Lightweight Backpacking Gift Guide 2021

Lightweight Backpacking Gift Guide

Backpacking gear has gotten a lot lighter in recent years due to the development of lighter weight materials and fabrics which means that you can lighten your load by swapping out old gear for new lighter weight items or feel less guilty about bringing some luxury items along that you’d leave at home previously. Here are 20 of our top gift ideas for the lightweight backpacker in your family.

1. Jetboil Stash Stove System

Jetboil Stash Stove System
The Jetboil Stash is a 7.1 oz fully integrated personal cook system that includes a titanium stove, an anodized cook pot w/lid, and a stand. It’s smaller, lighter weight, and packable than other Jetboil stoves which is the reason it’s such an attractive option. When not in use, the stove, stand, and a 100g oz gas canister fit inside the cookpot, making the Stash remarkably easy to pack. The Stash can boil a half-liter of water in 2 minutes 30 seconds and boil up to 12L on one small fuel canister.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

2. Feathered Friends Flicker UL Quilt Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Flicker UL Quilt Sleeping Bag

The Feathered Friends Flicker UL Quilt Sleeping Bag has a full-length zipper that lets it be used as an open-backed quilt or a wraparound sleeping bag. It has a draft collar, zipper draft tube and is insulated with 950 fill power goose down. The Flicker is available in 20, 30, and 40-degree models, in regular and long lengths, and regular and wide widths. We love its versatility and simplicity, especially in colder weather when you want to completely block out all drafts without having to fuss with sleeping bag straps. A 20F Flicker UL weighs 25.2 oz.

Available from:
Feathered Friends

3. Helinox Chair Zero

Helinox Chair Zero
The Helinox Chair Zero is a super lightweight (17 oz) camp chair with a single shock-corded pole structure that makes for easy setup. It packs up small making it easy to carry in the side pocket of a backpack and is easy to assemble when you want to have a seat. Slits in the polyester ripstop seat expand to accommodate your backside for increased comfort.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

4. Bear Boxer Contender Lightweight Bear Canister

Bear Boxer Contender
The Bear Boxer Contender (26 oz) is the lightest weight bear canister approved by the IGBC and SIBBG for use in both Grizzly and Black Bear country! Bear-resistant food containers are mandatory in most National Parks & Forests where grizzly and black bears are present. The Bare Boxer Contender will hold about a 3-day food supply for 1 person and fits most lightweight backpacks vertically or horizontally. Opens easily with almost any key, knife blade, or screwdriver. For example, it is significantly smaller and lighter weight than the BearVault BV450 or BV500.

Available from:
Gossamer Gear

5. Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Messenger

Garmin inreach mini satellite Messanger
The Garmin inReach Mini is a pocket-sized satellite messenger that can send an SOS message to Search and Rescue in an emergency when you’re out of cell phone range. It can also send email messages and text messages to friends and family, whenever you want to update them or share your GPS coordinates. It has an easy-to-use push-button interface but can also pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth to display GPS maps and navigational information. Weighing just 3.5 oz, it’s small enough to tuck into your pants pocket.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

6. Zpacks Duplex 2P Tent

Zpacks Duplex Tent
The Zpacks Duplex is a 19 oz two-person trekking pole tent designed for three-season use that’s a popular choice with section hikers and thru-hikers. It’s very easy to set up and provides good weather protection. The two rainbow-style doors and side vestibules make it easy to share with another hiker, but the tent is lightweight enough that it can even be used by one person. Any hiker would love to get a Duplex as a gift. Be sure to also check out the freestanding version of the Duplex called the Zpacks Free Duo.

Check for the Latest Price at:
ZPacks

7. Nitecore NU32 Rechargeable Headlamp

Nitecore NU 32 Headlamp
The Nitecore NU 32 is a very bright 550 lumen rechargeable headlamp with a larger-than-average 6.6Whr (1800 mAh) lithium-ion battery for long-lasting power. It has four brightness levels, a primary CREE spotlight and auxiliary LEDs for flood, closeup, and red lighting modes with a tilt adjustment making it ideal for night hiking, trail running, and camping. The NU 32 has a built-in power indicator and lock to prevent accidental activation, it is water-resistant to 2 meters and includes a micro-USB cable for recharging.

