Many guidebooks and websites will catalog the “best hiking trails” in a region or worldwide, and this book does that—but it also features descriptions, guides, maps, and advice about the less commonly known hikes, which is often where the real magic of nature is found. A great inspirational gift, this book will encourage any hiker to strike out on a new path and provide the information necessary to do so. $49.08 on Amazon.
The Best Gifts for Hikers Who Live for the Great Outdoors
A few helpful tools can make it easier to enjoy the glory of nature on your next hike, whether you’re an experienced trekker or just starting out. Check out this list of hiking accessories and find a gift for the hikers in your life—or yourself.
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- Off the Beaten BathThe Hidden Tracks: WanderlustCheck Latest Price
- Log Distance and PositionGarmin Vivoactive 3, GPS SmartwatchCheck Latest Price
- Document Every MomentGoPro HERO9 Waterproof Action CameraCheck Latest Price
The best part of enjoying the outdoors is that it’s always there, and you don’t need fancy or expensive equipment to enjoy it. But experienced hikers know (and new ones will find out) that a few carefully chosen hard-working accessories can make the difference between an energetic, rewarding experience in nature and a long, uncomfortable slog. Some will help you find your way or see better, and others can make you more comfortable during and after the hike. Technology has made it easier to avoid getting lost or separated from your companions (or easier to find them if you do) and has also made bringing and carrying your supplies lighter weight and more comfortable. Hiking supplies are frequently discounted sporadically during the hiking season, and significantly in the fall as outdoor stores and warehouses clear their warehouses to prepare for the next season’s new equipment. It’s a good idea to shop and track prices to be informed about how much an item regularly costs so that you can grab a great deal if you see one.
The Best Gifts for Hikers
Everything from inspirational books to the newest tech toys and basics like the Swiss Army knife can make a great gift for hikers. These are some of the best options out there for new and experienced hikers alike.
While the goal of a good hike is the experience of nature, many people enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing how far or how high they traveled. This is why smart watches and trackers have become ubiquitous in the sport and fitness world, with each one boasting its own strengths. The Garmin Vivoactive 3 is one of the best on the market for hikers. The GPS mode (which can be turned off when not in use to save battery life) pinpoints your location so you can follow maps and track your distance and altitude. It will also track heart rate and speed. Dedicated sport apps are preloaded for you to choose from, and when paired with a compatible smartphone, it can Live Track your location for you and anyone you choose to share with, so if you’re injured, stranded, or lost, help can reach you more quickly. $249.99 on Amazon.
Read More: The Best Outdoor Watches
We live in a society where “pictures or it didn’t happen” is often the motto, and while the experience of a great hike is the ultimate goal, being able to share it isn’t far behind. The GoPro HERO9 is a waterproof (up to 33 feet in depth) video camera with 5K Ultra HD video capability, a 20-megapixel photo camera, and 1080p live-streaming capability. In short, if you put it on your head, backpack, or handlebars, you’ll be able to share every detail of your hike with friends, family, and the world almost as if they were there, sometimes in real time. Additional mounts (a chest mount, suction mount, pole, and others) are available for purchase separately to make sure you can affix the camera where it will capture the best angle and keep your memories of each vista and conquest alive and ready for viewing. $399.99 on Amazon.
For many hikers, the whole point of the hiking experience is to get away from civilization and take a break from the always-on nature of daily life. The problem is, being outside of cell service areas can create a problem when you need to follow a map, call for help, or check the weather. The Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Communicator connects to satellite services (with a subscription) and with cell phones via Bluetooth to connect with maps, emergency text messages, weather forecasts, and emergency search and rescue services. The device will transfer your phone’s contact list, so you can get in touch with the people you’re most likely to need if you’re in trouble, and it can serve as an emergency beacon if you’re waiting for help. The inReach includes free access to the Garmin Explore website for trip planning and maps, and it’s a great solution for peace of mind when you’d prefer to be out of reach. $339.00 on Amazon.
