Best Gifts For Hikers From $9.95 and Up (2018)
|In This Guide|
These hiking gifts are sure to put a smile on he face of anyone who loves hiking, backpacking, camping, or the outdoors. All of these gift suggestions have been used and tested by me – these gifts are the best of the best. And if nothing here strikes your fancy, you can see all the other gear I use regularly here.
Save yourself the hassle of going to the mall to find these gifts; just click on the links below to get them all from REI. They have free shipping over $50, are easy to return, and you can get 10% back on everything for the rest of your life by simply by purchasing an inexpensive REI membership.
I’d also recommend checking out REI outlet for gear at up to 50% off. You can almost always find a gem.
Also → Big Sale at REI On Now:
Hiking Gifts From $9.95 to $25
An inexpensive hiking gift doesn’t mean a cheap hiking gift. There are plenty of gifts that don’t cost much, but are still very cool and useful. Here are the best hiking gifts for a limited budget.
Lightweight Solar Powered Lamp
The MPOWERED Luci lamp runs off of solar power. Clip it on your backpack during the day; at night, expand the lamp to the size of a coffee mug and it gives you long-lasting LED light. For $20, it’s a steal. I keep one at home and in the car too.
The Best Socks on Earth
I know what you’re saying – “socks?” Well, these are different socks. Darn Tough Socks are made in Vermont, are super comfortable, and have a lifetime guarantee. All my socks are Darn Tough now, and I haven’t bought a new pair in years. There are lots of different color and pattern options so that your gift can stand out.
No other sock compares. – Amazon Reviewer
Plan Your Next Great Adventure
The Backpacker The National Parks Coast to Coast: 100 Best Hikes book is unique in that it provides detailed hike instructions AND pretty pictures. So you can get excited about doing a classic hike, and you also have detailed directions and maps. It covers 44 National Parks across the entire USA.
When I’m in the outdoors, I usually get a million ideas. This waterproof notebook is how I capture them. You get 3 notebooks for about $10, a great deal. If you want to your gift to really impress, combine the notebooks with a waterproof space pen for $15. It’s the one you can write upside down with (if you find yourself in that position).
Mini Fire Starter
My kids bought me this for Christmas, and to be honest I thought I would never use it. How wrong was that, it is so simple when matches or lighters would blow out or get damp this works every time. simple light robust easy to use, just keep it with your stove and off you go. – MSR Reviewer
Yea, okay, a fire starter can save your life. But it’s also a lot of fun to create a fire from scratch. This small, lightweight fire starter is easy for any outdoors enthusiast to pack and use whenever they need fire.
National Parks Wall Map
I wish my life involved hiking 24/7, but it doesn’t. So when I’m home, I have this National Parks map hanging on my wall to inspire me to plan my next hiking adventure. And in these days of online maps, it’s nice to actually have a “real” map to look at and browse.
I have 3 … one for each bag I carry and one for the car. Oh, one in my travel kit for the suitcase too. Can you tell I love them? We need to reduce the plastic we dispose of, and this helps. – REI Reviewer
What the hell is a spork? It’s a spoon and fork combo, a perfect cool-yet-inexpensive outdoors gift for backpackers or hikers. It’s made out of titanium, so it’s light and indestructible. This gift could potentially outlive the gift recipient by several thousand years.
Survival Clip Compass
Of all the button compasses I’ve ever had in my life, this is absolutely the BEST one I have ever owned. – Amazon Reviewer
I love electronic gadgets, but I always carry an analog backup (actually two), and this compass fits the bill. The Suunto Clipper compass clips onto your hiking gear (and watches). It’s a great way to know where you’re going at a quick glance. It’s made in Finland and lives up to the Suunto ruggedness standards. A great outdoors gift that could save someone’s life!
Portable Outdoors First-Aid Kit
Nothing says “please don’t die” like a first aid kit. If my mother could buy me 100 of these, she would. Here’s what I like about this kit in particular. It’s really small and light. I put it in my backpack and forget about it. It’s also comprehensive for its size – it’s got enough to handle a few people and conditions. I also like that it comes with a compact hiking first-aid manual. The case is durable and organized well.
Probars are my goto trail food. These nutritionally-dense snack options pack a lot of healthy calories in a small package (great for hiking). I’m not so picky with my diet, but for those who are, these check off every box: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, organic, non-GMO, low glycemic, and blended (not baked). And most important of all, they taste great and come in a lot of different flavors. I particullarly like these because the mix of nuts and seeds gives you a slow energy burn, no sugar spikes, which aligns nicely with the slow and steady effort involved in hiking.
