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Best Hiking Gift Guide:
What Any Hiker
Would Love To Receive

There are plenty of gift guides floating around, but finding the best hiking gift guide just in time to create happiness in the heart of your favorite hiker?

Wow, you're in luck.

Here it is!

Already a hiker?

  • Forward this best hiking gift guide to drop some oh-so-subtle hints on your favorite gift givers :)

REI as your gifting source

Using REI Co-op as a trusted source for these hiking gifts is a no brainer.

  • I've been using REI gear and clothing for 4+ decades.

Three reasons:

Excellent selection of quality outdoor gear and clothing at various price points and sizes makes gift giving easy.

As a co-operative, they give back a percentage (typically 10%) of your annual purchases every spring.

  • Hint: You can reward yourself later with a little (or big) something, just by giving REI gifts!

And lastly, REI demonstrates awareness of environmental and inclusion issues far beyond many other big gear companies.

  • For an example, see the Hiking For Her take on REI's Force Of Nature campaign here.

These reasons also explain why I'm an REI affiliate.

I know they carry top brands, offer great customer service and policies, and give back to their members via that annual dividend mentioned above.

  • Now you know why this best hiking gift guide is built around REI's rock solid selection of outdoor gear.

A note on the affiliate relationship

When you purchase hiking gifts from REI using the links in this best hiking gift guide, Hiking For Her receives a modest percentage of your purchase price, yet it costs you nothing extra.

  • Your choice supports the efforts of this website to share trustworthy hiking tips with hikers of all backgrounds and abilities around the globe. 
  • Much appreciated!

Hiking Gift Guide

This best hiking gift guide is definitely not a collection of random hiking stuff.

You've found one of the best guides to gift giving for hikers, because it is vetted by a veteran hiker who knows her way around the always changing world of hiking gear and outdoor clothing.

Get your favorite hiker equipped to tackle anything with the tried and true suggestions in this gift guide.

To make it into this hiking gift guide, each gift meets three specific gifting rules:

  1. High quality for the price
  2. Durability on the trail
  3. Reliable performance under varied conditions

Best hiking gift guide
suggestions: 3 choices

Because I don't know your budget or your hiker, this guide is organized into three separate pricing tiers:

$ Spend a little, get a lot $

$$ Deliver alotta hiking goodness on a budget $$

$$$ Wow! You really love this hiker $$$

In total, 15 gift suggestions for hikers are lined up for you in this best hiking gift guide! 

Every one of them is something I own, have used, have gifted myself, or have added to my own current wish list.

A tip for using the guide:

Click on each image for REI's detailed description, current price, and customer reviews of each gift.

$ Small price, big smile $

These five gifts under, or near, $20 are just right when you want something practical but thoughtful for a beginning hiker.


Because each of these items is one of the Ten Essentials, recommended to keep your hiker safe and comfortable on the trail.

Choose one, or combine a few, to get her started on the right foot.

(Warning: more bad hiking puns ahead)

$ Gift #1 $

Hikers look at socks a bit differently than other people.

We have to! Socks, and the feet in them, can make or break a hike.

So turn up your nose at a pair of  technical, high quality socks if you must.

But your hiker won't!

An even better idea in this best hiking gift guide:

Wrap up a box of socks for your favorite hiker.

  • Save 10% on 3 or more pairs of full-price socks.
  • Earn an estimated 10% back as an REI Co-op member.

Clearly, REI makes it easy to gift the beauty of hiking socks ;)

Gift #2 $

Hikers need to eat a little differently, too.

Carbohydrates, delivered in a steady flow to hard working muscles, are the name of the game during a hike.

Stuff those technical socks (above) with a few of these trail treats to keep your hiker going strong on the trail.

Lots of flavors, no huge sugar rush or artificial ingredients, and a handy size to stash in a pocket.

  • Here's my personal favorite flavor:

Gluten free hikers?

No problem!

As a GF hiker myself, I can vouch for the steady sustained energy I get from these tasty little treats:

And you know the great deal that REI gives you on buying several pairs of socks?

  • Same sweet deal on trail snacks: buy 10 or more, save 10%!

Gift #3 $

Proper hydration is also a big deal when you're hiking.

But cold weather, hot sunny trails, wet or windy conditions can mess with normal thirst sensations, meaning your hiker is at risk for dehydration headaches, muscle cramps, or worse.

