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Ultralight Backpacking Gift Guide

Ultralight Backpacking Guide 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!

1. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Backpack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Ultralight Backpack

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Backpack (HMG) is a durable waterproof backpack made with an ultralight material called Dyneema (formerly called cuben fiber). It’s an ultralight thru-hiker favorite on long distance hiking trails worldwide because it’s so tough. Available in black or a classic white color. Unisex.

Check for the latest price at:
HMG | Campsaver.com | Backcountry.com

2. Titanium Tent Stakes (Set of 6)

Titanium Tent Stakes Set of 6
Titanium is the ultralight backpacking metal of choice because it’s so lightweight and strong. These ultralight titanium tent stakes are a highly prized luxury item, suitable for a wide range of soil conditions and shelter types. Six stakes are included in the set, enough to set up most tents and tarp shelters. Each stake weighs a half ounce. These would make a great stocking stuffer.

Check for the latest price at:
Amazon | Campsaver.com

3. 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.

Check for the latest price at:
REI | Moosejaw | Amazon

4. Katabatic Gear Palisade 30F Down Quilt

KB Palisade 30
The Palisade 30 quilt is extremely lightweight, warm to just below freezing. It easily connects to any sleeping pad and offers unmatched versatility, comfort and efficiency in a quilt style sleeping bag. An elastic binding around the bottom opening prevents gaps and drafts at the sleeping pad. Continuous baffles allow the down to be easily moved around in the bag as temperatures dictate for maximum versatility, while an overstuffed draft collar fits comfortably against your neck to protect it from drafts. Unisex.

Check for the latest price at:
Katabatic Gear

5. Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS
Gaia GPS is the most comprehensive mapping and navigation phone app available today (available for both iPhone and Android) and an essential tool for any day hiker or backpacker. Most ultralight backpackers prefer using phone apps for GPS navigation over a dedicated hand-held unit they’re so much lighter weight and because they already carry a smartphone as a camera, music device, and book reader.  Gaia includes dozens of map sources including those published by the USGS, USFS, NPS, and National Geographic, and you can track your route or plan your own routes using it.

Check for the latest price and special offers at:
GaiaGPS

6. Outdoor Research Helium II Rain Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket
The Outdoor Research Helium II rain jacket is the most popular waterproof/breathable rain jacket used by backpackers because it is so lightweight. Weighing a mere 6.8 ounces in a size X-large, it is perfect for wearing in warmer weather and summer when you need to carry a waterproof hooded jacket but want to keep your gear as lightweight and compact as possible. The Helium II also has a fully adjustable hood, which is a real bonus on such a lightweight rain jacket. A women’s model is also available.

Check for the latest price at:
Outdoor Research | REI | Moosejaw

7. Tarptent Notch Li 1

Tarptent Notch Li

The Tarptent Notch Li is a one person ultralight backpacking tent with two vestibules that can be set up using trekking poles to save on gear weight. It is made with Dyneema (formerly called cuben fiber) and only weighs 19.9 oz, which is simply amazing for such a weather and wind worthy tent. The tent comes with a mesh inner tent that provides maximum ventilation, but a separate solid-walled one is also available for cold weather use. The interior of this tent is quite spacious and its ideal for short overnight trips or extended thru-hikes.

Check for the latest price at:
Tarptent.com

8. Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket

Feathered Friend EOS Jacket

Weighing just 10.6 oz, the Feathered Friends EOS Hooded Down Jacket excels at keeping you warm on its own when conditions call for moving light and fast, or as a layering piece to augment a down quilt when weather moves in. Filled with premium 900+ fill down, Feathered Friends’ down clothing and sleeping bags are prized by hikers and backpackers around the world.

Check for the latest price at:
Feathered Friends

9. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter Kit

Sawyer-Squeeze-Water-Filter-Kit

The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter system is the most popular water filter used by ultralight backpackers today. With a field weight of only 3 oz., it makes filtering water as simple as filling a pouch and squeezing water into your mouth. No pills, no pumps and no wait. The kit includes a 32 fl. oz. pouch; collapsible pouches are made from durable Mylar foil and can be reused hundreds of times. The Hollow-fiber membrane filter removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; and removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium.

Check for the latest price at:
REI | Moosejaw | Amazon

10. Mountain Laurel Designs eVent Rain Mitts

Mountain Laurel Designs eVent Rain Mitts

Weighing just 1 oz, these rain mitts are designed for 3+ season hikers, needing short-term early morning warmth or anytime rain protection. While not intended as all-day everyday cold weather mitts, they are easily layered with fleece or wool liner gloves. Seam sealing is recommended for full weather protection. These mitts are a UL backpacking classic and have a worldwide following.

Check for the latest price at:
Mountain Laurel Designs

11. The Deuce #2 Ultralight Backcountry Trowel

The Deuce Ultralight Backcountry Trowel

The Deuce #2 (pun intended) is an ultralight leave-no-trace trowel for burying your poop in the backcountry. Weighing just 0.6 oz, it has serrated edges for digging into hard rock-and-root filled soil to make a discrete deposit. While the Deuce makes a humorous gift, it helps emphasize the need for us to all pitch in together to preserve the wilderness.

Check for the latest price at:
REI | Amazon

12. ZPacks Bear Bag Kit

Zpacks Bear Bag Kit

Weighing 3.4 ounces, the ZPacks Bear Bag Kit bag is made with rodent-resistant Dyneema (formerly called cuben fiber). It has a roll top and taped seams to keep the water out. The complete kit also includes: 50 feet of 2 mm Z-Line Slick cord, a rock sock to throw over tree branches, and a mini carabiner to attach the bag. The bear bag also makes a great waterproof case for a MacBook Pro.

Check for the latest price at:
Zpacks.com

13. Darn Tough Hiker Socks

Darn Tough Hiker

Last but not least, give the gift of Darn Tough Hiker Socks. Super durable, cushioned, and comfortable, these wool socks fit like a dream. Their merino wool is naturally antimicrobial and repels bacteria and odors—a great feature when you need to get any extra day or two out of your socks. Darn Tough even guarantees them and will replace them for free if you can wear them out.

Check for the latest price at:
Darn Tough | REI | Moosejaw

Editor's note: Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support SectionHiker's unsponsored gear reviews, articles, and hiking guides.

6 comments

  1. Great suggestions! But for item 9 would suggest the NEW Sawyer Micro Squeeze which is finally available with similar build at a lighter weight.

  2. Funny, I have six of these things. My bear bag kit is the one that Gossamer Gear used to offer. My Eos jacket is even the same color you show. The others are titanium pegs, Gaia GPS, The Deuce, and Darn Tough Hiker socks.

    I’ve thought about getting the MLD eVent mitts, but it just doesn’t rain enough in California. For tents, still pretty happy with my silnylon MLD Speedmid, two people and 20 ounces. No bug protection, but again, California.

  3. Curious what your take is on the new TarpTent Stratospire LI and Notch LI tents and how they stack up to the Zpack Duplex. Are they as good as they appear to be?

    • I think Tarptent makes very good tents, but I haven’t tried their cuben fiber models yet. If I were to buy a new tent, it might well be a Lithium Stratospire.

      • The Stratospire LI does look pretty awesome. My first concern is the packed size of this tent is larger than other UI tents due to the rigid end struts. My second concern is that buying a $600+ USD tent (with horrible Canadian conversion and tariffs added on) would probably mean that I would have to live in the tent full time as my wife would most likely kick me out of the house.

      • I’m pretty sure the struts come out and you really want them because they vastly improve livability (ie. you’re not lying on your back looking up at cuben fiber).

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