wilderness. You can’t go wrong with a gift that says, “be safe, be happy, and then come home.”
1. GIFTS UNDER $20
MSR STRIKE IGNITER
You’ll rest easy knowing that your hiker has The MSR Strike Igniter in their pack. It works in the rain and wind, is easy to use and is supposed to last from 3,000 to 12,000 strikes. This is something that every hiker needs, from beginners to experts. It’s small and light-weight, so they can pack it and forget it until they need it. And then they’ll be very happy that they have it.
LIGHT MY FIRE TITANIUM SPORK
The Light My Fire Titanium Spork is three utensils in one: spoon, fork and knife. Why carry three when you can carry one? It’s light-weight and will probably last forever. And maybe your favorite hiker will think of you every time they dine along the trail.
INJINI LINER TOE SOCKS
A good pair of hiking socks is an essential part of any fun and successful hike. Many hikers also like to wear liners beneath their hiking socks, which provide an extra layer of protection for their soles, toes and heels. These Injini Liner Toe Socks make a great gift for hikers, especially those who hit the trails often and tend to wear out their socks quickly. You can never have enough of these liners, which are made of polyester and spandex, help regulate foot moisture, and target common blister areas with added protection. Want to learn about how to choose the best socks for the trail? Check out our guide Hiking Socks 101.
MSR MUG MATE
A great way to make coffee and tea while hiking or camping, the MSR Mug Mate is easy to use, lightweight and packable. This is a good gift for the hiker who is also serious about their coffee or tea, allowing them to make single servings anytime they want and just the way they want it.
RITE IN THE RAIN POCKET JOURNAL
A lot of hikers keep a hiking journal, recording and musing upon their adventures on the trail. Even if your favorite hiker isn’t the obvious literary type, this Rite in the Rain Pocket Journal is a great way to remind them that their outdoor exploits are worth remembering. Each tough and durable notebook comes with 50 pages of weatherproof paper.
2. GIFTS BETWEEN $20 – $50
SUUNTO M-3 COMPASS
A compass is one the core pieces of gear recommended for beginning hikers, but you’d be surprised how many longtime trekkers don’t have one handy at all times. This Suunto M-3 Compass is simple and durable, and is ideal for both the newbie and the veteran. Do you know what makes a great hiking compass? Check out our guide Hiking Compass 101.
PETZL TIKKA HEADLAMP
The headlamp is a must-have hiking tool, and one that is easy to misplace. So it’s unlikely that you’ll go wrong in giving this Petzl Tikka Headlamp to any of the hikers in your life. It puts out both white and red lights, and works on both standard and rechargeable batteries. It also has a reflective band that’s easy to spot in the dark.
EXOFFICIO NECK GAITER
This is a great option for hikers who regularly hit the trail in hot weather. The ExOfficio Neck Gaiter is made of polyester and spandex, and is designed to cool you down when it’s wet. It blocks and repels annoying bugs and, more importantly, keeps your neck from getting sunburned.
3. GIFTS BETWEEN $50 – $100
MSR TRAILSHOT MICROFILTER
Clean water is the key to health everywhere, especially along the trail. The MSR Trailshot Water Filter is light-weight and easy to use. It’s so small and packable that it will fits in your jacket pocket, and it can filter one liter of water in about 60 seconds.
KAMMOCK WALLABY HAMMOCK
Many hikers and backpackers prefer packing a hammock rather than a tent when they’re planning to be out overnight. This Kammock Wallaby Hammock is an ideal gift for both the experienced hammock-user and the beginner. It’s easy to use, durable, and holds up to 400 pounds, while still packing down to fit in your pocket. And you don’t have to be out overnight to use it: toss it in your day pack and find a beautiful and peaceful spot along the trial to hang out for a while. Want to learn about how to choose a camping hammock? Check out our guide Camping Hammocks 101.
4. GIFTS OVER $100
THERM-A-REST TRAIL PRO
There are many things that can spoil a multi-day hiking adventure, but two of the most common are poor sleep and bad food. If you’re ready to splurge a bit, few outdoor types are going to scoff at the gift of a Therm-A-Rest Trail Pro, a strong, light-weight sleeping pad for any adventure. And you can imagine that they are smiling at the thought of you and your gift-giving wisdom, as they snuggle into this comfortable and warm self-inflating trail bed.
Hikers who prefer to trek lightly through the wilds will appreciate the Jetboil MicroMo personal cooking system. This small and light backpacking stove is easy to use and ideal for making small meals and hot drinks along the trail. The lid on the .8-liter cup has an opening for drinking, a spout for pouring, and a strainer. With this stove, your favorite hiker will be able to make a warm drink or a warm meal in no time.