Holiday Gift Guides

The Best Gifts For Hikers, According to Very Experienced Hikers

Hiking is hard enough. Shopping for the essentials should be a breeze.

Thrillist | Grace Han
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At its core, hiking is just walking. The caveat is that you're in the woods, typically traipsing up and around a mountain or other natural formation.

And the more one hikes, the father one will want to go. This progression also leads to an accumulation of new gear. At first, it's usually cheap bulky stuff. The things you get because you're not sure you'll love hiking. But as you walk farther, up & down different paths, through verdant flora and fauna, you'll realize how important good gear really is.

Below we have 21 excellent gifts for hikers, handpicked by experienced hikers themselves. We talked with Whitney "Allgood" La Ruffa—an expert hiker and VP of sales at Six Moon Designs, as well as Tobey Schmidt—ambassador for Mammut and avid outdoorsperson (they both know a thing or two about exploring the great outdoors).
 
Here's are their absolute best gift picks for the hikers in your life.

Thrillist | Grace Han

Headlamp Princeton Tec BYTE

Price: $18 
Why it's a great gift: "Over the past 4 years I have put over 5,000 miles on this headlamp in every environment form hiking in the pouring rain and snow to hot days in the desert where I spent a few hours each day hiking before sunrise.  It’s tough, light, and the best part? It's only $20, even though it’s a super high quality US made headlamp." - Whitney La Ruffa

A good rain skirt

Price: $35
Why it's a great gift: "This is one of the pieces that when people hear about, they shake their heads. BUT, at a few ounces, these lightweight skirts are a treat to wear in the rain. Benefits of these skirts: way more airflow than traditional rain paints and can provide a dry place to sit on a wet day. My favorite so far has to be the ULA (in large) because of its long length." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

Small Nalgene Water Bottle (16oz)

Price: $10
Why it's a great gift: "In addition to my normal 32oz. Nalgene for water, I always bring this smaller one with me on my backpacking trips. It's perfect for hot tea in the evenings and coffee in the morning. It's lightweight and you're less likely to spill in the tent with the screw-on cap." - Tobey Schmidt

Windbreaker Jacket from Mammut

Price: $59.59 - $89.25
Why it's a great gift: "I always throw this layer in my pack! It's super light and barely takes up any space. Windbreaker technology is real. This will keep you warm when the wind is blasting on ridges and at camp. Bonus: it's the best layer for keeping the mosquitoes away." - TS

Thrillist | Grace Han

A solid knife or multitool

Price: Varies, but usually $20+
Why it's a great gift: "Who doesn’t love a knife or multitool? I find the mini-multitool has everything I need for the trail: scissors, tweezers, a file, and a small knife for slicing cheese. Gerber makes some great tools, and the Dime model has made it into my pack. Also, go ahead and check out their knives for a well-crafted lineup of blades. I prefer to carry a Sharkbelly when I hit the trail." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

The Sawyer Squeeze

Price: $49.99
Why it's a great gift: "This is a great lightweight way to ensure you have clean and safe water no matter where you're hiking. Two things I love about the Sawyer Squeeze is that they can be screwed onto a Smartwater bottle or run as an inline filter for easy use. They can be easily backflushed (read: cleaned) to keep them working over and over again." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

Polarized sunglasses from Goodr

Price: $25
Why it's a great gift: "These sunglasses are a game changer. I've lost two expensive pairs of sunglasses and I swore to never go back. Luckily a friend introduced me to Goodr, and they really are (no pun intended) just as good as the polarized sunglasses that are 3x their price. They are super comfortable and the no-slip technology is perfect for downhill hiking or trail running." - TS

Subscription to Gaia or Atlas Guides

Price: Varies, but very inexpensive
Why it's a great gift: "Thanks to apps, the days of carrying a dedicated GPS unit are over—and not only in saving weight but additional costs in batteries. My two favorite apps for hiking are Atlas Guides' 'Guthook' app—I use this when I'm on a major trail. When I am going off into the boonies, I rely on Gaia GPS for my needs. I have been using this app since 2015 and it has proven to be a life saver. For real. I had to use it make a route out of the Wind River Range to avoid a major forest fire in 2016." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

LEKI trekking poles

Price: $120
Why it's a great gift: "These are a great set of trekking poles , especially for a new hiker.  The proven design is strong enough to take whatever abuse you can throw their way, yet still light enough to not be a burden when you need to stash them for a scramble up a rocky face." - WLR

