The outdoors, even when the weather is nice, can wreak havoc on all your trail-ready gear. Even the most well-built boots, backpacks, shirts, pants, etc. can’t stand up to the punishment for too long. And while it’s sometimes a shame to have to find new gear, it’s also an excellent opportunity in the holiday shopping season.
If you know any avid outdoorsmen who are in desperate need of some new equipment, you’re in luck — that’s exactly what this gift guide is comprised of. Whether they’re striking out on a long-term through-hike, like the AT or PCT — or they’re a weekend warrior with a taste for short day trips, these are the 20 best gifts for the hiker.
Danner Arctic 600 Side-Zip Boots
Loaded with 200G of PrimaLoft insulation and Danner Dry waterproof protection, the Arctic 600 boots are perfect for all your cold-weather adventures. That’s bolstered, of course, by their cushiony Vibram SPE midsole and a Vibram Nisqually Arctic Grip outsole that’s grippy even on snow and ice. Plus, the cherry on top of the cake of these suede boots is the side-zip, which makes them super-easy and convenient to put on and, more importantly, take off after a long day of winter exploring.
Smartwool Trekking Heavy Crew Socks
Crafted from a thick Merino wool, nylon, and spandex blend, these socks are super comfortable and cushiony for all-day wear — a near-necessity for those that like taking to the trails. They also boast arch support, natural moisture-wicking, and are warm enough even for dead-of-winter trail-going.
Wanderlust: A Hiker’s Companion Book
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest benefits of hiking is the scenery you get to enjoy. Of course, some views are better than others. Figure out which ones you want to see for yourself and discover so much more about the world’s most legendary hikes with this informative and beautiful full-color book.
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
Most folks don’t want to get caught on a hike after the sun goes down. Some intrepid explorers, however, thrive on night jaunts. For them, the Black Diamond Storm Headlamp is perfect, as it allows hands-free illumination at an output of up to 350 lumens. It’s also excellent for camping and even as an emergency piece of gear in case the power goes out.
Camelbak Antidote Hydration Bladder
Of all the important things one should have on a hike, water is most definitely near the top of the list. And Camelbak’s Antidote hydration bladder is a convenient, capacious, and high-quality vessel in which to store your precious H2O. All you need to go along with it is a bladder-compatible backpack and, just like that, you’ve got 3.0L of drinking water at your hands-free disposal.
Sawyer Select Series S3 Water Purifier
For longer, multi-day hikes and/or as an emergency measure, it’s an exceedingly good idea to have some kind of personal water filter. And since the Sawyer S3 can fit atop a standard water bottle and filter out over 99.9% of all viruses, heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, bacteria, protozoa, and microplastics from just about any water source, it’s one of the absolute best around.
Victorinox Soldier Swiss Army Knife
For protection, harvesting, crafting, etc. out in the wilderness, there are few tools as comprehensively useful and easily-carried as the Victorinox Soldier Swiss Army Knife. This outdoor-focused multi-tool boasts 10 built-in tools that range from blades to bottle openers and it weighs under 5 ounces in total.
Defy The Dude Quick-Release Belt
Clearly, belts are best for holding up your pants — and that can be quite important for long, arduous hikes, especially ones like the Pacific Crest Trail in which hikers sometimes lose a drastic amount of weight. They’re also great as ad-hoc tourniquets in dire emergencies. And this one from Defy Bags, with its mil-spec AustriAlpin COBRA quick-release buckle, is one of the absolute best.
Filson Summer Packer Hat
Anyone who spends a lot of time outside should know the damaging effects of the sun — both in the long- and short-term. Some of them can be mitigated, however, with a good hiking hat — like this one from the masters at Filson. The full brim will protect your face and neck, the fabric is breathable and quick-drying, and it was made in the USA.
America The Beautiful Pass
One of the most unique and useful gifts on this entire list, the American the Beautiful pass grants the holder a full year’s worth of access to all of the USA’s National Parks. And for avid hikers and lovers of the outdoors alike, there are few things more valuable. It’s worth noting, however, that this pass also grants access to national wildlife refuges and covers standard amenity fees, as well.
