Home / Gift Guides / 2017 Backpacking Gear Gift Guide: 50 Gifts Under $50

2017 Backpacking Gear Gift Guide: 50 Gifts Under $50


Tis the season where we need to start thinking about holiday gifts for our hiking and backpacking friends and family. It’s tough to find great gifts that these picky fanatics will appreciate. Finding stocking stuffers and good gifts for outdoor lovers that cost under $50 is actually rather difficult, but you’ll find something for everyone in this list including: dog owners, beginners, scouts, dreamers, foodies, ultralight backpacking fanatics and day hikers.

  1. Fisher Space Pen. Write anywhere, on anything.
  2. Nite-Ize BugLit LED Micro flashlight. Perfect for backpacking and camping. Looks like a bug!
  3. Luci Lantern. Solar powered lantern. Super lightweight. Good for emergencies too.
  4. Ruffwear Gnawt-a-Cone Dog Toy. One for Fido. Easy to clean, bouncy dog toy.
  5. Nitecore NU20 Rechargeable Headlamp. Ultralight. Super bright and USB Rechargeable headlamp. Just awesome.
  6. Dr. Bronner’s Soap. A revelation if you’ve never tried it. 2 oz size for backpacking.
  7. 8BPLUS Max Chalk Bag. Goofy fun design will be the talk of the climbing gym.
  8. Voile Ski Straps. These straps have a million and one uses for backpacking and backcountry skiing.
  9. REI Flash 18. Great all-purpose stuffable day pack.
  10. Darn Tough Micro Cushion Hiking Socks. Backpackers favorite. Super durable and comfortable
  11. GSI Outdoors Minimalist Canister Stove and Cookset. Ultralight and compact stove and cook system.
  12. Sven Saw. Ultralight folding saw that’s real handy for cutting firewood and trail maintenance.
  13. Marmot Leather Work Gloves. Great trail maintenance and outdoor work gloves.
  14. Therm-a-Rest Z-lite Sleeping Pad. Great beginner sleeping pad! A classic.
  15. MSR Pocket Rocket 2 Canister Stove. Modern day classic!
  16. 12 oz. Nalgene Flask. Great for sipping whiskey or cordials on the trail.
  17. NEMO Fillo Backpacking Pillow. Best pillow EVER! Backpacker and campers favorite.
  18. Expedition Sauce Hot Sauce. Awesome moderate heat sauce! Organic ingredients. Squeeze tube.
  19. GSI Outdoors Stemless Red Wine Glasses. Stemless and hard to spill. Great for kicking back in camp.
  20. Jetboil Coffee Press. Turns a Jetboil stove into a French press. Nuff Said!
  21. MSR Windburner Coffee Press Kit. Got a Windburner? You can have coffee too.
  22. YETI Bear Proof Cooler Locks (Package of 2). Protect your beer from all 2 legged predators.
  23. The Deuce of Spades Ultralight Potty Trowel – Brightly colored! “Go” in style.
  24. Tenacious Tape. The ultimate gear repair tape. A perfect stocking stuffer.
  25. Swiss Army Spartan Knife. You can never go wrong giving someone a Swiss Army Knife..
  26. Leukotape P Sportstape. Great blister prevention tape.
  27. Snow Claw Guide Snow Shovel. Ultralight snow shovel can also be used as a snow anchor or sled.
  28. Recipes for Adventure. Ultimate cookbook and guide to dehydrating your own food and backpacking meals.
  29. Assortment of Mini Nalgene Bottles. Perfect for ultralight backpacking.
  30. Digital Postal and Kitchen Food Scale. Take the first step in lightweight backpacking and weigh your gear.
  31. Evernew Titanium Pasta Pot: Perfect for the noodle lover.
  32. Swix Universal Gloves. Warm, high dexterity glove.
  33. Arlette Laan’s (Trail name: Apple Pie) Hiker Sock Dolls: Lovely reminder of your friendship.
  34. Outdoor Star Guide. Identify the constellations when camping.
  35. Leatherman Style CS with Scissors.  The TSA took mine away. Need a replacement!
  36. Mora Blaze Orange Bushcraft Knife. Great multi-purpose outdoor knife. Hard to lose color
  37. High UV Protection Buff. Wear it climber style or as a bandana, hairband, helmet liner, headband or scarf
  38. MSR Stowaway Cook Pot. High-quality cookware for family camping and backpacking with scouts.
  39. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter: Ultralight, fast flowing water purifier. (This is not the Sawyer mini)
  40. Mountain Hardwear Dome Perignon Hat. Super warm, windproof, Polartec Hat. A classic!
  41. Mini UNO Playing Card Deck. Ultralight fun for zero days.
  42. Coleman Two Burner Camping Stove: For family camping. A classic.
  43. Snow Peak Titanium Trek 700 Mug. Ultralight cook pot which doubles as a bowl and mug.
  44. The Northface Reactor Hoodie. Great layering piece for aerobic sports.
  45. Aquamira Water Treatment Drops. Great gift for new backpackers. Long shelf life.
  46. Opinel No8 Beechwood Handle Knife. Classy pocket knife.
  47. Suunto M-3D Compass. Superb baseplate compass with declination adjustment.
  48. Backcountry Access Stealth 240 Avalanche Probe. Bring the right equipment and be safe.
  49. Outdoor Research Sombriolet Sun Hat. Wide-rimmed UPF 50+ sun hat with strap.
  50. REI Gift Card. It you’re clueless, give them a gift card. You can’t go wrong.

