The Best Gifts for Hikers, According to Very Experienced Hikers
Hiking is hard enough. Shopping for the essentials should be a breeze.
Gift giving is a lot like hiking. It starts off simple enough, but invariably becomes more difficult as time passes. The end result, however, is always worth the effort. That said, buying gifts that hikers love can be somewhat of a challenge. Of course you can always opt for something tried and true, like a Nalgene or good pair of trail sunnies, but with so many innovations in hiking and outdoor gear in the past few years, why not think outside of the box of trail mix?
Below we have 15 excellent gifts for hikers handpicked by experienced hikers themselves. We talked with Whitney "Allgood" La Ruffa—an expert hiker and VP of sales and marketing at Six Moon Designs, as well as Brian Raffio, the senior adventure travel consultant for Climbing Kilimanjaro.
Here are their picks for the absolute best gifts for the hikers in your life this year.
Why it’s a great gift: "A high quality backpack is such a great investment, this pack is so comfortable and distributes the weight evenly even when carrying a heavy load. It features multiple compartments and adjustable straps. It is impressive how much gear I can fit in my Osprey pack.” - BR
Why it’s a great gift: “I have been using an older version of this headlamp, the BioLite 330, for the past three seasons and I can not say enough good things about it. It has multiple light settings and adjustable brightness. It is light and sturdy, and has performed well when I have used it to hike a few hours before sunrise each day on trail. I was hesitant to go with a rechargeable headlamp, but I rarely have to top it off while on a trip unless I’m using it for seven days—and hours of hiking in the dark.” - WLR
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
Why it’s a great gift: “I have been using these poles for two solid hiking seasons, and they look as good as they did when I first got them. The strength of these poles is amazing, yet they are so light in the hand. From the mountains of New Mexico to a recent traverse of the country of Iceland, these poles have kept me safe and balanced. The best part is the new handle top is flat, this helps when I use them as my tent poles, as the flat head holds well and doesn’t allow the fabric to slip off of it.” - WLR
Why it’s a great gift: “These boots have lasted me for three summers’ worth of mountain adventures—with over 300 miles in them! They keep just as dry now as they did on day one.” - BR
Why it’s a great gift: “Merino is a great choice for a base layer as it breathes well, wicks moisture away, dries quickly, and best of all doesn’t hold onto that hiker smell. The Montbell Merino wool hoodie has a great feel to it and is a great sun base layer that can be used in summer—or better yet in fall or winter. The ample hood is great for keeping the sun off your neck and face, and it’s my go-to layer for hiking.” - WLR
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
Why it's a great gift: "Who doesn’t love a knife or multi-tool? I find the mini multi-tool 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." - WLR
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 [they] 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
Why it’s a great gift: “I designed this backpack in late 2019 as a modern take on the classic mountain rucksack. Since the first iteration, I’ve listened to user feedback and updated this pack to be what I feel is the best daypack on the market. With updated breathable back panels, narrower shoulder straps for better comfort, and updated materials, this frameless day pack is ready to hit the trail or travel the world with you.” - WLR
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." - WLR
Why it’s a great gift: “The Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System is a compact and lightweight choice for all hikers. I carry mine with me on every adventure, and it’s saved me countless times when clean water was not available.” - BR
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
Why it’s a great gift: “When it comes to insulation, this jacket is one of the warmest I’ve owned. I used it this past fall for a 350-mile traverse across Iceland and we had some gnarly wet weather. This jacket was like a warm hug at the end of the day. And as a bonus, no matter how wet I was, the Apex insulation stayed lofted and warm, and even helped dry me out.” - WLR
Why it's a great gift: "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