Most of us have at least one friend who is obsessed with backcountry exploration – who is all about hiking, camping, or just being outside for some other reason. One really good thing here is that buying a gift for such an individual means having a wide array of cool products to choose from. These are the best gifts for outdoorsy people:
Table of Contents
- 1 Merino Wool Base Layers
- 2 Hydro Flask Water Bottle
- 3 Black Diamond Headlamp
- 4 SteriPen Water Purifier
- 5 Keen Hiking Boots
- 6 Osprey Backpack
- 7 The North Face Venture 2 Jacket
- 8 Polarized Sunglasses
- 9 Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover
- 10 Fast-Drying Towel
- 11 Smartwool Wool Socks
- 12 Quality Insect Repellent
- 13 Hiking Trowel
- 14 The North Face Etip Gloves
- 15 Warm Wintertime Beanie
- 16 A Set of Carabiners
- 17 Sun Bum Sunscreen
- 18 Waterproof Phone Case
- 19 Boot Freshener
- 20 Binoculars
- 21 Leki Trekking Poles
- 22 OutdoorMaster Sports Helmet
- 23 Dry Bag
- 24 Garmin Watch
- 25 Camping Stove
- 26 Eno Eagle’s Nest Hammock
- 27 “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer
Merino Wool Base Layers
If your outdoorsy friends often engage in wintertime backcountry escapades or just like to hike at higher altitudes, they definitely need warm clothes.
And that’s where we come to the so-called baselayers – garments that act as a “second skin” – and which make some of the most functional gifts for those in love with the Great Outdoors.
Smartwool’s Merino 250 line of base layers consists of garments that are exceptionally cozy and warm. In addition to that, these clothes have moisture-wicking properties and are both breathable and durable.
Hydro Flask Water Bottle
Those who want to stay healthy and capable while exploring the wilderness need to frequently hydrate themselves. And for outdoorsy people, there’s nothing worse than having to drink lukewarm water during summer hikes or ice-cold tea during wintertime adventures.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem – get your friend a Hydro Flask bottle. These bottles are made out of stainless steel and are well-insulated, i.e. they effortlessly maintain the temperature of both hot and cold drinks.
This particular Hydro Flask Vacuum-Insulated Bottle is one of the company’s bestsellers, and for a good reason. It is extremely durable, leak-proof, and keeps hot beverages hot and cold drinks cold for hours on end.
If the Hydro Flask doesn’t fit into your budget, check out my post on the best Hydro Flask alternatives.
Black Diamond Headlamp
Do your outdoorsy acquaintances often end their hikes in complete darkness, fumbling around while being unable to use both of their hands because of the flashlight? If so, here’s a perfect gift for them – a headlamp.
A device of this type is, in my opinion, an essential item for every trekking enthusiast. And the best headlamps are those that are durable and lightweight, like those made by the renowned US brand Black Diamond.
The Storm 400 Headlamp made by this company sports a compact, low-profile design, as well as dustproof/waterproof housing. It is extremely easy to operate and provides 400 lumens of bright light.
SteriPen Water Purifier
Having access to clean water while exploring the Great Outdoors is a must – there’s no doubt about that. For that matter, every serious backcountry explorer needs to carry a water purification system, which turns this device into a perfect gift.
One of the most popular gadgets of this type is the Ultra UV Water Purifier, made by SteriPen. The UV light produced by this device is, as the manufacturer claims, capable of destroying almost 100% of protozoa, viruses, and bacteria.
What is more, this portable water purifier is extremely lightweight and has a tiny but very informative OLED display that shows all the important information. It can be used for 50 water treatments per one full charge.
Keen Hiking Boots
Let’s be honest – the only thing that a person needs to get out on the trail is a pair of quality trekking boots. And for a fearless outdoor enthusiast, who likes being outside no matter the weather, there’s no better gift than a set of waterproof hiking boots made by Keen.
The footwear made by this company is well-known for its thick treads and waterproof fabrics that keep one’s feet dry and warm. What is more, Keen’s boots and shoes often look quite sleek – with them, a backcountry explorer can go outside in style.
The Targhee II Hiking Boots are probably the best out of all the boots this company has ever made. They are completely waterproof and provide excellent traction and support, which is precisely what your outdoorsy friend needs while traversing rough terrain.
Obviously, those heading outdoors need to carry food, water, gear, and some extra clothes. And if your nature-loving friend still uses the same old backpack he or she has been using for years, it’s time for you to surprise them with a brand new model boasting lots of modern and convenient features.