60 Hikes Books
The 60 Hikes books are a great way to find lots of new hikes, and they have them for many USA cities. They’re laid out so that it’s easy to find a hike at any level and with any features. Guide information includes trail lengths, hiking times, trail difficulty, and detailed trailhead directions.
Great book for beginner and advanced hikers alike. The information is reasonably up to date and easy to follow. Would definitely recommend. – Amazon Reviewer
Hiking Gifts Between $25 and $50
Outdoors Coffee Maker
I’m a coffee guy. This hiking gift comes with me on every backpacking trip, and on some cold weather day hikes. I even use it at home. It’s a french press coffee maker that’s made for the outdoors. It’s lightweight, insulated and rugged. A great gift for the coffee fiend in your life.
Exceeded expectations! – REI Reviewer
Do-Everything Portable Backpack
The ultra-light REI Flash backpack can do lots of things very well. It’s dead simple, light, and packs down small. I take mine with me on work trips so that I can get a hike in without bringing my bigger pack because it holds a hydration bladder. It’s also great for throwing items in for a quick trip to the pool, library, supermarket, etc. This pack has hundreds of 4+ star reviews for a reason.
I bought this pack six years ago, and I have used it nonstop since then. – REI Reviewer
Tripod Built for the Outdoors
Here’s a hiking gift for anyone who loves taking pictures. The Joby tripod bends and twists, allowing you to use it anywhere and attach it to things. I use it on to create my hiking guides– it’s small and fits easily in my pack. It works with cameras, and also comes with a little grip adaptor to use it with any smartphone. Another piece of gear that has lasted me for years.
Insurance For Getting Caught Out Past Dark
I never understood what good quality light looked like before this. – REI Reviewer
We’ve all been there. A hike runs longer than you thought and you get caught out after dusk or dark. Having a small, lightweight, powerful headlamp in your pack is a must. I like the Black Diamond Storm because it can last up to 160 hours, it has strobe and red light modes, and uses AAA batteries that you can get anywhere.
The Best Post-Hike Treat
I am so happy I found the trigger point foam roller, it’s my favorite thing to do after a hike. It’s pretty simple, you just roll your body (back, legs, neck, whatever) on the roller, and the trigger point foam releases the tension in your muscles. When I first saw this, I thought it would be something cheesy like on an infomercial, but it really works. I use it after hikes, bikes, and runs.
Hiking Gifts Between $50 and $100
The Pass That Gets You in Everywhere
The America the Beautiful National Parks Pass, gets you into over 2000 federal recreation areas, including National Parks and National Monuments. It works on any federal land, so you don’t have to purchase regional passes like the Adventure Pass or Northwest Forest Pass, just use this. The pass covers entrance for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas or up to 4 adults at sites that charge per person. It doesn’t work at state or local parks though, so heads up. This thing pays for itself many times over.
Hiking Solar Panel
For better or worse, gadgets have become part of everyone’s standard hiking gear. Most batteries can last for the entire day, but for overnight trips or potential emergency situations, a simple solar panel that you attach to your pack is the move.
This little guy was amazing! It charged headlamps, Garmin devices, cell phones, everything!- REI Reviewer
Microspikes For When the Trail Gets Slippery
Whenever I hike in the spring, fall, or winter, I carry these microspikes in my pack. The concept is simple. If it gets slippery or icy, you pull these over your existing hiking boots or shoes. No special gear needed. A simple solution that saved my butt numerous times.
I have owned a pair of these for at least 6 years (mine are the previous silicone design even) and my wife’s are around 5 years old. We use these many times per year and they’ve never failed us. We are not gentle on these things; we don’t take them off until we’re completely off snow, so they’ve gone many miles across bare trails, scree, talus, etc. They’ve got a bit of wear on the spikes now, but they keep going strong. Highly recommended. – REI Reviewer
A Hot Meal in Your Pack
There is a reason everyone is giving this product 5 stars. It works great, looks great, and is extremely convenient. I don’t know that I have ever been more pleased with a purchase. – REI Reviewer
Where do I start? I’ve had my Jetboil since 2006 and I love it. It heats water very quickly, and packs down into a compact cup. Even if you’re not hiking overnight, it’s great to have in your pack on a cool day for a quick, warm lunch. Jetfboil changed the camping stove game – it’s a great gift for hikers.
