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40 Best Gifts for Backpackers in 2024

40 Best Gifts for Backpackers in 2024

There is no place I would rather be than on a backpacking trip. I’ve been backpacking for almost 20 years and used to work for a large outdoor retailer, so I know a lot about backpacking gear. In this post, I’ve got my recommendations for the best gifts for backpackers.

No matter whether the person on you are buying for is a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll find something on this list of backpacking gifts for them. All of these items are things I have personally used and recommend. It’s all quality gear – no gimmicks or stupid gadgets.

My list of over 40 gifts for backpackers includes:

READ NEXT: 25 Stocking Stuffers for Hikers Under $25

Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support. -Taryn

Budget Gifts for Backpackers (Under $50)

Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper

Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper - a great gift for backpackers

Morning coffee is a must for many backpackers. Skip the instant coffee and brew up a cup using the Sea to Summit X-Brew collapsible silicone drip coffee maker. It uses a reusable mesh filter so you don’t have to remember to bring paper filters. I also love that it folds flat so it doesn’t take up much room in your backpack.

Backpacking Guidebooks

Book cover for Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia

Give them the gift of more adventure ideas. Backpacking guidebooks are a great way to learn about new destinations and they have lots of info on permits, campsites, and recommended itineraries.

If you’re buying for someone in Canada, make sure you get them my book, Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia. (Sorry for the shameless plug – I can’t help it!)

Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow

Sea to Summit Aeros Down Pillow - one of the best gifts for backpackers

I used to sleep with my extra clothes bunched under my head. I splurged on the Sea to Summit Aeros Down inflatable pillow a few years ago and I don’t know why I waited so long to get one.

It weighs almost nothing (2.5 oz/71g) and packs down to the size of a mandarin orange. It has a thin layer of down on the top and then an inflatable chamber underneath. The down pillow top makes it so much more comfortable than other inflatable pillows I’ve tried.

Kula Cloth

Kula cloth pee cloth for hikers

Kula Cloth has definitely changed the way I pee outdoors. As a Leave No Trace Master Educator, I recommend the Kula Cloth in every workshop I teach. It’s a reusable and hygienic pee cloth for women so you don’t have to use so much toilet paper.

One side is absorbent and anti-microbial for wiping and the other is waterproof. Fold it in half and close it with a snap to keep the dirty side from touching anything else, then clip it onto the outside of your pack to let it dry out in the sun.

Smartwool Hiking Socks

Smartwool Approach hiking socks

Quality hiking socks can be the difference between happy feet and horrible blister-covered feet. (Trust me. I’ve been there. It’s not pretty.) Durable, wool-blend hiking socks are the answer. My favourites are the Smartwool Performance Hike Light Socks. They are thin so they don’t get too hot.

Sea to Summit XBowl

Sea to Summit XBowl

The collapsible Sea to Summit silicone X-bowls are perfect for your morning oatmeal (or noodles in my case) or your share of the evening’s dehydrated feast. They fold flat for easy transport. They also nest easily inside most cooking pots.


Buff multifunctional headwear - great gifts for backpackers

Fabric tube scarves, often known as buffs are pretty awesome. You can wear them as a scarf, a hat, an ear warmer, a headband, a balaclava, an eye mask and more. I bring one on every trip.

Tent Lab The Deuce Trowel

Tent Lab Deuce trowel

I’m pretty passionate about Leave No Trace. Unfortunately, one of the ways that people leave a trace in the outdoors is human waste. Yup, poop. However, it’s a really simple problem to solve if you’re prepared. (Here’s more info about how to go to the bathroom in the woods if you’re curious.)

I carry the tiny and lightweight Tent Lab The Deuce Trowel on most hiking trips so I can dig a quick cat hole when I have to go to the bathroom. At only 17g (0.6oz) it’s practically weightless. And since it’s made of aluminum, it digs waaay better than plastic shovels.

Opinel Pocket Knife

Opinel pocket knife

Every backpacker needs a good knife. It doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Opinel makes quality knives with a classic design. They’re compact, lightweight, and fairly inexpensive too.

Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat

Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat

I never go on a backpacking trip without a hat. I want one that provides shade from the sun and has a brim to help keep the rain off on wet days.

The Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat is my go-to hat for backpacking trips. It has a wide curved brim in front and a neck shield in the back. My favourite feature: slots in the brim hold my sunglasses so I don’t drop them!

AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Press

Aeropress Go Travel Coffee press - one of the best backpacking gifts

Snobby drinkers can’t stomach drip coffee, even on a backpacking trip. That’s where this travel-sized AeroPress coffee maker comes in. It makes delicious espresso or cold-brew-style coffee. The entire set-up nests together inside the included mug. My husband brings his travel-sized Aeropress on most backpacking trips.

Gaia GPS Premium Subscription

Gaia GPS is the best navigation app for hikers

My favourite hiking app is Gaia GPS. I have a premium subscription that gives you access to all kinds of detailed maps. You can also use layers to see things like slope angle, snow depth, Indigenous territory, and more. This is the app I rely on most for navigation.

