Thoughtful Gifts For Hikers

What gifts do hikers want?  Hint:  Hiking Gear.  Specifically, they want hiking gear that protects, improves safety, and furnishes comfort.  The best gifts for hikers do all of this, and are lightweight, functional, durable, compact, and dependable.

If figuring out what to give is daunting, take a breath.  We understand, and we’ve got your back.  Read on to learn about the gear hikers need and want.  Be a hero – give a gift for the adventures ahead.



*Grey Otter Outventures, Inc. is an affiliate of some of the brands mentioned herein and may receive a small commission from purchases made from these brands at no extra cost to you.


Day Pack:  It is the one essential piece of gear every hiker should have.  It holds everything a hiker needs – food, safety supplies, emergency supplies, first aid, jackets, etc.  Hikers need a great day pack that is lightweight, durable, has useful features, and carries everything comfortably.  

We choose Osprey day packs for our adventures.  They are lightweight yet durable, and have the organization features we appreciate: hip pockets, zippered inside pockets, separate zippered compartments, key clips, outer stretch pockets – front, side and back, trekking pole storage attachments, and storage for our hydration reservoirs.

We use the Osprey Talon 22 (men) and the Osprey Tempest 20 (women).  Both are lightweight, have an excellent harness system, and plenty of storage.  Although designed to carry a water bladder, one must be purchased separately.  We use Camelbak water bladders because they stow securely in our packs and a sip is always at the ready.  They come in a variety of sizes, from 1.5 liter to  3 liters, and are all 100% free of BPA, BPS and BPF.

For other Osprey day pack options and sizes CLICK HERE.


Hikers need gear that provides personal protection and comfort to handle the weather and terrain they encounter on their adventures.  A great piece of gear which is durable, lightweight, and increases physical comfort and protection is always one of the best gifts for hikers.

Hiking ShoesHiking shoes are an absolute must.  Not only do they need to protect a hiker’s feet from the terrain, they must be comfortable, breathable, waterproof, and lightweight.

Hiking shoe technology is changing rapidly and we go through a lot of shoes.  Currently, the men’s Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 3 GTXand the women’s Hoka One One Sky Kaha GTX.  Although these shoes are made by different manufacturers, they both have excellent ankle support and fantastic traction in addition to being comfortable, lightweight, breathable, and waterproof.

Jackets:  Hikers must have a jacket for hiking in wet or cold conditions. A pleasant day can rapidly turn cold or wet during a hike, and hikers must be prepared. A lightweight, packable jacket that stows easily in a day pack is what they need.

Our ultralight Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jackets are often with us when we go hiking.  These jackets keep us warm.  Period.  Surprisingly durable for being ultra lightweight, they scrunch down to nothing so they are no big deal to toss in our day packs in the event what started out as a warm day turns to bone chilling cold – or vice versa.  These jackets are super stars.

For rain protection we can’t live without our Outdoor Research Rain Jackets – they keep us comfortably dry when we are out in the rain.  Even when the weather forecast is for clear skies on a warm day, we often bring these jackets to use as windbreakers.  

For other ultra lightweight jacket options CLICK HERE.

Trekking Poles: We refuse to live without them.  Trekking poles reduce knee strain, and provide stability for crossing streams or hiking on loose rocks or uneven terrain.  They help propel us upward when the trail is ascending, and even make hiking on flat ground more comfortable.  One of the best gifts for hikers, and one that is sure to delight, is a great pair of ultralight trekking poles.

Our preferred brand for poles is LEKI.  Currently, we use the LEKI Carbon TA XTG (men) and the LEKI Women’s Cressida COR-TEC Pole.  These poles are collapsible for the times we need to stow them, and fully adjustable so they can be easily and quickly lengthened or shortened as the trail dictates.

For other trekking pole options CLICK HERE.

Hats:  Heads need comfort and protection too!  Sun exposure and temperature drive the need for a variety of headwear for hikers.  We outfit ourselves with beanies, baseball style caps, and full brim hats.  For any given hike, we choose the head protection which best suits the conditions of the day.  No matter what style is chosen, however, we always go for great.  In other words, our headwear must be comfortable, moisture wicking, and quick drying.

CLICK HERE for a great selection of hats hikers love.


Socks:  Miles on the trail means hiker feet need love – and lot’s of it.  Hikers need and want quick drying, non-blistering, cushioned and comfortable socks made for hiking.  The best ones for hiking are made of merino wool.  Hikers need great hiking socks and can’t own enough of them.  Socks are always a perfect gift for hikers.

CLICK HERE for great hiking sock options


The last items of gear hikers need and want is for their safety, comfort, or convenience.  Some of this gear is essential, but some is not.  We’ll let you know which items are nice to have, and what gear we consider essential and always have with us on a hike These items round out our gear suggestions for safe, successful, and great hiking adventures, and all make excellent gifts for hikers.

Bottle for Hydration MixReplacing electrolytes is essential for physical safety when hiking in the heat.  We always carry hydration packets to add to our water to ensure we are replacing the electrolytes we lose through sweat.  A separate container for a hydration mix is not an essential item, but we prefer to use one because it allows us to keep our Camelback bladder cleaner.

Hands down, we believe the best bottles for our hydration mix are made by Platypus.  The half liter (0.5L) size is perfect for hydration packets.  They weigh virtually nothing, flatten to take very little room when not in use, and are amazingly durable.

Water Filtration (Emergency Use)Running out of drinkable water on a hike can lead to dire consequences, especially in extreme heat.  As such, we carry a system for emergency water filtration.  This allows us to take water from any source we find (even a nasty, muddy puddle) and turn it into clean drinking water.  We feel this is an essential piece of our safety gear, and we carry it with us at all times.

Our go to is the Sawyer Micro Squeeze Filter.  It weighs almost nothing and it can literally be a life saver.

Headlamps (Emergency & Night Use)Headlamps are a must for hiking safety.  Even if we don’t expect to be on the trail before or after dark, it can happen.  As such, this is an essential piece of safety gear.  Should a headlamp be needed, one is always with us.
We use the Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp and the Petzl ACTIK Headlamp.  Both are lightweight, powerful, and have a variety of brightness levels.
Multi-ToolEquipment does occasionally break while on the trail.  A multi-tool isn’t an essential piece of gear, but is highly recommended because having it is better than not when a basic tool is needed to fix a problem.
Carrying a multi-tool, as well as some tie wraps and a strong tape such as Tenacious Tape, can be instrumental in solving problems.  We each carry the ultra light Gerber Dime Mini Multi-Tool.  
Ditty BagsDitty bags are a great way to organize gear in a day pack, but are not absolutely essential.
We prefer organized gear, so we use the Granite Gear Tough Sack 2L to keep things tidy in our day packs.  This size has enough room to store first aid, a multi-tool, a headlamp, and some tape.  These bags come in a variety of sizes, are ultralight, and coated for water resistance.
Pack Cover (In Case of Rain)It is a good idea for hikers to keep a pack cover in their day pack because most day packs are not waterproof.  This is an essential item every hiker should have, but can leave behind if rain is not expected.  Ours are always in our packs, however, because sometimes a surprise rain shower just happens.
We like the CamelBak Unisex Adult Pack Rain Cover.  They are lightweight and come in a variety of sizes to fit most day packs.
Everything Else:  Check out the many other gear options for hikers that we haven’t covered.  Find neck gaiters, watches, solar chargers, gloves, and more…  whatever gear hikers need or want – they have it at REI.  CLICK HERE to find the perfect gift for your favorite hiker.
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The best gifts for hikers keep them safe and comfortable on their adventures.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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