The 13 Best Gifts for Beginner Hikers of 2021
Every backpacker’s gotta start somewhere. Give your loved ones a leg up with these novice-friendly gifts.
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Got someone in your life who is dipping their toes in the world of backpacking? Make sure they are equipped with the best gear of the season. Still looking for more? Check out our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide for our favorite apparel, equipment, and accessory picks for winter 2022.
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57Hours Gift Card, starting at $100
Gift a guided adventure, whether it’s a mountaineering expedition in Aconcagua or a hiking trip in Iceland. Choose your gift card design, fill in the recipient’s info, and choose instant or a later delivery date. Between November 26 and December 3, sign up for the newsletter and use promo code ADD57 to receive an extra $57 on all gift card purchases. Buy Now
Primus Essential Trail Kit, $60
This all-in-one kit comes with everything a backpacker needs for cooking outside. It includes a lightweight stove with wind-blocking pot supports and a frying pot/pan that fits a 230g gas canister (purchased separately). The burner boils water in under four minutes. Buy Now
VSSL Camp Supplies, $135
Inside this 9-inch tube are stacked tins filled with 70 pieces of essential survival gear. One tin holds matches and firestarter, and other tins hold a spool of rope, a whistle, a wire saw, bandages, and a compass. The container is made of waterproof military-grade aluminum, and includes a flashlight. Buy Now
BioLite Headlamp 330, $60
Don’t forget to bring the light for your overnight trips. BioLite’s Headlamp 330 shines bright enough for nighttime camp duties, while fitting comfortably thanks to the slim band. The 900 mAh battery burns for up to 40 hours, and the rear power unit keeps bulk in the back and pressure off your forehead. Buy Now
Sierra Designs Crescent 2, $30
The best tent is the one you can afford. This one is currently on sale for only $30 and works just great for backpackers who are making the jump from car camping to the backcountry. It has 32 square feet of floor space to spread out on, but it weighs 6.5 pounds, so we recommend sharing weight with a backcountry buddy. Buy Now
Houdini Mono Air Houdi, $200
The Mono Air Houdi is worth the investment because it’s the only fleece jacket you need in your closet for hiking, rock climbing, biking, skiing, and everyday wear. It’s also earth-friendly: Houdini partnered with Polartec to create a fabric that sheds 80 percent fewer microfibers than standard fleece. Buy Now
Therm-a-Rest Original Z-Lite Sleeping Pad, $40
The Z-lite is a budget-friendly pad that’s also lightweight, versatile, comfortable, and deflate-proof. With an R-value of 1.7 and a weight of 14 ounces, it’s ideal for all types of camping and backpacking, even in winter temps. The closed-cell foam sufficiently cushions the ground without flattening over time. Buy Now
Oboz Men’s Sypes Mid Leather Waterproof, $165
The best qualities of leather boots and light hikers come together in the Oboz Sypes. For someone who doesn’t want to splurge on a bulky pair, this crossover boot is reasonably priced and versatile enough for both on- and off-trail wear. It’s also available for women. Buy Now
Grayl Geopress Water Purifier, $90
While many experienced backpackers may tell you that you don’t need to treat your water, a simple filter is powerful protection against the possibility of giardia and other waterborne illnesses. Never go without water again with this purifier, which in eight seconds, removes waterborne pathogens and filters out microplastics and other tiny harmful materials found in murky rivers and questionable spigots, as well as hotel taps abroad where the water is potentially tainted. Buy Now
Title Nine Winter Crash 2.0 Polartec Tights, $99
On winter runs and hikes, the Crash Leggings kept us adequately toasty. The fleece lining was soft and warm against our skin while the tightly woven exterior blocked wind chills. Nice feature: The zippered pocket against the right thigh was big enough to store our iPhone and keys. Buy Now
One Bottle Hydration, Starting at $22
Love the functionality of a bite-valve straw but hate squeezing your puncturable bladders into your pack? One Bottle Hydration has it figured out. These straw adapters fit wide-mouth Nalgene or HydroFlask bottles, Smartwater bottles, and YETI Chug/MagDock lids. Buy Now
America the Beautiful Pass, $80
Exploring trails in the over 2,000 federal recreation sites around the country sounds enticing until you start adding up the entry fees to each park. If you’re buying for anyone who plans to visit any national parks, national forests, BLM land, and more in 2022, then they’ll love this ultimate park-access pass. Ten percent of purchases made through REI will go toward the National Park Foundation. Buy Now
Rumpl Original Puffy Throw, $99
This packable puffy blanket has both style and substance. It’s crazy warm (240 grams of recycled synthetic insulation), water-resistant, and comes with a Cape Clip that hooks around your neck for hands-free warmth. Buy Now