Being an avid hiker I have a good selection of gear for getting out backpacking in nature and this is what I recommend as some of the best gifts for hikers if you are looking to get some for friends or family who love hiking.
I know I would love to receive any of these!
These are all great gift ideas for hikers and range from budget options to more expensive ones.
Disclaimer: There are links for these gifts for hikers to Amazon where you can purchase them if you want. They are affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no extra cost to you for every purchase and the money helps me keep this site running. Thanks.
Gifts For Hikers
Hiking gear can be expensive and I know from personal experience that even the smallest of hiking gifts can go a long way to a hikers happiness.
For example, I received a simple compass as a gift from a friend when I was planning a hiking trip and had previously lost my other compass. My friend knew I needed one and the gift came at the perfect time and I loved it.
As I started with a story about a compass I’ll add that as my first option here. Of course, these days with apps on smartphones and GPS units (see further down the post for that)
A compass makes a great gift for hikers, to be honest even if they don’t use it practically it also makes for great decoration in the house especially if it’s an older looking one, next to their hiking books for show, for example.
A hiking hat is a must for hikers, especially if in very sunny or rainy environments. They make an easy gift to get, and knowing your friend should help in deciding the style they like, such as whether they prefer to wear a peaked cap or a full brimmed hat.
Or for cooler weather hiking get them a good beanie instead.
Sticking with the head theme Buff Headwear is also a great gift idea for a hiker as they are versatile. They can be used as a bandana, scarf, sweatband, and other stuff.
Other brands also make Buff style headwear so you could get one of those also. Some places do regional specific style ones that make for good local gifts for hikers in your family/friends circle.
Especially if you are hiking in bright conditions like in mountains, desert, snow, etc, then you need to have a good pair of sunglasses.
There are so many options for sunglasses for hiking but a good starting point would be to get a good sporty style and from a decent brand as they will hold up to the wear and tear of being out in nature.
Ray-Ban is a legendary sunglasses brand and they have some of the best sunglasses as gifts for hikers.
A Year Subscription to a Hiking/Outdoors Magazine.
This is a simple but loveable gift idea for hikers. Whatever your passion in life, you generally like to keep up to date on the latest news in that area and read stories about it.
Outdoor hiking/backpacking magazines are a great gift idea for a hiker, especially if they enjoy reading as well.
To give you an idea of some good outdoor magazines have a read of my post about the best backpacking magazines to read.
A Book (or Books) About Hiking
Sticking with the reading theme, a good book (or books) about hiking would make for great and easy gifts for hikers.
For inspiration and to get more ideas about hiking books are a great resource, even in today’s world of online hiking blogs etc (mine included).
One of my personal favourites due to its hilarity is A Walk in The Woods by Bill Bryson, although it’s not the one to get if you want a serious book about hiking. Wild by Cheryl Strayed is very insightful.
Have a read of my article where I recommend my favourite hiking books to read.
Sticking with the reading theme an eBook reader is the ultimate hiking gift for those who love to read. It’s lightweight to carry and stores a hell of a lot of books.
For those who go on long hikes, especially thru-hikers, taking an ebook reader to read a book at the end of the days hike or during a break is great. I wouldn’t be without one.
The Kindle Paperwhite is a very good option for an e-reader as long as they don’t mind getting their books from Amazon.
Knife For Hiking
It’s always a good idea to have a knife when out hiking (backpacking) and you can easily get a good quality small knife for a decent price that does the job.
The famous Swiss Army knife is a good option as well as the Mercator (pictured above).
If your friend is truly into wilderness hiking and camping them maybe they would like something with a bit more quality to it.
Just be sure that the gift is intended for someone above the age of legally being allowed to own a knife. Check your countries regulation on this. In the USA it is above 18 years but minors may be able to carry a small pocket knife.
There are so many options for a knife as a gift for a hiker you should have a read of my article about six of the best hiking knives to choose from.
Even though you can use your smartphone as a compass and GPS these days having a real robust weatherproof GPS unit with good battery life is an excellent idea, especially if the hiker(s) go out for extended periods of time hiking in the wilderness.
The Garmin inReach Mini is an excellent option as it’s not only just a simple GPS but allows for hikers to send and receive messages via satellite communications. It’s also small and lightweight and makes an excellent hiking gift for those who are safety conscious.
Darn Tough Socks
Say what now? Socks as gifts! Well believe it or not some socks are worth giving as a gift and especially certain brands for hikers. In fact, a good pair of hiking socks could make one of the perfect gifts for hikers out there.
After all, you need good socks for a lot of walking!
No, I’m not talking about a simple plastic bottle here but a decent long-lasting flask that keeps your hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.
On a cold day in the mountains knowing that there is easily at hand an already hot drink is a life-saver! And vice-versa in a hot climate.
TheHydro Flask is a great water bottle for hiking and does those two things perfectly.
A good headlamp is essential when out hiking, even on day trips when you may end up being out later than you liked and end up hiking at the end of the day in the dark.
For multi-day hikes and camping some kind of light is important for nighttime tasks and a headlamp makes the best option as it leaves your hands free to do things around the campsite or use your trekking poles if still hiking.
The Petzl Actik Core Headlamp is a great option for a headlamp.
Naturally, anyone who loves hiking will need a good pair of trail shoes or boots and they wear down over time so a new pair is always appreciated (trust me!) and so as gifts for hikers they are great.
