Best Gifts for Hikers Reviewed & Compared
Hikers are not as hard to shop for as you might think, they simply want the right gear that fits their specific hiking adventures. This can include backpacks, water bottles, clothes, footwear, and general survival material for extreme cases. Since not all hikers perform at the same level, their needs may differ from one another. So having some knowledge about the products is a big plus. This is where we come in. Not only are we going to list the best gifts, but we'll also explain why! This will allow you to find something that will meet your specific needs. With so many different items and brands to choose from, you may feel overwhelmed. To better help with your search for the perfect gift, we went out and researched the best gift for hikers. Here are our top 10 choices.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Made from organic micro wool
Wicks moisture away
- ROCKAY Accelerate
- Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX
- LifeStraw Water Filter
- Polar Insulated Bottle
- Columbia Glennaker Jacket
- Outlander Hiking Backpack
- Swiss Safe First Aid Kit
- Vitchelo V800
- Columbia Bora Booney II Hat
- Coleman Soft Cooler
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
BEST GIFTS FOR HIKERS REVIEWED & COMPARED
1. ROCKAY Accelerate
Made from organic micro wool
Wicks moisture away
Some don't like the snug fit
When it comes to hiking, your choice of socks should not be overlooked. What’s worse than socks that ride down, or rip apart, or get damp and soggy as you’re trying to hike? World hunger, maybe, but other than that, not much. These socks are made from 100% organic merino wool, which means that by their very nature, they offer qualities that are indispensable to any serious hiker.Read more
Wicks away moisture
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. When you’re hiking--or when you’re performing any kind of physically taxing task--you’re bound to sweat. This much is obvious. If you allow sweat to build up, not only will feel uncomfortable, but it can even cause microbial growth. To combat this you need something that can wick away that sweat with ease. And that’s exactly what these Rockay socks do.
If you’re an avid hiker, you know how prone to blisters hiking can make you. After all, you’re on your feet for long periods of time, and you’re traversing some tough terrain. Blisters are bound to form if you’re not wearing the right gear; chafing too. Prevent these causes of pain and discomfort by choosing Rockay socks.
Cost and Value
These socks are great not just for hiking, but for running, too, camping, too, and a wide array of activities. As such, you’d expect them to cost a ton--they have so many uses, it only makes sense that they cost many dollars too. This is one of those that are on the expensive side, but their value is second to none. They’re a great buy.
2. Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX
Extremely comfortable with a removable ortholite footbed
Less cost effective
On the more heavy side of hiking boots
The Quest 4D 2 GTX by Salomon is an outstanding hiking boot. The model offers a rugged look while protecting you from the elements with its laces and toe cap. It comes with GORE-TEX waterproof technology that removes water and keeps your feet dry in both the rain and mud. Its gusseted tongue protects ankles from twisting while still being comfortable. Overall, this product is regarded as being extremely comfortable with padding and ortholite footbed.Read more
The Solomon Quest 4d 2 GTX comes with foot control and protection through its 4 layered chassis. While together these layers add stability, the first layer provides comfort and the fourth layer maintains excellent traction.
The Contragrip technology found in the Quest 4D is Salomon's branded grip. Its unique three geometric designs allow for the maximum grip strength making it great for all terrain and especially rock climbing.
Cost and Value
Although prices may change, the Quest 4D 2 GTX is on the expensive side for hiking boots. Even though this might be out of your price range, it will last long with durable, weather resistant leather material and contra grip technology all while maintaining a comfortable hold.
3. LifeStraw Water Filter
Filters 99.999% of water bacteria
Weighs 2 ounces and fits in any backpack
Does not require electricity
Allows you to drink from most water sources safely
Requires potable water to clean
LifeStraw is an award-winning water filter that can turn the most contaminated water into secure drinking water. This product allows you to drink directly from a stream or lake making it a unique tool for hikers by avoiding clunky and large water bottles. Additionally, it becomes an excellent survival tool in extreme cases. The water that is consumed meets both US EPA standards and Drug Administration regulation by removing 99.999% of waterborne bacteria (including E. coli and salmonella).Read more
Requires No Electrical Power
The LifeStraw can filter this water without any electricity required. Acquiring gear that does not require electricity can better prepare you for a remote location and survival situations.
The LifeStraw is ultralight weighing in at only 2 ounces. Being only 1 inch in diameter and 9 inches long, it can fit in any backpack or oversized pocket. The LifeStraw is much more portable than alternatives such as iodine tablets and other large purifiers.
Cost and Value
LifeStraw is relatively cheap for its functionality. Providing clean water anywhere you go is more than enough value for the low cost. This makes it a great, unique gift for any hikers.
