HEY – you’re looking at this post because you’re a hiker or backpacker looking to spruce up your Amazon wishlist before the holiday buying season ends…
OR – you’re looking for some gifts for a special hiker/backpacker/”outdoorsy” person in your life.
This is the list for you! Every item on this list is less than $50 and will delight your trail rat friend/brother/sister/son/daughter/cousin.
EVERY camper needs a decent tarp in their gear closet. We’ve all been through a hundred terrible Harbor Freight $5 tarp. They rip, they fall apart, the grommets come out – right as the rain clouds roll in.
This 10×10′ tarp is actually made for providing shelter – it’s lightweight (backpacking A+) and intended to be used stretched taut to shed rain.
Great gift to give with a hammock or on its own.
Black Diamond is a respected name in the world of outdoor equipment – especially among climbers and backpackers. The Spot headlamp is a mainstay of top gear lists because it is a workhorse and affordable. Most nice headlamps live in the neighborhood of $50 BUT the Spot usually clocks in around $30.
It’s aluminum body means that it can take a beating, a must-have for the trail. It uses three AAA batteries (that ARE included).
The classic Zippo lighter is also a great option BUT this handwarmer is legitimately one of the best camping holiday gifts I’ve EVER received. My mom found it while looking for off-the-beaten-path gift ideas and it is KILLER.
Seriously, it runs for 12+ hours on a single burn, doesn’t emit harmful vapors or odors AND can be used inside your tent or sleeping bag. Say “goodbye” to cold feet on autumn and winter nights.
Clocking in at under $15, the Zippo Handwarmer is the SINGLE BEST stocking stuffer you can buy for a backpacker or hiker.
ENO is the best-known brand in the outdoor space for hammocks. They’ve been making EXCELLENT hammocks since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.
This is the classic design – a single nest. Super-affordable at ~$40 and available in a ton color combinations. You’re sure to find one that speaks to you.
Get out between two trees and just *hang* out. (haha)
These LED lanterns compact for easier storage which is GREAT for packing a backpack or even your trunk for a car camping trip. These include batteries and, because they are LEDs, will last for a long time on those batteries.
Metal-bodies mean the lanterns will take quite the beating – which is great because I have dropped, thrown and beaten several plastic lanterns to death.
These ENO Indoor Hammock Hangers were a game-changer in my reading nook at home. I love getting to use my hammock, rain or shine.
Hammocking inside is delightful and a great way to get more use out of an outdoors product you already own!
The WEKAPO Inflatable Lounger Air Sofa is a great addition to any camper’s gear closet – all the benefits of the couch with next-to-none of the weight.
Plenty of room for a few friends to accidentally light marshmallows on fire while trying to roast s’mores, this camping “sofa” is inflated by flapping it up-and-down. No light-headedness, guaranteed!
This fan + lantern combo is GREAT for summer camping trips when the temperature doesn’t drop overnight like you were hoping. This tent ceiling fan hangs from the apex of the tent and dangles above, providing a cool breeze, whether Mother Nature provides one or not.
If you’re camping in the south in the summer, this goes from a “want” to a “need” after ONE sweaty, sleepless night.
A beanie with a built-in headlamp is a life-saver on autumn and winter camping trips. WOW. I don’t know how I survived on winter camping trips where I would accidentally rip off my beanie when trying to remove or adjust my headlamp.
You get to keep your ears and your noggin nice and toasty AND see that tent peg you dropped while trying to assemble your tent in the pitch black dark.
Zippo’s lighter-fluid-powered handwarmer is my personal favorite BUT if you’re more comfortable with a rechargeable battery than light fluid, they’ve gotcha covered.
The electric handwarmer gets as warm as the lighter fluid model and recharges in a few hours. They both work super well AND you’re able to use them in your tent (or the foot of your sleeping bag for toasty toesies).
LifeStraw provides clean water all over the world – I’ve been on a backpacking trip where a friend exclusively drank from a LifeStraw. I prefer it as a backup, should my normal means of water purification fail. At ~$12, it makes a great stocking stuffer or add-on to a gift.
Safe water is something we take for granted, but in the backcountry, you can’t trust streams and lakes to actually be safe to drink from – you NEED to clean water before you drink it. You can do that with LifeStraw!
When your sleeping bag is soaked from falling in a creek and you can’t get a fire started because of snow melt, how are you gonna stay warm?
Emergency mylar blankets are the standard for staying warm in bad situations. They are super ultralight (backpacking A+) and a fantastic line of defense when things start to break down in the backcountry.
These are a great gift that are honestly missing from a lot of backpacker and hikers’ gear closets.
Anker makes great small electronics, they’re on this list several times for good reason – they make quality products.
This small, metal-bodied flashlight is rechargeable. Gone are the days of hunting down batteries (who even sells D-batteries anymore?)
Every camper needs a spare flashlight. Headlamps are great, but sometimes you just need to kick it old school with a flashlight.
It’s cheap and it keeps on giving all year long.