A vast majority of outdoorsmen consider Osprey to be the world’s best manufacturer of backpacks. One of their most popular products of this type is the Stratos 24 Backpack, a mighty fine product with features such as the integrated rain cover, zippered hip belt pockets, and the ventilated back panel.
This particular model is available in three different colors and is made out of ripstop nylon with some mesh elements. However, Osprey has many other backpacks on offer, so make sure to my list of the best Osprey backpacks as well.
The North Face Venture 2 Jacket
Every trekking enthusiast knows that the weather conditions deep in the wild can change in an instant. And that’s precisely why a quality rain jacket, like the North Face Venture 2 Jacket, is one of the most practical gifts you can purchase for a trekker.
There’s a lot to like about this phenomenal garment. It’s one of TNF’s best-selling pieces of apparel for a good reason – it provides good mobility, superb weather resistance, solid ventilation, and it’s fairly light and inexpensive.
I own this particular jacket myself and I think that it’s a great option for both occasional hikers and those who “live on the trail”. It just gets the job done, particularly when it comes to protecting its wearer from torrential downpours. If you are interested in other jackets from the brand, check out my post on the best North Face rain jackets.
One should never underestimate how powerful constant sun exposure can be when you’re spending whole days deep in the backcountry. One of the most practical gifts for trekkers is a pair of well-made, polarized sunglasses, which will protect their eyes from the sun while they’re walking for miles on end.
While there are thousands of different models available on today’s market, I consider the Rambler Sunglasses from Suncloud to be the best choice for those on a budget. That’s because they offer the same performance and most of the features found on much pricier sunglasses.
Not only do these sunglasses provide 100% UV protection, but they’re also very lightweight, which only adds to the already outstanding level of comfort they offer. They are also very secure and have an excellent balance.
Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover
In addition to the backpack itself, another excellent gift for outdoorsy people is a waterproof and weatherproof backpack cover. This kind of item won’t only keep your friend’s pack dry, but also protect his or her trekking essentials from getting soaked.
One of the best products of this type is Joy Walker Backpack Rain Cover, which is available in 7 colors and 5 sizes. Made out of three different kinds of fabrics, this rain cover is exceptionally weatherproof and durable.
Furthermore, it comes equipped with an upgraded buckle strap that keeps the cover in position and has a reinforced rim which is very elastic and therefore easy to adjust. There’s also a storage pouch in the package.
One simply cannot embark on a long camping trip without a towel. From impromptu swimming sessions to humid trails, outdoor enthusiasts can always use a compact towel that’s easy to transport in a backpack.
One of such products is the Youphoria Microfiber Towel, which, as its name suggests, features a fast-drying microfiber fabric that not only holds a lot of water but also dries ten times faster than most standard towels.
One particularly great thing about this product is that it comes together with a convenient carry bag. I also like the quick-snap hang loop – hanging this fast-drying towel on a branch at a campsite is as easy as it gets.
Check out my other picks for the best microfiber backpacking towel.
Smartwool Wool Socks
It goes without saying, but a pair of durable socks is an absolutely essential item for every fearless adventurer. If your loved one’s favorite activity is hiking, surprise him or her with a pair of super-cushioned, quick-drying, and warm wool socks.
One of the best products of this type is the Saturnsphere Merino Wool Socks from Smartwool, a brand whose Merino wool base layer I’ve already described above. They are available in 3 sizes and 6 color combinations.
Combining Merino wool with elastane and nylon, these socks provide outstanding warmth and comfort even in the worst weather conditions you can imagine. They are also quite stretchy and well-cushioned – a perfect gift for all those in love with the Great Outdoors. Be sure to read my reviews of the best hiking socks as well.
Quality Insect Repellent
One thing that can totally ruin the entire backcountry adventure is a cloud of bugs following you around. Whether we’re talking about mosquitoes, flies, or midges, insects of every kind are guaranteed to taint your experience if you don’t properly protect yourself against them.
Unfortunately, a lot of standard anti-insect sprays can be greasy, oily, and uncomfortable. And that’s precisely why I think that the Premium Insect Repellent from Sawyer Products is a great gift for your outdoorsy pal – it is both light and fabric-friendly.
This Permethrin spray is ideal for use on tents, sleeping bags, boots, shoes, socks, pants, jackets, shirts, and almost all other kinds of trekking clothes and gear you can imagine. It is effective against more than 50 species of bugs – from mites to spiders to ticks and everything else in between.
Answering the call of nature in nature is, well, unavoidable. You know the old saying – when you have to go, you have to go. And that’s precisely when you’ll need an item called a hiking trowel, which helps outdoor enthusiasts make their own “cathole”.
If you’ve decided to surprise your outdoorsy friend with one of these things, here’s a practical and cheap option – the Deuce Potty Trowel made by TheTentLab. This particular model is available in several different sizes and colors.
