Peak Bagging Essentials

The Best Gifts for Hikers


November 9, 2018 Buying Guides By Photo by CHASE PELLERIN

Hiking is a simple activity. Really, it’s just walking, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t call for a vast array of apparel, equipment and accessories you might not use in other aspects of life. This is especially true when trekking farther through the woods and higher up mountains becomes the goal. It’s arduous and requires a particular mindset. Luckily though, this makes hikers especially easy to shop for — they’re always in need of something, be it a new backpack or an additional pair of socks.

Powderhouse Titanium Omni-Heat 3D OutDry Boot

Winter hikers need a boot that can withstand the elements. Columbia’s Powderhouse Titanium Omni-Heat 3D OutDry Boot does that better than most with advanced thermal-reflective lining and a high-grip Michelin outsole. It’s also constructed with OutDry waterproof leather to keep feet warm and dry. The hiker on your list can stay on the trail all winter long with the Powderhouse Titanium Boot.

Alltrails Lifetime Membership

Hiking hasn’t lost pace with technology, and while you should always carry a paper map as a backup, smartphones have become helpful tools that aid in exploration. Alltrails crowdsources trail maps, reviews and photos from its community of nine million so that you can find trails wherever you go (and download and print maps for use in areas with no service).

Naglev Unico Hiker

Born in the Alps, the Unico brings the heritage of hiking together with contemporary materials in one high-performing trail shoe. It has an upper made of a single piece of durable Kevlar fabric and contains a sock-like wool liner for a conforming fit. It’s as tough as hiking footwear comes.

Parks Project National Parks Candle

The experience of being in the woods and hills shouldn’t have to end when you get back to the parking lot. Parks Projects’ collection of National Parks-themed candles bring the scents of cedar forests and Rocky Mountain lavender into the home, so the hiker in your life can at least pretend to be out in the trail, even when napping on the couch.

America the Beautiful National Parks Pass

In the outdoors, there’s no better gift than that of access, and while we’re all collectively the owners of our nation’s National Parks, they do cost money to get into. An annual pass provides entry to all federal lands for its holder and might be just the thing to inspire next year’s big trip.

Osprey Stratos 24 Daypack

The Stratos leaves nothing to want — outfitted with all the pockets, compression straps and access points you’d expect, but surpasses all other hiking packs with its floating mesh back panel that’s both comfy and incredibly breathable. It’s our favorite daypack for hiking, and we think everyone will agree.

Patagonia Houdini Jacket

Hiking is an inherently peaceful activity, but it’s also strenuous, and doing it in a jacket can be a sweaty affair. That’s why Patagonia made the Houdini as breathable and lightweight as possible. At 3.6 ounces, it’s barely noticeable, except when it’s protecting you from wind and drizzle.

Good To-Go Mexican Quinoa Bowl

Just because you’re in the woods doesn’t mean you have to eat like a barbarian. Avoid the rehydrated slop and reach for something made with ingredients like raw organic cacao powder and ancho chiles.

Darn Tough ATC Socks

Proper hiking socks are as essential as boots, but they can also be expensive. Thankfully, Darn Tough backs up its peds with a lifetime guarantee, so no matter how many miles are put on them you know that they’ll be good for just as many more.

Kammok Firebelly Trail Quilt

Unfamiliar with trail quilts? The best, like Kammok’s Firebelly, are lighter, more versatile alternatives to sleeping bags. Wrap up in one inside a tent or hammock or just use it to keep warm while watching Netflix at home.

Hilleberg Nammatj 2 GT

Hilleberg’s bomb-proof tents have accompanied expeditions across the globe and are standard-issue at the National Outdoor Leadership School. The all-season Nammatj 2 GT sleeps two, has a vestibule for gear storage and is very easy to pitch with a handy one-piece design, all of which make it suitable for the weathered pro and the casual weekend warrior alike.

BlackYak Modicana Jacket

Blackyak categorizes the Modicana as a “midshell” — it’s neither an outer- or mid-layer, but both at the same time. The jacket is soft to the touch, breathable and stretchy, but it’s also waterproof and warm with a merino wool lining. It’s about as technical as a shell can get, and versatile enough for activities beyond the hiking trail too.

Black Diamond Stormline Stretch Rain Pants

Hardcore hikers know that it’s a rain-or-shine activity, but the former calls for some additional thought to apparel. Black Diamond has made its Stormline pants as comfortable as possible; they’re waterproof (as required), but they’re also stretchy, allowing for enough freedom of movement to make walking in the rain a pleasant experience.

Oakley Frogskins Lite

In the eighties, Oakley created the Frogskins, its first lifestyle sunglasses, and asserted that its eyewear wouldn’t just be about sport. But the shades, which have endured through the decades, contain all of Oakley’s up-to-date performance optics to supply more clarity and contrast in shifting light conditions.

Western Rise Icon Camp Hat

Any ballcap will help provide that bit of much-needed shade from the sun during a full day outside, but the Icon Camp Hat goes a step further. It’s constructed with a durable cotton ripstop fabric in a five-panel profile that functions on the trail but looks good in town too.

Picky Bars

Hikers who still buy the same old energy bars that have been on shelves for decades are missing out on the current golden age of trail food. Picky Bars, which were dreamed up by a group of athletes and come in flavors like “Chai and Catch Me” and “Cookie Doughpness,” are crafted with real food ingredients to provide clean energy before and during long jaunts.

The James Brand Ellis Tool

The Ellis is The James Brand’s reinterpretation of a Swiss Army-style tool; it comes with two locking implements in one sleek package that’s worth its weight (only 2.8 ounces) on and off the trail. Use its tool to open bottles at the summit and turn screws on your gear and its partially-serrated blade to make repairs and cut rope (or sharpen sticks for marshmallow roasting).

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Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series

Accidents happen. It’s best to be prepared, and wilderness wanderers don’t need an entire backpack’s worth of supplies to do so. Adventure Medical Kits makes carefully-considered medkits for all types of outings — from a day hike to a 28-day expedition.

GSI Outdoors Essential Travel Spoon

Forks don’t exist in the backcountry. Seriously, you can eat anything with a spoon, and tiny-tined sporks never really work anyways.

Petzl Tikka

Sunsets and sunrises are best viewed from mountaintops, with a companion and a warm beverage. Hiking in the dark is no excuse to miss one with a headlamp as affordable and powerful as Petzl’s classic Tikka. It boasts 200 lumens of light that can be utilized in separate modes for proximity, movement and distance vision.

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