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.
The 15 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 the best gifts for hikers in your life—or yourself.
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- Taking Notes on the GoRite In The Rain All Weather Pocket NotebooksCheck Latest Price
- Classic Multi-ToolVictorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket KnifeCheck Latest Price
- Safe Water AnywhereLifeStraw Personal Water FilterCheck 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.
How to Choose the Best Gifts for Hikers
One of the beauties of hiking is how different each hike can be based on the day, location, weather, and who you’re with. But when you’re shopping for a hiker, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind to help guide you in your purchase.
- How long have they been hiking? You don’t want to get an experienced hiker a basic walking stick, but you also don’t want to get a novice something way out of their depth.
- What climates do they most often hike in? For example, a hiker who lives in the Southwest is unlikely to experience a lot of rain, so waterproof items may not be necessary. But waterproof items may come in handy for a hiker living in the Pacific Northwest.
- Are they a solo hiker, or do they hike with a group? It may make sense to get a solo hiker a communicator or a GoPro, but these kinds of items may not get a lot of use if the recipient is always hiking with another person who already has these gadgets.
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.
Gifts Under $25
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.
The LifeStraw is the perfect tool to have in your backpack for when you run out of water on the trail but don’t totally trust the water from the nearby stream. The microfiltration membrane removes 99.99 percent of bacteria and parasites (including E. coli, salmonella, and giardia), as well as microplastics that may have made their way into the water supply. This means that no matter where you go, you can feel confident that you’re drinking safe water. With proper use and maintenance, your LifeStraw will allow you to drink up to 4,000 liters of clean water. And with every LifeStraw purchase, a child in need receives a year of safe drinking water, so you can feel good about your purchase. $17.47 on Amazon.
When you gotta go, you gotta go—even on the trail in the middle of nowhere. That’s why having this antimicrobial cloth can come in handy for the avid hiker. It snaps to a backpack so you never forget to pack it, and it closes for privacy and hygiene. One side is waterproof and the other is made from an ultra-absorbent fabric infused with antimicrobial silver. A reflective thread runs through the edge so you can locate your cloth, even at night. It also works as a washcloth or small towel. $19.99 on Amazon.
Gifts Under $50
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.
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.
Gifts Under $100
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feel ready to take on the outdoors no matter the weather with this hooded rain jacket. The material is waterproof yet breathable so you don’t have to worry about getting overheated on your hike, but the relaxed fit gives you room for extra layers if you need them. The sealed seams and durable material mean that this jacket can withstand the toughest storms with no problems. Plus, it’s a packable jacket so if the storm clears and blue skies return, you can put this in your backpack without it taking up any valuable space. $98.95 on Amazon.
Gifts Under $250
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
Gifts $250 and Over
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.
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.
A GPS can be a helpful and sometimes necessary tool when you’re hiking, but if you don’t have cell service or just want to leave your phone at home, you might need a dedicated GPS device. This option from Garmin is a top-of-the-line choice for any serious hiker. It features the most accurate GPS and detailed imagery and topography so you never get lost. It can also provide up-to-date weather forecasts so you can be prepared for whatever comes your way. $497.99 on Amazon.
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 6/30/2021.