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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.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

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

57hours gift card
(Photo: 57Hours)

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

primus kitchen set
(Photo: Primus)

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

(Photo: VSSL)

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

biolite headlamp
(Photo: BioLite Energy)

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

sierra designs tent
(Photo: Sierra Designs)

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

Houdini jacket
(Photo: Houdini)

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

sleeping pad
(Photo: REI)

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

oboz shoes
(Photo: Oboz)

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

Grayl bottle
(Photo: Grayl)

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

title nine pants
(Photo: Title Nine)

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

one bottle adapter
(Photo: One Bottle Hydration)

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

america the beautiful pass
(Photo: REI)

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

rumpl blanket
(Photo: Rumpl)

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

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.