Best Gifts for Hikers: Everything They Need to Thrive Outside

Gadgets casio petzel
Written by Dennis Owens

Not sure what to buy for your favorite hiker this holiday season? Gear makes the best gifts for hikers! It might be intimidating to shop for the guy who has everything or the girl on the go, especially if you’re not a hiker yourself.

Never fear! We’ve compiled ten solid gift suggestions for you that they’ll be sure to love and that will easily fit your budget.

Whether they’ve got a big trip coming up, like an Appalachian Trail thru-hike, or the gear they have is just getting a little old and worn out, there’s something on this list for everyone. Plus, save yourself the hassle of mall shopping or getting lost in a giant outdoors store.

Various gadgets for hikers top shot

The holidays are a crazy enough time to shop anyway. All of our picks can be purchased online and we’ve included the links right there in the description for you. Make this year’s gift giving the easiest yet for yourself and give the hikers in your life the gifts they can take into the field use over and over again.

Product Reviews: Ten Gift Ideas for Hikers

The following ten gear reviews are a great place to start when shopping for the hiker who has everything. Below, we’ve organized the gear options by price so you can make the most economical decision for your wallet.

As you read through the options, click on the links, and look at your budget, don’t get lost in the details and forget to think about your particular hiker. What adventures do they have planned? What types of environments do they usually hike in? Use these questions and our reviews to help guide your purchase.

Buying on a Budget: Options Under $100

Sawyer Mini Water Filtration SystemSawyer Mini Water Filtration System

Weight: 2oz

Dimensions: 8 x 3 x 4 inches

Specific Features: Small enough to be handheld, removes 99.9% of all bacteria and protozoa, filter rated up to 100,000 gallons, 0.1 Micron absolute hollow fiber membrane inline filter, includes one 16oz reusable squeeze pouch, one 7-inch drinking straw, and one cleaning plunger, with back flushing instructions included.

Best Use: Backpacking, hiking, camping, scouting, international travel, emergency preparedness.

Description: The Sawyer Mini Water Filter is a filtration system that’s perfect for the solo hiker and traveler. It weighs 2oz and is small enough to fit in one hand. The highest level of filtration testing, that’s 10 million parts of bacteria and 1 million parts of protozoa, has been tested against this filter. You can rest assured that a Sawyer filter is high quality because of these rigid testing standards.

This filter comes with a 16oz reusable squeeze pouch which gives you the options to either drink straight from the pouch, squeeze the pouch and fill a bottle, or use the 7” straw to drink directly from a water source. The filter is also compatible with all standard disposable water bottles and other hydration packs. Because of its small size, the amount of suction required to get the flow to start is similar to drinking a milkshake.

For this reason, don’t be concerned if it takes more effort to get the flow going than you thought it would. Read the directions and use the plunger this filter comes with to backwash it periodically to keep it filtering effectively and quickly for many adventures to come.

Check the price on Amazon

GoPro Head Strap and Quick ClipGoPro Head Strap and Quick Clip

Weight: Not specified by manufacturer

Dimensions: Not specified by manufacturer

Specific Features: Allows adjustments for any head size, possibility to be mounted on a helmet or straight on the head, the same as a frontal light. With QuickClip you can attach the camera to your cap when positioned backward. You can also attach it to all 3 to 10mm thick objects. It has a low profile mounting in an ultra-compact format, and you can sink it in water with no problem, as long as you don’t go deeper than 131′ or 40m.

Best Use: First person perspective adventure and action filming (Running, hiking, kayaking, swimming).

Description: The GoPro Head Strap and Quick Clip is comfortable, adjustable, and secure. It can easily be worn over a hat or helmet for whatever activity you’re trying to capture on film. There are grips on the straps to keep the camera secure to the surface you need it attached to. The QuickClip feature is an alternative to the traditional practice of screwing the camera onto a plate.

The QuickClip attaches the camera onto the plate for a streamlined experience since there’s no extra tools or time needed. There’s just the right about of shaking with this type of mounting too. Since the user is moving, the camera does too, but not to distraction or at the cost of viewable footage.

Related: Looking for a hand grip as well? Try GoPro The Handler.

Check the price on Amazon

Gerber Freeman Guide Folding KnifeGerber Freeman Guide Folding Knife

Weight: 6.6oz

Dimensions: Blade length 3.62in, open length 8.12in, and closed length 4.50in

Specific Features: Drop point blade, glass bead finish, full fine edge blade, large finger grooves, dual thumb studs, water resistant, TacHide onlay handle, liner lock, lanyard slot, also comes with a formed nylon sheath.