4. Polar Insulated Bottle
Insulated to keep water cool for twice as long
Durable polyethylene material
Made in the United States
The top can cause leakage after prolong use
Is prone to condensation
Polar Bottle has spent over 20 years perfecting water storage. This model is equipped with thermal properties and an insulated vacuum that can keep liquids clean and cool for over twice as long as its competitors. The water bottle is the first of its kind being both insulated and 100% BPA and phthalate-free. Additionally, it is built with durable polyethylene to last long in any outdoor adventure.Read more
36 Unique Designs
The Polar Bottle Water Bottle comes in 36 unique designs to allow for maximum customization. This includes not only colors, but designs for specific states, such as California, Arizona, and Texas, and amazing artistic compositions.
The Polar Bottle Insulated Water Bottle is made in the USA in order to support local economies and reduce carbon footprints. Being located in the United States, Polar Bottle guarantees a lifetime warranty for those within the states. This excellent customer service puts them in our number 5 slot.
Cost and Value
The Insulated Water Bottle is fairly cheap when looking at water storage. With its lifetime warranty, thermal insulation properties, and clean water, this product has exceptionally high value. This is a great small present for any hiker without breaking the bank.
5. Columbia Glennaker Jacket
100% water-resistant nylon
17 unique color designs
Zippered side-entry pockets
Sizing is different on Columbia products
Not breathable material
The Glennaker Lake Jacket by Columbia is an excellent water-resistant rain coat for any avid hiker. It comes with adjustable cuffs that tighten to keep cloths underneath clean and dry. Additionally, it comes with zippered pockets on the sides to keep small gear out of the elements. This model is extremely lightweight at only 12 ounces adding no unnecessary weight to your hike.Read more
The Glennaker Lake Jacket is made with water-repellent nylon fabric to keep you dry and out of the rain. Additionally, the model comes with a hideaway hood to protect your head from the rain when necessary.
Columbia offers this jacket in 17 colors allowing the ability to customize to your style. With so many colors, this product can be picked up for both men and women (although sized for men).
Cost and Value
The Glennaker Lake Jacket swings from cheap to expensive depending on the size. Overall, it is around the average price for a good rain jacket. With water resistant material, a hideaway hood, and zippered pockets, this model by Columbia is a great gift to pick up for any outdoors person.
6. Outlander Hiking Backpack
Weighs 7 ounces
Water-resistant nylon material
Comfortable shoulder straps
Made out of thin material
Can not support extremely heavy loads
This backpack by Outlander is a perfect multi-functionality backpack for hikers. They offer multiple compartments and mesh side pockets for maximum storage. With breathable, padded shoulder straps and nylon material, this backpack was built for comfort. Its adjustable straps allow it to fit any hiker, tall or short. Additionally, the daypack comes in 2 different sizes and 9 different colors allowing you to customize the experience.Read more
The Outlander Hiking Backpack weighs only 7 ounces by itself. This adds no unnecessary weight to a hiker which can help conserve energy on longer distances. Additionally, it can fit into its own pocket to become less cumbersome.
This product is made of water-resistant and rip-proof nylon material. Further, the zipper is made of SBS metal reinforcing its durability while protecting you from the elements.
Cost and Value
The Outlander Hiking Backpack is extremely cheap. With high-grade nylon material and its featured portability, you can not go wrong with this as a gift to any outdoor enthusiast.
7. Swiss Safe First Aid Kit
100% money back guarantee
Includes small 32 piece first aid kit
Multi-functional medical grade first aid kit
Only weighs 1.2 pounds
The initial bag is bulky
Items need to be replaced when used
The Swiss First Aid Kit is a 120 piece medical grade first aid kit. This is on our best gift list because such an item is a perfect addition to any outdoor gear. Not only is it a great addition, but many individuals lack such an important item. With survival tools, ice packs, CPR kits, and trauma shears, this is a multi-functional tool. Further, the first aid kit only weighs in at 1.2 pounds. This makes it great for hiking adventures as it does not add weight and provides tons of value.Read more
Apart from being prepared in the outdoors while hiking, this first aid kit can be used in many situations including sports, boating, fishing, biking, etc. With so much versatility for disaster preparedness in many situations, there is no going wrong with this as a gift for those who participate in risky activities.
Mini First Aid Kit
Within the 120 piece first aid kit is another 32 piece mini kit. This is the perfect extension for those who want something in a small purse, backpack, or oversized pocket. The 32 mini first aid kit comes with sting relief, gauze, alcohol pads, and CPR kit.
Cost and Value
When it comes to preparedness and first aid, this product has an exceptional amount of value. The Swiss Safe First Aid Kit comes with all that value at a low cost. This makes it perfect for any risky outdoor activity.