Even though it’s fairly inexpensive, this trowel is made out of aerospace-grade aluminum and has smooth, rounded edges. The model easily slices through roots and hard clay.
The North Face Etip Gloves
While it’s true that these pieces of apparel are only relevant for wintertime hikes, having a pair of quality gloves can help any trekker stay warm later in the season. Also, good gloves are a must for all those often trekking in higher altitudes, where the weather conditions are much windier and chillier.
Here’s yet another great North Face product that solves this issue – the Etip Gloves. Made out of 100% polyester, they are equipped with special silicone gripper palms, which, as you can already guess, provide their wearers with superior grip.
However, the thing that really turns these gloves into a fantastic gift for your nature-loving friend is the fact that they work with touchscreens found on tablets and smartphones. Your pal will never have to take them off to use his phone!
Warm Wintertime Beanie
While it’s certainly important to keep your hands warm and dry during wintertime hiking, nothing is as important as wearing a quality beanie – after all, we lose a lot of heat through our heads.
For that matter, a great idea would be to surprise your friend with a well-made cap that will keep his or her head safe and warm. There’s no need to wear anything particularly fancy during backcountry escapades, so a basic and affordable model like the NEFF Daily Beanie can do the trick.
Besides the fact that it’s available in a plethora of vibrant colors, this beanie features a slouchy fit and a slightly ribbed-knit texture. It is super-soft and, therefore, stands as an ideal headwear accessory for all outdoor adventures.
A Set of Carabiners
Rare are the items that trekkers find as versatile and useful as carabiners. These basic but extremely convenient little things are used for strapping all kinds of objects to your pants, bags, and even onto trees. One can use a carabiner to hang dry wet garments or hook a bag to the tent while sleeping.
Surprise your mate with a set of colorful carabiners made by Gimars. Perfect for hiking, camping, and fishing trips, these carabiners come in 10 different colors and are exceptionally durable and lightweight, despite their affordable price.
Each of the 10 carabiners in this set features a size of 3” x 1.5” and can be securely and quickly attached to a wide array of fixing points. They’re made out of stainless steel and have brand new, improved tight springs that snap right back into place.
Sun Bum Sunscreen
To protect the skin from the dangerous UV rays, an outdoor enthusiast always has to carry some sunscreen in the backpack. And if your outdoorsy friend is not afraid of potential illnesses, remind them that extended sun exposure without sunscreen can also lead to premature skin aging – maybe that will make them come back to their senses!
Out of all products of this type available on the market, I consider the Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen to be one of the best. This lotion is made by a trusted brand and is used by millions of people all over the country.
Besides the fact that it’s reef-friendly, water-resistant, and oil-free, the Sun Bum sunscreen is also packed with Vitamin E and keeps the skin safe for a maximum of 2 hours upon application. A perfect gift for all those spending long days in the sun!
Waterproof Phone Case
Outdoorsy folks spend a lot of time in moist environments – they traverse miles upon miles in rainy weather and they wade through streams they can’t cross in any other way. And, as you already know, water and electronic gadgets don’t really get along.
For such individuals, a waterproof phone case is never a bad gift. This one, made by JOTO, is a universal type that’s compatible with most of the popular smartphones, including all newer iPhones and a myriad of Android models.
One particularly convenient feature of this case is that it has a clear window on both of its sides – taking photos is as easy as it gets. It is 100 feet IPX8-certified waterproof and can even be used for swimming and snorkeling. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?
While giving someone a boot freshener as a gift may not sound like the best idea, people who walk for miles every week are guaranteed to appreciate it. After all, their boots do get sweaty, damp, muddy, and sometimes even downright disgusting.
One of the most inexpensive gifts of this type is a set of sneaker balls made by Sof Sole, a company well-known for its insoles, shoes, and shoe care products. The set consists of six deodorizer balls that effortlessly remove odor-causing bacterias from boots, shoes, and gym bags.
The compact size of these balls allows them to reach places that other fresheners can’t, and they last for more than 2000 hours once activated via the quick-twist action. This set is, in my opinion, an essential foot care accessory for all those in love with the Great Outdoors.
Trekking without a pair of quality binoculars is almost like eating soup without a spoon. A gadget of this type is a perfect gift for any outdoor enthusiast, but especially for those who love wildlife watching.
These lightweight, affordable binoculars made by SkyGenius are an ideal starting point for trekkers who like taking a closer look at mountains and sprawling valleys or bird watchers who enjoy observing these and other animals.
