The problem with buying hiking gifts if you’re not a hiker is that you never know what will actually be useful. Items like a solar charger sound great in practice but unless you’re hiking in the desert, they barely trickle charge your phone. Likewise, hiking trousers might be great for some hikers but others will only ever hike in shorts, meaning a perfectly good pair of trousers goes to waste.
So what should I buy for a hiker?
Here at South America Backpacker, we’ve taken the hard work out of choosing presents for people who like walking by compiling this list of actually useful gifts for hikers!
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Best Gifts for Hikers: Quick Answers!
- Best Budget Gift for Hikers: Pack Cover
- Best Midrange Gift for Hikers: Darn Tough Socks
- Best High-End Gift for Hikers: Garmin Inreach Explorer Plus
- Best Gift for New Hikers: Anti Chafe Balm
- Best Gift for Cold Weather Hikers: SealSkinz Socks
- Best Gift for Summer Hikers: Suncream
- Best Gift for Long Distance Hikers: Water Filter
The 43 Best Gifts for Hikers 2022
To save you time, money and effort, we have arranged this list in ascending price order. If you already have a budget in mind, just swing on over to that section and you will find the most useful hiking gifts within your price range. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone how much you spent! 😉
Best Budget Hiking Gifts ($)
1. Lip Balm
Lip balm is a godsend for outdoorsy folk. Cold nights, combined with hot sunny days can play havoc with a person’s lips. Help them out by getting some moisturising lip balm that will make their chapped lips yesterday’s problem. Make sure you choose a lip balm that includes SPF protection to stop painful sunburn too!
2. Tick Removal Tool
No one wants to think about ticks. But when hiking in woodland or dense grass, they’re everywhere. I don’t know a single hiker that hasn’t fallen victim to a tick or two in their time. Prepare your friends for the inevitable with this cheap but effective tick removal tool.
3. Repair Tape
It’s not sexy but it sure is useful. Repair tape can fix everything from leaking tents to ripped jackets and worn out backpacks. Whatever gear they’re using, a hiker is sure to get through their fair share of repair tape in no time!
4. Pee Cloth
If you squat to pee, you probably know the pain of packing out dirty toilet paper or having to drip dry before getting back on trail. With a pee cloth, you can wipe off as you would with toilet paper and be back to hiking in no time.
Pee cloths are treated with antimicrobial coatings and usually contain silver thread which can kill bacteria, fungi and even viruses. They can even be sterilised by basking in the sun’s UV rays! This means they’re reusable almost indefinitely and rarely pick up bad odours.
While the idea may seem a little gross, in practice a dedicated pee cloth can really up your hiking game. Kula Cloth are market leaders for pee clothes but cheaper versions are also available!
5. DEET Based Insect Repellent
At best, mosquitoes and other small insects are irritating as hell. At worst, they carry a multitude of diseases that are easily spread to humans via their bite. When it comes to insect repellent, nothing does the job quite like DEET.
Whilst there’s a school of thought that says DEET is more harmful to humans than it is beneficial, there’s no real evidence for anything being as effective at keeping away small critters!
6. Sanitary Trowel
If you thought repair tape wasn’t sexy, wait until you hear about the camping trowel, or as I like to call it, a sanitary trowel. When hiking in the great outdoors, especially when doing so for days on end, it is often impossible to get to a toilet.
When nature calls, you have little choice but to hunker down and get on with the task at hand. Hikers should always practice leave no trace policies and part of that is digging a cat hole to use as a toilet — then covering it over again when finished! A lightweight trowel gives them the ability to do that in a clean and hygienic manner.
7. Fire Starter
To some, a fire starter may be a toy or gimmick but to hikers, it can mean the difference between warmth or a freezing night. Lighters often break, matches don’t work when wet but a fire starter will guarantee a strong spark to get a fire lit. They weigh and cost very little so are a small and worthwhile investment.
8. Ultralight Spork
Sporks come in all shapes and sizes but for hikers, a lightweight, long-handled spork is something that will never go a miss. Perfect for eating camp meals or cold soaked oats, a titanium spork weighs very little but will last for years. It might not seem like an exciting gift but it’s sure to be used over and over again!
9. Anti-Chafe Balm
Walking for long distances can cause a lot of friction — and not the good kind. Many a hiker has had to pull off a trail because the chafing has gotten too bad. Ensure the hiker in your life isn’t one of them by investing a tube of anti-chafe balm. Once applied, this little beauty will keep skin protected and stop rashes or blisters from appearing.
10. Dry Bags
You never know when it might rain whilst hiking and dry bags make super useful gifts for walkers. As the name suggests, these bags keep everything inside dry. From clothes or sleeping bags, to food and toiletries, there’s a dry bag for every occasion!
11. Sit Pad
Sometimes the ground is cold or wet and a hiker is too tired to keep going. A sit pad makes a really useful gift because it provides a comfy seat, no matter the weather.
12. Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash
Staying clean on the trail can be a challenge and staying clean without contaminating the environment is harder still.
This budget-friendly soap from Sea to Summit is highly concentrated so you only need a small amount for each wash.
It can be used on clothes, bodies or even cooking equipment and is biodegradable. Providing it’s not used near a clean water source, it won’t cause any damage to the local environment. In its smallest size, this great gift can even be taken as carry on because it does not go over the liquid limits!
13. Water Purification Tablets
Hikers may already own a water filter but a small pack of water purification tablets takes up very little room and is a wonderful backup should anything go wrong. The tablets allow you to drink from most water sources but do take some time to work. Make sure your pal reads the instructions!
14. Pack Cover
Pack covers are used by hikers the world over. When the weather is good, they collapse down small and can be stored just about anywhere. When the weather turns, they provide a vital way of protecting gear from the elements. Being so affordable, yet such a necessity, makes them the perfect gift for any hiker!
Suncream is a real must-have for any outdoor activity but none more so than hiking. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that being under the hot sun for hours on end can have a nasty effect on human skin. Help keep your hiker friend protected with a high factor sun cream.
16. Hand Sanitiser
Let’s face it, hiking is dirty. Whether it’s going to the toilet in the woods or wiping mud from your trousers, your hands go through a lot of grief on the trail. Help hikers stay on top of their hygiene with a small pot of hand sanitiser. This multipack even has bottles that can be clipped onto the outside of a pack for quick access!
17. Traction Cleats
Traction cleats are a great gift idea for hikers braving high level or winter trails. They can usually be clipped onto standard hiking shoes and offer much better grip in snowy or icy conditions. Think of them like tyre chains for your feet!
Just make sure to order the correct shoe size!
18. Ultralight Tent Stakes
For the hiker that’s looking to shave as much off their base weight as possible, look no further than these ultralight tent stakes. They weigh significantly less than a standard tent stake and will secure your gear through the worst conditions.
19. Notebook and Pen
The trail brings with it a lot of time to think. Notebooks make fantastic gifts for hikers because they give them the ability to write down thoughts, feelings and ideas. Many careers have been decided while walking – don’t let your loved one’s great ideas flitter away into the ether.
20. Waterproof Spray
Waterproofing spray is used to ensure tents, shoes, backpacks and jackets remain waterproof for the entirety of the hike. It works by creating a hydrophobic layer over the material that causes the water to bead off. Waterproof spray makes a great gift for those hiking in wet or changeable conditions!
21. Inflatable Pillow
There will always be nights on hiking trails where it’s hard to sleep. Help ease that burden by ensuring your friend is comfortable during the night. An inflatable pillow will stop hikers waking up with a sore neck and help give them a good night’s rest. They weigh very little and once deflated, take up almost no room in a backpack.
In bad weather, gaiters keep water from running down into the wearer’s shoes. In good weather, they protect from stones, sand or grit which can lead to rubbing and blisters. Cheap, lightweight and available in more designs than you thought possible, gaiters are great gifts for walkers of all abilities.
23. Blister Plasters
I never leave for a hike without having at least a couple of blister plasters stashed away. They are some of the most useful supplies that can be taken on a hike, especially for new or inexperienced hikers.
They may seem boring but walkers will appreciate the gift and even if they don’t use them themselves, they’re sure to run into someone in need! Some of the best conversations I have had on different hiking trails were started by someone asking for blister plasters.
24. Emergency Bivvy Shelter
Conditions can change rapidly when hiking and an emergency bivvy shelter could save a life.
With a heat reflecting interior and a fully waterproof exterior, these shelters are designed to weather the toughest storms while keeping their occupants warm, safe and dry.
25. Long Sleeve T-shirt
Long sleeve shirts are ideal for hikers because of their versatility. These shirts are rated as UPF50 so will protect the wearer’s skin from sun exposure. But they’re also great for hiking in colder conditions because they offer a good level of insulation.
Whether it’s for a quick afternoon siesta or a proper overnight sleep, hammocks are a great way for hikers and campers to stay off the ground and preserve valuable body heat. They’re great for quiet summer nights on trail but can also be paired with a large tarp for protection while winter camping.
A buff is one of the most practical gifts a hiker could ask for. It can be used when it’s hot to keep the sun off the wearer’s neck or when the temperature drops, it can act as a scarf.
The longer ones can also be pulled up over the head or twisted in such a way that they act as a hat. My buff is the first thing I pack whenever I head out for a hiking trip! Our favourite buffs are made by Turtle Fur!
28. Hiking Snacks
High protein, high calorie, lightweight foods can be difficult to come by but they are the lifeblood of a successful hike. Whether it’s snacks or full meals, hikers require constant sustenance.