8. Vitchelo V800
Includes Duracell batteries
Provides light for up to 110 meters
Features red and white LED lights
Water and rust resistant
Some found the buttons too small
Red light may be too dim
Vitchelo V800 headlamp is also a good option when looking for hands-free night visibility. As a hiker, you might get lost while the sunlight is fading. In this case, it’s important to have a hands-free light because you may want to consult a map. Moreover, it won’t let you down when you need it most thanks to its durability. Being waterproof, this headlamp is perfect to have with you, regardless of the weather conditions.Read more
Low Energy Use
One of the best things about this headlamp is the low energy required. It works with AAA batteries and can light your way for up to 120 hours, without changing the batteries.
Adjustable Light Mode
Vitchelo V800 is equipped with 2 light colors: white and red, with each one providing their own benefits. The white light can help you see as far as 350 feet and the red light is great for signaling for help.
Cost and Value
This water-proof item is really affordable and easy to use. You can choose from 6 different colors and they all include batteries. The elastic headband is very comfortable and allows for a variety of different uses.
9. Columbia Bora Booney II Hat
Multiple color options
Omni-shade technology is UPF 50
Omni-wick mesh keeps you dry and cool
Adjustable chin strap that keeps you protected from heavy winds
Bill is generally flimsy
Is not one size fits all but one size fits most
The Bora Bora Booney II by Columbia is an exceptional hat that keeps the sun out of your eyes and helps you stay cool when hiking. Built out of nylon, the hat is both durable and can go into the water with ease. The model comes in 5 different colors allowing you to choose a style. The adjustable chin strap allows for maximum comfort and protection from the hat blowing off in strong winds.Read more
The Bora Bora Booney II comes with Omni-wick sweatband and mesh vent panel. This circulates air through the hat and minimizes sweat dripping into your eyes. The quick-wick protection also comes with quick-dry properties even when the hat is completely submerged in water.
The Omni-shade technology found in the Bora Bora Booney II blocks out 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. It features UPF of 50 and is Skin Cancer Foundation's number one choice for sun protection.
Cost and Value
The Bora Bora Booney II is around the average price for hats. With Omni shade and wick technology as well as multiple color designs, the hat is well worth the average cost and becomes a great addition to any hikers gear.
10. Coleman Soft Cooler
Extra storage space
Not the best cooler for extreme temperatures
Best used with cooling packs instead of ice
For those looking to have lunch with their hike, the Soft Cooler by Coleman is a great gift. The cooler can hold up to 16 cans and features extra storage compartments. Additionally, the cooler has antimicrobial protection against odors and mold with heat-welded seams. This keeps your food and bag clean and odor free. With an adjustable strap, this product weighs in at only 3/4 a pound which makes it great for traveling.Read more
The Coleman Soft Cooler comes with flexible and soft PEVA liner. This makes it easy to carry and clean when you come back from your adventure. The PEVA linear is FDA approved for food contact.
The inside of the Soft Cooler comes with two mesh pockets for organization and an outside zipper pocket for added storage. Further, the sides come with easily accessible mesh pockets for water bottles or other small gear.
Cost and Value
The Coleman Soft Cooler is relatively cheap for coolers. At a low cost, you can get a great, easy to travel with a cooler that protects food and hold up to 16 cans comfortably.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
First off, the practical gift giver in me says that the most important consideration is usability. Will your gift actually get used? This may be gift giving 101, but is still an important concept to visit. You don’t want to end up with a dud gift.
What type of things does your hiking friend already have? Do they have several pairs of shoes but lack in the jacket department? Or maybe they are looking to up their hiking game by going on longer hikes and now require something to help get clean water or socks to help keep their feet cozy and dry even after many logged miles.
Moral of the story: Don’t get them something they already have – or have a lot of. Aim to buy a gift that they will want and use for many hikes to come. You want to get something that fits, is season/climate appropriate, and is actually something they will use.
Bigger isn't always better, especially if your friend likes to go hiking for long periods of time. When choosing a product, imagine where and how it will be carried and if it will get in the way. Is the product worth its weight? Some products on this list are not meant to be carried long distances so you need to decide whether it's a practical gift or not. Look for items that are made from lightweight, yet durable, material and a compact design. It's also a big plus if the item has a portable design or comes with an accessory like a carry bag.
An important consideration when buying a gift for someone to use outdoors is what type of weather they will be dealing with. While many won’t brave the extreme heat or several feet of snow, your friend might just be the crazy one that does. The good news here is that there is something on this list for everyone!
Perhaps they are going to be hiking somewhere that is wet, and in turn, muddy? There are hiking boots for that. Keeping your feet clean and dry is critical to the success of nearly any hike. There is also a jacket that will help keep the rain off of their shirt, keeping them dry underneath.
