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
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.
2. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
15. Feathered Friends Egret UL 20 – Women’s Sleeping Bag
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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