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The best hiking gifts for kids are the ones that feed their curiosity about the outdoors, build their endurance for longer hikes, and lead to great family memories of shared trail time.
If you hike with babies and children, you'll notice their interest in hiking gear and great trail destinations increase with each passing season.
And that means you'll need some clever hiking gift suggestions for kids.
Hiking with kids will develop an entirely new skill set for you, especially if you keep your eyes open for what really stokes their excitement about hiking.
I'm sure you can think of what intrigues your kids, too.
Beyond the obvious hiking gear list that kids need to be safe and comfortable on the trail, let me offer a few suggestions for hiking gifts that I know from experience were well received by hiking kids.
1. Light wands:
Have you seen these glow sticks? The kind you wear around your wrist are especially cool.
They won't last forever once they are activated (8 hours is typical), but they can make a night hike into a very cool experience.
Or the ride back home after a long day on the trail...
Or falling asleep inside a tent...instant night light!
And you can link them together and make all sorts of interesting stuff to keep a young hiker occupied.
2. Emergency whistle:
Note the word "emergency".
As long as you explain that it's only for using once in a while, any kid will like clipping a whistle to a pack or belt loop.
Don't bother with the cheap plastic ones, because they break after only a few minutes.
Let your little hiker practice 3 long
blasts (universal distress signal) at least once during a hike!
You'll be famous as the person who picks out the best gifts for hikers in the family (especially if you wrap it up with a sack of trail snacks, like these).
Be sure to get a real carabiner, too - just like the grown up hikers!
This gift can lead into discussions about how to stay safe, and found, if separated from you on the trail.
3. Hiking stick medallions:
These are a big hit with kids. (Adults, too!)
And for good reason: Cherished memories of hiking and camping trips.
Remind your favorite young hiker of a treasured hiking destination like Yellowstone National Park by gifting her/him with a beautiful wooden hiking stick:
And then add a medallion!
One of the best gifts for hikers you can dream up!
For lots of selections from a great company, try these medallions.
Or pick a zipper pull that doubles as a compass. You can teach navigation skills without really trying!
As a bookworm from way back, I just had to throw that in there as a
possibility for best gifts for hikers of a young age.
I was one of those kids drawn to books like a magnet.
Do you know a kid like that?
Depending on the child's personality and reading skills, you can pick out a few books to nourish the budding interest in nature.
Who knows? It might become a permanent addition to their personal library, just as the Euell Gibbons books on my shelf are treasured classics.
And speaking of picking out a few books, here's a master list of outdoor books for kids for you to use.
5. Special hiking clothing or equipment:
Some families have a rule about gear and outdoor clothing for the kids: They are used only on the trail.
A cool hiking hat can make trail time special, too. Just be sure it's kid sized, and only worn on the trail!
Check out these water bottles, because you can customize the top, middle and bottom colors.
More nice features of Hydroflasks:
Not sure how to pick out a backpack for your kids?
Here are some tips for selecting the best girls hiking backpacks.
And for the best boys backpacks for hiking.
If you'd like some tips on selecting good boots, my advice for adult hiking boots works just as well for picking out kids hiking boots.
In fact, any of my hiking gear tips can be applied to the child versions of hiking gear.
If your child wants to give a gift to a favorite hiker in the family, here are some inexpensive hiking gift suggestions.
And if you're stumped as a non-hiker what to give your favorite hikers, read this guide to gift hiking, written for those who don't hit the trail.
If you're a non-hiker trying to find the right hiking gifts for kids, you probably have some questions about possible candidates.
Ditto if you're racking your brain for gift ideas for the grown ups in your family who hike.
Send me your questions, using the CONTACT link at the top of this page. I'd be happy to give you feedback, and suggestions, so your gift is just right.
Answering your question(s) is just one small way I can encourage kids to get out on the trail, and ultimately preserve the wild spaces for generations to come!
That's why I'm very happy to help out with your gift selection process.
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