Backpacking gear has gotten a lot lighter weight due to the development of ultralight backpacking materials and fabrics allowing you to swap out old heavier backpacking gear for new lighter gear. The gear weight difference can be quite significant and makes hiking and backpacking a lot easier.
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.
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 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 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 Swiss Army Classic pocket knife is a longtime hiker favorite because it’s super lightweight but packs many of the tools that hikers need on a daily basis, 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.
Hyperlite’s Mountain Gear’s (HMG) Shoulder Strap Pocket is a waterproof pocket made with Dyneema Composite Fabrics that is perfect for carrying a Smartphone, point-and-shoot camera, or travel documents. It has a built-in sleeve that can be used as a hiker wallet as well as an external mesh pocket that will hold a phone securely, even when you take off your pack or it falls over on the ground. It’s easy to attach to packs with daisy chains on the shoulder straps with the included gatekeeper buckles.
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer /2 Hoody is an ultralight down jacket available for men and women. It’s insulated with 800 fill-power down insulation and has an ultralight 10d recycled ripstop shell fabric with a DWR finish. Weighing 8.8 oz, the first baffle at both cuffs is filled with synthetic insulation to prevent cuffs from wetting out. The hoody has an elastic hood and cuffs with two exterior zippered pockets, an internal drop pocket, and a drawcord hem adjustment. Its highly packable design stuffs into its own hand pocket with an internal carabiner clip loop. If you want to gift an even lighter version of this jacket, check out the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer UL Hoody, which weighs 6.67 oz and is insulated with 1000 fill-power down.
7. 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 BearVault BV500. making it perfect for long weekends when a much larger bear canister would be dead weight.
The Zpacks Duplex is a 18.5 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.
The Nitecore NU 33 is a very bright 700-lumen rechargeable headlamp with a larger-than-average 6.6Whr (2000 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, cycling, and camping. The NU 33 has a built-in power indicator and lock to prevent accidental activation, it is water-resistant to 2 meters and includes a USB-C cable for recharging. Price: $50.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Packing Pods are ultralight kidney-shaped stuff sacks designed to use all of the space in a backpack and eliminate the voids that are leftover if you pack with conventional cylindrical-shaped stuff sacks. They’re made with an ultralight waterproof fabric called Dyneema DCF and have an attached top flap that lets you view their contents but zipper closed for moisture protection. All of Hyperlite’s Packing Pods are silver-colored.
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 2022 Durston X-Mid 1P is a 28-ounce double-wall trekking pole tent that is exceptionally easy to set up. This 2-door tent is made of 20D polyester with a 2500mm sil/PEU coating and requires trekking poles to pitch. All of the seams are taped and the inner tent is optional so you can just use the rainfly if desired. The X-mid can be set up fly first in the rain to keep the inner tent dry and has plenty of interior gear storage space. This mid-style tent is quite stormworthy and includes extra guy-out points for extreme conditions.
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 Platypus QuickDraw is a squeeze-style water filter that screws onto platypus bottles, reservoirs, and 28 mm pet bottles (including SmartWater bottles). It’s sold with a 1L bottle shown here but can also be purchased separately. The QuickDraw filter is a hollow fiber filter that physically removes, protozoa, 99.9999% of bacteria, and 99.9% of protozoa, with a flow rate of up to 3L/minute. It can be backflushed or shaken clean. Both ends of the filter can be closed between uses, preventing water from dripping over all of your gear. The weight of the filter and the bottle is 3.6 oz, while the weight of the filter alone is 2.2 oz.
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.
18. 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 Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60L is an ultralight ventilated backpack with a suspended mesh back panel to keep you cool in hot weather. Made with waterproof and durable Ultra 200 and 100 fabric, the 19.6 oz Arc Haul Ultra 60 is a roll-top with side water bottle pockets and a front mesh pocket for external gear storage. The torso length is adjustable by raising and lowering the shoulder pads, while the hip belt is available in multiple lengths. The Arc Haul Ultra can haul up to 30 lbs comfortably. Sizing is Unisex, but a new women’s model is also available. This pack is seam-taped.
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.
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