Seriously, no hiker has EVER been disappointed to be gifted a pair of Darn Toughs. These are THE socks to buy for the backpacker or camper in your life.
They are premium Merino wool socks – they wick sweat away to keep feet comfortable and dry, which is the best way to prevent blister.
Darn Tough provides a LIFETIME, no-questions-asked warranty. Send them your dirty, threadbare socks and they send you new ones.
Many people rely on battery-powered devices to navigate in the backcountry and to take pictures for later. The Anker battery pack is a great choice to keep your devices fully juiced up and ready for adventure.
Anker makes quality portable electronics and are my first choice for phone accessories and the like. They work on-grid and off for a superior experience. The 10,000mAh battery pack is enough to fully charge an iPhone three-and-a-half times.
The Anker battery pack will keep your devices ready to rock ‘n’ roll, regardless of how far out in the woods you go.
Zippo has been making lighters since forever and they’re darn good at it. This kit is a great gift because it’s got a lighter and a refill. It sucks to get a Zippo as a gift and run through your lighter fluid on Christmas Day, goofing off.
Make sure your giftee has EVERYTHING they need (okay, mostly extra lighter fluid) to enjoy their Zippo lighter for a long time to come. The kit also includes some extra flint to keep it sparking for years to come.
A solar charger + battery pack is a great solution for extended off-grid trips all the way down to weekend backpack trips. This particular model is highly reviewed AND features an on-board, 25,000mAh battery pack, a serious value add.
Having a battery pack on a solar charger means you can store that sun energy during the day and use it when you need it. Normally, a solar charger just trick charges one device while the sun is out. No more! Charge under the dark of night.
That’s why this lighter fluid keychain canister from Zippo is a game-changer. It’s light-weight AND allows you to carry a refill for your lighter or handwarmer.
It also includes an extra Zippo flint (and carries it!) This is a great deal and an awesome stocking stuffer.
For day hikes, you just need a little bit of water and a snack and some emergency items – small packs are perfect for this and this one is particularly dynamite (especially in the price department).
30-denier nylon and a water resistant zipper keep gear safe and dry AND mean this pack will last quite a while. This pack is definitely worth adding to a gear closet.
The Sawyer Mini is a mainstay of the backpacking community because it’s quality and it’s VERY affordable.
The Mini is also very light-weight (backpacking A+) and a ton of people swear by it because it’s the perfect balance of safety AND weight.
Tenacious Tape is recommended by backpackers and long-distance thru-hikers because it’s cheap, easy to carry in a small roll AND it holds together gear like a steel weld.
Seriously, I’ve seen this stuff hold broken tent poles together with no splint. Tenacious Tape is the best gear repair tool that your favorite backpacker has maybe never heard of.
The Swiss Army Knife from Victorinox, like the dude, abides as a wildly useful tool. Every camper needs a multi-tool and this is a bonafide classic for a reason.
It’s got a Phillips head screwdriver, a short knife blade, bottle opener and a bunch more functionality. A Swiss Army Knife is super small (and LIGHTWEIGHT) which makes it a perfect addition to a pack for a weight conscious backpacker.
Gerber makes this reasonably priced multi-tool that features a pair of pliers as it’s centerpiece. Having a pair of pliers is useful for a ton of “dang it” moments in the backcountry.
The Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier features serrated and straight blades, as well as a tiny saw that’s great for breaking down small limbs for campfires or twig stoves.
Every backpacker and camper should carry a first-aid kit. Most don’t because it’s one more thing to buy (and one more thing to carry).
This kit is reasonably priced and includes everything you could need in the backcountry- and then some. It’s way easier to remove some things you wouldn’t need to reduce weight than to find the PERFECT first-aid kit for backpacking.
BONUS #1: The “Intangible” Gifts
If you’re not comfortable picking out a piece of gear (or you think they’re the hiker who has it all) – a gifted subscription to Kindle Unlimited or Amazon’s Audible are great options. Most people love reading or listening to audiobooks on the trail.
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription plan for eBooks that is a lot like Netflix. You pay a monthly fee and can download as many books as you can read! The current promotion of $0.99 for 3 months is a STEAL.
Most people have heard of Audible by now, you get one (or two!) audiobooks per month for a set fee BUT you also now get two Audible Originals included in the subscription each month. These have been really fun finds for me – they did an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma that was a ton of fun. Audible is a great way to occupy your ears while you’re hitting the trail.
A secondary, shop-local option is available to people who want their audiobook habit to support a local bookstore with LibroFM. LibroFM is priced to match Audible and provides the same deal (sans Audible Originals). Either option is a great value! Check out LibroFM today.
BONUS #2: The Cadillac of Camping Axes
Seriously, the Gransfors Bruks small forest axe is a champion. It makes turning out a winter’s night’s worth of firewood a piece of cake. It’s the perfect gift for the backpacker or camper in your life who LOVES a night around the campfire and is the PERFECT WAY to show them how special they are.
Each axe is handmade in Sweden – and the quality is apparent from the first swing.
Note: many of the links in this article are “referral links” which means that the author receives a small commission on purchases through the links.