Whether you’re looking for yourself or someone else – these are eleven super practical gifts for hikers they will actually use and love.
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1 Lems Hiking Shoes
I searched for the most comfortable hiking shoes for a while before I finally found a brand that was functional for both my feet and the trail. Lems hiking shoes are good right out of the box, which means I’ve never had a break-in period or blisters. My main complaint about most hiking boots is that they’re heavy, clunky and squish my toes – they’re just generally too much shoe.
My Lems are super lightweight, and my toes have plenty of room. Check out the Lems Mesa (L) and Trailhead (R) for hiking shoes with good grip, or the Primals 2s if you’re looking for something super minimalist and flexible. The Boulder Boots are also pretty amazing too for easy hikes in colder weather.
Read my full review of the Lems Mesa here.
2 Merino Wool Hiking T-shirt
If there’s one thing I really love to wear when hiking, it’s merino wool. And that goes for warm summer days to snowshoeing in the dead of winter. Merino wool is breathable, wicks away moisture, insulates when wet, and naturally resists odor-causing bacteria. Plus, a good merino wool is super soft and not itchy at all.
For warmer days, opt for a short-sleeve merino wool tee with a lightweight weave, like these from Icebreaker or Smartwool. For a long-sleeve good for layering, I love the soft silkiness of Nui Organic’s merino silk shirts for women.
See a full list of our favorite merino wool shirts for hiking here.
3 Merino Wool Hiking Socks
What makes merino wool perfect for hiking tees is also what makes it great for hiking socks (especially the odor-resistant part). Merino wool socks will keep your feet drier and all around more comfortable. My go-to socks are typically these Bombas socks for ankle cut or no-shows, or these lightweight Wildly Good ones for a crew cut.
See a full list of our favorite merino wool hiking socks here.
4 UST Brila 580 Dual Power Headlamp
Even if we’re planning a daytime hike, I usually throw a headlamp in my bag just in case. More than once we’ve ended up staying at the summit or the beach til sunset, and we’ve been able to easily make it back to our car in the dark thanks to the headlamp we brought. I like this UST Brila headlamp because it has a rechargeable battery, which can last up to 18 hours on the low setting (and about 3 hours for the high setting). If you’re worried about running out of battery, you can also bring 3 extra AAA batteries as backup. It’s fast to recharge, so I can easily make sure I’m fully charged before each trip.
5 Rain Organica Antioxidant Facial Mist
Rain Organica is a complete line of natural skincare specifically made for hikers and backpackers. Your skin can always use more protection during long days on the trail, so try the Marine Layer Anti-Oxidant Mist after applying sunscreen. This mist helps to form an additional layer to protect against UV exposure and other environmental pollutants. Plus, this moisturizing spritzer is small enough to easily slip into your day pack for a mid-hike refresh.
If you’re heading out on a backpacking trip, try the Leave No Trace Rinse Free Facial Cleanser for a quick and easy way to clean your face when you’re short on water.
6 Rain Organica Botanical Oil for Chapped Hands
This botanical oil is amazing relief for dry, chapped hands, especially during the colder months. Applying a thin layer of Rain Organica’s Botanical Oil before your head out means your hands will be moisturized and protected for the day. The convenient travel-sized roller ball formula is made of Flaxseed, chia seed, and pumpkin seed and meadowfoam seed oils, rich in essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
7 LARQ water bottle
While most hikers already have a reusable water bottle, most don’t have one that has a built-in purification system. The cap on the innovative LARQ water bottle has a UV-C LED light that eliminates bacteria, viruses, and protozoa from your water, which means it cleans both the bottle and the water inside of it. The cap is rechargeable via USB and a full charge lasts about 1 to 2 months.
I’ve used this for the last few months and it’s nice to know my water bottle is always clean and sanitized without having to try to scrub down inside. I never have to worry about weird smells or bacteria growing in the bottle. Using the adventure mode cleaning option, I can scoop up water from a fresh water lake or stream, and the bottle will clean 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.99% of viruses. Just make sure the water is clean to the eye as the bottle will not physically filter out large particles like sediment.
The LARQ water bottle is also great for travel to locations where you need to purify that tap water. As an insulated bottle it also keeps your water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours.
8 Hydration Mix
It can be tough to stay hydrated on long hikes and warm days. A hydration mix like the Liquid I.V. hydration multiplier not only helps you avoid dehydration, it also gives you a boost with electrolytes and vitamins. The mix uses what Liquid I.V. calls Cellular Transport Technology (CTT), which delivers water directly to your bloodstream and hydrates you faster and more efficiently. You can purchase this hydration mix directly from Liquid I.V. or from Amazon.
9 etee Beeswax Sandwich and Snack Bags
We always bring along a few snacks or sandwiches to enjoy on a quick break or at the end of the trail. Help your favorite hiker ditch the plastic bags with etee beeswax sandwich and snack bags. Etee is fully committed to sustainability and going plastic free; their products are designed to reduce reliance on plastics, and they don’t use plastics when shipping.
These reusable sandwich and snack bags are made from organic cotton muslin and coated with USDA approved Certified Organic beeswax, Coniferous tree resin, soy wax, and Organic jojoba oil. Simply wash your etee bag after use with cool water and eco-friendly soap and hang upside down to dry.
If you are giving these as a gift, you may want to include a few hiking snacks – like some delicious granola bites or trail mix.
10 Hiking Backpack
As a hiking enthusiast, your friend or family member probably already has a backpack, but do they have one they really love? Here are a few we recommend:
Osprey Tempest 20L – This daypack has a mesh panel, shoulder and hip straps to evenly distribute weight, and a pocket for your hydration pack.
Fjallraven Greenland Top Pack – This backpack is made with Fjallraven’s classic waxed canvas, which means its waterproof and still looks practically new, even after a lot of use.
Lowepro LP36890 Photo Sport 300 AW II – Usually one of us is wearing this backpack on every hike, since we’re usually bringing along our camera. This photo backpack is great for hiking since it has hip straps, a pocket for a hydration pack, and even a cover that unpacks from the bottom of the bag in case of a rain or dust storm. It easily fits our mirrorless camera and one to two extra lenses.
11 Packable Jacket
The Patagonia Nano Puff jacket is lightweight but warm, and conveniently stuffs down inside of a pocket to make it convenient to bring along if you think the temps might drop while you’re still hiking. We love Patagonia for its commitment to sustainability; the Nano Puff jacket uses bluesign® approved fabric and insulation made from recycled water bottles.
Read about more eco-conscious outdoor clothing brands here.
12 UST SlothCloth Hammock
Sometimes the best views are halfway through a hike, and bringing along a hammock means you can find a spot to kick back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. The UST SlothCloth hammock is made of lightweight, durable nylon, so doesn’t take up to much weight or space in your daypack. It also comes with all the straps and carabiners needed for a quick setup.
13 Neck Gaiter
Hiking in 2020 likely means you’re going to need to have a face covering handy. The most effective masks are well-fitted and have multiple layers (at least 3 according to the CDC). A neck gaiter may be a more practical option if you’re hiking on a trail that’s not very busy. It is a lot easier to pull up when you pass someone since you don’t have to fiddle with straps. And when you’re not using it, simply let it hang around your neck for the next time you need it. This cotton and bamboo neck gaiter is good for warmer weather, but still thick enough that it’s going to provide some protection.
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