Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
There’s no greater feeling than receiving (or giving) a piece of backpacking gear that you’ll actually use. Most of us have piles of metal camp mugs, anti-gravity pens, and bottle-opener/flashlight/compass multitools that will never see the light of day. These ten backpacking gifts are the kind of coveted gear that will be pressed into use as soon as the trail thaws out.
Big Agnes Lost Ranger 3N1 Sleeping Bag 15
$550; Buy Now
An excellent gift for trekkers looking to expand beyond the summer season, this sleeping bag covers multiple temperature ranges with its different bag configurations. Combining an outer 850-fill water-repellent down bag with an inner bag that slides inside, the total package weighs 2 pounds, 3 ounces and keeps you warm down to 15 degrees. Both bags have two-way zippers, and each can be used solo to achieve temperature versatility.
Sunday Afternoons Meridian Thermal Beanie
$36; Buy Now
Friends who chronically misplace their trail sunglasses will appreciate the Meridian Thermal Beanie, which has small slits near the temple to comfortably keep shades steady. For those with long hair, a concealed ponytail hole is another clever bonus. This soft, breathable microfleece-lined cap can be worn alone or under a hat or helmet, has reflective details, and comes with a UPF 50+ rating.
Grand Trunk Evolution 20 Down Hammock
$300; Buy Now
Many people want to get on the hammock train, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of over- and under-quilts. For hammock-curious friends, this complete system integrates a 650-fill, 20-degree down sleeping bag with a hammock, all for less than 2 pounds. The 40-denier nylon fabric is DWR-treated and breathable to battle the weather.
Appalachian Gear Company 8020 AG-Tee
$92; Buy Now
If you can avoid implying that your gift-recipient smells bad, this workhorse fiber blend is an excellent layer for anyone that needs a fresh tee that can survive multi-day trips without developing a stench. The 80-percent alpaca wool adds to the durability and warmth of this performance tee, while the 20-percent Tencel fiber keeps it airy, light, and relatively antibacterial. Bonus: Both the alpaca and Tencel are sustainably sourced.
FlipFuel Transfer Device
$35; Buy Now
Almost every backpacking-obsessed friend or family member will make use of this nifty tool, which consolidates isobutane from half-empty fuel canisters. It’s not the first fuel transfer device to hit the market, but it is one of the prettiest. It works with a variety of fuel canister types, weighs less than 1.5 ounces, and fits easily in a hip belt pocket for in-the-field use on a thru hike.
Granite Gear Perimeter 50
$250; Buy Now
Have a friend or family member who can’t get their backpack to fit right? The Perimeter is a pack that offers best-in-class adjustability to sit comfortably on any body. The suspension system includes daisy-chained webbing points to allow several inches of adjustment for torso length, as well as adjustments for shoulder width. The hipbelt can expand from 24 to 40 inches (women’s) and 26 to 42 inches (unisex). Thanks to the spring steel frame, this pack has a 40-pound load rating, too.
Knog Bilby 400 Headlamp
$65; Buy Now
For folks who are constantly smashing or drowning their headlamps, the Bilby 400 is an excellent gift. Made of silicone, this waterproof torch tops the scale at about 3 ounces while providing up to 400 lumens of output. Apart from the typical features (wide beam, red light, etc.), the Bilby allows you to control the beam angle with the press of a button—no need for a breakable hinge.
Hillsound Equipment PackStack Pro
$30; Buy Now
Know someone who has to spend 15 minutes rooting around in their messy pack every time they need to find something? There’s no greater present for them than a packing cube. The PackStack Pro is one of the best, thanks to a crescent-shaped and a curved back that leaves no dead space in a backpack and fits around hydration reservoirs. The chambers are also waterproof to easily separate wet from dry and smelly from clean.
Monoprice 1.0 Liter Cooking System
$39; Buy Now
This portable, one liter, integrated cook system is perfect for the beginner backpacker on your list; it’s half the price as name-brand competitors and functions nearly as well. (The jury is still out on longevity and durability.) With a push-button igniter and neoprene cozy, the Monoprice Cooking System boils in just over 2 minutes—comparable to its higher-priced competitors.
Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow
$40; Buy Now
Even gram-counters can justify this 2-ounce inflatable pillow that packs down to the size of an 8-ounce water bottle. The soft-to-touch 20-denier stretch polyester exterior and curved internal baffles comfortably cradle your noggin for a good night’s slumber. Bonus: Avoid the dreaded “pool toy effect” by using the included adhesive patches to secure the Aeros Ultralight to your sleeping pad.