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The Ultimate Ultralight Backpacking Gift Guide (2024)

Ultralight Backpacking Gift Guide

What are the best gifts you can buy for an ultralight backpacker who’s a minimalist and eschews material possessions? It’s a quandary, isn’t it? Here are some tried and true gear favorites that all ultralight backpackers lust for. They may be minimalists, but they like great gear just like everyone else!

Here are 20 of our top gift ideas for the ultralight backpacker in your family.

1. 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.

View at Enlightened

2. Garmin inReach Mini 2 Satellite Messenger

Garmin inreach mini satellite Messanger
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.

Shop at REIShop at Amazon

3. Montbell Ex Light Down Anorak

Montbell Ex light Down Anorak
The Montbell Ex Light Down Anorak is a unisex ultralight down pullover insulated with 900 fill power goose down with a 7-denier ballistic nylon ripstop shell. Weighing just 7.6 oz, it has a fully adjustable 2-way hood with a fully insulated tunnel pocket to keep your hands nice and warm. While this highly compressible garment packs down small, it will keep you toasty warm when worn by itself as an outer layer or layered under a shell. It doesn’t have any zippered pockets but you’ll be amazed by how warm the jacket is.

View at Montbell

4. Darn Tough Micro Crew Merino Wool Socks

Darn tough micro crew
Darn Tough’s Micro-Crew Wool Socks are hands-down the most popular hiking socks used by hard-core hikers because they’re both comfortable and indestructible. Made with Merino Wool, they resist body odors and naturally move foot perspiration away from the feet to prevent blisters. They even come with a guarantee, that if you can wear them out, Darn Tough will replace them for free!

View at REI

5. Katabatic Gear Pinon Bivy

Katabatic Gear Pinon Bivy
The Katabatic Gear Piñon Bivy (7.3 oz) provides a waterproof floor with a water-resistant upper to protect your quilt from spray and mist. It has an extra-large mesh window and long U-shaped zipper extending from waist level across the top, allowing for easy entry and exit. It is designed to work well with both pyramid shelters and tarps. Katabatic Gear also makes the Bristlecone Bivy which has a smaller mesh window that is better for cooler weather but has the same U-shaped zipper for easy entry or exit.

View at Katabatic Gear

6. Far Point Alpha Cruiser Hoodie

Farpoint Alpha Cruiser

The Far Point Alpha Cruiser is an ultralight hoodie sweater made with Polartec Alpha, an exceptionally warm and fast-wicking synthetic fabric that is all the rage amongst ultralight backpackers and hikers because its about half the weight of conventional fleece. With a streamlined design, this hoodie is made for layering up or as a stand-alone piece when you’re on the move. Soft to the touch and lighter than your typical long-sleeved shirt, it provides excellent warmth while the lightweight fabric allows for quick drying.

View at Garage Grown

7. Chicken Tramper Gear Water Bottle Sleeve

Chicken Tramper Water Bottle Sleeves
Can’t reach your water bottles when you get thirsty? That’s not a problem if you attach your water bottle to your backpack shoulder strap. The Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear (CTUG) Water Bottle Sleeve can attach to backpack shoulder straps that have a daisy chain in front or a hydration hose keeper loop making them compatible with just about every backpack in existence. The sleeve is available in two sizes and compatible with 0.7L and 1L Smart Water Bottles (a hiker favorite). Durably made with X-Pac, these sleeves are attached at the top and bottom so your bottles won’t fall into the dirt when you bend over to tie your shoe.

View at Garage Grown

8. Zpacks Duplex Zip 2P Tent

Zpacks Duplex Zip Tent
The Zpacks Duplex Zip is a 20.4 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 Zip as a gift.

View at Zpacks

9. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Strap Pocket

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Shoulder Pocket
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.

View at Hyperlite

10. Nitecore NU25 UL

Nitecore NU25 UL
The Nitecore NU 25 UL is a 400-lumen ultra-lightweight headlamp with three beam types (spotlight, floodlight, auxiliary red) optimized for outdoor use. It has a built-in 650mAh rechargeable battery that can achieve a maximum runtime of 45 hours (6 lumens) with an integrated USB-C port that fast charges to full in only one and a half hours. A power indicator tells you when it’s time to charge while lockout mode prevents accidental activation. The ultralight band is highly reflective for enhanced visibility, including glow-in-the-dark bands for visibility without ambient light.

View at Amazon

11. Hyperlight Mountain Gear Packing Pods

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Packing Pods
Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Packing Pods (HMG) 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 them closed for moisture protection.

View at Hyperlite

12. Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20 Quilt

Enlightened Equipment Revelation
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation is one of the most popular quilts on the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail. This company was among the first to popularize backpacking quilts, and the Revelation is one of their most popular quilt models, coming with a zippered footbox. The stock 20-degree Revelation weighs 19.18 ounces, but can also be customized. The Revelation comes with elastics to strap to your sleeping bag and a draft collar to snap around your neck.

View at Enlightened

13. 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 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.

Shop at REIShop at Amazon

14. 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.

Shop at REIShop at Amazon

15. Durston X-Mid Pro 1

X-Mid Pro 1

The Durston X-Mid Pro 1 is a 15.7 ounce single-wall trekking pole tent that is exceptionally easy to set up. This 2-door tent is made of Dyneema DCF, an ultralight and extremely waterproof material. All of the seams are taped and the inner tent is sewn to the fly so the tent can be pitched in the rain and still remain dry inside. This exceptional tent is quite stormworthy and includes extra guy-out points for extreme conditions.

View at Durston Gear

16. 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.

View at Hyperlite

17. Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt

Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt
The Enlightened Equipment Copperfield Wind Shirt is an incredibly refined, 2 oz wind shirt, made with 10d nylon with an adjustable hood, elastic wrist cuffs, a drawcord hem, and a full-length zipper. While most windbreakers and windshirts have elasticized hood openings, the Copperfield hood is adjustable with pull cords, so you can completely seal off the face from drafts and prevent the hood from flapping loudly and violently in high winds. The sleeves are cut to be comfortable when wearing a backpack and the fit runs about a half-size large for layering. A women’s model is also available. You can have the option to customize the Copperfield in a variety of colors and fabric weights.

View at Enlightened

18. 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!

View at Feathered Friends

19. Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60L Backpack

Zpacks Arc Haul Ultra 60
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.

View at Zpacks

20. Gossamer Gear LT5 Carbon Fiber 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.

View at Gossamer Gear

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  1. I scored a Copperfield wind shirt from EE’s “scratch & dent” section a few years ago, and I love it. Weighs next to nothing, does a good job of blocking the wind, packs down to a tiny little bundle. I’ve debated buying a second one to keep in my truck as a “just in case” jacket.

    The jacket feels wispy, but it’s proven to be far more durable than I expected. I’ve not tried bushwhacking through briars while wearing it, but it’s survived frequent use without being babied.

  2. You know how to pick ’em Phil! Will you dopt me — just for Christmas ha ha

  3. Love love LOVE the FF Egret sleeping bag. My shoulders get cold and after talking with friends who also get cold shoulders, I decided on a mummy bag but was hesitant to chose one designed for women as I’m an active sleeper. This bag is wide in all the right places and during warm nights I just unzip and use as a cover. Super light and you can’t beat their customer service.

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