Shopping for hiking enthusiasts can be hard, especially if you’re not well versed in the needs of hikers. And as much fun as those silly hiking-themed shirts you may see advertised on Facebook are, it’s possible to find something they’ll genuinely love. (Yes, I have received at least one of those shirts.) Most times, an REI gift card makes for a better gift than colorful hiking-themed apparel.
The best gifts for hikers are practical items your friend or family member will actually enjoy and use, whether they’re embarking on a 5-mile loop near home or on a multi-day backpacking trip in the national parks. Before we discuss the perfect gift for hikers, let’s talk about what to avoid. You want to be sure to skip the cliches and gag gifts that wind up being dead weight, like a random colorful walking stick you found in your local farmer’s market or online. (And yes, that’s also something I’ve been given as a gift.)
As you look for a great gift for the hiker in your life, take into consideration a few of my suggestions, which are based on my experiences hiking over the years. There’s a good chance you’ll find some gear on this list your hiker doesn’t already have — or which could use an upgrade before their next outdoor adventure.
Lights aren’t the most exciting gift in the world, but a solar-friendly light you can hang anywhere is an incredibly useful thing for any camper or hiker if they have the weight for it. If you can charge it while you’re hiking, having a light like this in the evening means never needing to worry about batteries, and that’s a big deal.
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There’s no such thing as too many socks, especially when you’re hiking. Whether it’s a day hike or a full week out on the trail, having the right socks makes a huge difference. Smartwool socks come in a variety of heights, cushion levels and designs. They’re also great for any temperature, because the primary focus is keeping moisture away from your feet and adding pressure in all of the right places to help prevent blisters. Consider buying your hiker a variety of light, medium and highly cushioned hiking socks. The lightest and thinnest (no cushion) also feel great in everyday sneakers, and the wool material has never made me itch.
Ever hike to the top of a mountain only to discover it’s a lot colder up there? Not a fun feeling, especially if you’re unprepared. I’m not a fan of disposable heaters that end up in the trash or a fire pit, so I usually recommend these rechargeable hand warmers. They have multiple temperature settings, can be recharged by a solar panel if needed, and is small and light enough to not really notice it in a day bag.
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I swear by these. Not every hiking shoe or boot comes with the right arch support for your foot, and even those that do could use a boost. If you’ve got high arches like me or you’re in need of something to provide a little extra heel support, Superfeet insoles mitigate the beating your feet take over hikes of any duration. Every color in the lineup indicates a different kind of support, and once you have trimmed these to fit the right shoe, they can stay there as long as you keep the boot. You can also pull them out and transfer them to any other shoe. Prices vary depending on size and support, but pick the right one and it’ll last years.
The most important thing you need to know about hiking is that the weight of your pack matters — and that goes double for distance hikes and backpacking. It’s hard to find a high quality camping chair light enough to carry on your back all day, which is what makes the OneTigris chair so good. It actually supports your back (and butt), which is critical after a full day of hiking, and only weighs 2.4 pounds.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.