20 Best Gift Ideas For Hikers
Buying gifts is hard, it is especially difficult for people who like to be outdoors because the best gift for them is simply being outdoors. Growing up in Utah, having been on hiking trails around the world, along with loads of friends who I consider experts - we all came together to create the 20 BEST gift ideas for Hikers.
Published on October 2022
1 - AllTrails App
If you are a beginner or veteran you know the importance of knowing where you are going, but what about current trail conditions? This is where the Alltrails app comes in. The Alltrails app community provides the latest trail updates from fellow hikers. It gives conditions on animals in the area, water levels, crowds and more. The free version of AllTrails provides elevation gain, length, type of trail and rating of the trail in how difficult or easy it is.
Alltrails is really trying to help people of all shapes, sizes, and age get outside more - I personally call it nature therapy. The AllTrails Pro-version is a great gift idea for hikers as it goes a step further (especially for newer hikers), it gives you access to download offline maps to use with your phones GPS (even without service) and will et you know when you are no longer on the trail. The app along with the Garmin SOS mini is a great way to stay safe on the trails you want to tackle this season.
2 - Garmin Mini SOS
Being a Utah local, we get news reports all the time of people getting lost in the backcountry and rescue teams having trouble finding them. If someone visiting gets lost here in winter, it can sometimes takes weeks to find them. In the cold or in the desert heat, time is of the essence so having a global satellite coverage when cell phone coverage fails is ESSENTIAL to your hiking experience.
The Garmin Mini SOS allows you to send an interactive SOS message to the nearest coordination center. It helps you track back to find your way if you get lost. If your phone battery dies, the Garmin device has a battery life of 14 days. This is a lightweight version and compact, a perfect gift for those you love, and a safety insurance they will get back home to you.
3 - Grayl GeoPress 24oz
This is my new FAVORITE water filtration system, all it requires is a bit of body weight and 1 minute to filter it - this is the Grayl water filtration system. It can filter about 5 liters of water per minute and only takes about 8 seconds per 24 oz. It easily fits in your backpack, has a mouth that is able to pour your filtered water into a camelback, dog bowl, or just keep it in your water bottle.
The filtration removes viruses, bateria, protozoan cysts, rotavirus, Hep A, Norovirus, Giardiasis, Cryptosporidium, E. Coli, Cholera, Salmonella, Dysentery and more. It also filters sediment, microplastics, chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals. You only need to replace the filtration every 65 gallons, or every 3 years - whichever comes first.
4 - Trowel
Leave no trace rule applies even for human waste, so here is a multi-use shovel called a trowel by Oakvue. This has a protective cover, is affordable, and lightweight. The trowel can function as a shovel, a blade, saw, ruler, nail extractor, hex wrench, bottle opener, and also has a handle wrapped in survival paracord.
5 - WURU Wool
The Wuru Wool is naturally made in the USA and are pieces of wool that can be slipped into your socks or shoes to help with preventing blisters. It can be used on bunions, bottom of your feet, toes, and any areas that may pop up. Wool is very breathable, and can also be packed tightly (like felt) to make things very warm - it all depends on how you use it. This is why I included this item in the best gift ideas for hikers, we all get the blisters or 'hot spots' at some point.
6 - Petzl Actik Headlamp
The Petzl Actik Headlamp is a versatile headlamp for all situations while hiking or camping. It is easy to use, has 450 lumens of brightness, is water resistant, and has the perfect red lighting for those nights of stargazing or night photography. It comes in several different colors, has three standard AAA batteries but is also compatible with the CORE rechargeable battery for a more sustainable design.
Max power burn time is 100 hours, and red lighting is 60 hours, max power is 2 hours. It lights up to 32 feet (10m).
7 - Snowshoes
Why stop hiking when winter hits? Try something different and get yourself a pair of snowshoes to try hiking in the winter. I got my snowshoes at REI and love them, also make sure (for my plus size hikers) that you get the right snowshoes for your weight. It is a GREAT workout, and loads of fun with friends. I have severe allergies myself, so hiking in the summer is a bit terrifying to be honest.
Being able to hike in winter, without fear of having my airway close off it so nice. You also get the romantic flakes of snow drifting through the air from the trees, the contrasting colors of the dark pine trees against the snow. I like to pack a blow up tube to sled back down the mountain as well.
