Best Gifts For Day Hikers in 2022 (All Budgets)

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.

Buff Headwear

Outdoor lovers of all kinds can never have enough of these handy tubular accessories. They’re headbands, sweat bands, dust masks, ear warmers, and so much more. Choose a fun pattern that suits your favorite hiker’s vibe.

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

Every day hiker should keep a first aid kit in their pack just in case. This ultralight kit from a reliable brand weighs only 2.3 ounces, so there’s no excuse not to carry it.

REI Co-op Switfland Running Cap

Though technically designed for running, this breathable sun hat makes a great gift for day hikers thanks to its packable brim and minimalist design. It’s perfect for the hiker who likes to pack a little sun protection but isn’t into the full-brim sun hat style.

RumbleRoller Extra Firm Beastie Massage Ball

It might look like a torture device, but this compact massage ball can offer sweet relief for tight muscles after a long day on the trail.

Reusable Ziplock Pouches

An ideal gift for the sustainability-focused hiker, these reusable ziplock pouches are perfect for packing trail snacks without disposable single-use plastic bags.

SOL Emergency Bivvy

For folks who love longer and more remote day hikes, an emergency bivvy is a smart piece of survival gear. Nothing shows you care like a gift that says “Don’t die out there!” At only 4 ounces, this metallic emergency bivvy adds very little pack weight but can save a life if the unexpected happens.

Foot Glide Anti Blister Balm

Hotspots and blisters can be a real problem for some hikers, especially newer ones who haven’t found their favorite shoes yet. Help keep their feet happy with this popular lightweight anti-chafe balm.

Field Guide to the Weather

Every hiker eventually discovers that the weather plays a key role in their experience. Help them get better at reading the skies with this practical guidebook.

Smartwool Socks

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

Every hiker loves a good snack! These nutritionally dense bars are healthier than the typical energy bar and taste great too, making them perfect to pack for a long day hike. They’re even gluten free and vegan, though you’d never guess from how delicious they are.

Hiking-Themed Jewelry

If your favorite hiker wears jewelry, they might enjoy a hiking or nature themed piece to help them fly their hiker flag both on and off the trail. Etsy is a great place to look for unique items.

Mid-Range Gifts ($30 – $60)

REI Co-op Power Stretch Fleece Gloves

These stretchy breathable gloves provide just the right amount of warmth for chilly day hikes in the spring and fall. Touch-screen compatible fingertips and rubberized palm grips make them as practical as they are comfy.

Petzl Bindi Ultra-Compact Headlamp

It’s always smart to pack a headlamp on a hike, even if you plan to be home before dark. Sometimes things happen! This clever compact design disappears into a pack, so your hiker will forget it’s there until it saves their butt.

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

This minimalist packable day pack is the perfect gift for day hikers who love to travel to exotic trails. It packs down small for the journey to the trailhead, yet still includes plenty of helpful features like a hip belt, removable back pad, and hydration sleeve.

More Expensive Gifts (Over $60)

Smartwool Merino Base Layer T-Shirt

Hikers love merino wool for its breathability and comfort over a wide range of temperatures, plus its tendency to stay smelling fresh even when the human inside, well… doesn’t. You can’t go wrong with this lightweight classic t-shirt from Smartwool.

Nikon Trailblazer Waterproof 8×25 Binoculars

If you know a day hiker with a budding interest in wildlife watching, give them the gift of a closer view with these relatively lightweight Nikon binoculars.

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“America the Beautiful” National Parks Pass

If you know someone who loves traveling to the most spectacular hiking destinations, this pass will give them a year’s free access to all the national parks and thousands of smaller recreation sites across the US. Heads up: it’s nonrefundable, so make sure they don’t already have one first!

Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket

This popular ultralight rain jacket is perfect for the day hiker who wants to keep a light pack but still be prepared. Known for its balance of practical features with minimalist size and weight, it’s a perfect just-in-case layer for uncertain weather or cooler windy days.

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

Let them choose the gear they need most with a gift card to REI Co-op. REI carries a good variety of hiking-specific gear as well as general outdoor gear and clothing. They’re also known for their excellent return policy, inclusive culture, and commitment to protecting the environment.

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

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Alissa. I’ve had the pleasure of hiking the Arizona Trail, Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, and countless shorter amazing trails throughout the US and abroad. I love solitude, big views, and a good lightweight gear setup. Learn more or say hi.

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