I love the holidays! I love buying gifts for people and surprising them with just what they want. Here is a my backpackers holiday shopping guide with 15 gift ideas for that backpacker in your life (or yourself, I won’t tell!) that fits every budget.
Average cost $12
Freeze-dried and dehydrated meals don’t have to taste badly! Good-to-Go meals are the bomb! I actually eat them in the comfort of my home in addition to the backcountry. One year, my brother bought me a whole bunch for Christmas and it was one of my best gifts. Also they last for a long time, so they can be the gift that gives all year.
2. Stuff Sacks, Compression Sacks
Average cost $20-$30
One thing that every backpacker needs is a way to store and their stuff. Bonus points if they can minimize the space their stuff takes up in their packs. Sea-to-Summit makes some great dry bags and compression sacks.
3. Eating dishes
Average cost $30
Most freeze-dried or dehydrated meals come in two-person servings. This saves weight and space. But in splitting that food between you and your hiking partner, you are going to need dishes to eat out of. I love these Sea-to-Summit dishes. They are light weight, compact, and durable.
4. Backpacking Pillow
Average cost $35
I have a compressible pillow for backpacking. But the problem with it is two things: 1. It’s bulking; and 2. It’s compresses when I sleep on it. Not really ideal. I had my doubts about an inflatable pillow, but I was sold after receiving it a gift from my best friend. You can fine-tune it, it’s super light, and it packs down really small.
Inflatable pillow Sea to Summit
5. Electronics Charger
Average cost $50
Full disclosure, I was provided a sample OUTXE in order to review. However, all thoughts and opinions I formed where my own. You can read more about what I thought here. But long story short, I really like this charger. And it’s a great gift for backpackers. My dad actually bought me one (another type) for Christmas and I thought it was a very thoughtful gift! The OUTXE is waterproof and dust proof–so bonus for outdoor enthusiast.
Average cost $60-$99
Lightweight stoves are an important part of backpacking. Believe me, I had mine mistakenly get taken out of a bear box once by someone else, never to be seen again. I was looking at cold oatmeal for the next two days. Fortunately, we were able to borrow one to boil water to re-hydrate our food. I have an Optimus and a Jetboil and both are great pieces of gear.
7. Camera Clip
Average cost $70
If you are a shutterbug or have a hiking shutterbug family or friend this Peak Design Capture clip should be on your list. It’s secures your camera to your backpack strap so that your hands are free. I love mine because with it I can use my trekking poles, hold my dog’s leash, or catch myself if I fall.
Capture Clip Peak Designs
Average cost $70
Many backpackers forgo the tent and are turning to hammocks because they are lighter weight and more comfortable. But they also make for a great way to relax around the campsite, whether in the backcountry or car camping.
9. Water Filter
Average cost $80
I used to not carry a water filer but only use purification tablets. But once I went backpacking with my brother and he had one. I loved how easy it was to get water. After that trip, I bought my own water filter. I like the Katadyn Hiker Pro because it can be cleaned in the field.
Water Filter Katadyn Hiker Pro
10. Sleeping Pad
Average cost $90
Sleeping pads not only make the ground a little more comfy, but they are also very important to keep you warm in cooler weather. Therm-a-Rest makes them lightweight and compact, perfect backpacking.
Insulate sleeping pad Therma-a-Rest
Average cost $150
One of my main luxury items when I backpack is a book! I never thought I’d trade in paper books for an eReader, but carrying around all that paper weighs on a backpacker. When I found out that Kindle has a battery life for weeks, I gave it a try. The main deciding factor for me though, was that I could scrunch down into my sleeping bag and read. And with a back light, I don’t need to use a headlamp.
eReader Kindle Paperwhite
12. Lightweight Backpack
Average cost $180
I was looking for a smaller backpack to cut down on the weight. I chose the Osprey Kyte. It’s only 46 liters but it’s just the right size for my stuff. I like that it’s about two pounds lighter than my other backpack, and I don’t over pack it as much. The Kyte is a woman’s cut and the Kestral is a man’s cut.
Average cost $300
The MSR Hubba Hubba is on the higher end of the price range for backpacking tent, but it is worth the price. Weighing in at under four pounds, it’s pretty light for a two person tent. And it’s roomy enough for two people and a dog.
Tent MSR Hubba Hubba
14. Emergency Beacon/Mapping GPS
Cost $450 + $15 a month
I was very reluctant to buy the Garmin InRead because of the price. But my parents talked me into it because I hike alone often. It not only can track you with GPS, show you where you are on a map, but it also has the ability to send help when need. Fortunately I’ve never had to use the SOS feature. But I do love being able to text my parents when I don’t have cell service. And the comfort knowing if something does happen, I can call for help.
GPS Emergency Garmin InReach
15. Don’t Forget Your Pooch!
Average cost $80
Ruffwear makes some great gear for dogs. I used to use an off brand backpack that I bought at Target. It worked well enough, but never fit my dog well. Last year I bought the Ruffwear Approach and I love the way it fits my dog. It fits snug and stays in it’s place. I also just recently bought the Ruffwear Quinzee Warm, Lightweight Insulated Jacket for Dogs. It also fits very nicely and keeps my pup warm on cold nights in the backcountry.
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