I’m a lifelong hiker and scout leader, and my round-up of gifts for hikers features personally-tested gear! With careful research, I selected the absolute best products for safety, comfort, and outdoor fun in the USA and beyond.
This gift guide includes hiking essentials for beginners, plus splurges and affordable hiking gifts. I also share ideas for kids, clothing and safety items, and even suggestions for the hiker who has everything.
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Best Hiking Gift Ideas
Hiking boots make the difference between a comfortable trek and a miserable or even dangerous hike. Boots should be waterproof but breathable, have traction, and provide foot and ankle support. They should also be comfortable to wear and lightweight since every ounce counts!
A hiking backpack is the second-most important piece of hiking gear after boots. You want a pack that fits comfortably, is lightweight, and can hold everything you need. The Osprey Daylite Backpack hits all of those markers!
Travel Lemming editor Abigail included this pack in her Hiking Essentials Checklist, and for good reason. It has a reservoir sleeve, a hip and sternum belt to distribute pack weight, and a mesh back panel that breathes.
Backpacking Sleeping Bag
Camping gear looks very different when you’re car camping versus backpacking! See Abigail’s guide to Backpacking Essentials if you or your gift recipient are new to backpacking. It’s also a good resource if you simply want to upgrade a few items — and your sleeping bag should be a top priority.
The Marmot Trestles Elite stuffs down small and weighs 2 lbs 11 oz to 3 lbs, depending on the size. It keeps campers warm down to 20°F so it’s appropriate for camping in at least three seasons. I like that it comes in women’s and men’s versions. The women’s version has more insulation at the head and foot since we tend to be colder.
I have these trekking poles and I honestly like them better than my pair that cost 3x as much! Everything on the TrailBuddy Trekking Poles is easily adjustable, from the height to the hand loops. They come with several bottom attachments for hiking in snow, mud, rocks, and other terrain.
Hydration packs are a convenient way to keep water easily accessible. This CamelBak Crux 3-Liter Water Reservoir holds plenty of water, is leakproof, and is easy to clean. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee. The CamelBak fits inside the Osprey Daylite Backpack and several other daypacks.
This is another item Travel Lemming writers recommend all the time since it works well for both hiking and travel! The Grayl Geopress Purifier filters out pathogens, sediment, and microplastics from any freshwater source.
Pack fragile items in Frelaxy Dry Bags in case of a rainstorm while you’re on the trail. These work well for paper goods like maps and toilet paper, and more importantly, expensive electronics like your phone or camera. These dry bags are not only useful on hikes, but also in kayaks, on paddleboards, and in lots of other outdoor places.
Snowshoeing is an effective form of exercise and a great way to get outdoors in the winter. MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes are durable, lightweight, and perfect for winter hiking. The women’s model is lighter and the men’s model comes in three different lengths for the best fit.
I also love these snowshoes for kids that leave funny, giant paw prints in their wake. My kids stomp around making animal noises and have a wonderful time in these snowshoes!
Get well-framed group or solo photos at the top of a mountain, or wherever there’s a beautiful view on a hike! I use this GEEKOTO 77’’ Tripod which folds down and straps easily to my pack. It’s not a ton of extra weight to carry at just over 3 lbs. I use this cell phone mount with it and have gotten quality photos with just my iPhone!
Hiking Gift Ideas Under $25
Regular athletic socks aren’t the best choice for a hike. These Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks are much better suited to a day trekking outdoors. The merino wool and moisture-wicking properties will keep feet warm even if the socks get wet. Cushioning helps feet stay comfy on long trails.
Sun Bum Lip Balm SPF 30 is paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. An SPF of 30 protects lips from sunburn, while aloe and Vitamin E keep them moisturized. This is one of the best gifts for skiers, hikers, and anyone who loves to be outdoors.