If you’re traveling with a group or taking different routes to the same location, the Midland 50 Channel Two-Way Radios will help you keep in contact with other members of your party regardless of the strength (or presence) of cellular service. With a range of 36 miles, depending on terrain, the radios allow regular calls, a whisper mode for soft but clear conversation, connection with a boom microphone headset, and 50 channels plus privacy codes to make sure your intended recipient is the only one. In addition, the radios automatically connect to NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather scan and alert to let you know if bad weather is on the way. $69.99 on Amazon.
Is that a moose or an elk? A hawk or an eagle? Is that my fellow hiker on the ridge or someone I don’t know? Your eyes are strong, but sometimes they just can’t focus far away, and most hikers don’t want to carry heavy binoculars around their neck while walking. The Celestron Monocular is a sturdily built quality ocular device that can ride in your pocket or on a lanyard until you pull it out, swivel the focus loop, and catch the hawk or eagle in your sights. The eyepiece has a soft rubber coating so it works with eyeglasses, and the entire unit is wrapped in heavy rubber for protection. Check out the trail ahead, the wildlife at a distance, or find the best way down the hill with this handy and effective tool. $44.95 on Amazon.
All the cell phones and GPS units in the world won’t help you if they have run out of power. This compact (about the size of a smartphone) power bank unfolds into four waterproof solar panels, reducing the time it needs to charge itself and your devices. The bank can hook onto a backpack to scoop up the sun’s rays all day and will be ready at any moment to charge anything you can plug into the included USB adapter—the bank can charge two cell phones simultaneously in about 2 hours. In addition, it has a built-in, self-charging light with several functions including steady, SOS, and strobe, so it can light your way, visually guide help to your location, and maybe even frighten off wildlife. $43.99 on Amazon.
Read More: The Best Solar Power Bank
Osprey’s Daylite Plus Daypack is lightweight but capable of carrying all the gear you’ll need for a daylong hike without straining your back and shoulders or leaving you a sweaty mess. A large main compartment can hold changes of clothes, camera gear, and lunch, while mesh side pockets hold water bottles, rolled towels, or other supplies. An interior sleeve can protect a tablet or hold a hydration reservoir, and a front pocket is a “stuff it” pocket for whatever else you want to tuck in. The back is made from die-cut foam enclosed in mesh to provide solid but comfortable support for your back without trapping sweat, while chest and waist straps keep the pack secure on your shoulders and fold away when not in use. It holds 20 liters of supplies, but it also includes hardware to strap it to other Osprey packs if you’re taking a multiday hike and plan to use this as an accessory pack. Available in eight colors, it’s easy to assign different colors to family members or organize types of supplies among different carriers. $64.95 on Amazon.
Dehydration might be the distance hiker’s worst enemy. More dangerous than rocky outcrops or slippery leaves, dehydration can take down the fittest hiker on a hot day, and it’s hard to come back from without immediate care. Most hikers don’t want to carry around heavy water bottles, especially when using hiking poles or needing handholds, and the CamelBak Classic Hydration Pack is the answer. It’s a lightweight, breathable backpack that spreads the weight of 2.5 liters of water across your shoulders. The pack keeps the reservoir close to your back for an even, light carry, and the attached flexible straw can be affixed to either shoulder strap for a quick, hands-free sip any time you want one. The reservoir’s filling port is wide, so in an emergency it can be easily filled from a clean stream or filtering straw. An extra pocket is a great spot to stash an energy bar, and the CamelBak is available in neutral as well as bright colors for visibility in the woods. $58.95 on Amazon.
The list of functions a good knife can fulfill on a hike is too long to print. The Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife is, as its name says, a classic—and with good reason. Sharp, durable, and lightweight, it adds almost nothing to your carry load, and it has the standard functions you’d expect a pocket knife to include, such as a standard blade, a screwdriver, and a toothpick. The other tools are also expected on a good pocket knife, but perhaps you haven’t thought about their uses on a hike. Tore a fingernail on some tree bark? This knife has a file for that. Need to pluck out a tick? The V-shape of the scissors is the ideal angle for removal without squeezing. Thorn embedded in your arm? The tweezers have you covered. This is a knife that every hiker, new or experienced, should have in their bag, and it’s an especially great gift for new hikers who don’t yet know what they need. $16.99 on Amazon.