Available from:
Amazon

8. Katabatic Gear Alsek 22 Quilt

Katabatic Alsek 22
While some quilts feel like they aren’t wide enough to wrap around, the angled “wings” on the Katabatic Alsek 22 help keep the quilt secure around the hiker without a major weight penalty. The Katabatic Alsek weighs just 1 pound, 6 ounces with 900-fill down and a durable Pertex Quantum Ripstop. It also has a longer sewn footbox than some other quilt models, which helps trap more heat. We also like the Katabatic Palisade 30 for people who hike in more temperate conditions.

Available from:
Katabatic Gear

9. Borah Gear Ultralight Bivy

Borah Ultralight Bivy
The Borah Gear Ultralight Bivy is an ultralight bivy sack with a waterproof silnylon floor, mesh noseeum netting over the face and head, and a breathable and water-resistant top fabric that called Argon 90 that provides enough insect protection that it can be used as a bug-proof sheet in hot weather. The bivy has a horizontal zipper over the chest for access. A grosgrain pull-loop can be used to suspend the mesh from your shelter and includes a shock cord. Multiple lengths and widths are available.

Available from:
Borah Gear

10. Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Pad

Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Insulated

The Sea To Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Sleeping Pad has extra thick 4″ air sprung cells that provide excellent comfort for side and back sleepers. ThermoLite synthetic insulation and a platinum liner reflect warmth back to you to minimize radiant heat loss. A flat valve makes it quick to inflate and deflate, and a combination stuff sack/air pump is included for ease of use. The Ether Light has an R-Value of 3.2, making it suitable for three-season use, while a size regular (72″ x 20″) weighs in at 15 oz. Multiple sizes are available. We won’t sleep on any other pad.

Available from:
REI | Sea to Summit 

11. Vargo BOT 700

vargo Bot
The Vargo BOT is one of the most durable and versatile options for cooking or cold-soaking food on the trail, this combination pot/bottle with a screw-on lid is a splurge, but will enhance any backcountry cooking setup. It has a 700ml capacity, a tight-fitting threaded lid, and can cook safely over backpacking stoves. It’s made entirely from titanium and weighs under 5 ounces. It’s simply ingenious!

Available from:
Garage Grown Gear

12. Enlightened Equipment Torrid Jacket

EE Torrid Jacket
The Enlightened Equipment Torrid Jacket is a purpose-built synthetic jacket made for hiking and backpacking. It is insulated with Climashield Apex, which is also used by Enlightened Equipment to insulate its synthetic quilts. The Torrid has two zippered handwarmer pockets, elastic wrist cuffs, and an adjustable hood opening to block side drafts. The construction is not sewn-thru to eliminate drafts through needle holes, which is a significant enhancement and departure from the norm for jackets in this class. Its raglan sleeves are designed to be used with a backpack and its ultralight nylon exterior fabric has a durable water repellent finish to repel mist and light precipitation. A women’s model is also available.

Available from:
Enlightened Equipment

13. Hyperlite Mountain Flat Tarp

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp
The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Flat Tarp is a flat tarp with 90-degree corners that can be set up in many different ways or “shapes” depending on weather conditions. It’s available in two sizes: an 8’6″ x 8’6″ model (8.85 oz) and one that’s 8′ x 10′ in size (9.74 oz) in white or spruce green Dyneema DCF. It comes with 16 perimeter tie-outs and 4 internal ones so you can lash it to the ground or nearby vegetation in many different ways.  The tarp comes outfitted with line locks and the ridgeline is factory sealed. 10 guylines are included, but you have to attach them yourself.

Available from:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear

14. Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow

Aeros S2s Pillow
The Sea-to-Summit Aeros UL Inflatable Pillow is a luxury item that weighs just a few ounces but has the potential to make nights at camp far more enjoyable. This pillow inflates in just a few breaths and has a two-way valve so you can adjust the inflation to your ideal level.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

15. Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 – Women’s Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends Egret UL 20
The Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 is a top-shelf technical sleeping bag tailored for women that has extra fill in the footbox and around the chest. It also provides more room in the elbows, including space to draw your knees up in the bag if you like to sleep that way. The contoured hood opens wide in warmer weather and makes it easy for side sleepers to use, while a two-way zipper makes the bag easy to vent. The Egret has a draft collar to help seal in the heat around your shoulders, while a trapezoidal footbox allows your feet to fall in a natural pose without compressing the sides. Available in two lengths: 5′ 3″ and 5′ 9″, the Egret UL 20 is insulated with 950+ fill power goose down and weighs just 1 lb 9.6 oz. That’s seriously light!

