Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Hikers
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Need some gift ideas for your favorite hiker? Thrill the hikers on your gift list with these inexpensive stocking stuffer ideas. Each of these items are under $20 and will easily fit into their hiking daypack.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of my links I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links help keep me on the trail and help keep this site running. Thanks for your support!
Water bottle holder
Help your hiker stay hydrated! The Zpacks Aquaclip attaches a water bottle to the backpack shoulder strap or belt. This little gadget was designed so that the bottle won’t annoyingly bump against your body while hiking and the easy release grip makes it easy to take a quick drink of water without stopping.
Most people groan at the thought of receiving socks for a gift, but hikers will rejoice! A good pair of wool hiking socks don’t come cheap, but they are worth the investment. Often thought of as the holy grail of hiking socks, Darn Tough socks are made of soft merino wool. Like their name implies, Darn Tough socks don’t wear out, in fact they have a lifetime warranty.
Therm-a-rest Z Seat Cushion
When you’re on a long day hike, having a foam cushion to sit on is pure luxury! The Therm-a-rest Z Seat is a foam pad makes sitting on the nearest rock, log, or even in the middle of a bramble patch comfortable! The small, lightweight foam pad is small enough to fit in the side pouch of a hiking backpack and it weighs next to nothing. I bring my Z Seat with me on all my hikes. It makes snack time enjoyable, and helps extend the life of my hiking pants.
It’s always nice to have a variety of trail snacks on hand that you can grab on the go. From beef jerky, granola bars, Stroop waffles, or Nuun electrolyte tablets nothing makes a hiker happier than a great trail snack. You can find a variety of snacks at your local REI or sporting goods store, or look for granola bars, dried fruit, beef jerky, and protein bars at the grocery store.
A Buff is the most versatile item in a hiker’s backpack. It can be used as a hat, a headband, a neck gaiter, a small washcloth, an emergency bandage, or anything else that you would use a small, stretchy cloth for. They come in a variety of colors and fun prints and make a great gift.
Lip Balm with SPF
A good lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher is essential if you’re hiking in alpine environments or in full sun. Ever since I badly burned my lips while on a 3-day backpacking trip along the Lost Coast I make sure to always have a tube of lip balm on hand! I really like Burt Bee’s All Weather lip balm with SPF 15, but if your hiker has sensitive skin or is often in harsh environments a lip balm with a SPF 30 might be a better choice.
Black Diamond Astro Headlamp
A headlamp is the one essential piece of gear that I always forget to pack. That’s why I always keep a headlamp and batteries in my daypack and my backpacking backpack. I even have a headlamp in my car and one hanging on the doorknob of my bedroom in case of power outages, earthquakes, or other emergencies. Seriously, it’s impossible to have too many headlamps! While a headlamp is great for those early morning or evening hikes, it’s also a survival piece of gear that every hiker should carry in their pack. The Black Diamond Astro headlamp is stormproof so it will see last through all conditions- including in rain or sleet.
Books about outdoor skills and navigation
A Women’s Guide to the Wild is the perfect gift for the outdoorsy gal who wants to expand her skills. Written by a woman, for women this handbook is the definitive guide to being a woman in the outdoors. The book has a variety of tips for hiking, camping, and backpacking.
For directional-challenged hikers, or those that just want to learn more about navigation The Natural Navigator will help keep you on course and open your eyes to the wonders, large and small, of the natural world. The book unlocks the directional clues hidden in the sun, moon, stars, clouds, weather patterns, lengthening shadows, changing tides, plant growth, and the habits of wildlife; teaching you to determine direction without the aid of maps and GPS.
For other reading recommendations check out my winter reading list.
For the ladies, the Kula Cloth is the piece of hiking gear she didn’t know she needed, but can’t stop raving about. The Kula Cloth is an anti-microbial cloth that replaces the need to carry and pack out toilet paper. Kula Cloth comes in a bunch of fun prints, easily snaps to the outside of a backpack, and is machine washable and quick drying.
Having a detailed trail map makes it easy to explore local and long distance trails and plot future hiking routes. Using a paper map to plan out hiking trips shows you what’s possible- hidden lakes, less frequented trail heads, and secret waterfalls are just some of the notable points of interest that you can find on a paper map. You’re no longer limited to crowded trails with trip reports on the first page of the Google search results. National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps have trail maps for wilderness areas and National Parks throughout the U.S. If you’re in California and frequent a specific area (like Mono County, Mammoth, or the Emigrant Wilderness) I highly recommend the Tom Harrison Maps.
Stickers are the perfect decorations for water bottles, notebooks, and bear canisters. Etsy has a large selection of inexpensive stickers so you’re sure to find something that your hiker will love. And if you want to support this site you can check out my trail-specific hiking stickers for locations in California, Arizona, and Oregon.
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