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25 Best Gifts for Hikers They’ll Use and Love 2023

Looking for the perfect gifts for hikers? We started our hiking journey ten years ago, and these are the things we love.

Hiking wasn’t always in our vocabulary. We both grew up in Atlanta in immigrant families and thought, “so you’re basically walking for fun?”

It wasn’t until we started training for the Inca Trail in 2012 that we fell in love with exploring the outdoors and realized there are so many beautiful places you can only get to on foot.

25 best gifts for hikersPin

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Last Updated: December 7, 2022

25 Best Gifts for Hikers

For Day Hiking

1. Day Pack

A reliable and comfortable day pack helps you bring everything you need. We have a few different day packs we rotate through depending on the length of the hike or whether we need our camera equipment. 

See Related – The Best Travel Backpacks

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2. Hiking Boots

Hiking boots can make or break a trip. Ever since we discovered Danners, they’ve been our go-to! We each have a pair of Mountain 600s and an insulated version for colder weather.

See Related – 25 Gifts Your Outdoor Adventurers Will Actually Love

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3. National Park Annual Pass

This is one of the most practical and best gifts for hikers. We buy an America the Beautiful Pass every year, which gives us access to 2,000+ federal recreation sites, including all of the National Parks. National monuments, and more. If the hiker in your life likes exploring state parks instead, you can get the annual state park pass.

Pro Tip: This covers park entrance fees, but some still require a separate reservation fee.

See Related – Your Complete List of All National Parks in the US

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4. Headlamps

Even if you don’t plan on hiking at night, sometimes we get lost, and hikes can take longer than anticipated. Headlamps are always helpful; we like to leave one in each bag just in case. 

Pro Tip:  If you’re buying for someone who camps or does astrophotography, get one with a red light feature.

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5. Mid-Layer / Insulated Layer

A mid-layer is what goes between a base layer and an outer layer. You can use it as a primary layer when it’s not that cold. We use a fleece, insulated jacket, or stack both, depending on the weather.

Our favorite fleeces or performance fabric layers are the Patagonia Better Sweater and Arcteryx Fleece. We’ve had both for a long time.

The Arcteryx Down Jacket and Patagonia Nano Puff are our insulated layers and have kept us warm over the years. These are also great when space is limited since they pack small.

See Related – 25 Best Hikes in the World to Put on Your Bucket List

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6. Outer Layer

Although you can get jackets that do it all, we’ve found that having a separate outer layer works better for us. You can have an outer layer that performs well in keeping out wind and water but not worry about sacrificing breathability when you don’t need it. We have the Arcteryx Rain Coat, and for an even more lightweight version, this Patagonia one.

See Related – 7+ Best Jackets for Travel for Any Weather

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7. Hiking Pants

When we first started hiking, we used to wear hiking-specific pants, but over the years, we’ve found plenty of travel pants and even climbing pants that perform well for urban and outdoor exploration.

Pro Tip:  Down pants keep you warmer and are great for cold-weather camping.

See Related – 12 Best Travel Pants For Both Comfort and Style

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8. Trekking Poles

I remember the first time I brought trekking poles on a hike. It made such a huge difference, and I appreciate them more the older I get. Trekking poles help stabilize you and take some of the weight off your legs and knees. 

We’ve had these REI Trekking Poles for years, and we bring them with us on longer hikes (6+ miles for us) or if we’re carrying a heavy pack.

See Related – 15 Best Day Hikes in the US to Put On Your Bucket List

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9. Water Bottle or Water Reservoir

We carry our water one of three ways.

You gotta stay hydrated!

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10. Hiking Socks

Socks always get a bad rap as boring, unromantic gifts, but we love them. Hiking socks can save you from blisters, and we appreciate them more in hindsight. I have a few pairs of REI Hiking Socks and a few pairs of Balega socks.

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11. Crampons

Crampons are a good gift if you’re hiking on icy trails. They help give you extra grip where it would typically be slippery. Unless they go on seriously icy trails, they may not need crampons with crazy spikes. The chain or small ones work best for us and are more travel-friendly.

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12. Gaiters

Gaiters are great to help keep things out of your boots. You can either go with a cold weather gaiter to help with winter hiking or warm weather gaiters to keep rocks out of your shoes, which we use more in the desert.

We’ve been on multiple snow adventures like snowshoeing and were always jealous of our friends who were more prepared with gaiters and never got snow in their shoes.

13. Rechargeable Hand Warmer

We used to carry hot hands on cold weather hikes, but ever since we discovered rechargeable hand warmers, we have used these to avoid creating more waste. They’ve been great to warm up our hands when we’re shooting photos at night or climbing through send temps too! 

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14. Hiking Books

Although you can find a lot of trails online (we like to use the AllTrails app – the plus lets you access trails offlline), if your friend likes the tangible feeling of books, you can also pick up a local hiking book.

15. Warm Gloves

A nice pair of gloves is another great gift for hikers in colder weather. We have thinner gloves for mobility and super thick gloves to prioritize staying warm. 

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For Backpacking

16. Backpacking Backpack

When we were looking for bags for our first backpacking trip, the folks at REI taught us so much about how they should fit and how you should distribute the weight. We tried them all on and settled on Osprey bags (I use a kid’s one since I’m petite).

Pro Tip:  REI has weights you can use to test the backpacks.

See Related – We Found the Best Camera Backpack of All Time

17. Camping Shoes

After a long hike, it feels good to get out of your boots. We bring flip-flops when we’re going as light as possible or Danner Jag Lofts if it’s cold. The heel also steps down, so slipping them on and off is easy.

Jumbo Rocks CampgroundPin

18. Sleeping Bag

A lightweight but warm sleeping bag is an excellent option if you’re going for a splurge or if you’re splitting a gift with multiple people. We both have REI sleeping bags that have been amazing for the price. They are lightweight and keep us warm.

Pro Tip:  If you run colder, consider getting a women’s bag, which has more insulation, or down booties.

Joshua Tree CampgroundsPin

19. Jetboil

We aren’t big camp cooks and prefer easy meals. When we’re backpacking, we bring our trusty Jetboil. It makes warm drinks and boils water for our Mountain House meals or ramen.

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20. Dry Sack

We carry a dry sack with us anytime when we travel. I keep one in my suitcase and usually have a small one in my backpack. You never know when you’ll need to keep your gear dry.

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21. LEATHERMAN Multi-Tool

A multi-tool is a backpacker’s best friend. It’s one of those things you may only realize you need once you do. And when you do, you’ll be glad you have it.

Leatherman Multi Tool - Best Camping EssentialsPin

22. Buff

A buff is a great lightweight item to have with you when hiking, whether you want to use it as protection from the sun, keep your sweat out of your eyes, or stay warmer.

See Related – 17 Practical Gifts for Rock Climbers They’ll Love and Use

23. Pack Towel

We use our Pack Towels for backpacking, traveling, and even at home.

24. Dr. Bronners

We love Dr. Bronners at home and when we travel because of its many uses. You only need one soap to do it all, although I don’t recommend it as toothpaste!

25. First Aid Kit

We recently learned that bandages, sterile supplies, medication, and protective equipment all have expiration dates. Since first aid kits come in all shapes and sizes, it’s an easy gift. We carry a small one with us on day hikes and a larger one for longer outings.

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More Gift Ideas for Hikers

Can you think of other great gifts for hikers that we missed?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Follow along on Instagram (E + J), YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.

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