8 - Columbia Puff Jacket
I have had this Columbia puff thermal jacket for nearly 10 years not and it is just starting to show the wear and tear. From cold desert nights, to windy Utah ski slopes this jacket has saved me on so many occasions. It has a patented Omni heat infinity reflective thermal technology that uses your own heat to help warm you.
It has great insulation, is lightweight, has a thumb hole, fleece lined hood, inner security pocket, chin guard for the windy days and is water resistant. You can use it on daily errands or on hiking trips where you generate quite a bit of heat. Keep the sack it comes in and stuff it small and use it as a pillow for a quick nap when needed.
9 - Trekking Poles
After working at a trauma hospital for 6 years in the evenings, I can't tell you how many ankles I have helped fix all from hikers. I don't know where the whole stigma about 'if you use hiking poles you're weak' came from but it is utter garbage. PLEASE USE HIKING POLES ESPECIALLY FOR LONGER HIKES! You never know when you will hit a rock, log or edge of a cliff wrong, having something to steady you to prevent fractures on the trail will help you not destroy your trip or your bank account from being rescued and having the emergency room visit.
Old or young, big or small I swear to you I have seen it all - I know you are confident in your abilities but there is this thing called physics that your bones can't argue with. Be safe, be smart, and just get some poles. I recommend shock proof hiking poles to help your elbows and shoulders as well with the repetitive impact. I really like all of Black Diamonds Hiking poles, they also have hybrid poles that can be used while hiking or with snow shoeing.
10 - Decathlon Backpack
I would always get confused about backpacks when I was first getting started, the different Liters you would need based on the type of trip you were taking. I like Decathlon backpacks because they are affordable, lightweight, and they also have ecodesigns. Decathlon backpacks are used and suggest notoriously for anyone hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain (a 100km/62mi journey).
If you are just doing a quick day hike I suggest 10-20 Liter with a spot for a camelbak to hook onto or loops to hook your Grayl water bottle with a carabiner onto your bag. For longer hiking trips or quick overnight trips I suggest the 30-40 Liter bags with enough room for a hammock and overnight food and jetboil and a change of clothes.
For multi-day backpacking trips I suggest 50-70 Liters and try to keep your bag between 20-30 lbs. In backpacking and hiking every ounce counts, the lighter the items the easier the hike will be. This includes putting as much as possible in light weight bags, minimal clothing, dehydrated food, minimal water or lightweight filtration system on hand. Don't forget the sustainable bug spray and your supergood sunscreen (they have small travel sizes as well).
11 - Swiss Army Knife & Fire Starter
The Firefly Swiss Army Victorinox Knives are my favorite knives to bring on my hiking and camping trips. They aren't cheap but between the knife, scissors, nail filer, tweezers AND MORE - it becomes invaluable to make your trip comfortable and safe. If you get into an emergency situation the tools can really save your life if you get into a jam.
I would also carry a fire starter with you, flint and steel is really difficult unless you are an expert fire starter. I would recommend carrying a small wind and water resistant firestarter with you, along with a small clump of dryer lint. Yep, dryer lint can really help you start a fire, it is light weight and lights up super easy.
12 - Mountain House Meals
You either love or hate dehydrated meals, many of my hiking and camper friends make their own based on their tastes. The whole goal is to carry something lightweight, nutrient dense and delicious with you. Make sure to check the ingredients if you are like me, and have weird food allergies. These mountain meals can be found at REI and most sporting goods stores. I would DEFINITELY try one before you take it on the trail with you, it would be tragic if you got to the top and didn't like it.
They have meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and when you get to the top, they are SO DELICIOUS. Really such a treat for those longer hikes or quick backpacking trips on the mountain.
13 - Liquid IV
My travel buddies and I use Liquid IV hydration packets ALL THE TIME now. They are not just great for hiking, but also hangovers and lack of clean water sources. The formulation lacks the sugar that most hydration and electrolyte powders have, plus the flavors are great and don't leave an after taste. I like the pina colada and the lemon lime flavors.
Having a boost of electrolytes can really help at the top of a mountain with the shakes, and give you a little boost of energy to get back down the mountain. Just like a car needs an oil change, and the oil refilled - our bodies are machines that need to be properly hydrated as well.
14 - Women Who Hike Book
I read a book the other day that says, motivation doesn't happen until after the action of continuing to show up for ourselves. Sometimes it can be scary hiking alone as a woman, always leave instructions on where, when, what trail and when people should expect you home.