Available from:
Feathered Friends

16. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 2400 Backpack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 2400

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Southwest 2400 (40L) is a bomber ultralight backpack that weighs 30 ounces. Made with special DCR/Polyester laminate for durability, it’s tough-skinned and effectively waterproof. There’s also no mesh on the backpack and all of the pockets on the hip belt, side water bottle pockets, and front stash pocket are hard-faced with 210D Dyneema X grid-stop. Sized for ultralight backpacking, the 2400 is also available in 3400 (55L) and 4400 (72L) sizes for gear-intensive trips. Available in white and black, the black-colored packs are made with a thicker DCF/Polyester laminate and are more durable.

Available from:
Hyperlite Mountain Gear

17. REI Quarter Dome SL 1 Tent (1P)

REI Quarter Dome 1 SL
The REI Quarter Dome SL 1 is a highly livable 31 oz double wall tent with vertical sidewalls and plenty of head and shoulder room. The hubbed and shock-corded pole assembly is color-coded to simplify setup, while adjustable stake-out points make stake placement easy and allow for quick vestibule tensioning. Abundant mesh and a roof vent help prevent internal condensation while a variety of pockets and hang loops help organize the interior. This tent is surprisingly affordable and quite a good value.

Available from:
REI

18. Gossamer Gear LT5 Trekking Poles

Gossamer Gear LT5
Ultralight and easily adjustable with a twist lock, Gossamer Gear’s LT5 carbon fiber trekking poles have a three-piece carbon construction that can be adjusted from 23.5” when collapsed to 51” fully extended. The foam handle absorbs sweat, and the strap is padded and adjustable. The set weighs under 10 ounces, which is feathery light making them a joy to use.

Available from:
Gossamer Gear

19. Six Moon Designs Serenity Net Tent

Six Moons serenity Net tent
The Six Moons Serenity Net Tent is can be set up by itself with trekking poles, hung from a rafter in a lean-to, or underneath a wide variety of tarps. It has a peak height of 45″ with plenty of headroom so you can sit up inside or change clothes. The head and foot ends are 8″ high to help keep the netting off your head and feet, while a 3″ bathtub floor keeps you dry. The tent has corner stake-out loops and a large side door for easy access.

Available from:
Six Moon Designs

20. MSR Pocket Rocket 2

MSR Pocket Rocket 2
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is compatible with all screw-type isobutane canisters. Compact and lightweight, it weighs 2.6 ounces and includes a built-in pot stand that’s compatible with a wide range of pots. When not in use, the arms of the pot stand fold down and fit into a small protective plastic case. The adjustable flame control is easy to use while wearing gloves and provides fine-grained control from a rolling boil to a slow simmer. The nice thing about buying a standalone stove like the Pocket Rocket 2 is that you can use it with several different best-of-breed pots and pans, instead of being locked into a single all-in-one stove and pot combination.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

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4 comments

  1. Dear Mr. S. Hiker,

    I want now want, have already wanted or already own like 90% of this list. Great job as always. Still trying to figure out how you publish new, quality, original articles day after day, year after year and still get so darned much hiking in. Thank you for this site, it has been my go to hiking resource fo years now. I don’t agree with everything you publish, but I always value your take.

    • Coming from you, that’s quite a compliment. But the answer should be obvious. I have a very understanding wife!

    • CAPT GMAndres, USN (ret)

      Dear Mr. Crocamole: just how you got that name, must be worth a few sips of bourbon around the fire! But that was a helluva nice note to Philip! I don’t know him from Adam, but he is definitely worth nominating to “hiking sainthood’! If I had a dime for every time I refer to SectionHiker.com…..I could buy my Duplex! (I promised my wife that I would save — this time!)

  2. Mommy on the trail

    Thanks for your advices! I LOVE this blog, this is my favourite website since I was a young and inexperienced outdoor enthusiast! I even used it to improve my english (“I’m not reading gear reviews, I’m studying, I can spend another hour here, no reasons to feel guilt…”).

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