No need for butane or other flammable chemicals in your pack—the Icfun Waterproof Lighter starts fires with a lithium battery-powered arc. Windproof (there’s no flame!) and waterproof, the dual arcs make sure that your tinder or grill will light right up regardless of conditions. It’s rechargeable and locks closed for safety when in your pack or on the included lanyard. $15.79 on Amazon.
It’s happened to every hiker: You have a planned route, but the day and the trail are gorgeous and you decide to go just a little farther. Then on the return trip, the night is falling, and you still have to negotiate a rocky path. Or maybe you enjoy night hiking and want an immediate, hands-free option for light when you really need it. The ACTIK CORE headlamp has you covered. Running for up to 130 hours on a single charge, the lamp has three brightness levels and a red-light mode for night hiking, plus a strobe function for emergencies that is visible nearly a half mile away. The internal rechargeable battery takes just 3 hours to charge fully and can be supported with three AAA batteries if needed. The headband is soft but sturdy, comfortable, and washable. Even if you’re not planning to be out in the dark, this small, lightweight headlamp is a great safety item to tuck in your pack. $69.95 on Amazon.
What do you need to record on your hike? For some, it’s the route; for others, the number and types of wildlife or plants are the focus; and still others may just want to record their observations as they go. Standard notebooks make this tricky: Floppy backer board and thick paper make writing illegible or impossible. The Rite in the Rain notebook features weatherproof covers and pages, so they remain sturdy even in the rain, and pencil markings won’t wash off. These have even been known to survive a tumble through the wash with no ill effects. Strong spiral bindings survive crushing in a pocket or bag, and the notebooks are available in several colors to keep you organized or make them easier to find. And even with their waterproof properties, the Rite in the Rain notebooks are still 100 percent recyclable, so you can feel good about the environmental impact of your note-taking. $14.97 on Amazon.
Sure-footedness is harder to come by when the ground doesn’t cooperate. Some of the most beautiful vistas are available to hikers who are willing to brave the trails in the winter, but ice, packed snow, and mud can hamper progress and lead to injuries. The Kahtoola MICROspikes use elastomer bands to attach a system of stainless steel chains and 12 spikes to the bottom of your snow boot, hiking boot, or shoe, providing outstanding traction and helping you feel confident in your stride in slippery or partly frozen conditions. If your hike includes ice fishing, the Kahtoola MICROspikes will move right from the trail to the lake ice. $69.95 on Amazon.
Sweat, mud, rain, and stream water can all make their way into your shoes and boots on a long hike. Drying them thoroughly and promptly helps reduce bacterial and fungal growth, and if you’re hiking over the course of a few days or a week, drying overnight is essential for the next day’s comfort. The PEET Shoe and Boot Dryer features two extensions for you to insert into your wet shoes. A silent element at the bottom gently heats air that rises into the shoes, removing humidity and drying the shoes without shrinking the insoles or damaging leather and without keeping you up all night with a noisy fan. It’s also ideal for gloves or mittens that may have gotten wet during your hike. It requires a standard outlet, so it’s also a great option for the garage or for using at a cabin in the wintertime. $44.99 on Amazon.
Read More: The Best Boot Dryer
How to Get Deals on the Best Gifts for Hikers
Hiking gear is seasonal in many regions, so you can expect sales at the beginning and end of the warmer months in those areas, usually mid-spring and late fall. In addition, many local stores will offer buy online/pick up in store options, which may save you on shipping costs and let you assess the quality of the product before you take it home. Online, browser extensions such as Honey will search the internet for coupons and apply them for you, and CouponCabin will help you with coupons and cash back if you search through their site or install their browser extension. Finally, patience is a virtue: If there’s a particular item you’re wanting to purchase as a gift, check CamelCamelCamel, which shows you the price history of any item on Amazon over the last few months and helps you decide if the price right now is perfect or if you want to keep an eye on it so you’ll know when it’s really on sale. With patience and a little effort, you can save money on the best gift for the hikers in your life.
Prices listed here were accurate at the time of publication on 6/4/2021.