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.
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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.
- REI Flashpack – lightweight and a great all-around choice
- Wandrd Prvke – when we need to carry camera gear with us
- Topo Designs Rover Pack – cuter for photos but not as many pockets or compartments as I would like
See Related – The Best Travel Backpacks
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
9. Water Bottle or Water Reservoir
We carry our water one of three ways.
- Insulated Water Bottle – we use Hyrdroflask bottles to keep our drinks cool/warm
- Filtering Bottle – when we need to refill in natural sources
- Water Bladder – for backpacking and when we need to carry larger quantities
You gotta stay hydrated!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See Related – 17 Practical Gifts for Rock Climbers They’ll Love and Use
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.
More Gift Ideas for Hikers
- Aeropress – on-the-go coffee press
- Approach shoes – if you’re hiking mainly to get to climbs
- Bear Spray for hiking through bear country
- GPS Watch for those prone to getting lost
- Hydraulics Cleaning Kit
- Satellite Communicator
- Walkie Talkies – to connect with your friends when there’s no service
Can you think of other great gifts for hikers that we missed?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
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.
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