Essentials

The 12 Best Hiking Gifts Under $25

For many of us, 2020 has been the year of shrinking budgets. From environmentally-friendly ski wax to an ultralight musical instrument, these outdoor gifts will still bring a smize to anyone’s masked face.

You don’t need to drain your bank account to find a great outdoor gift. These 12 presents all cost less than $25 each, but are guaranteed to make a big impact.

Stanley Classic Perfect-Brew Pour Over — $20

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Camp coffee doesn’t have to be instant. With this rugged, simple rig, all you need is hot water and medium-ground coffee to make a perfect cuppa. The stainless-steel filter is removable and can be cleaned at camp for reuse the next morning, but also can pop in the dishwasher once home for a deeper clean. The system sits over several different mugs and bottles. Buy Stanley Classic Perfect-Brew Pour Over Now

MountainFLOW eco-wax—$18.50

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Nearly all ski wax is made from petroleum and thus contaminates the snowpack and rivers. Using a proprietary blend of plant-based waxes and oils, this eco-friendly wax performs as well as conventional wax without the pollution. There are four temperature options, including cold (-5 to +15 degrees F) and warm (20 to 36 degrees F). Buy MountainFlow eco-wax Now

Pull Start Fire Starter — $18 for a 3-pack

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Not everyone is slick at starting campfires, so a little help goes a long way. These firestarters are wind- and waterproof and require no kindling, matches or lighters. Place the handheld package in the wood pile and yank a cord to set ablaze. You’ll see smoke for a few seconds and then hear a pop, which then activates the flint, sanding dust and wax. The ingredients burn clean, so it is safe for cooking. Buy Pull Start Fire Starter Now

Primus Campfire Chopsticks — $20

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When you’re eating noodles in the backcountry, there’s no need for a full utensil set. Lighten your load with this pair of chopsticks, which comes in two parts. They pack down to 5 inches, but screw together to twice that length when mealtime comes around. Buy Primus Campfire Chopsticks Now

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pocket Pens—$13 (2-pack)

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Whether you’re journaling about your day or taking notes in a Wilderness First Responder class, these pens will perform in the rain, wind and cold. They compact down to 3.3 inches, so they can even fit in a pocket without the risk of jabbing your leg. The cap connects to the end to produce a full-size 5.5-inch pen, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for convenience. Buy Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pocket Pens Now

Pedco Ultrapod 3 — $25

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Even though this tripod weighs only 3.2 ounces, it can handle equipment up to 10 lbs. Its ability to rotate a full turn and pivot up and down by 90 degrees offers endless possibilities for shooting video. The mount is meant for cell phones (up to 3.5-inch width, ex: iPhone 8+), sports cameras, compact DSLR cameras with a short lens or any device with a 1/4 -inch thread. Besides standing on its own, removable hook and loop cinch straps can attach it to a tree limb or railing. Buy the Pedco Ultrapod 3 Now

Purist Scope Top — $16

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This insulated lid lets you drink while walking without looking at the bottle. The rotating outer ring of the top enables sipping from any side of a Purist bottle (pair with one for best results). A three-quarter turn fastens the lid for spill-free transport. Buy Purist Scope Top Now

Matador Waterproof Travel Canisters — $8 to $18

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These waterproof aluminum containers with silicone caps organize pills, snacks, headphones and more. They come in a two pack with two size options. The largest size weighs less than its 3.4-ounce capacity and is still TSA-compliant. Buy Matador Waterproof Travel Canisters Now

Branon Family Maple to Go Singles — $6

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On-the-go syrups to spice up camp breakfast are nothing new, but these 3.4-ounce pouches of pure maple, produced by a 40-year-old family business, have resealable twist caps. Need more than one to stick in multiple stockings? They sell in a pack of four for under $20. Buy Branon Family Maple to Go Singles Now

Honey Stinger Mini Waffles — $12 for 2 bags

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It’s nice this bag of treats is resealable, but our testers say they sometimes devour the 5-ounce package in one sitting. With a thin layer of honey sandwiched between two bite-sized waffles, each serving (three waffles) delivers 1 gram of protein and 130 calories. The two-pack bundle comes in honey and vanilla flavors. Buy Honey Stinger Mini Waffles Now

Outside Inside Backpack Harmonica — $18.50

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This 2-ounce harmonica may be a luxury item, but provides hours of joy around a campfire. The ten-hole design lets beginners and experts alike get a range of sound out of it. Between its durable stainless-steel casing and travel case, it stays protected bouncing around in a backpack pocket. Buy Outside Inside Backpack Harmonica Now

Alpine Start Instant Coconut Creamer Latte — $9 for a 5 pack

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For backpackers who enjoy cream with their morning joe, this product makes getting a vegan latte in the bush feasible. The single-serve packets combine high-quality Colombian arabica coffee with non-dairy coconut creamer—they just need 8 ounces of hot water to mix. Buy Alpine Start Instant Coconut Creamer Latte Now