Nowadays it seems like there’s a correlation between high prices and high quality — especially when it comes to outdoor-focused gear. However, while it’s certainly more likely that you’ll get solid, reliable stuff the more money you spend, that doesn’t mean you can’t find superb options on an extremely tight budget.
In fact, every item on this guide can be had for just $50 or less, and all of it is absolutely worth its weight in gold (or better). For those of you without a ton to spend who haven’t quite finished your gift-giving acquisitions for Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever other holidays you celebrate this season, the following collection of affordable outdoor gifts is for you.
Coleman All Purpose First Aid Kit
Better to have and not need than need and not have, a first aid kit is an outdoor necessity if there ever was one. And this pocket-sized version is small enough to fit into a pants pocket, yet still boasts a whopping 27 pieces inside its durable tin.
SOG Entrenching Tool
Part shovel, part saw, and capable of folding down to a compact size that’s roughly the same as an outstretched human hand, SOG’s Entrenching Tool is remarkably useful for being so small. Whether you need to dig a pit for a campfire, cut up some wood for said campfire, or bury your ashes (and whatever other non-packable waste you leave behind), this spade has you covered.
Soto Pocket Torch
Take a Soto Pocket Torch and a regular disposable lighter (the kind you can get at any gas station), pair them together, and revel in the impressive 2,300-degree, windproof flame it produces. This pocket-friendly blowtorch will also make your lighters last up to 60% longer — burning for up to 20 minutes straight — and can easily be refilled with one disposable lighter after another.
Gerber ComplEAT Camp Cooking Tool
Part camp cutlery set and part versatile campfire chef tool, Gerber’s ComplEAT is one of the most versatile and packable camp cooking kits around. It includes a spoon, spork, 4-function multi-tool, and a dual-sided spatula. It can even turn into tongs, so you can flip your food over on the fire without risking burning your fingers.
Exotac Waterproof Match Case
Even if you only need them as an emergency backup plan, matches are a good thing to add to any outdoor adventure kit. And this container will ensure that all of the ones you have — up to 20 — will stay protected and dry, even if its completely submerged 5 meters underwater. It even comes with extra striker pads and has a lanyard hole for 550 paracord,
Matador Pocket Blanket 2.0
Whether you just want to take a quick load off on the trails or you’ve brought along a picnic, Matador’s Pocket Blanket 2.0 is the perfect ultra-tough tarp. Made from proprietary Hyperlyte nylon, this blanket is water-repellant, puncture-resistant, has integrated corner stakes, and compacts down into a pocket-sized integrated pack for easy storage and transport.
Stanley Master Flask
While we’d not suggest getting toasty while you’re on a hike, it can be nice to wind-down by the campfire after a long day out on the trails. And that’s where Stanley’s Master Flask comes in handy. This vessel is built from durable black powder-coat-finished cold-rolled stainless steel, has an 8-ounce capacity, and has an integrated leakproof screw top. It’s also dishwasher safe and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Estwing Camper’s Axe
There are a large number of reasons you might want a camp axe for your outdoor adventures — especially if you’ll be camping out for multiple days. Not only can this Estwing one chop firewood, but it doubles as a hammer for your tent stakes and it can be used as an ad-hoc self-defense tool in a pinch. Plus, this one is made in the USA.
SOG Dark Energy DE-03 Flashlight
Just like your daily everyday carry, your outdoor kit should include a reliable, sturdy flashlight — even only as a “just in case” measure. This one from SOG is perfect with its pocket-friendly silhouette, 128-lumen output, self-defense toothed bezel, and 67-hour AA battery life.
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
In the chance that you know a night hiker or someone who tends to be more active in the later hours of the day, a headlamp can be abundantly useful, as it keeps your hands free for other purposes. And this one from Black Diamond is one of the best with its comfortable elastic band, 350-lumen output, and waterproof housing.
Matador Droplet XL Dry Bag
For those who find that their outdoor adventures take them to bodies of water or out in inclement weather, Matador’s Droplet XL Dry Bag is a super gift. That’s because, along with its 20L capacity, it can keep everything inside bone-dry — even if you completely submerge it underwater. Alternatively, it can be used to store wet gear separately from your dry equipment.
Snow Peak GigaPower Stove Auto
Just like the standard GigaPower camp stove from Snow Peak, this device is insanely compact and uniquely handy for cooking in the great outdoors, especially for backpackers. But this one shines a little brighter thanks to the fact that it has its own onboard igniter — so you can light it even if you don’t have a lighter or fire starter.
Nordic Pocket Saw
One of the most impressive outdoor inventions of the last decade or more, the Nordic Pocket saw takes all the cutting power of a standard wood hand saw and imbues it into a format that can literally slip into your pants pocket. This lightweight cutting tool is built from high carbon steel and sturdy nylon and should be on every outdoorsman’s radar, if not already in their kit.
Opinel No. 12 Explore Survival Knife
Usually, when it comes to outdoor cutting tools, we’d suggest picking up a sturdy fixed blade knife. However, the usefulness and compact nature of Opinel’s No. 12 Explore Survival Knife makes it an exceptional option. That includes a Sandvik steel blade, a 110-decibel emergency whistle, a cutting hook, and a firestarter. It’s even designed to withstand extreme temperatures and function in any weather conditions.
MSR TrailShot Water Filter
One of the most useful survival tools ever made, MSR’s TrailShot Water Filter can clean 99.9% of all bacteria, protozoa, and particulates out of any water source — making it tremendously safer to drink. And it can manage that completely across 2,000 liters without any harsh chemicals like iodine or chlorine.
The Wishlist: 20 Best Gifts For The Outdoorsman
If your holiday shopping isn’t limited by an extremely tight budget, you might find better luck hunting for a hiking-related present on our list of the best outdoorsman gifts.