So someone you love is a backpacker, huh? First, you have my condolences. Speaking from experience, they can be a picky bunch. But now you want to come up with a great gift to maybe help them enjoy their hikes a little more.
Good news! I’m going to give you five can’t-miss gifts for any serious backpacker, and we’re not going to ask you to spend 600 bucks on a new sleeping bag or cuben tarp. We’ll keep this simple, with each of these costing less than $30.
- SmartWool beanie. From REI: Lightweight merino jersey-knit uses a nylon core to increase durability while keeping merino wool directly next to your skin. Flatlock seam construction eliminates chafing.
- Buff: This is my personal favorite and indispensable. I use it as a neck warmer, hat, sweat rag and sometimes a rag to clean out the pot that I cook in.
From REI: Printed in fun designs and made of 100% polyester microfiber, it’s durable, soft, wind resistant, breathable and moisture wicking. Designed for a high level of comfort and protection from the elements, this seamless tube of fabric can be worn for everything from skiing to cycling.
$10 on sale
- Compass: Really something every backpacker should have as long as you actually know how to use it. The old saying is “Not all who wander are lost.” That’s sweet, but some people are actually friggin’ lost so help them out.
From REI: High-grade steel needle with jewel bearing; balanced for northern hemisphere; fixed declination correction scale; liquid-filled capsule for stable operation. $20
- Nalgene: OK, this is about as sexy as a tie on Father’s Day, but if your little backpacker is looking to save weight, they are undoubtedly putting soap, sunscreen, olive oil, etc. in these little babies to save a few ounces.
Find these on Amazon for $10
- Stuff sack: Oh heck yeah! This isn’t as big as Santa’s stuff sack but whatever. I like to keep my stuff organized in my pack, and my best system is having a stuff sack for pretty much everything. An 8-liter one from Sea to Summit will run you about $22.