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10 Gifts for the Thru-Hiker in Your Life

Long-distance hikers are selective about their gear. Here are some of the things they’ll want to add to their pack, even if they don’t know it yet.

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1. Garmin Fenix 5X Plus GPS Smartwatch

Ultralight hikers no longer need to carry a big handheld GPS unit if they want full topographic maps on their device—Even on this small screen, they’re completely readable and make navigating through new terrain easier. Plus, Pulse OX will give hikers a readout of how their body is handling elevation on those hilly trails.

2. Altra Lone Peak 4.0 Shoes

They may look a little like clown shoes, but the super-sized “foot shaped” toe box on the Lone Peaks makes them of the most comfortable, ergonomic trail shoes around—As you step onto your toes and they splay out, the Altras give them the room they need. No more pinky-toe blisters a couple hundred miles in.

3. CNOC Vecto Soft Bladder

Lightweight water filters are great, but they still suffer from one big problem: It’s hard to get water into the narrow mouth of popular bladders. The CNOC Vecto solves that problem. On one end is the standard narrow mouth, perfect for screwing into a filter but on the other is a large zip-like opening, so you can fill up even in standing water.

4. NEMO Switchback Sleeping Pad

Foam pads have seen few updates since the originals, and few brands have stepped into the ring to make them—until NEMO. The Switchback folds up accordion-style using a complex pattern of ridges and valleys to maximize insulation without increasing the packed bulk of the pad.

5. Marmot Hydrogen 30 Sleeping Bag

Packing down to the size of a football, the Hydrogen packs some serious comfort into a tiny package. At just 1 pound 7.3 ounces, it’s still warm enough for stout three-season temperatures.

6. NEMO Spike 1P Trekking Pole Tent

Floorless tents don’t need to be uncomfortable suffer fortresses. The Spike is one of the easiest-setup trekking pole-based tent around, thanks to guide cord along the bottom, to help you get the angles right. And once you’re inside, it’s a comfortable, dry, thru-hiker’s castle.

7. Optimus Terra Solo Cook Set 0.6L

Lightweight, durable, and functional—that’s about all you could ask for from a solo cookpot. The Optimus Terra Solo is as big as you need for a single hiker, will last a lifetime, and a small stove nests conveniently inside, making it a perfect space saver.

8. Maloja TumaschM Rain Shell

With GORE-TEX C-Knit inside, the TumaschM is an amply waterproof, lightweight rain shell for the ultralight hiker, but it’s the extra design features like the non-adjustable yet perfectly elastic cuffs, an elastic cord inside the top of the hood, and burly zippers that make it one of the most comfortable, usable shells we’ve tested.

9. Heather’s Choice Packaroons

Each one of these dense Alaska-made coconut balls is loaded with more than 150 calories and one of a collection of awesome flavors, making them the perfect energy-filled trail snack.

10. Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Backpacker Medical Kit

Make yourself feel good about feeding an adventure habit by supplying your loved one with a well-stocked first aid kit. The AMK kits come fully-loaded with everything they would need to get out safely if something went wrong. 

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