That's why a durable (not to mention attractive) 32 ounce Nalgene hiking water bottle makes a wonderfully thoughtful gift.

HINT: To craft a really nice combo gift, stuff a pair of socks into one of these hard plastic water bottles.

Then stuff one of those Honey Stinger treats on top!

  • Three problems solved for your hiker, in one gift.

You rock :)

Gift #4 $

Another essential piece of gear for any hiker is reliable illumination.

Even casual day hikers should carry a hands free, lightweight source of illumination like this headlamp.

  • Because even the best laid plans to get back to the trailhead by dark can go awry.

Gift #5 $

And as much as you don't like to think about this, what happens when your hiker needs to spend an unexpected night outdoors?

Put together a few inexpensive fire starter items like these for her to tuck into her backpack "just in case".

A reliable fire starter increases the odds of a comfortable night.

If your hiker enjoys three season hiking (cold, wet trails), add a tube of Fire Paste so those bombproof matches have a chance to work.

This combo costs a mere $15.50, but provides a wide margin of safety when caught out in weather that is worse than predicted.

  • Also works great for car camping at trail heads and park campgrounds

Now let's move on to another category of potential hiking presents for your consideration.

$$ Lots of bang for your buck $$

These hiking gifts are unique, thoughtful, or both.

  • Which makes you look really good for wrapping them up for her.

Under $50, too.

Click on each image for REI's detailed description, current price, and customer reviews of each gift.

$$ Gift #1 $$

Here's an easy way to ratchet up a gift of hydration well being for your hiker:

Lots of great color choices, and you can go up or down a size and still stay within your budget!

  • Read my review here.

Another Hydroflask option: a large capacity 32 ounce wide-mouth vacuum water bottle.

  • This gives her an easy way to share ice water or hot tea with a trail buddy.
  • Attractive enough to carry in her gym bag or set on her work desk, too.

Gift #2 $$

MSR is a company I've been a fan of for decades.

In fact, a peek into my gear locker reveals an evolving collection of MSR tents, stoves, and snowshoes.

And for good reason: bombproof gear designed by people who actually get out and use the stuff.

So if your hiker is also a backpacker, take a look at this:

This new version is lighter weight (only 3 ounces), smaller, and able to fit a wide range of pot sizes. In fact, it's on my own gift wish list this year.

Note: The fuel cannister (grayed out in this photo) is sold separately.

To personalize this gift, why not select some of the best teas for hikers?

Gift #3 $$

If your hiker likes cutting edge, innovative ideas, here's a suggestion:

this solar inflatable lantern for a safe, brilliant light source in a tent or campsite.

  • No need to replace batteries, a perfect pick for green gift giving.
  • 8 ounces, and packs down to one inch tall! A small, light (pun intended) footprint in her pack makes you look like a genius.

Gift #4 $$

Here's a fun gift designed for hikers: a waterproof bold yellow journal and brightly colored pen (easy to keep track of).

The Cordura fabric pouch is built for durability and protection from moisture, with room inside for more writing or sketching instruments.

This is an especially thoughtful gift for a hiker who is also a photographer, botanist, or trail gourmet: she can jot notes under the wettest conditions and review them at home over a cup of tea.

How I use this journal:

  • On multiday hiking trips: to record distance, elevation changes, trail conditions, animal sightings, botanical finds, and other fun facts.
  • On day hikes: to keep lists of blooming plants or make a note of how much I (dis)liked a new trail snack.

Tip: With younger hikers, encourage a journal keeping habit as a great way to connect with them and vicariously enjoy their outdoor time.

Gift #5 $$

Keeping warm on a hike can be a challenge when the day turns chilly or wet.

Keeping your hiker's hands warm will be easy with these fleece gloves coated with wind and water resistant fabric.

  • Extra clothing is considered one of the top 10 hiking essentials because it prevents hypothermia.
  • That's why gloves like these are always in the bottom of my backpack, year round.

Nice features a hiker will appreciate:

  • Gloves lock together and can be clipped to a pack
  • Fingers are pre-molded for better dexterity with hiking poles or bottle lids

And now, our final five suggestions in this best hiking gift guide.

Let's call this category...

$$$ Wow, you're generous! $$$

Sometimes you want to delight your hiker with a special occasion gift to convey your sentiments without saying a word.

  • These choices go the extra mile in that regard.

