Backpacking gear has gotten very expensive. But here are 25 backpacking gifts for $25 or less, that any backpacker would love to receive.
1. Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie – 4 Pack
A filling and healthier snack that still satisfies your chocolate chip cookie craving, Lenny & Larry’s The Complete Cookie is a soft-baked and tasty treat you can enjoy at home or on the trails. With four individually packed cookies, each cookie has 16g of protein and 400 calories of clean plant-based energy. Both vegan and kosher, these tasty chocolate chip cookies do not contain high fructose corn syrup or any artificial sweeteners. They’ve become one of my favorite trail foods this year!
2. Portable Backpacking Cribbage Board Set
When you make it to camp earlier than you thought you would, sit back, relax, and enjoy a game of cribbage with this full-size, 3-track folding cribbage board. This portable set includes playing cards, scoring pegs, and instructions for 2 players, with a locking closure to keep the contents packed away.
3. Ultralight Revel Gear 30′ LED Light String
You can’t help but smile when you see a string of colored LED lights in camp. Weighing just 1.6 oz, this thirty-foot light string comes with 100 high-efficiency LEDs and is so small it can fit in your pockets. It can plug into any USB outlet or battery and generates up to 350 lumens of light in six different lighting modes so you can enjoy sitting outside or in your tent without a headlamp.
4. Mountainsmith Beer Cooler Tube
Come to the rescue of drink-deprived friends with a handy six-pack beer cooler you can wear on your back. This insulated tube is made from durable ripstop polyester so it can handle all the bumps and bruises of your next hiking adventure, while a seam-sealed lining and foam insulation help keep your cargo cool and protected. It makes a decent case for a fishing rod too.
5. GOOD TO-GO Weekender Variety Pack – Package of 3
If you’ve never tried Good-to-Go dehydrated backpacking and camping meals, you’re in for a treat because they taste just like restaurant takeout! Their Weekend gift pack includes two dinner entrees and one breakfast, including Pad Thai (pescatarian), Indian Korma (vegetarian), and Granola (vegetarian). All are gluten-free for restricted diets. Preparation is simple – just add water to the package to rehydrate.
6. Kula Cloth Pee Cloth
A Kula is a reusable antimicrobial pee cloth for anybody who 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.
7. Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket
The Gossamer Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket has a three-way velcro attachment system that is compatible with just about any backpack under the sun. It’s available in a medium size that is compatible with most Smartphones and a large size if you want still more storage. Made with water-resistant Robic Nylon, these pockets have a second mesh sleeve on the outside which is great for stashing sunglasses or snacks for easy access. This pocket works well with all backpacks, especially those that don’t have daisy chains on their shoulder straps like packs from Osprey and Gregory.
8. Snapfold Bowlz by Fozzils
A two-pack of Fozzils’ super versatile bowls. These unique bowls fold flat for easy packing and snap together when you need a bowl to eat breakfast or dinner. At 1.4 oz each, they’re very lightweight, convenient to use, and easy to clean and carry. Made from Polypropylene, they’re BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. Each bowl holds 20.4 fluid oz (600 ml) and comes with volume measuring lines.
9. Hiker Wallet
Hikers don’t need or want to carry a thick wallet when hiking or backpacking because they only need to carry a driver’s license, a credit card or two, an insurance card, and some cash. The WEBO Hiker’s Wallet is made with XPac waterproof fabric and has a waterproof zipper to keep valuables dry. It’s available in a wide range of bright colors, making it easy to locate inside a backpack when it’s needed.
10. Swiss Army Classic Pocket Knife
The Swiss Army Classic pocket knife is a longtime hiker favorite because it’s super lightweight but packs many of the tools that hikers need daily, ranging from a small pair of sharp scissors and a knife to a nail file, toothpick, and tweezers. Weighing just 0.7 ounces, it’s easy to clip to the outside of your backpack with a mini-biner for easy access. Replacement toothpicks and tweezers are also available since they’re usually the first thing you lose.
11. Cross Bands, Pack of 20
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
12. Decathlon Recycled Fleece Gloves
Lightweight fleece gloves are great for hiking because they’re durable, highly breathable, and dry quickly. As an added bonus, these $13/pair gloves are inexpensive, running 1/2 to 1/3 of 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.
13. Minus 33 Merino Wool Beanie
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.
14. Vargo Titanium Ultralight Tent Stakes
This 6-pack of ultralight Vargo Titanium tent stakes combines the classic Shepherds Hook design with the lightness and durability of titanium. Weighing just 8 grams each, they have a florescent orange head, making them hard to lose. These tent pegs add almost no weight to your backpack while their titanium construction assures they’ll hold up to hard use.
15. CuloClean Soda Bottle Bidet
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!
16. Nite Ize MicroLock S-Biner Keychains
Featuring center-locking levers, stainless-steel gates, and colorful, lightweight aluminum bodies, the secure Nite Ize MicroLock S-Biners are a perfect size for corralling keys and other small items. Each S-biner holds up to 3 keys, with mini double-gated carabiners that have simple, convenient twist-to-lock levers that lock both gates at once to keep items in place. They’re also useful for attaching a hammock underquilt to a hammock, hanging Christmas lights, and a gazillion other uses!
17. Hammock Gear Knotless Titanium Clip
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 (which have a line loc on the other end of the cord) Hint: buy 2.
18. Tent Platform Anchors
This 10-pack of ultralight tent platform anchors makes it a snap to set up a tent on a wooden tent site platform. The anchors 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.
19. Zpacks Tyvek Groundsheet
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.
20. Wooden Mouse Traps
If you’re buying a gift for an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker or section hiker, there’s a pretty good chance that they sleep in trail shelters that have mice. If you want to tickle their funny bone and protect their food bag, give them a set of old-school mouse traps to bring along on their backpacking trips. Just bait them with cheese or peanut butter. I once met an Appalachian thru-hiker named “Stretch” who carried mouse traps from shelter to shelter and would surround his sleeping pad with them each night. Needless to say, I didn’t see many mice in the shelters on that section hike.
21. Nite Ize Runoff Waterproof Wallet
Some things just have to stay dry no matter what, like 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.
22. Opinel Number 8 Beechwood Handle Knife
Small enough to be used as a pocket knife, the Opinel No. 8 knife features a sharp stainless-steel blade and a beautiful beechwood handle. Its Sandvik 12C27 modified stainless steel blade is anti-corrosive and requires no special maintenance. Cut the cheese in style!
23. Six Moon Designs Reusable Waterproof Pack Liner
Hikers and backpackers usually line the inside of their backpacks to prevent rain from leaking through the backpack seams and making their gear and clothing wet. They often use plastic bags which eventually find their way into landfills. It’d be much better and environmentally friendly if they could reuse the same waterproof pack liner, like this one from Six Moon Designs, again and again. Their pack liner is a 50L waterproof rolltop bag with taped seams that many hikers and backpackers use to safeguard their gear from moisture. Its brightly colored exterior helps make things easier to find inside a dark backpack.
24. Cork Massage Ball
If there’s one thing all hikers and backpackers have in common, it’s sore feet. If there’s no one around willing to give you a foot massage, especially after a long day of hiking, you can carry an ultralight cork massage ball to work out the knots and help relax your aching feet. Weighing a bit more than one ounce, this 2.5″ cork massage ball is the size recommended by massage therapists and physical therapists for soothing myofascial tissue pain and plantar fasciitis, loosening sore muscles, and improving mobility. So have a ball and give your feet a break.
25. elete Electrolyte Add-in
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, or 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!