The problem, like some other items on this list, is that it’s best your friend tries the shoes/boots on first to make sure they fit, so you should speak to them first about getting it for them as a gift.
If you happen to know the exact shoes your friend uses and the right size and know they would need a new pair soon, then just go and order a pair.
Obviously, every hiker needs a backpack for hiking to carry their gear, whether it be a smaller day backpack for day trips or a larger one for multi-day hikes.
The main problem with this gift idea for hikers is that it’s best for the person to try the backpack on first and to make sure it fits properly and that it’s the right style of backpack for their purpose.
In that regard, this would be a good non-surprise gift. Tell your hiker friend/family member, that you want to get them a new backpack as a gift and for them to select the backpack and the style.
Just be aware that backpacks can be on the pricier side of things if you get them a large backpack for multi-day hikes. However, a smaller daypack for day hikes also makes a great gift.
Have a friend who goes hiking with their dog? Then maybe you would like to get them a specialised dog backpack where the dog carries his own food/supplies. Every pet owner loves getting gifts for their pet and this is easily one of the best gifts for hikers with dogs.
Just be aware of the breed of dog that your friend has as for some dogs a dog backpack may not be a great idea for the health of the dog’s back.
A good option is the Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack.
Trekking poles are great at reducing stress on the knees so these are a particularly good gift idea for a hiker if you know they have problems with a knee(s) or just for some extra stability.
Even if no one has any health issues, trekking poles can be excellent for helping you on the trail, whether going up a steep hill or down, and even for just flat terrain.
My personal favourite for a number of years now is by a brand called Fizan called the Fizan Compact Trekking Poles and they are lightweight and do the job perfectly. But there are plenty of other good trekking poles as gifts for hikers as well.
When out camping having a good hot meal and cup of tea/coffee at the end of the day is heaven! So every hiker should have a decent cooking kit to heat up their grub.
There are a lot of cooking systems out there but one of the best and most popular ones is the Jetboil Flash Cooking System.
With that system, you can heat up water fast for your drinks and food.
Travel Coffee Press
This is one for those hikers who love a good coffee in the morning before a day hiking, or later on as well.
The AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Press is the best option for a coffee press for hiking. I’m a big coffee lover and to be honest this doesn’t just make for one of the best gifts for hikers but also anyone who loves coffee in general.
To go along with all the cooking gear it’s a good idea to have a good quality mug to put those warm drinks into.
The Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Mug is a very good option even if it’s a bit pricey it will last forever being made from titanium and your hiker friend will love you for it.
If you know your hiking friend loves camping and not just doing day hikes and also needs a tent then this is one of the ultimate gifts for hikers that you can get them.
Make sure you know their style of hiking and camping to be sure to get them the right choice. If they like ultralight hiking then for sure they won’t want a heavy bulky tent, for example.
For this option, it may be best to discuss with your friend that you want to get them a tent as a gift and for them to help select it. The good tents can be pricey but will last longer and give a good camping experience but there are also some excellent budget tents out there as well.
The tent I used for backpacking in the USA and in particular Alaska was the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 and it’s one of the best options out there. The picture above is with the tent camping in Alaska in the mountains.
The GoPro is the ultimate outdoor adventure camera/video at a decent price. If your hiking friend loves taking videos and pictures then this is a very good gift to get them and being waterproof makes it perfect for the outdoors.
I have been using GoPros for years now and they really are excellent when out hiking on the trail and the small size and low weight means they won’t get in the way but be handy whenever you want to take some pics or video of your hike.
Ok, binoculars are really only good gifts for hikers if they are small in size and lightweight as you don’t want your friend lugging around too much extra weight and they should only be for someone who has a big interest in wildlife when out hiking.
There is no real reason for binoculars when hiking except if you are interested in trying to spot wildlife when out in the wilds.
When out bushwalking in Africa I used a reasonably priced pair of Bushnell binoculars that did a good job at spotting wildlife there and were small and light to carry.
National Parks Pass (For USA)
As far as gifts for hikers go in the USA this makes a great one. You can get an annual pass gift that gives access to over 2000 federal recreation sites.
To learn more about the different pass options take a look at the official government website for the national parks pass where you can get a pass.
Smartphone For The Outdoors
Ok, most people these days have a smartphone for their daily lives and even use them when out hiking. However, there are some smartphones out there that are very much designed with outdoor use in mind and are weatherproof and have excellent battery life.
One of these would make for a great gift for hikers to use when out hiking and could even be a backup phone in life. Thankfully as well some of them are not that pricey when compared with the latest iPhones etc.
You can get something like the Motorola Defy that is fully waterproof, dustproof, and drop resistant (I love Motorola phones).
Check whether your friend has an expensive smartphone first though maybe as all the new high-end smartphones tend to have to be weatherproof these days. Even then though they may appreciate a phone just dedicated to hiking purposes.
Keeping clean when out hiking is good especially on multi-day hikes and a simple microfiber towel is lightweight and good for getting dry after a splash in a stream or after a rainy days hike.
The PackTowl is one of the best to get.
Best Gifts For Hikers
And there you have it, a list of gift ideas for hikers.
Although I list this as the “best gifts for hikers” there will be other items not included here that would also be good gifts, but I wanted to give an idea of some of the gifts I know I, and hiking friends, would love.
I’m sure your hiking friend or family member will love these gifts for hikers as well.
For more backpacking advice have a read of my gear guide for backpacking light.
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