Even though they’re relatively inexpensive, the SkyGenius binoculars are quite feature-packed. They sport an easy-to-focus Diopter System, 10X magnification, and have a durable, anti-slip construction.
Leki Trekking Poles
Trekkers typically have to traverse trails where extra support is more than welcome. And that’s precisely why a pair of portable, durable trekking poles, like the ones made by Leki, is among the most useful gifts for trekkers.
While they’re not the best product of this type offered by Leki (that would be the Micro Vario set of poles), the Journey Lite Trekking Poles made by the same company are a less expensive option that easily fits into a standard suitcase.
Besides their compact construction, these trekking poles also sport rubber grips and come with an interchangeable basket system. Their heat-treated aluminum shafts are very durable and provide a secure hold on the roughest of terrains.
OutdoorMaster Sports Helmet
It goes without saying, but a quality helmet can definitely come in very handy for a variety of outdoor activities. These include snowboarding, skiing, biking, rock climbing, but also hiking, especially when done in dangerous areas.
OutdoorMaster Sports Helmet is a perfect gift for all those who are into activities listed above, as well as skateboarding and scootering. Its reinforced ABS shell is not only extremely durable and impact-resistant but also very comfortable on the head.
One particularly convenient feature of this sports helmet is its removable lining – after a day of use, you can simply take it out of the helmet and wash away the sweat. The model also has 12 air vents and can be purchased in 3 sizes and 11 vibrant colors.
One thing that every water sports lover needs is a bag where they can store their swimsuits and other garments. I consider dry bags to be a much better choice in this regard than the traditional canvas backpacks – these can keep one’s items safe and dry in the water.
Dry bags come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and I think that the Artesool Waterproof Dry Bag is one of the best. Available in 9 colors, this dry bag is made from a special type of fabric that provides optimal waterproof performance and airtightness.
In addition to that, this model has two adjustable shoulder straps and can float on water once it’s rolled and buckled. One feature that deserves special words of praise is the reflective stripe, which allows the owner of the bag to track it at night.
To put it simply, these watches are almost like smartphones for outdoor enthusiasts. The GPS capabilities of Garmin watches are among the best on the market, and models from the company’s Forerunner series help thousands of skiers, trekkers, and runners track their mileage.
That’s precisely why the Garmin Forerunner 245 Watch is such a fantastic gift for any outdoorsy person. This watch provides a myriad of tracking features, including advanced running dynamics, and can even evaluate one’s current training status in order to determine whether the wearer is overdoing it or undertraining.
In smartwatch mode, the model’s battery can last up to 7 days. When it’s synchronized with Spotify or any other music service, its battery lasts up to 6 hours.
While camping or trekking, it’s significantly easier and more convenient to cook food on a camping stove than on an open fire. In fact, I consider a stove of this type to be an essential part of every camper’s packing list.
The Jetboil Sumo Backpacking Stove is a great gift for all those who like spending days (or even weeks) deep in the wild. The model’s proprietary regulator technology makes it easy to switch from full boil to light simmer and make all other kinds of heat adjustments.
Another great thing about this camping stove is that it has a pretty sizable cooking cup, allowing you to prepare food for more than just one person at once. Its bottom cover doubles as a bowl and a measuring cup.
Eno Eagle’s Nest Hammock
When you’ve been walking for hours and you finally make a camp somewhere, there’s nothing better you can do but to set up a hammock and relax in the shade of a tree. Surprise your outdoorsy friend with one of these things – they will love it.
The Eagle’s Nest Hammock, made by Eno, is lightweight, portable, and exceptionally easy to set up almost anywhere. It’s an adventure-ready hammock made out of 700D nylon that is both quick-drying and breathable.
The maximum supported weight of this hammock stands at 400 pounds, which means that it’s entirely possible for two people to relax in it at once. It comes together with stainless-steel snap links and aluminum carabiners, allowing you to easily secure it to poles, trees, and even boat masts.
“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer
Rare are the stories that are as famous as that of Christopher McCandless. Jon Krakauer, a well-known American mountaineer, documents Christopher’s tragic tale of embarking deep into the Alaskan wilderness all on his own, in 1992.
Into the Wild is undoubtedly among the world’s most well-known outdoor books ever written, which turns it into a phenomenal gift for any outdoorsy person. In fact, the book became so famous that it was adapted to a film of the same name by Sean Penn, in 2007.
I’ve read the book myself and think that it’s a great reminder of the sheer power and force of nature versus humanity. And it’s a perfect supplement to the hammock I’ve described above!
So, there you have it – more than 20 cool items you can gift your outdoorsy mate with. Hopefully, this list will help you find that perfect present that is going to be practical and useful to your nature-loving friend.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.