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17 Pieces Of Hiking, Camping, And Backpacking Gear I Think Would Make Great Gifts

Top-tier gear I've tried and recommend for backpackers, day hikers, campers, and anyone who seriously loves chillin' outdoors.

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1. A pair of Injinji sock liners that may look silly at first but will truly help keep their feet *so* much more comfortable while on-trail. They prevent blisters, wick moisture, and will give their toes their full range of motion so they can rock scramble with the best of 'em.

writer wearing light grey toe socks
Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

I'm extraordinarily prone to blisters and I literally don't know what I would have done without these sock liners on my first backpacking trip. I thought I'd try them out for a day or two of my five-day trip just to see what they were like, but they soon became my favorite and then the *only* sock I wore. That's right, these were so comfortable and just the right thickness that I ended up wearing them as my only sock. They layered well under my hiking sock, as intended, no complaints, but with just the toe sock my feet felt so free, which, when also confined to a boot for 12 hours a day, was a feat. They're sturdy in construction — even the fiddly bits around the toes — and they stayed remarkably fresh for being on my feet for literally five days. Take the advice I wish someone would have given me and go ahead and get your giftee multiple pairs. Injini makes socks and liners in all different styles and thicknesses, and they're bound to love them all.

Get the liner from Amazon for $9+ (available in unisex sizes S–XL) or REI for $11 (available in sizes S–XL),

2. A lightweight collapsible silicone mug so they don't have to drag around an awkwardly shaped mug or bowl on overnight hikes. It doesn't sound like it would be that much more convenient, but this one saves so much room, is easy to clean, and even has measurements on the inside!

Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

The mug holds 16 fluid ounces and weighs 2.4 ounces.

It's kind of wild how much I love this simple collapsible mug. While some may consider it a backpacking luxury item, I think it's a justified must-have considering my parter and I used it for coffee, as a bowl, and as a measuring cup multiple times a day every day on our last backpacking trip. Even for morning day hikes it'd be fun to bring along! It folds down *so* small but doesn't feel flimsy when you're drinking or eating out of it because of the sturdy ring around the lip. Love, love, love.

Get it from Amazon for $12.79+ (available in four colors) or REI for $13.95 (available in two colors).

3. A Sawyer Squeeze water filtration system that blows any other system out of the — say it with me — water. It's adaptable and easy to use in almost any situation. I've encountered some pretty sad excuses for water sources and have still been able to get liquid into the bag to be filtered and consumed.

Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

The set comes with the filter, two reusable 32-oz, BPA-free collapsible pouches, a drinking straw, one set of Sawyer Inline Hydration Pack Adapters, a cleaning syringe, and a mesh storage bag. It weighs 3 ounces. It removes bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E. coli as well as protozoa, such as giardia and Cryptosporidium.

I adore this water filter for its ease of use, adaptability, small size, and zero wait time. To use, you just fill the bag, screw on the filter, and roll the bag to squeeze the filtered water into your bottle. You don't need to wait for it to be done like with water treatment pills or gravity systems, and there's no funky taste — just fresh, clean, crisp water. If even the quick bag filling situation sounds like it would take too much time, you can also screw the filter DIRECTLY ONTO A WATER BOTTLE and drink straight from it. Game-changing. Either way, it's a quick, lightweight system that I completely recommend.

Get it from Amazon for $36.56 or REI for $36.95.

4. A few backpacking meals so they can have a hearty, low-effort meal to refuel. Nothing like a bag of freeze-dried meat and sauce to put a smile on their face (but really, these are a real treat)!

REI, Rachel Dukel / BuzzFedd

Backpacking meals come in a wide variety, so pick what you think your outdoorsy giftee would like! I personally like something saucy and carby, like this Pad Thai or the Sweet Pork and Rice above, which I *think* is my favorite backpacking meal I've ever had. I also surprisingly really enjoyed the Breakfast Skillet because potatoes — it also meant we got to say we were having "brunch" in the middle of the trail, so hello, it's a win.

Get them from REI: the Sweet Pork and Rice for $12.95 and the Breakfast Skillet for $10 and shop all of their backpacking meals here.

