Need a gift for someone who can’t get enough beautiful trails and scenic viewpoints? Hikers are a fairly easy group to buy gifts for, once you understand what we’re all about.
We tend to like practical and high-quality gear that packs a lot of value into a small and lightweight package. After all, we have to carry it on our backs! We also love nature and anything that helps us enjoy and protect it. Finally, we tend to be active and like to take good care of our bodies so they can carry us farther down the trail.
So with that in mind, here’s a list of gift ideas the day hiker in your life will surely enjoy.
This list focuses specifically on day hikers – folks who like to explore the trails for an hour or ten and then sleep in their own bed at night. If your favorite hiker likes to sleep under the stars and continue down the trail the next morning, see my post on Backpacking Gift Ideas.
As always when choosing gifts, make sure it’s returnable in case it doesn’t quite fit the bill. Hikers can be rather particular, especially those of us with a lot of experience since we already have a setup we know and love. If you can learn about their hiking preferences – fast or slow, short or long, light or well-equipped, desert or mountains – you’ll have an easier time choosing the perfect gift from this list.
Affordable Gifts ($30)
These cheaper hiking gift ideas make perfect stocking stuffers or small standalone gifts. You could also combine a few into a clever day hiking gift basket.
Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets
Drinking from streams and other natural sources can lighten a day hiker’s load and offer emergency options in case water runs low. These water treatment tablets weigh almost nothing and make natural water safe to drink. Nothing shows you care like a gift that says “I don’t want you to get explosive diarrhea.”
Adventure Medical Kits – Ultralight First Aid Kit
REI Co-op Switfland Running Cap
RumbleRoller Extra Firm Beastie Massage Ball
Reusable Ziplock Pouches
SOL Emergency Bivvy
Foot Glide Anti Blister Balm
Field Guide to the Weather
It’s hard to go wrong with wool socks in general, but for the perfect gift try to consider your hiker’s shoe preferences. Folks who hike in trail running shoes often prefer low-cut and lightly cushioned socks, while boot enthusiasts tend toward taller and more cushioned options.
PROBAR Meal Bar Variety Pack
Mid-Range Gifts ($30 – $60)
REI Co-op Power Stretch Fleece Gloves
Petzl Bindi Ultra-Compact Headlamp
Katadyn BeFree 1.0L Water Filter
If your hiker enjoys long days on the trail, this compact water filter will lighten their load by allowing them to quickly top up their water supply from streams or lakes. There are many water filter options out there, but this one is known as the lightest and fastest of the bunch – that’s why it’s so popular with day hikers and trail runners.
Yaktrax Pro Traction System
Need a gift for an avid day hiker who can’t be stopped by a little ice or snow on the ground? Help them stay upright with these lightweight and spike-free traction devices that slip over regular hiking shoes. They don’t replace crampons for serious winter hiking, but they’re perfect for added traction on light ice and snow.
REI Co-op Flash 22 Pack
More Expensive Gifts (Over $60)
Smartwool Merino Base Layer T-Shirt
Nikon Trailblazer Waterproof 8×25 Binoculars
“America the Beautiful” National Parks Pass
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ Trekking Poles
Not all day hikers use trekking poles, but if your hiker does, these are the best of the best. These top-of-the-line lightweight carbon poles fold down small – perfect for hikers who love to travel light en route to their exotic hiking destinations – and are also partially adjustable in length. Make sure you choose the right length range for their height.
Gift Cards, Subscriptions, and Donations
AllTrails Pro Subscription
There are several good apps for finding and navigating hiking trails, but I find that AllTrails often has the most recent crowdsourced comments and updates thanks to its large user base. It’s free for basic features, and the small monthly fee unlocks offline maps and navigation – a key feature for hiking in more remote areas.
REI Gift Card
Donation to Their Favorite Trail Stewardship or Conservation Organization
Hikers tend to be passionate about protecting the places and trails we love. Does your hiker have a favorite region or trail? Make a donation to the local stewardship organization, or a conservation group focused on their favorite type of animal or ecosystem.
Surely by now you’ve found the perfect gift idea for your day hiker friend or loved one. If you’re still unsure, just ask them! They probably have their own wishlist of dream gear they’d be happy to tell you about.
More Hiking Resources
If you found this helpful, you might also like these articles:
- Cactus to Clouds: One of the US’s Most Challenging Day Hikes
- OR Helium Rain Jacket: Long-Term Review
- How to Poop in the Woods: Guide for the Shy and Squeamish
Or, visit the hiking resources center for LOTS more!
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