This is going to be a tough year to find good gifts for your hiking and backpacking friends with the supply chain issues plaguing the outdoor industry and the economy at large. Here are 25 backpacking gifts for $25 or less, that are available in stores today, that any hiker or backpack would love to receive.
1. Heroclip Hanger
The Heroclip is an oversized carabiner with a hanger that swivels out when needed to hang something. It’s remarkably useful for hanging your backpack from a tree, a food bag from a nail, a lantern, water bottles, a gravity filtration system, cooking utensils, day packs, and clothing to dry. Capable of holding up to 60 lbs (in a size medium), there are a million applications for it at home too. It’s available in multiple sizes and colors.
Dirty Girl Gaiters come in dozens of bright colors and wacky patterns that hikers (male and female) love to flaunt on the trail. Gaiters prevent sticks and stones from getting into your shoes when hiking or running. They’re compatible with all low hiking and running shoes and are an indispensable part of any hiker’s “uniform.” Very popular with day hikers, backpackers, and thru-hikers!
Solar powered, the ultralight Luci Lantern is a great way to light up a campsite when you’re by yourself or with friends. The built-in rechargeable 1,000 mAh lithium-ion battery lasts up to 24 hrs on a single charge and an indicator shows the remaining battery life. Each lantern contains 10 LEDs which emit 75 lumens through the lantern’s clear finish. The lantern folds down to a compact 1″ thickness making it easy to carry inside a pack or to attach to the exterior.
Winter campers and backpackers like to dig out tent platforms and benches in snow to sit on while melting snow and cooking dinner. But carrying an avalanche shovel is heavy and awkward. A 5 oz. Snow Claw is much lighter weight, easier to pack, and remarkably effective. Also makes a great sled or seat in a pinch.
Backpackers are encouraged to bury their poop and toilet paper outdoors in 6″ deep holes called cat holes dug with small shovels called trowels for sanitation reasons. Anodized to prevent corrosion, the ultralight aluminum Deuce #2 cat hole trowel is available in a variety of fun colors. Pick a color like you would a lollipop! These trowels help hikers doo-doo the right thing and are a great Leave No Trace aid.
A Kula is a reusable antimicrobial pee cloth for anybody that squats when they pee. It’s self-sterilizing and dries when clipped to the outside of your backpack, eliminating the need to bury toilet paper in the wilderness. Female hikers swear by it.
Greenbelly makes delicious, nutritious, high-calorie meal replacement bars with way more calories than normal snack bars so hikers can refuel on the move without having to stop to cook or assemble a meal. If you have problems figuring out what to eat for lunch on hiking and backpacking trips, have a 650 calorie Greenbelly bar. Or anytime you have a craving for extra energy!
The SOG Keytron is a super handy, stainless steel EDC knife with a built-in keyring that makes it easy to clip to the outside of a backpack and comes with a built-in bottle opener and locking blade. Use it to open freeze-dried meals, resupply packages at the post office, cut blister bandages, and slice summer sausage.
The NEMO Chipper is an insulated closed-cell foam sit pad for sitting on cold or damp surfaces on hikes or in camp. It’s made entirely out of reclaimed and remolded polyethylene foam scraps from NEMO sleeping pad production and designed to fold up extra thin for easy packing. If you’ve never carried a foam sit pad, you’ll quickly become a convert.
It’s important to recycle used isobutane cooking gas canisters when they’re empty, but you need to punch a hole into them for safety reasons to vent any residual gas. The Crunchit Canister Recycling Tool is compatible with all sizes of canisters from all brands (MSR, Snow Peak, JetBoil, Coleman, etc). Simply screw the Crunchit Tool onto the top of a canister and press down to puncture it before recycling. Add 1 or 2 fuel canisters to make a nice gift bundle.
Cross Bands are heat resistant, uv resistant, cooking grade silicone bands that are ideal for packing gear and cooking supplies. You can use them to keep your inflatable sleeping pad rolled up, stop your cook system from rattling when you hike, for stacking plastic food containers, organizing permits and passes, packing resupply boxes, compressing food and clothing bags, and on and on. Each pack of 20 includes multiple sizes and colors
Lightweight fleece gloves are great for hiking because they’re durable, highly breathable, and dry quickly. As an added bonus, these $10/pair gloves are inexpensive, running 1/2 to 1/3 what you’d pay at REI for the same quality. Buy multiple pairs at once in the same color, so if you lose one, you can replace it with a glove from another pair. Size up a size for a good fit.