Arc’teryx RHO LT Base Layers
Especially in the colder months of the year, base layers can make all the difference between an enjoyable, tolerable hike and one marred by chills and possible frostbite. And few are as comfortable, breathable, warm, and durable as the RHO LT from Arc’teryx.
Matador Beast28 Packable Technical Backpack
With its 28L capacity, weatherproof exterior, hydration pack compatibility, and the ability to collapse down to slightly larger than a softball, Matador’s Beast28 Packable Technical Backpack is one of the best day hike bags around. It even comes with multiple storage compartments, external gear anchors, hip and sternum straps and more.
Vollebak Condition Black Ceramic T-Shirt
Somehow, Vollebak’s Condition Black Ceramic T-shirt — which is literally crafted with 100,000 ceramic particles — is perhaps the toughest shirt ever made yet also soft, stretchy, breathable, and lightweight. Put this shirt on and you might just never want to take it off again.
P.D.W. Odyssey Cargo Short ATC
Most athletic shorts are a decent choice for a day hike. But if you’re looking for something that can actually perform and has a good deal more utility than those basketball shorts, you’ll want to swap them for, say, Prometheus Design Werks’ Odyssey Cargo Short ATC with its ultra-tough, quick-drying exterior and bevy of organizational pockets and attachment points. These aren’t hiking shorts; they’re a wearable multi-tool.
VSSL First Aid Kit
Designed specifically to fit in the water bottle pocket of most hiking backpacks, VSSL’s First Aid Kit comes in a durable watertight container, has a fully-featured kit of first aid gear, comes with its own LED flashlight and compass, and so much more.
T.A.D. Force 10 RS Cargo Pants
For colder, more adversarial weather conditions, a pair of pants is preferable to their shorter counterparts. And few are quite as durable and useful as Triple Aught’s Force 10 RS Cargo Pants. Proudly overbuilt, these pants offer ample storage, a DWR nylon and cotton construction for durability and comfort, and they’re reinforced where it counts.
Oakley Clifden Mountaineering Sunglasses
It might seem hard to believe, but in their decades of manufacturing performance sunglasses, Oakley had never made a pair of mountaineering shades until the Clifden came out this year. They were worth the wait, however, as they’re handsome, durable, come with polarized lenses and built-in windshields, and they come with a lanyard to keep them secure on even the toughest hikes.
Ricoh G900 Outdoor Digital Camera
With built-in IPX8 water resistance, the capability to survive a fall of 2.1 meters, a chemical-resistant case, and a whopping 20MP digital sensor, Ricoh’s G900 outdoor digital camera is one of the toughest out-of-the-box point-and-shoots ever built. Of course, it has a price that reflects that but, for hardcore adventurers who want to share their stories, there isn’t much better.
Mission Workshop The Rhite Parka
According to the brand, The Rhite Parka is Mission Workshop’s most advanced piece of apparel to date — and that makes it an impressive garment, to say the least. It’s also water-repellant, insulated, packable, and still manages to look incredibly good all at the same time. And, as if that’s not enough, it’s also guaranteed forever.
Garmin MARQ Commander Tactical Smartwatch
Leave it to Garmin to create one of the toughest, most comprehensively useful smartwatches ever made. The MARQ Commander is built from DLC-coated titanium and boasts onboard GPS with full-color topographical mapping, 10ATM waterproofing, 32 gigs of onboard memory, a huge number of available apps (both included and downloadable), and enough battery to last for up to 12 days between recharges. Oh yeah, and it was designed for use by top-tier military personnel — the kind that do HALO jumps from the high atmosphere.
20 Best Outdoor & Camping Gifts
Hiking is hardly the only form of outdoor adventure out there. If you haven’t quite found what you’re looking for this holiday season, you’ll have better luck on our list of the best outdoor and camping gifts.