Reusable Food Storage Bags
Nothing tastes as delicious as a plain old peanut butter and jelly sandwich on top of a mountain you just climbed! Keep your sandwich from getting soggy with these leakproof, easy-clean bags. They’re BPA-free and have no silicone or plastic, and they reduce plastic waste.
These hand warmers are heavenly on winter hikes! Just open the package, shake the warmer, and it will gradually heat up over the next 30 minutes. HotHands Hand Warmers can be used on hikes, at chilly football games, or tucked into a sleeping bag.
These rustic-looking State Hiker Ornaments feature the outline of your state of choice, with a cutout of a hiker or two inside. They’re the perfect way to remember a trip that involves hiking. This is one of the more creative gifts for hikers, ideal for trail buddies and scout leaders!
This Time Outside sticker reads, “Time outside makes me a little less murdery,” and I can definitely relate! It’s a fun sticker to slap on a laptop or water bottle. I’m sure the people around you will appreciate being warned.
Hiking Clothing Gifts
The Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket is a convenient choice for hikes that start out cold and warm up. The jacket is windproof and keeps the wearer warm when it’s wet (although, it’s also water-repellent). It folds right into an interior pocket with a carabiner clip, so it can be tucked away when it’s not needed.
The men’s Nano Puff Insulated Hoodie has all the same attributes, plus a hood for added warmth.
I bring a rain jacket on every hike… and I’ve needed it more often than you’d expected! This men’s Columbia Watertight II Rain Jacket is waterproof but still breathable, which makes it perfect for hiking. I’ve personally tested the Columbia Arcadia II, the women’s version of this jacket, and highly recommend it.
I have a variety of hiking hats in different styles, but this North Face Class V Brimmer Hat is my favorite for total sun protection. The wide brim keeps the sun off and a chin strap keeps the hat on your head. It dries quickly and even floats in case you lose it while paddleboarding or kayaking. This hat also shows up on Travel Lemming’s “Best Gifts for Campers” guide!
It’s not unusual to take two hats along on a hike! You may need a 100% Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie first thing in the morning or when you get higher up on a mountain, and a sun hat for warmer sections. This cuffed beanie is breathable and very thin but still keeps in heat. It even fits under a helmet, perfect for climbers, cyclers, and snow sports enthusiasts.
This sun shirt has a 50+ UPF and is moisture-wicking and quick-drying. It’s a great shirt for hiking, running, swimming, and other water sports. My husband likes his men’s BALEAF sun shirt so much, he wears it around the house just because it’s comfy. It’s also available in a women’s version.
Merino Wool Base Layer
Hikers layer so they can add clothing as they get cold and subtract as they warm up. This men’s REI Co-op Merino Base Layer is long-sleeved but breathable. It works as a bottom layer for hiking, skiing, and on chilly days. The women’s version is also an excellent base layer with the same benefits.
Convertible hiking pants are an ingenious way to layer. Wear the hiking pants when it’s cold, then unzip them just above the knee when it gets warmer.
The women’s Columbia Saturday Trail II Convertible Pant is waterproof, stain-resistant, and comes in several colors. A zippered pocket means you won’t lose your keys. The men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pant by Columbia has the same features.
Hiking Safety Gifts
First Aid Kit
I don’t bother unloading my first aid kit from my hiking daypack, except to take inventory after I’ve used it! I just leave it in there for next time, as it’s truly a hiking must-have.
The Ultralight/Watertight Adventure Medical Kit includes bandages, medications, and other essentials. It’s stored in a watertight bag to make sure supplies don’t get damaged.
File this under “important to have, but hope you’ll never need it!” I first learned about SAM splints in a Wilderness First Aid class, and now we carry one on every Girl Scout hike.
The SAM Splint is lightweight and folds down small, but forms a splint when molded around an injured arm or leg. It can stabilize a hurt limb and help someone get themselves to safety easier.
The SOL Scout Kit includes essentials for survival in case you can’t make it back to your destination. The kit has a survival blanket, rescue whistle, fire striker and waterproof tinder, a compass, duct tape, and other survival items. It’s stored in a dry bag to protect the contents.