Snacks can be anything from beef jerky or peanut butter bars to trail mix and the old faithful, chocolate chip bars. They all vary slightly in price but none will break the bank and they make great, usable gifts for hikers.
29. Rechargeable Headlamp
A rechargeable headlamp is one of the most useful gifts for hikers. Whether trekking through the night or just roaming around camp, this is guaranteed to be a present that will be well used! When choosing a headlamp, make sure you pick one that has various beam settings and a red light option for maximum utility.
Petzl are well renowned for making excellent head torches built to survive the rigours of the trail!
When hiking in exposed areas, a good set of sunglasses can make all the difference. They allow hikers to see where they’re going without having to squint. Plus, they keep your delicate eyeballs shielded from harmful UV rays! Ensure the sunnies you’re looking at are durable enough to handle being thrown about on trail.
31. Trekking Poles
Until you start hiking, trekking poles appear to be a waste of time. However, as soon as you use a set to get up or down a steep trail, you see the benefit. Trekking poles can reduce the strain on your knees by up to 30% which lets you hike for longer without injury.
Aluminium poles are cheaper but slightly heavier than their carbon fibre relatives. However, they’re less prone to breaking and the weight penalty makes very little difference to most hikers!
Best Midrange Gifts for Hikers ($$)
32. SealSkinz Socks
Sealskinz have achieved what so many thought impossible — waterproof socks that actually work! Available in different cuts, thicknesses and sizes, SealSkinz socks will keep your feet warm and dry while hiking. They’re ideal for trekking in wet, boggy or snowy locations and make a great gift for hikers taking on these conditions.
33. Darn Tough Socks
While Darn Tough Socks aren’t waterproof like the aforementioned SealSkinz, they’re a favourite among hikers. Not only are Darn Tough Socks comfortable, cushioned and well-fitted thanks to their Merino Wool construction, but they’re also covered by an unconditional lifetime guarantee. That’s right, if you get a hole in them for any reason, Darn Tough will replace your socks for free, no questions asked!
34. Water Filter
Clean, drinkable water can be hard to come by in the great outdoors. That river might look crystal clear but could be full of dangerous bacteria and protozoa.
Make your hiking friend’s life easier and set them up with a water filter. Companies like Sawyer, Katadyn, Grayl and Lifestraw make excellent water filters that will keep you healthy and hydrated!
A harmonica is a great gift for a musical hiker. They are small, light, durable and when played well, can light up a room, or in this case, trail. Whilst some cheaper harmonicas are available, Lee Oskar are a big name in the music world and produce some of the best budget harmonicas you’ll find!
36. Hydration Bladder
Sometimes a hike or trek is super intense and constantly reaching for a water bottle just isn’t convenient. With a hydration bladder, hikers can install their water source firmly into their backpack and drink from it at any time.
37. Inflatable Sleeping Pad
A sleeping pad is the best way to retain body heat whilst camping on the trail. Even a thin layer between a person and the ground can make a massive difference. Most inflatable pads will compress down to the size of a water bottle so are super easy to pack. They’re also lightweight which is a huge bonus!
38. Ultralight Stove
MSR produce some of the most popular lightweight hiking stoves. They weigh very little and make cooking on trail a doddle. The size of these stoves means that they are great stocking stuffers that will be used again and again! If you want to get a full ultralight cooking set up, check out the MSR pocket rocket mini stove kit.
If you want to go the whole hog with your hiking gifts, consider buying your loved one a new tent. An excellent budget ultralight tent is the Lanshan 2. It uses hiking poles instead of stakes and is plenty big enough for two people and their gear.
40. Kindle or E-Reader
Spare time can be hard to fill on a hike. There will be days when walkers will need to finish early if they want a good place to camp. If they’re alone, what will they do with their time?
A kindle or similar e-reader makes a great gift because it allows them time to unwind and get lost in their favourite books. The battery life is great, so even after days on the trail with no electricity, there is always enough charge left to visit Bilbo for an hour!
Best High-End Gifts for Hikers ($$$)
41. Action Cam
Action cams are tough, versatile bits of kit with long battery life and the ability to take high-quality photos or video. As leaders in the action cam market, GoPros make great gifts for hikers who want to document their adventures and allow them to easily share their photos and videos with friends and family.
42. Garmin Inreach Explorer Plus
It’s certainly not the cheapest item on this list but the Garmin Inreach Explorer Plus is the ultimate gift for backcountry navigation. The GPS and map functions are fantastic and allow for two way satellite communication.
There is even an SOS function that will get help to where it needs to be in the quickest possible time. If your loved one gets into trouble, this might just be the gadget that will save their life!
Always check a hiker’s preferences before buying them a backpack as I guarantee they have a favourite brand or pack already! A good hiking pack that will last is not a cheap purchase, so make sure you get the right one! The Osprey Exos is one of the most popular packs among long-distance hikers whilst the Zpacks Arc Blast is a reputable high-end option.