So Much Better Than a Tent
In the old days there were tents. They were heavy and often overkill. In the last few years, hikers and backpackers have been turned onto hammocks. They keep you off the ground, they’re light, and easy to set up. Even if I’m not overnighting, I’ll often take the hammock in my pack and take a mid-hike nap. And they work in your backyard too. Don’t forget to get the Atlas Straps with it (they help set the hammock up anywhere). It’s a great hiking gift for every experience level.
The Best Way to Enjoy a Mountain Hike
I bought these a few years ago and I love them, even more now that I’ve searched in vain for a better bigger pair. – REI Reviewer
I didn’t hike with binoculars for a long time. I just didn’t know any better. Now they go everywhere with me. Most hikes involve some kind of climb or view, and binoculars make it even better. I also like carrying them for safety reasons. If I get lost, I get scan the horizon for help. This model, the Nikon Trailblazer, is specifically made for the outdoors.
Make Fresh, Clean Water Anywhere
This is a gift that any hiker, backpacker, or outdoorsman will use for years. I’ve had mine for 10 years and it’s still going strong. This simple, tough, and effective water filter from MSR is small enough to put in your daypack, and filters out bacteria, protozoa, and general muck. Much easier than lugging tons of water around on your back.
This little pump works amazingly well. I have owned it for 5+ years now, and have never needed to replace anything on it. – REI Reviewer
Hiking Gifts Over $100
A Gift That Can Save Someone’s Life
Your life is worth more than a few hundred dollars. – HikingGuy
Okay, so I’m a firm believer in leveraging anything I can to stay safe. This two-way satellite texting device & GPS beacon works where cell phones don’t. Hikers can share text messages with a map location from the backcountry to any cell phone to let friends and family know you’re okay. And it has maps, and an SOS emergency service, and navigation tools, and weather forecasts, and more. It’s amazing that something like this even exists and is worth its weight in gold. (You can also check out my review and guide here.) And if you want a version that’s more affordable but doesn’t have a maps, the InReach Mini is a great alternative.
A Jacket Built For Hikers
This is a great gift for on or off the trail. This REI Magma jacket weighs next to nothing and compresses down into a small packet. It was designed to work with a hiking backpack and has lots of other very thoughtful features for the hiker in your life. I wear mine all the time.
The Ultimate Outdoors & Athlete Watch
The ONE watch to rule them all. – Amazon Reviewer
If you really want to get a great gift for a hiker, look no further. This watch does everything. Hikers can use it for navigation and tracking a hike, you can use it for biking, running, surfing, working out, anything. And it tells time, altitude, barometric pressure. AND IT HAS TOPO MAPS ON IT! There are literally thousands of things that this watch does. It’s the ultimate hiker’s tool. I have a full review here.
The Bulletproof Travel Bag
The North Face Base Camp Duffel is a great piece of luggage for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. You’ll see these bags on expeditions all over the world, they’re tough and have proved their worth. It’s waterproof, versatile, pretty indestructible, and works as checked luggage. They’re also easy to spot on the baggage claim. I’ve had one of these bags for years, it’s a great gift.
The Tent Alternative
When backpackers want to travel light, they ditch the tent and go with a bivy sack. It covers you and your sleeping bag, adds 5-10 degrees of warmth, and lets you watch the stars at night, or if it’s raining, cover up and stay dry. It took me a while to get turned onto bivy sacks, but once I tried it, I haven’t looked back. When I’m not sure if there will be trees to hang a hammock, I use the bivy.
The $600 Sleeping Bag That Costs $350
I go through a lot of (good and bad) gear as part of my work on this site, and I can easily say that this sleeping bag is a great value. It’s basically as good as the really high-end bags that cost much more. It’s light, compresses down small, and most importantly, is very comfortable. Get it with the highly-rated Flash sleeping pad for a great backcountry sleeping experience.
The Cool Kids Cooler
If you’re not in the know, the Yeti cooler is the cooler that every outdoors enthusiast wants. They’re last forever and keep things cold many hours longer than any other cooler you’d get. I keep cool snacks in the car for after a hike and this works great. It’s not uncommon for ice to last for days in these things. The Yeti cooler is legendary.
More Gift Options
Another great resource for hiking, fitness, and outdoors gifts is the REI Staff Picks page. I also list out my complete hiking gear list here, which is the best of the best stuff that I carry with me on every hike.