Garmin inReach Communicator
We go hiking to get away from it all, but the Garmin GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator allows you to stay connected in case of emergency.
You can send an SOS and have two-way messaging with a satellite subscription — an important feature if you like hiking way off the grid. You’ll also get access to weather forecasts, topographical maps, and even geocaching.
I wish I’d had these on an icy hike I recently took. One of us slid down the trail and took out two other people and a dog!
Avoid wipeouts with the Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System. They fit over your regular hiking boots and help tackle icy conditions. The tote bag and small size mean you can toss them in your pack and just pull them out when needed.
A headlamp is essential for long hikes, as well as early and late starts. The Petzl, TIKKINA Outdoor Headlamp will help illuminate your hike while leaving both hands free to maneuver. It has three white lighting levels and weighs only 0.2 pounds.
Hiking Gift Ideas For Families
A quality baby backpack will last for years. Ours stood up to four kids over ten years! Look for packs with a belt, which transfers weight to your hips rather than your back. You’ll also want space for water bottles and other hiking essentials. Lastly, opt for a pack that’s easy to get on and off by yourself if you plan to take the kids on your own.
The Deuter Kid Comfort Child Carrier has a padded hip belt, a mesh back for ventilation, and an adjustable back for a better fit. I like that the belt pouches allow you to reach items without having to take the entire pack off.
Front Baby Carrier
The Tula Explore Baby Carrier is a good pick for babies who are too small for a child carrier. It adjusts in front to provide neck support for babies who need to face their parents. The padded waistband helps distribute weight, and padded shoulder straps provide extra comfort. The Tula converts to three positions and can hold children up to 45 lbs.
A Nature Journal for Kids can help them pay closer attention to the things they see on a hike. It can also entertain and even educate them. They’ll practice writing, learn about ecology, and try all kinds of scientific practices while they observe the world around them.
Kids hiking near creeks or lakes are going to get wet. It’s just a fact! Get them some water shoes rather than trying to fight it.
Original Kids Tevas will stay on their feet and protect them from rocks and sticks in the water. They’re worth the higher price tag than cheaper brands, as they’ll last much longer. You’ll get your money’s worth by handing them down if you have multiple kids.
A towel is one of the most useful items you can bring along when hiking with kids! You can use it for water sports, spread it out for a picnic, or put it in your trunk to hold muddy shoes after a hike. The PackTowl Personal Towel is lightweight, doesn’t take up much room, and dries quickly.
Bug Catching Kit
The Adventure Kidz Outdoor Bug Exploration Kit has binoculars, a bug net, a magnifying glass, and bug containers. You don’t have to bring everything on a hike, however! Choose one or two items to bring along to study bugs and other wild creatures on the trail.
Gift Cards For Hikers
AllTrails Pro Subscription
AllTrails is one of the best travel apps. It can help you find hikes all over the world. The app informs users of trails’ elevation gain, mileage, conditions, and more helpful info. You can also filter by length, difficulty, popularity, and even natural features like waterfalls and caves.
An AllTrails+ Membership allows users to download maps — an important feature when you might be without cell service. Plus, the Lifeline service lets trusted friends and others track users when they’re on a hike.
National Parks Pass
Some of the country’s best hikes (like these hikes at Rocky Mountain National Park) are within national parks! The America the Beautiful Pass works at all of the national parks in the U.S., along with over 2,000 national historic sites and other federal lands.
REI Gift Card
REI has lots of high-quality clothing, backpacking gear, and other outdoorsy gifts for her and him. An REI Gift Card lets hikers choose the gear they need most. It also allows them to splurge on something they might not have bought for themselves!
FAQs About Hiking Gifts
What are some good gifts for hikers under $25?
I hope this guide to the best gifts for hikers has given you some ideas for birthdays, holidays, and other occasions! Be sure to check out our list of the best travel gifts for even more ideas. Happy browsing!
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