Written 2017.

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  1. #6 Dr’s Bronner’s soap – I have used this for a few years and like it. But after watching this NOLS Bear Safety video, you might want to use only unscented versions in Bear country: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PExlT-5VU-Y

    • Yep. This is generally sound advice. “Unscented” is the rule for anything outdoors if you have to use anything that might, under any non-outdoors circumstance, be “scented”. Soap, hand sanitizer, sunscreen or other lotion, chap stick, etc…

  2. Question: do you prefer Sawyer to BeFree water filter for general use?
    It to this point I used sawyer with aqumira drops as back-up. For next year I planned BeFree with a second BeFree as back-up (second Be Free ends up weighing less than the Aquamira I have been carrying around for years)
    Any thoughts?

    • I used a BeFREE for most of this year. I like the 3L version the best and use it like a squeeze bag, not as a gravity filter which is how it’s (mistakenly imho) labelled.
      The flow is very fast compared to a sawyer squeeze. Bottle durability has been excellent as well. In fact the BeFree is so fast, that I hardly ever use my Aquamira drops for bulk filtering anymore, although I still carry them as a backup.

  3. For those who have had foot aches, poorly fitting shoes, blisters, etc (that should be everyone who hikes or trail-runs): book “Fixing Your Feet” by John Vonhoff. Several editions available. I have the 2011 edition and it is handy.

  4. Good list… I counted 12 items still on the list that are over 20 years old and have proven their value and usefulness and close to their original price.. That I currently own.. I think thats a good sign….. The only Item I would add to the list would be my 1978 folding Buck 110 which I bought at the original factory Store in El Cajon… With the Canister Stoves and fuel proving to be so reliable these days I no longer feel the need to carry my Victorinox Work Champ, a Took Kit in one Knife and just carry the Classic and the Buck Folding 110…on weekend and overnight hikes.. This saves me a few ounces…. Chase the ounces and the pounds soon follow….. Merry Christmas… Watch out for Rip Off Companies this season especially on certain websites.. If you buy the Buck 110 go to Walmart…where it is about $40.00 with Tax.. Many On-line companies start at $139.00….geez

    • Speaking of stoves and gifts. I just asked my wife to buy me a Optimus Svea for Christmas. Want one before they disappear.

      • If Santa doesn’t come through, I have an extra one i don’t need. My original one from 1973 is still going strong. I wanted the smaller, brass windscreen/pot support (as opposed to the one that came with Sigg Tourist kit), and was tired of waiting for one to show up on ebay on its own, so i bought it as part of a package with the stove.

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