5. And a long-handled spoon so when they have to reach deeeep down into backpacker food pouches, they don't get their hands covered in sauce. An ultralight fancy-schmancy spoon is one of those luxury items they might not admit to themselves they want, but it sure would make an awesome gift.

the long-handled spoon

Foolishly, I thought I didn't need one of these spoons — boy was I wrong. During our last backpacking trip, my partner and I both picked a backpacking meal for a first night on the trail "feast" (honestly felt like the height of luxury, gluttony, and food culture), and I, equipped only with my short, stubby spork, ended up with sauce all over my hand after the first bite. That would be fine if it wasn't for the whole no sinks, limited water thing. Statuesque and, frankly, brave in my patience, I waited until he was done with his meal to use his spoon and finish mine. The lessons? 1) Only date people who will let you use their ultralight long-handled spoons after you poked fun at them for wanting one. 2) Get your own long-handled spoon.

Get it from Amazon for $10.95 or REI for $8.19 (originally $10.95).

6. A Sea to Summit roll-top dry sack...or two...or five, because the uses for these bad boys are pretty much limitless. Waterproofing all of your gear is a must, and popping your electronics, food, and clothes in a roll-top assures you they'll stay safe. I even use my dry sack full of clothes as a pillow on backpacking trips.

Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed, Amazon

These bags are an outdoorsy person staple, and in my humble opinion you can never have too many. The classic version (left) is best if you're going to be on the water and I like the Ultra-Sil version (right) for camping and backpacking trips since they're a little lighter and the somewhat transparent material lets you get a better idea of where things are inside. As I mentioned I use one of these as a clothes bag/pillow and have no complaints at all. We also use one as our bear bag for hangin food, toiletries, and trash at night. It's easy to roll down with minimal ballooning once you get the hang of it and they help keep my pack nice and organized. Does everything need to go in a bag? No. But for things that need to be 100% waterproofed, these are my go-to.

Get them from Amazon: the classic version for $12.33+ (available in sizes 1L–35L and five colors) and the Ultra-Sil version for $15.29 (available in sizes 1L–35L and five colors).

7. A tiny tube of Blister Balm that makes a fantastic stocking stuffer or add-on gift for the person in your life whose just can't find boots that agree with them. Even with shoes I do love, I always swipe some of this on to make doubly sure my feet stay A-OK.

Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

I love this stuff! Even though it's less economical, I recommend getting the teeny-tiny stick because it's lighter and easier to bring along on trips. I just swipe some of this all over my heel before throwing my boots on in the morning. It has no weird smell, goes on clear, and doesn't leave a film on my beloved socks or sock liners. While using this balm, I never had any heel blisters, which for me is a small miracle. I have no idea just how it works so well, but I'm immensely glad I tried it.

Get the .35oz balm from REI for $5 and the .8oz balm from Amazon for $8 or REI for $8.

8. A Nalgene so they always have a hydrating sidekick when they need one. Large, durable, and easy to clip to a carabiner, they're the perfect outdoor bottle. Regular Nalgenes are pretty light, but you could also go for an even lighter version for the more serious hiker.

Rachel Dunkel / Via BuzzFeed,

^As you can clearly see in the photo above, I love all my Nalgenes passionately. There's truly one for every occasion, but I find the 32-ounce to be the sweet spot. They're a little heavy for backpacking, but for day hikes or really any other outdoor activity, they're the bee's knees.

Get a 32-ounce bottle from REI for $11.95 (available in four colors), from Amazon for $10.19 (available in 25 colors), and check out all of REI and Amazon's Nalgene options.

Head to "Here's Why I Won't Stop Telling People How Much I Love My Nalgenes" for even MORE detail on why I love these perfect vessels and yes, more indulgent photos of myself with water bottles as well.

9. The Deuce #2 — a lightweight trowel for digging cat holes, AKA, holes to poop in. This may seem like a gag gift, but hey, if they're out in the backwoods, nature is going to call at some point! And in my experience, using this trowel is preferable to using a stick or a beloved trekking pole to dig.

Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed, REI

^I was so excited when my Deuce came, I literally sent this photo to all of my friends and family. But it's so funny and cool! The trowel barely weighs anything, coming in at 0.6-ounces, which when you're backpacking is what it's all about. I tucked this into the outer mesh pocket of my pack so it was around in case of emergency. It's easy to dig with (as long as you pick a spot with few roots). I don't know what else there is to say except "This makes it easier to dig a hole in the ground to poop in." And I fully believe this would make a great gift — amusing *and* super practical? No better combination.

Get it from REI for $19.95 (available in five colors) or Amazon for $19.50 (available in 10 colors).

10. A BioLite headlamp so they never have to struggle with a flashlight while also focussing on night hiking, hanging a bear bag, running to the bathroom, or any other nighttime tasks. This one is super slim and unobtrusive and even tilts downward so they can have a flawless view of the steps ahead.

Rachel Dunkel / Via BuzzFeed

I LOVE this headlamp! It sits flush against your forehead to provide the most comfort and least slippage possible. It's moisture-wicking to combat sweat, is rechargeable, has multiple brightness levels including a red light, and can be adjusted to face downward if you need to see ahead of you on a trail (the BEST feature!). Although simple, this is one of my favorite pieces of gear. BioLite has just really thought through every aspect of its deign and, in my opinion, made a perfect headlamp.

Get it from REI for $59.95 (available in four colors) or Amazon for $44.97+ (available in three colors).

11. Some trekking poles, because I don't think I could ever fully express to you just how helpful they are when it comes to long, vertical hikes. They'll love these for the assistance going up and perhaps even more for the relief on their joints going down. Even on flat hikes, they help with rhythm, pacing, and all-around getting in the ~groove~.

REI, Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

I was one of those people who always thought trekking poles were kind of dorky...then I finally used some and my eyes were opened wide to just how helpful they are. Going up, they help you pull yourself up the trail, which is fantastic when your legs are so dang tired, and going down they let you ease into drops, which greatly lessens the stress on your knees, feet, and ankles. But I've also found that they're helpful for so many other things! I stuck them in the ground and used them as a "drying rack" after doing some trail laundry (wetting my shirt in a stream). You can use them to push through brush to make sure there aren't any critters hiding where you're about to step. You can hold them out in front of your face when you're hiking early in the morning to catch the new spiderwebs before you walk right into them. I will never go on a long hiking trip without them again, and honestly, maybe ANY hike without them again.

This *exact* pair is no longer available, but the only difference in the linked pair is the handle material, which I would ideally change on my pair anyway! The handles on mine are rubber, which can be a bit blister-inducing, so I'd try foam for a more comfortable option.

Get them from REI for $96.93 (originally $139)

12. A Goal Zero Flip 36 Power Bank so they can charge their devices no-problem — from their phones to navigation devices to headlamps, it's be a relief for them *and* you to know they won't have any essential electronics poop out on them without a backup battery.

writer holding pink power bank
Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

The power bank holds three full smartphone charges and has a USB input and output. It's sleek yet heavy-duty, so I'm never afraid of it getting damaged in my pack. I use it to charge my phone since I use it as a camera and for navigation on Guthook. The bank has kept my phone alive for five full days mostly on airplane mode, but using it often to take pics and check Guthook. I actually got this as a gift myself last year and really loved and appreciated it — a confirmed good outdoor gift.

Get it from Backcountry for $39.95 (available in three colors).

13. A Kelty three-season mummy sleeping bag that's a superb entry-level bag for anyone looking to get more into long camping or backpacking trips. Its shape cuts unnecessary weight and its waterproof down filling gives you the best of both worlds when choosing between straight-up down or synthetic.

REI, Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

The waterproof down is 600-fill and is rated to 20 degrees, making it a three-season bag. It has a little pocket by the head for electronics or other essentials, a hood with a drawstring, and comes with a stuff sack. It weights two pounds and 8.9 ounces.

This is my first actual "backpacking" sleeping bag and I'm really happy with it so far. It fits perfectly into the bottom section of my pack and isn't *too* difficult to get back in its stuff sack. I'd all it an entry-level bag since there are definitely lighter-weight (and ahem, much more expensive) options out there, but for a casual camper or backpacker, it really does the trick. On nights when it's a bit hot, I unzip it, turn it around, and use it as a quilt with my feet still in the narrow bottom, and I actually might prefer it that way. I know I'm gonna have this bag for a long time.

