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Gear Reviews

The 11 Best Gifts for Expert Hikers of 2019

Help the hardcore backpacker on your list make their gear lighter, better, or just more fun with these 11 trail-ready gifts.

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Some expert backpackers dream of going lighter. Some are looking to make their long days and nights on the trail more comfortable. Whoever you’re buying for, these 11 gifts—from $10 to $450—will help them take their experience to the next level

Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Backpack – $169 (on sale)

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This lightweight load hauler kept our gear organized and tidy on a rainy hut-to-hut trip in New Zealand’s Egmont National Park. We loved the oversized stuff-it pockets, and the removable SitLight pad. Tip: Dish out the extra $45 for the hipbelt. Buy Gossamer Gear Mariposa 60 Backpack Now

Lander Cairn Mini Lantern – $20

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Lander’s Bluetooth-capable Cairn XL Lantern is one of our all-time favorite lights. Drawback: It’s heavy. Instead, grab the mini version, which puts out a respectable 150 lumens on its max setting and can run for up to 100 hours. Buy Lander Cairn Mini Lantern Now

Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jacket – $60 (on sale)

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Can a fast-fashion puffy stand up to the rigors of the trail? Actually, yes: Our Appalachian-Trail-hiking tester praised the DWR, the low weight, and the cut, which isn’t nearly as boxy as other budget coats. Buy Uniqlo Men’s Ultra Light Down Jacket Now / Buy Uniqlo Women’s Ultra Light Down Jacket Now

Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long Spoon – $10

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It’s not just any spoon: It’s the best spoon. The Alpha Light Long is lengthy enough to fit into the corners of any dehydrated-dinner bag and strong enough to scrape cold peanut butter from the bottom of the jar. Plus, you can easily lick it clean. Buy Sea to Summit Alpha Light Long Spoon Now

Big Agnes Scout 2 Platinum Tent – $450

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This ultra-lightweight shelter earned an Editors’ Choice Award, and it’s easy to see why. At just a hair over 8 ounces per person, few tents come close. Buy Big Agnes Scout 2 Platinum Tent Now

AlpineAire Foods (H)EAT Pouch – $15

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Keep your food warm for longer—and burn your hands less—with this insulating neoprene sleeve, sized to accommodate any dried backpacking meal. “I’m never hitting the trail without one of these again,” our digital editor declared after using it for the first time. Buy AlpineAire Foods (H)EAT Pouch Now 

Skullcandy Indy True Wireless Earbuds – starting at $46 (refurbished) / $79 (new)

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Make the most of your tent time with these tiny, wireless buds. The Indys feature touch controls integrated into the buds; tap to pause or change the volume. The earphones can get up to four hours of use on a charge, while an included carrying case with a built-in battery can provide 12 additional hours of juice. Buy Skullcandy Indy True Wireless Earbuds (Refurbished) / Buy Skullcandy Indy True Wireless Earbuds (New)

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mini Pump – $40

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It might seem a little ridiculous to carry a pump for your sleeping pad, but this is our destinations editor’s favorite luxury. The 2.3-ounce pump runs on two AA batteries, and will save both your lungs and your pad. Buy Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mini Pump Now

Gear Aid Tenacious Tape Gear Patches – $10

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Sad fact: Gear breaks at the worst times. Patch a leaking hole in your puffy or fix a torn tent with these stick-on patches. The kit includes shapes ranging from squares to bison and trout. Buy Gear Aid Tenacious Tape Gear Patches Now

Gerber Dime Keychain Multi-Tool – $21

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A multitool can help you with everything from fixing a trekking pole to preparing dinner, and they don’t come much lighter than this. Packing 9 tools into a 2.2-ounce package, the Dime is light enough to earn a place in any pack. Buy Gerber Dime Keychain Multi-Tool Now

Montbell Ignis Down Parka – $399

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This Editors’ Choice-winning puffy has no right to be as warm as it is. The 10.1-ounce jacket kept us toasty in single-digit temps in Canada’s Banff National Park; thank the 1,000-fill down and a moisture-shedding DWR treatment. Buy Montbell Ignis Down Parka Now