Best Use: Full Fine Edge Blade or Gut Hook; multi

Description: The Gerber Freeman Guide Folding Knife features a lightweight handle with a powerful grip due to its TacHide onlay. This weight of this textured, durable, handle makes it easy to carry, hold, and grip. No way is this knife slipping from your hands when in use. The blade of this knife is a drop point with a full fine edge. Gerber blades are known for their strength and this blade is no exception. It can take a beating and is great for larger cutting and chopping projects. Be aware: this knife is too big to carry comfortably in a pocket. Your best bet is to wear this knife on a belt.

Related: If you’re looking for something more even more lightweight, try the Gerber Ripstop I Knife.

Check the price on Amazon

GSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist CooksetGSI Outdoors Halulite Microdualist Cookset

Weight: 18oz

Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.9 x 5.6 in

Specific Features: Folding handle locks into place for cooking, folds over to secure packed set for transport, welded stuff sack holds set together while traveling and doubles as a sink or wash basin at camp, includes an integrated strainer, Sip-It lid eliminates spills, insulating sleeve keeps your drinks hot, features a nylon lid and silicone ring, crushproof, heat-resistant.

Best Use: Backpacking and camping

Description: The GSI Outdoor Halulite Microdualist Cookset is crushproof, heat-resistant, and features a nylon lid and silicone ring. The cooking pot is anodized aluminum and does not have a nonstick coating. The reason being is that many users have complained that nonstick coating flakes off and ends up in food. The whole set packs up small, approximately 5 x 5in and all of the components fit inside the cooking pot. The handle of the cooking pot folds and locks into place when you’re cooking and folds over to secure the compact whole for transportation.

Also included in this set: an integrated strainer, insulated 12oz mug, three small cups, two collapsible sporks, and two plastic sipping lids. The Sip-It lid eliminates spills and the neoprene insulation sleeve keeps your drinks hot. The multicolored bowls and cups make it easy to keep track of who’s what when camping with a larger group. One of the smaller cups has markings for a measuring cup (4, 6, 12, and 16oz). The water sealed drawstring stuff sack hold the set together while traveling and doubles as a wash basin for camp.

Related: Cooking for just one person? Try GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist Cookset

Check the price on Amazon

Sea to Summit Reactor Thermolife Sleeping Bag LinerSea to Summit Reactor Thermolife Sleeping Bag Liner

Weight: 9oz

Dimensions: 3 x 5 in when packed

Specific Features: 100% Polyester, lightweight, packable, adds up to 15°F of warmth to a sleeping bag, mummy shaped with a box foot, draw cord hood with mini cord lock to keep you cinched throughout the night, easily washable, packs into own small Sil nylon stuff sack.

Best Use: Backpacking, camping, bedsheet for traveling, hammock camping

Description: Sea to Summit’s Thermolite Sleeping Bag Liner adds 15°F to your sleeping bag. Its mummy shaped and the polyester is soft and comfortable. This liner is lightweight and highly compressible making it easy to pack along wherever you go. Not only is it warm, but it’s a great way to keep your bag clean. This liner can be used as a stand-alone sheet in a hostel or for camping in the summer too.

Related: Need more warmth? Sea to Summit Reactor Extreme Thermolite Liner adds up to 25°F.

Check the price on Amazon

Kahtoola MICROspikes Footwear TractionKahtoola MICROspikes Footwear Traction

Weight: 11.9oz

Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 3 inches

Specific Features: 12 spikes on each foot, welded chains, elastomer harness with low profile, storage tote sack included.

Best Use: Winter hiking

Description: Kahtoola MICROspikes Footwear Traction makes it easy to walk in intense wintry and icy conditions. Whether you’re walking up or downhill, these microspikes will help you keep your footing. The spikes are positioned so that when you bend your foot, you will still have traction in the front on your foot.

They’re easy to put on too. There’s a tab for you to pull on and over your boots, not just around the edge like you will find with cheaper and less quality traction options. This rubber tab and strap that doesn’t slip either. However, the traction is so good on these that you may have to kick off the ice and snow from the spikes every now and again.

Check the price on Amazon

Big Spender: Options Over $100

Lowa Men’s Phoenix GTX Mid Hiking BootLowa Men’s Phoenix GTX Mid Hiking Boot

Weight: 1.3lbs

Dimensions: Comes in sizes ranging from 8.5 through 13

Specific Features: Lace-up boot, lining from GORE-TEX, leather, the sole made from synthetic material, 7″ shaft measurement from the arch, tongue/collar made from plush, a comfortably balanced footbed, midsole from PU, rubber outsole incorporating the grip technology of LOWA Elika.