Get it from Amazon for $127+ (available in two colors and three sizes) or REI for $189.95.

14. An Osprey Aura Backpacking Pack so they can hit the ol' dusty trail with everything they need in a supportive, cushioned pack that has all the special features they'll need, but not so many it weighs them down. With a suspended mesh back, plenty of pockets, and a comfortable hip belt, there's nothing I don't adore about this pack.

Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

Osprey's known for making exceptional packs for all kind of journeys, and the Aura is no exception. The version I have and recommend for 4+ day trips is the Aura 65 (meaning, it's a 65L pack) but it also comes in a smaller version if you're going out for weekend trips or are stricter about cutting weight than I am. It has a separated sleeping bag compartment, a huge mesh pocket on the outside for camp shoes and immediate needs, snack pockets on the hip belt, a whistle on the chest strap, large water bottle holders on each side, loops for trekking poles or an ice axe, sleeping pad straps, and compression straps to get your weight distributed *just* so. But best of all, a ton of these features are unclippable/removable if you're not using them and don't want the extra weight — it adds up! I took the "brain" off my pack — a separate large compartment that goes over the pack's top — but it's included if you want it. I found that my pack's weight was distributed very comfortably — at least as comfortably as it could be — and the cushions on the waist strap really did the trick. No bruising or even chafing, even on my first trip! Picking a pack is personal, especially since everyone has different intentions, needs, and bodies, but with how customizable this pack is, I'd recommend it to almost anyone.

Get it from REI for $270 (available in three sizes and three colors) and check out all of Osprey's backpacking packs here.

15. An ultralight titanium pot for whipping up quick little meals, using as a bowl, and boiling water in an emergency. I love having a pot on-trail, and this one is big enough to make two servings of a meal, and is well worth the weight in your bag at only 3.7 ounces, lid and all!

the writer's pot and lid sitting on a small lit camp stove
Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

The pot holds .9 liters, which my partner and I have found to be a great amount to make a meal that serves two (well, except for one overflowing instant mashed potato incident, but we got through it). It sits perfectly on our little camp stove (above) and feels sturdy with its wide base. I prefer the wider, more traditional pot shape to a taller one because I'm convinced it makes water boil faster, but hey, I'm no pot scientist, and Toaks also makes a popular taller, narrower .9 liter pot. I've never had trouble cleaning this pot with just a bit of water and a bandana. The side handles fold in for easy storage and the lid has a perfect little handle, but the real selling point is how unbelievably light it is. It's pricey, but you absolutely get what you pay for, so I highly recommend this as a gift to yourself or for anyone outdoorsy who has a less-than-ideal camp cooking setup.

Get it from REI for $45.

16. A Helinox ultralight chair, because after a long day of putting on the miles, the last thing anyone wants to do is perch on a rock. This seat weighs just over a pound, packs down super small, and is perfect for any outdoorsy person who hates to forgo comfort.

reviewer's dog next to short bucket seat chair

I have this chair and it's great! It really is light and 1.2 pounds is and easy to put together. It's a perfect outdoor luxury item, especially for anyone taking a long day hike where they want to picnic or for a car camper who doesn't feel the need for a big, traditional camp chair.

Get it from Amazon for $119.95 (available in three colors).

17. A Rumpl indoor/outdoor blanket whose smooth surface is waterproof and resistant to dirt, so there are no worries about exposing it to the elements. Perfect for their day hikes, picnics, and backyard hangs.


I have a Rumpl and absolutely adore it. It packs down well into its little stuff sack, making it perfect for bringing on car camping trips or day trips out and about. In the summer, it's great for sitting on, and in the winter it's perfect for snuggling under. It is a little pricey, but it's the best-of-the-best for durable outdoor blankets, so definitely a splurge-worthy gift! The Rumpl is also machine washable and dryer-safe — a huge win, especially since it'll probably be getting dirty. That said, I've put mine in straight up dirt many times and everything just brushes off, so I actually haven't washed it yet!

Get it from Amazon for $199.

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