Hikers and backpackers share wilderness areas with hunters and it helps when hikers wear highly visible blaze orange clothing during hunting season so hunters can see them more easily. This lightweight Minus 33 Merino beanie is super warm and can be used for hiking or sleeping in cool weather. One size fits most. It’s also available in a wide range of colors.
Needle stakes are great for staking out tents and tarps in soil because they have a small hook at the top that doesn’t slip or twist free. But they’re really hard to find since MSR stopped selling them. These ultralight Paria needle stakes are just as good and the blue color makes them hard to lose.
Reduce the amount of toilet paper used in the backcountry while preventing the dreaded chafing and “monkey butt” that results when your crack isn’t clean. This handy bidet attachment screws onto regular plastic water/soda bottles so you can clean up anywhere, even at the office. Very popular with thru-hikers!
If you’re tired of eating out of a cookpot or having your dog drink out of yours, upgrade your camping kitchen with this ultralight titanium bowl. Weighing 1.6 oz and holding 20 fluid oz, it’s easy to pack and weighs virtually nothing. Ramen tastes a whole lot better when slurped from a bowl and Fido would love to have his own bowl too.
Can’t remember your knots? This handy ultralight titanium clip attaches to the end of a tarp ridgeline, so you can loop the cord around a tree and clip it to itself without tying a knot. It’s super handy when you need to get out of the rain fast. I use them on all of my hammock and backpacking tarps. Hint: buy 2.
These ultralight tent platform anchors make it a snap to set up a tent on a wooden tent site platform. They slide in between the boards and provide a secure anchor to tie down a tent. The highly visible red color also makes them hard to lose.
This 5′ x 9′ Tyvek groundsheet is incredibly useful for protecting the bottom of a tent, as a dry landing pad next to a hammock, or under a tarp when sleeping on the ground. It will not bunch up or slide around under you like other fabrics and is very durable.
A folding spork, half spoon/half fork fits into the very small ultralight titanium cook pots that backpackers like to use. It’s also far easier to pack in a food bag since it doesn’t have a long handle like some backpacking cutlery. The bowl of this spoon is polished, which is also a lot more appealing than ones that are not smooth. The locking handle keeps it securely articulated for eating and it only weighs 0.6 oz (18g)
Some things just have to stay dry no matter what. Electronics, your passport, vaccination card, photographs, or cash. The Nite Ize Runoff Waterproof Wallet is IP67-rated (withstands immersion to 1m up to 30 min.) and waterproof, with a toothless zipper that glides smoothly and quietly. Built-in attachment points and an integrated belt loop make it easy to clip to straps or attach to your belt for security.
Fisher Space Pens write in extreme temps from -30°F to 205°F. They write underwater, upside down, at any angle, and last 3 times longer than most pens. Fisher makes a compact backpacker version that is easy to clip to the outside of your backpack so you can always find it. It’s surprisingly handy for journaling, writing notes to friends, writing in lean-to logbooks, filling out forms at the post office, and immigration/declaration forms when traveling.
It’s important to maintain your dental hygiene on the trail but difficult to do so without the right tools. The Toob is a portable toothbrush that seals closed after use so it doesn’t drip all over your gear. Simply fill the included toothpaste tube with your favorite toothpaste and stow it in the toothbrush handle when not in use. Replacement brushes are sold separately.
Protect your hands from damaging sunlight while keeping them comfortable and cool. These fingerless gloves have a UPF50+ sun protection rating and are pretreated with a cooling agent (a non-food derivative of sugar) that keeps them cool in hot weather. The palms are covered with silicone dots to help you grip trekking poles, ice axes, or bike handles. These are super handy for hot weather/desert hiking and provide good insect protection too.
Hikers and backpackers benefit by adding electrolytes to their water in hot and humid weather or when exercising hard. Sourced with water from Utah’s Great Salt Lake, eLete Electrolyte Add-in is designed without sugars, flavorings, or anything artificial-just pure electrolytes that can easily be added to any beverage or food. It’s also safe for hydration packs and will not stain, leave an odor or residue. Simply add one capful (2.46 ml) for each quart of water that you want to treat or 2 drops for every ounce of liquid. Kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegetarian. Each small dropper bottle makes 10 x 32 oz servings. The dropper bottles are refillable and eLete is also sold in bulk. Works great!
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