Buying ultralight backpacking gifts is difficult if you’re not an ultralight backpacker yourself. So I’ve assembled this list of recommended UL gifts for you because I know they’d be welcomed by any backpacker you gift them to.
Tarptent Protrail Trekking Pole Tent
The Tarptent Protrail Trekking Pole Tent ($209) is a storm-worthy trekking pole tent with a waterproof bathtub floor and amply bug netting that provides excellent ventilation as well as excellent views. Quick drying and compact, it sets up in under 2 minutes. Gear weight: 26 ounces.
Therm-a-Rest Xlite Sleeping Pad
Go light without sacrificing on comfort. Get a short Therm-a-rest Xlite sleeping pad ($129.95) for your torso and lay your legs, which need less insulation, on top of your backpack. This is an old ultralight backpacking trick for slashing sleeping pad weight. Gear weight: 8 ounces.
Petzl e+Lite Headlamp
Weighing less than 1 ounce and smaller than a walnut, the ultralight Petzl e+Lite headlamp ($29.95) w/ retractable strap, has a locking on off switch, red and white LEDS, as well as flashing light functions. The e+Lite is powered by two coin-sized batteries, so spares are very lightweight to carry. Gear weight: 1 ounce.
Esbit Solid Fuel Stove and Cookset
The Esbit Solid Fuel Stove and Cookset ($29.95) includes a stove, combination pot stand/wind screen, and 20 fluid ounce hard anodized cook pot that you can use to cook and eat all of your meals with. Solid fuel is the most weight efficient fuel for backpacking, other than wood you find on the trail, since it doesn’t require a metal container like canister gas or white gas. Each 0.5 ounce fuel cube burns for 12-14 minutes and can heat boil 2 cups of water. They can also be extinguished and the remainder saved for later use. Gear weight: 7 ounces.
Cuben Fiber/Fleece Stuff Sack Pillow
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Cuben Fiber/Fleece Stuff Sack Pillow ($35) is a great luxury item that serves double duty as a backpacking stuff sack. Covered on one side with Polartec Fleece, simply stuff it with some clothes to make a sinfully comfortable pillow. By day, turn it inside out and use it as a regular backpacking stuff sack. Weighing just 1 ounce, this luxury item is too good to pass up. (I’ve been using mine all year and love it.) Gear weight: 1 ounce.
Ultralight Plastic Ground Cloth
Plastic Window Insulation ($14.98 for multiple sheets) is often used by ultralight backpackers as a ground cloth under a tent or bivy sack. Surprisingly durable, it can be used again and again. Gear weight: 2 ounes.
Borah Gear Cuben Fiber Bivy Sack
The Borah Gear Cuben Bivy Sack ($175) is the bivy sack for the ultralight backpacker who wants to save as much weight as possible. With a waterproof cuben fiber base and innovative Argon breathable top, this fully featured bivy sack has a no-seeum netting top to protect your face and head from bugs at night. Very nice! Gear weight: 4.2 ounces.
Dirty Girl Gaiters
Available in dozens of **expressive** prints and colors, Dirty Girl Gaiters ($21), are the most popular ultralight backpacking gaiters available today. So hike like a dirty girl! Gear weight: 1.5 ounes.
Enlightened Equipment Ultralight Quilt
Enlightened Equipment’s Revelation Quilt ($220) filled with 800 fill power Downtek treated goose down and rated for 40 degrees only weighs 14.13 ounces, or nearly a pound less than a similarly rated sleeping bag.
Locus Gear CP3 Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles
Locus Gear’s CP3 Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles ($112/pair) have the most reliable and durable adjustable locking system available for ultralight carbon fiber trekking poles and have a huge following in the ultralight backpacking community. Gear weight: 10.4 ounes per pair.
Zimmerbuilt Custom Backpack
Backpacks are an intensely personal item and I wouldn’t recommend buying one for someone else. A much better solution is to give the ultralight backpacker of your affections $300-$500 dollars to spend at Zimmerbuilt to build a custom ultralight backpack. They have pretty reasonable pricing when it comes right down to it, but this would be a special present, perhaps one that would last a lifetime. Estimated Gear Weight: 16 ounces.