"I want to be able to hike when I'm in my elder years, so I bring my LEKI trekking poles with me whenever I'm hiking in steep terrain to save those knees! It's important to get a pair that will work for your height, are lightweight, and have good grips." - TS

Hiking Shorts from Mammut

Price: $99
Why it's a great gift: "Hiking shorts are underrated. I'd always rather wear shorts than pants when hiking, even when the temperatures are a bit cooler. I layer on top before layering on bottom, so shorts are essential. These are comfortable and the perfect length to avoid annoying and unnecessary chafing." - TS

Thrillist | Grace Han

Six Moon Designs Pack Pods

Price: $30
Why it's a great gift: "Available in two sizes, these pack pods are my favorite for keeping gear organized in the pack. I use the small size for a repair kit in the field, and the large ones have a big following with long-distance hikers as a food bag." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

Neon Light Backpack from Mammut

Price: $69.95
Why it's a great gift: "This is great for shorter hiking days when all you want to carry is a water bladder, some snacks, and layers. Very fitted and you could even take it trail running." - TS

Point6 Merino wool socks

Price: Varies, but around $20
Why it's a great gift: "As a kid this was always a lame present. Socks? Really? However, with a lifetime guarantee, a bunch of fun & funky patterns, these socks have become my go to socks. I love that they're lightweight and how quickly they can dry after a creek crossing." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

A durable hiking umbrella

Price: $40
Why it's a great gift: "Over the past year, what was once a fringe item by those looney ultra-lighters is now a widely accepted piece of hiking gear. Pulling double-duty, a good hiking umbrella can keep you safe from the sun, wind, rain and snow." - WLR

Merino Wool head/neckwear from Buff

Price: $29
Why it's a great gift: "It blocks out sun, gives extra warmth around the neck on cold days, and it's the perfect way to get a beanie to stay on at night. The buff is a great piece of cloth to get someone. I love the merino wool one as it works as both a sun blocker and extra warmth layer.  Also, its soft to the touch, and one of the most used items I carry in my pack." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

A good compass

Price: $26
Why it's a great gift: "While I may use my apps to navigate more than a map and compass these days, having a reliable compass cannot be overlooked. I use the Suunto A-10, as it’s light, affordable, and very reliable." - WLR

Montbell Tachyon Parka

Price: $99
Why it's a great gift: "This is my favorite layer in my pack. I use it for combatting winds while on ridge walks, keeping off the morning chill before the sunrises, or anytime I need a little extra layer without wanting to put on my heavier and hotter Gore-Tex jacket." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

Deuce of Spades

Price: $20
Why it's a great gift: "As my friend Czech says, 'you most likely will not get bit by snake, eaten by a bear, or attacked by a cougar, but I guarantee you are going to need to poop in the morning out there.' At just 17g, this awesome piece of engineering can help you dig the perfect cat hole and double up as a tent stake when needed." - WLR

Thrillist | Grace Han

Waterproof hiking boots from Timberland

Price: Varies
Why it's a great gift: "They're super comfy and will keep your feet dry and warm. These were my first hiking boots I ever bought and they lasted years. Bonus: They're also stylish!" - TS

Lightweight hiking shirt (antimicrobial) from Mammut

Price: $69
Why it's a great gift: "This shirt is great for any weather. It protects from the sun and the antimicrobial treatment keeps the smells away on long days." - TS

Thrillist | Grace Han

Wool hiking socks from Smartwool

Price: Varies, but around $20
Why it's a great gift: "There's nothing better than wool clothing when you're hiking. Whether you're in warm weather or cold weather, wool socks are the way to go and I've always loved Smartwool's crew socks." - TS

Water filtration system from Katadyn

Price: $59.95
Why it's a great gift: "Depending on how long I'll be out on a hike or how remote the hike is, I like to throw this lightweight water filtration bag into my hiking pack. It's easy to use and I don't have to worry about running out of clean water." - TS

Tobey Schmidt is an ambassador for Mammut and a hiking expert/enthusiast. You can check out her adventures on Instagram @TobeySchmidt.
Whitney "Allgood" La Ruffa is the VP of sales and marketing for Six Moon Designs as well as a devoted long distance hiker and adventurer. Keep up with him at @agk9adventures.
Alex Robinson is a writer & editor for Thrillist. If you can believe it, he also loves hiking. Follow him on Instagram for proof @alexanderrobinson.
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