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Gear Reviews

The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

From clothing to coffee to climbing gear, here are 33 perfect gifts for the hikers on your list.

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gift guide

Find the perfect gift for all of the hikers on your list with our seasonal guide.


LuminAID’s collapsable Packlite Nova puts out up to 75 lumens and recharges in 10 hours via a built-in solar panel, making it an essential for tent time and backcountry happy hour.

Buy now


We appreciated the cushioning on Balega’s Crazy Crew socks on winter runs, and loved the bright styling for casual wear, too. Buy now


Miir’s Camp Cup looks like a classic enamelware campfire mug, but its double-wall construction keeps drinks hot without burning hands, and its textured matte finish adds a touch of modern style. Buy now

fire fishing pole

Kids and adults alike loved roasting marshmallows and hot dogs on Firebuggz Fire Fishing Poles. The rod-and-reel design isn’t just cosmetic: Jig the pole and your food flips for even roasting. (Photo by Louisa Albanese) Buy now


The lightweight Meadowmat Waterproof Blanket is perfect for picnics, suntans, even diaper changes, and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Comes in two different sizes; a large will set you back $60. Buy now


Drink your holiday toast around the campfire with Underwood’s Canned Wines. Each packable can holds 12 ounces of full-bodied, fruity vino. Buy now

Vapur Drinklink

Vapur’s Drinklink lets you turn one of the company’s ultra-packable soft flasks into a small hydration bladder. Bonus: Connect the bite valve directly to the bottle’s neck to turn it into a sport bottle. Buy now


Polk Audio’s Boom Bit wearable speaker is a weather-resistant clip-on Bluetooth speaker that’s just the right size for podcast time in your tent. The speaker runs for three hours on half-power, and recharges off a built-in USB plug. Buy now


The Mountain Hardwear AlpineStart Reflective Dome efficiently bled off extra heat on an after-work run in cool weather, and its reflective stripes were a welcome touch when the sun began to set. Buy now


With Hydroflask’s new My Hydro service, you can customize one of the company’s wide-mouth bottles in thousands of color combinations. Available in sizes from 12 to 64 ounces. Buy now

food container

There are no plastic caps or mini sporks to break with the Miir Food Canister: Just two stainless steel sections that screw together into a tough, minimalist chow carrier. Buy now

toddler sunglasses

Real Kids Shades claims their Adventure Toddler sunglasses are unbreakable. So far, so good: Ours have been dropped, stepped on, and left in the bottom of packs without cracking. Buy now


The Morakniv Carving Kit comes with a short-bladed whittling knife with an oiled birch handle and an unfinished wooden Dala horse ready to be shaped. Buy now


Getting little ones gloved up can be a hassle, but Veyo’s Mittyz went on and stayed on easy. Our miniatures loved the tiger paw styling, and we appreciated the extra coverage for little wrists. Buy now


Made partially from invasive New Zealand possum, Purnell’s Ribbed Possum Knit Beanie has more cushioning and insulates your head better than a traditional wool hat. Buy now


The Pacsafe Duffle and Day Pack are ultra-packable luggage with a secret: an internal wire-mesh-lined pouch, which stops would-be thieves from slicing out passports and other valuables. Buy now


The Falke Bra Top Madison lends easy-on, easy-off no frills support for hikers and yoginis alike.


The classic Wayfarer-style shape and variety of colors on the Sunski Seacliffs makes them a prime choice for everyday wear—and for under $60, they’re some of the most affordable polarized lenses on the market. Buy now


The Looptworks Packable Coffee Kit brings together a Kleen Kanteen mug, a bamboo spoon, Starbucks via packets and a tablecloth and carrying case made from recycled tent flies for a go-anywhere morning Joe setup. Buy now


There’s no better gift for a coffee snob who backpacks: The Wacaco Minipresso is your home espresso machine in a single, pocket-size capsule. (Photo by Linked Ring Photography) Buy now

muir woods sweatshirt

When you buy this thin-yet-comfy triblend sweatshirt from Parks Project, you’re not just paying tribute to the father of America’s wilderness movement: You’re helping support improvements across America’s national parks. Buy now


Royal Robbins’s Grid Cord looks like a classic cotton shirt—but behind the old-school looks is a trail-ready synthetic shirt with UPF 50+ protection and just a hint of stretch. Buy now

solar oven

Want to help preserve the earth while still enjoying a hot meal? The 1-pound 12-ounce Sunflair Mini Solar Oven Kit uses sunlight for fuel, and folds down to the size of a 3-ring binder. Buy now


The featherlight Petzl Altitude harness weighs in at just 150 grams but still boasts touches like adjustable leg loops and rubberized keepers for carrying ice screws, making it a perfect companion for long backcountry ski and mountaineering ascents. Buy now


It looks like a classic denim shirt, but the Outdoor Research Gastown Shirt is really a cotton-poly blend, giving it a softer hand. Buy now


Crafted out of drirelease merino wool, the Outdoor Research Blackridge Hoody has the look of your favorite cotton hoody, but enough technical chops to take on the backcountry. (Photo by Earl Harper) Buy now


Toad&Co’s Mojacette Overshirt is versatile enough to wear the trail or to work, and hard to stain. Our tester praised the overshirt’s roomy pockets. Buy now

ice axe

Made for backcountry skiers and riders, the Petzl Ride is a featherweight at only 240 grams. A bent shaft makes it easier to get a good stick. Buy now


Made of the same material as premium sleeping bags and puffy jackets, Rumpl’s blankets are water and stain-resistant, as well as machine washable. We dug the Mexican-inspired design so much, we even used it for movie night. Buy now

Here's your new cool-weather workout piece: The Outdoor Research Transition Hoody is made of a combination of Polartec Power Grid and lightweight…

Here’s your new cool-weather workout piece: The Outdoor Research Transition Hoody is made of a combination of Polartec Power Grid and lightweight gridded fleece to bleed off heat during hard exercise.

appalachian trail

Give this gift of wilderness know-how this holiday season with a course from AIM Adventure U. Grab Backpacker’s Thru-Hiking 101 or Wilderness First Aid Basics on Cyber Monday with coupon code CyberSale for 40% off. (Photo by gronkca-

camera bag

After testing this Kickstarter success story, we get the hype. The design is the smartest we’ve seen in a camera bag, maximizing every inch of space while allowing easy access to gear. Buy now


Designed especially for women, the Boardworks Muse Inflatable is stable enough for yoga, but nimble enough for tooling around on mountain lakes. Deflated, it fit easily into a small car’s trunk. Buy now

gifts for hikers

[Sponsored] Looking for more ideas? Read on for some of the season’s best presents for backpackers.

Backpackers take joy in the simple things—but that doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate a thoughtful gift. These 33 presents, which include everything from sunglasses to midlayers to a trail-ready espresso machine and range in price from $15 to $1,099, fit the bill.

Contributors: Louisa Albanese, Leslie Hsu Oh, Patrice and Justin La Vigne, Genny Fullerton, Kimberly Thorpe Lyons, Adam Roy.