Best Use: Hiking and backpacking

Description: The Phoenix GTX Mid Hiking Boot like all Lowa boots is Europe manufactured, incorporating elements of a well thought design, gorgeous materials, no compromises when it comes to the manufacturing process and standards applied to labor. This boot is the perfect combination of the stability of a trekking boot and the comfort of a day hike. It’s considered an all-in-one outdoor footwear because of its combination of leather and synthetic fabric and over the ankle support.

Check the price on Amazon

Osprey Men’s Aether 60 BackpackOsprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack

Weight: 4 lbs. 11 oz.

Dimensions: 33.8in x 12.5in x 12.2in

Specific Features: Front J-zip provides quick access to main compartment, internal frame, external hydration sleeve in the back panel, Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment, IsoForm CM hip belt, LightWire peripheral frame effectively transfers the load to hip belt.

Best Use: Backpacking

Description: Osprey Men’s Aether 60 Backpack exemplifies Osprey’s dedication to clean design, load carrying comfort and customizable fit. This is a mountaineering pack that crosses as a medium weight backpacking pack. This backpack features an IsoForm hip belt that adds both stiffness and padding to increase your comfort when carrying heavy loads.

These pockets are great for carrying things like a GPS, phone, map, and ID so those important items are never buried. A J shaped zip conveniently allows access to the main compartment of this pack without the user having to open or close the top lid and having to take apart your entire pack. Talk about convenient! The top lid comes off and can be converted into a lumbar pack for day hikes or short treks from basecamp.

The zippers are sturdy and won’t snag when opening and closing this pack either. The StraightJacket compression system pulls your load in, holds it tight, and can reduces the total volume of the pack. This is great for when your pack isn’t totally full and you need to condense it. There’s a built-in rain cover you can pull out to keep the outside of your pack dry when it rains. The torso has an adjustable Airscape back panel which offers ventilation on those long, hot treks too.

The stretch pockets on the front and sides of the pack are great for storing anything that has a conical shape and are designed for easy access to water bottles while hiking. This pack features an adjustable sternum strap as well. The clamps may be hard to move, but they stay put instead of slipping once adjusted for your body.

Check the price on Amazon

REI Half Dome 2 TentREI Half Dome 2 Tent

Weight: 4 lbs. 9 oz.

Dimensions: Floor Dimensions: 88 x 52in, Peak Height: 40in

Specific Features: Fly has 4 ceiling vents, sides and ends of fly can be rolled up, curved zipper tracks on fly, 3 color coded poles, hubbed pole assembly simplifies setup, 2 doors and 2 vestibules, internal storage pockets, interior hang loops, guylines with tighteners, pole bag and stake bag, stakes and pole-repair tube, and compression stuff sack included.

Best Use: Three seasons, backpacking

Description: The REI Half Dome 2 Tent is a two person, a freestanding tent that features two doors, and lightweight aluminum poles. The tent is made from ripstop nylon, nylon mesh, and nylon taffeta. The waterproof rain fly creates extra space for boot and backpack storage while remaining protected from the elements.

The interior pockets offer further convenient storage, especially extra layers for when it gets cold at night. The three hubbed color-coded poles (orange to orange and black to black) make for easy setup and take down. For a solo camper, it would take about fifteen minutes to set up or take down. The peak height of 40in is also remarkably spacious for those who need the extra room.

Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPSGarmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS

Weight: 8oz

Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.3 x 2.4 inches

Specific Features: Touchscreen, 3-inch sunlight-readable touchscreen display with dual orientation (landscape or portrait view), 3-axis tilt compensated electronic compass with accelerometer and Barometric altimeter sensors, ruggedized for the outdoors, ergonomic design that stands strong against dust, dirt and humidity, simplified multi-activity menu interface, water-rated to Ipx7, simplified multi-activity menu interface, connect IQ compatible to customize the Device with data fields, widgets, and apps.

Best Use: Backcountry and geocaching

Description: The Garmin Oregon 700 Handheld GPS is a rugged, versatile GPS and GLONASS handheld that’s user-friendly and easy to operate. It features active weather support, plus expanded wireless and BlueTooth connectivity, automatic geocaching downloads, 3 axis compass with barometric altimeter and a dual orientation, 3in touchscreen.

Use the expanded wireless capabilities to download software, receive smart notifications, upload adventures to Garmin’s online community and share LiveTrack location data or geocache discoveries with compatible devices.

Related: Protect the screen with ArmorSuit MilitaryShield.

Check the price on Amazon

Making the Perfect Purchase

Now that you’ve looked over some of the best gift options on the market for hikers and thought about your own hiker’s needs, it’s time to go shopping! We’ve looked at small pieces of gear like knives to larger items like tents and boots. Now the choice is yours!

Keep in mind that many of these retailers have great return policies if your gift isn’t quite right or malfunctions in the field. Let us know in the comments below what gifts you got your hiker this year and why!


Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.