On the other end of the spectrum, maybe they will be hiking in the bright sunlight! A hat may be the best option if that is the case.
There are things for all situations, however. Wool socks, for example, will help to keep your feet cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. They are good for either situation. There are also plenty of gifts that have nothing to do with the weather and might be a safer option if you’re not sure the circumstances your hiking pall will be facing.
For this criterion, we rated the products based on how versatile it was. Is it useful for beginners and experts? Can anybody use it? It also mattered what type of hiker are you buying a gift for? Is your friend or family member a hardcore hiker who goes for miles and miles or days and days at a time? If so, they likely need gear that is a little more intense and built around the ability to survive with nothing but what you can fit in your backpack and carry with you.
If this is the case, a water filter of some type is very high up on the list. As would be safety items – paracord, first aid kit, etc. Good shoes are obviously a must here as is appropriate clothing. There are even cool accessories – like hammocks – for taking a rest. Nobody wants to repeatedly sleep on the cold, hard ground, especially if there are bugs involved. There are lots of options and if you are attentive enough you can get something your friend will appreciate for a long time to come.
Or maybe, just maybe, your hiking buddy still needs a backpack? That’s obviously right up at the top because you need something to hold all the things you need to carry with you.
Perhaps, on the other end of the spectrum, whomever you’re buying a gift for only like hikes that are a couple of hours at the most? Something like a cooler to keep drinks/food cold would be a great option. But things like shoes and hats are also big considerations here.
Something that is always at the top of anyone’s gift list considerations is how much they are going to spend. The gifts on this list range from cheap to expensive and anywhere in between. One of the first things you should do when setting out to buy a gift is to determine your price range. This will let you know what type of gift you are able to get, within reason.
Maybe you’re only good for around a $20 gift? Perfect! Grab a first aid kit, Lifestraw, or a water bottle. These are all essential items that every single hiker needs. Perhaps you want to spend closer to $50 or more? Grab some shoes, a backpack, or jacket. Rest assured knowing that you can meet your friend’s needs – whatever your budget may be.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Although finding the perfect gift can be a bit ambitious, many avid hikers are looking for the same set of features in hiking gear. They want their gear to be lightweight and resistant to the elements. This not only includes water-resistance but also the durability of the material and how it performs in nature. And of course, all hikers are looking for something that is comfortable as well. All these factors are important because it helps the hiker perform better while enjoying the outdoors.
It's important that your gear works when you need it to and proper maintenance can help ensure that. Remember to get the most out of your hiking gear, you must take care of it. This includes where you store them, preferably not exposed to prolonged rain or shine, and how you treat them.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do hikers need backpacks?
Many choose to go for hikes that require more than what you can carry on your person. The easiest solution here is to have a backpack! You can fit the items that you need to go for hours, or even days if needed. A backpack may be one of the first things a hiker needs to have in their possession.
q: What do hikers carry in their backpack?
Only essentials are carried. You need to be able to carry all of your needs or potential needs but not have too much because you don’t want it to be heavy. Some examples include a first aid kit, sun protection, hydration and nutrition, and appropriate insulation.
q: What do hikers wear?
Hikers wear a variety of clothing comprising base layers, shirts, shorts, pants, jackets, socks and shoes. Many companies make items specific for hiking. Find out where your hiker likes to hike and what the weather is like, find a company or brand that makes good items specifically for hikers choose appropriate items, and you should be set!
q: What do hikers need?
Per the American Hiker’s Society, hikers need the following: appropriate footwear, map/compass/GPS, extra water and a way to purify it, extra food, rain gear and extra clothing, safety items (fire, light, whistle), first aid kit, knife or multipurpose tool, sunscreen and sunglasses, and a backpack to carry it all in.
q: Why do hikers wear wool socks?
They are comfortably padded throughout the sock, the natural blend of fibers allows for the best heat retention system and provides a layer of sun protection. Plus, they typically fit comfortably and securely.
q: How do Hikers Carry Water?
Hikers can carry in their water in water bottles, but that will only go so far because water is HEAVY and weight is not a hikers friend. The next best option is to get water as you go (if in an acceptable environment to do so) but a filtering system is a must here to ensure that no unwanted contaminants are in your water (see the next question!).
q: What causes hikers diarrhea?
It’s usually in what they drink! Fix that problem by making sure the hiker in your life has a Lifestraw Personal Water Filter, or some means of filtering any water they intend to drink while they’re out and about.
q: Why are hikers the best?
They are the best because you love them! For whatever reason, you know someone who loves to live life outside, moving, and seeing all that nature has to offer. Embrace that and embrace them. Your life is likely better because they are in it.