Although these gifts hover around $100, you just never know when REI will put them on sale!

And all of them are items I have used and can highly recommend as stellar hiking gifts.

Click on each image for REI's detailed description, current price, and customer reviews of each gift.

$$$ Gift #1 $$$

An all-in-one heating system from Jetboil makes nearly instant hot water for a warm hiking lunch (think soup, tea, coffee and hot chocolate) for day hikers and backpackers alike.

This JetBoil has many things going for it:

  • Super easy to use, lightweight, and a handy survival item to pull out of the pack when needed.

I've also used this at home during winter power outages to get a warm meal into my body.

Note that the fuel cannister (grayed out in photo) is sold separately, but can't be sent to you due to federal regulations.

  • Your nearest REI store has an abundant supply.

Gift #2 $$$

I can't say enough good things about hiking with trekking poles, to save knee cartilage, enhance balance, and cut down on fatigue while hiking steep trails.

Black Diamond makes the poles I trust:

A pair of hiking poles for an older hiker, or one who is recovering from an injury or recent surgery, will be a welcome gift for years to come.

Gift #3 $$$

A hiker has to stay organized both on and off the trail to avoid forgetting a critical item.

That's why I highly recommend a duffel bag like this one from Patagonia, to stow in the car.

  • It eliminates "where did I put that dang thing??" trailhead angst.
  • So you're actually giving your hiker peace of mind and a safer hike, you clever person.

What makes this different from a gym bag?

  • Weather resistant, tough fabric and the renowned Patagonia attention to quality.
  • The bright color makes it easy to spot in the jumble of gear in the car trunk.

Makes a nice off trail weekend or carry on bag, too.

Gift #4 $$$

Hikers are always looking for ways to stay drier and warmer.

Adding a pair of hiking gaiters to a hiking outfit is a sure fire way to guarantee debris- and mud-free boots when the trail turns yucky (that's a technical term).

Easy to put on, lightweight, fast drying, and small in the pack, what a great hiking gift!

Gift #5 $$$

Sometimes loved ones worry about a hiker when she's away doing the thing she loves (ahem!).

Here's a great way to stay in communication with her: a SPOT satellite GPS messenger system.

With this nifty little high tech gadget, she can:

  • relay and receive messages on the trail;
  • share GPS coordinates so you can track her progress;
  • send an SOS message if the need arises.

I've carried SPOTs in the backcountry on numerous hiking trips, and can state that the peace of mind the SOS button (never deployed, luckily) bought me was priceless.

Note: This device requires a yearly subscription for activation. It's not cheap (~$200 annual fee), but if you're at all worried about staying in touch with your solo hiker, this is an ideal gift.

Bonus suggestion

If the PocketRocket stove caught your eye above, but you'd love to beef (or tofu) it up a bit, consider this MSR stove + cooking set.

Your giftee won't mind a bit, trust me on this.

Everything she needs for a backcountry kitchen is right here, and the 10 components can be deployed (duo trip), or left behind (solo), as needed.

It all nests together in the 2 liter pot for a lightweight, durable, efficient way to keep your hiker well fueled on a hiking trip.

Any questions about this best hiking gift guide selection?

Only the gear that has been trail tested by Hiking For Her made it into this best hiking gift guide.

So if you're wondering about how to make sense of any the product details, please contact me.

I'm happy to help you find exactly the right gift for the type of hiking your favorite hiker enjoys.

  • Let's kick around ways to customize your gift, to get it exactly right.

What if she already has
all of this hiking gear??

Ah! You've forced me to reveal a little secret:

Tuck one into something fun like a spiffy new water bottle or kicky pair of socks, and you're golden.

Hey, thanks!

I appreciate you because you're a thoughtful gift giver, looking for the best hiking gift guide before you select your gifts.

  • I also appreciate you for giving me a plausible excuse to spend a lot of time gawking at REI gear on your behalf .

My hope is that my best hiking gift guide will point you to the perfect (and easy) presents to make your favorite hikers smile, mile after mile.

If you're still not sure about what to give, REI makes it simple to find something just right with their top notch website.

Tip: Watch for the little blue truck and the message "this item ships for free!"

And don't forget: your generosity as a gift giver will pay you back in an annual dividend when you are an REI Co-op member.

You are your own reward ;)

Happy Gift Giving!

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Best Hiking Gift Guide

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