If you are just getting into hiking, need a little boost to get you on your first trail - let me humbly suggest this book: Women Who Hike by Heather Balogh Roghfort. Get inspired by another book called 100 Hikes of a Lifetime - see what 'nature therapy' can do for you.
If you are more seasoned then the Complete Guide to Climbing and Mountaineering should be your new bible.
15 - Collapsible LED Solar Lantern with USB
This rechargeable solar USB portable lamp with a USB phone charger is a perfect give for safety for hikers. It provides emergency charging capabilities, as well as a backup light if you get caught in the dark on a trail. The lantern is wind and water resistant, and collapses easily so you can attach it to your bag and have it charging while you hike.
The lantern has a high and low modes, along with an SOS flashing in case of getting lost. If you enjoy night photography it is also great for light painting and epic lighting effects with the milkway as a background.
16 - JetBoil
The Jetboil is the PERFECT small cup/pot to get the water boiling, it is compact and lightweight. Only drawback to the jetboil is that it doesn't do great in the wind, but protecting it with a tree, rock or your body will give you enough time to get the water boiled.
The gas tanks you need in order to get it boiling are a bit heavier but come in different sizes depending on the length of the hike or backpacking trip.
If you want something simpler, and lighter, pop over to Stanley for their stainless steel pot and cups set. The pot can be set over a fire and boiled, but if you are in a no fire zone, or high fire danger zone, I think the jetboil is a better (and safer) choice.
17 - Supergoop Unseen
Being at higher elevation if it is summer, spring, winter, or fall brings you closer to the sun, and having a lightweight SPF is a MUST for all hikers. I really like the Unseen supergoop sunscreen because I feel it provides the protection but also allows your skin to breathe (perfect in summer conditions).
Call it being a medical professional for worrying about skin cancer, but it is real problem as outdoor enthusiasts age. I have personally had to have a few spots on my skin burned off, and I'm only in my 30's. Be careful out there folks, cover up, wear a hat, AND put sunscreen on, especially in winter.
18 - First Aid Kit (My Medic)
These first aid kits are put together by paramedics that want to provide you with tools and items needed to save a life or limb until you can make it to the hospital for critical care. I take My Medic First Aid kit with me on all my camping trips. They also cater to specific activities, like biking, boat medical kits, and even cut kits that provide closure to the deeper wounds until you can get stitches. The lightweight hiking kit is my go to now for all my hiking adventures.
19- Emergency Whistle
Having an emergency whistle is imperative to your safety kit while hiking! If you fall down a crevice, the side of a hille, get trapped under snow - having this whistle will save rescuers valuable time in finding you. It isn't just having the whistle though, you need to make sure you can reach it with your mouth if you are unable to use your hands. Shoving it in the bottom of a backpack isn't going to help if you are stuck in snow, or you broke a limb and can't move. Have this whistle clipped or corded onto your shoulder strap and easily accessible by just bending your mouth to blow on it if the worse happens.
20 - Other Gift Ideas for hikers
Having a Lifestraw water filtration system in your bag is another alternative to the Grayl water bottle. Keeping a lightweight tent and sleeping bag to 30*F for the impromptu camping trips is always a good idea. Make sure if you are hiking in spring, winter, or fall you have an emergency blanket on hand just in case you get lost or stuck somewhere overnight where it is cold. A Gift Card to REI if NEVER a bad idea for any outdoor enthusiast. I basically live in my Decathlon Sandals when I travel, they are lightweight, easy to pack and provide arch support exactly where needed. If I am going onto rocky paths then having some ankle high Keen hiking boots is a must for me, Merrell shoes are also a favorite as well. If you have chronic foot pain like me, make sure there is a partial shank in the shoe to protect your foot from the constant pounding of your feet on rocks.
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My name is Janiel, a leader in the travel industry with over 20+ years of experience with international travel. I specialize in solo female travel, cultural connections, sustainable adventures, food and history to help make your travel experiences fun, meaningful, and delicious. My experience in travel, and my personal story have allowed me to get published in Fodor's Travel, Atlas Obscura, Metro.co.uk, Trip Advisor, and multiple Podcast interviews. You can find me on pretty much every social media channel YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok. To read more about me and my story click here. If you are a brand and would like to work with me, click here.