Psst! Use the link below to save 20% off a Gaia GPS premium subscription.

Backpacking Meals

Peak Refuel backpacking meals

Dehydrated and freeze-dried backpacking meals are a quick and easy way to make dinner on a backpacking trip. There are lots of delicious options out there, but I like the ones from Mountain House and Peak Refuel best.

Jetboil Crunchit Fuel Canister Recycling Tool

Jetboil Crunchit tool for recycling camping fuel canisters

Canister stoves are easy to use, but the downside is finding a way to dispose of the empty canisters. In many places they are recyclable, but you have to puncture them first. The Jetboil Crunchit tool makes that easy.

Goal Zero Flip 36 Power Bank

Goal Zero Flip 36 power bank - a great gift for backpackers

The little Goal Zero Flip 36 power bank has enough juice to charge my iPhone three times. Combined with the power-save mode on my phone, that means my phone can last for a week-long backpacking trip where I use it for photos and to run Gaia GPS for navigation. It’s pretty light too.

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt

Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail shirt for hiking

The Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt is by far my favourite hiking shirt – I own it in four colours! It feels soft and comfortable like cotton, but it’s made of 100% recycled polyester that wicks sweat and dries quickly. It also has a built-in anti-odor treatment that means it won’t get stinky on long trips.

ThermoWorks ThermoDrop Zipper-Pull Thermometer

Thermodrop zipper pull thermometer

One of the keys to my backpacking gear systems is a thermometer. I like to know how cold it is so I can determine how well my gear worked at that temperature. Last year I upgraded from a cheap thermometer to the ThermoDrop.

My favourite part – it has a memory feature so it can display the min and max temperature since the last time it was turned on. That means I know how cold it got overnight!

Gifts for Backpackers Under $100

National Parks Pass

America the Beautiful National Park Pass

An annual national parks pass makes a great gift. The America the Beautiful Pass gets a vehicle’s worth of people into over 2000 federation recreation sites and all the national parks.

Petzl Bindi Headlamp

Petzl Bindi headlamp - a lightweight gift for backpackers

I take the tiny Petzl Bindi headlamp on every backpacking trip. It’s not the brightest one out there, but it’s plenty bright enough for tent chores and finding the outhouse in the middle of the night. It only weighs 1.2 oz (35g) too!

BearVault BV500 Bear Resistant Food Container

BearVault bear canister for backpacking

Constructing a proper bear-proof food hang in a tree can be tricky and time-consuming. And in some areas, it’s just impossible since the trees are too small or there aren’t any trees. I use my BearVault canister whenever I backpack above treeline.

Its locking lid requires thumbs to open, which thankfully, bears don’t have. I like the see-through design since it makes organization easier.

MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe Stove

MSR Pocket Rocket deluxe canister stove for backpacking

The MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe is my favourite stove. (My husband loves backpacking stoves so I’ve tried tons of them.) It’s really easy to use and the built-in piezo igniter makes lighting it easy. It also has a built-in pressure regulator so it puts out a consistent flame. It’s also really tiny – it fits inside a mug!

Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Mug

Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Mug for backpacking

The Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Mug is definitely a splurge, but I love it. It’s made of titanium, which makes it super light. And the double-wall construction keeps my morning tea warm for a long time – I like to sip it slowly while I pack up. The folding handles make it easy to shove in my backpack.

Prana Halle or Stretch Zion Hiking Pants

Prana Halle Pants - the best women's hiking pants

Prana’s Halle pants are my favourite hiking pants. They’re made with a slightly stretchy fabric that moves well but stands up to abrasion. They have a DWR coating to resist moisture and dry quickly. And they have lots of functional pockets. They come in plus-sizes too, which is great.

The Stretch Zion pants are the men’s version. One of my guy friends likes them so much he owns four pairs!

Peak Design Capture Camera Clip

Peak Design Capture Clip holds your camera on your backpack

If you backpack with a camera, you know it can be tough to figure out how to carry it. I got a Peak Design Capture Clip to hold my Sony mirrorless camera a few years ago and it has made backcountry photography soooo much easier.

The clip clamps onto your backpack’s shoulder strap, and then a spring-loaded, lockable mechanism secures your camera to the clip using your tripod plate.

Nesco Snackmaster Food Dehydrator

Nesco Snackmaster Dehydrator - great for making backpacking meals

Pre-packed dehydrated backpacking meals can be expensive. But it’s really easy to make your own meals at home, then dehydrate them. I’ve had a basic Nesco dehydrator for over 10 years. It’s really easy to use. And since it’s a basic model, it’s good for beginners and cheaper than other dehydrators.

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie

Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie

I do a lot of hiking above the treeline where I’m exposed to the full strength of the sun. I also sweat a lot, which makes it hard to keep sunscreen on. For the last two summers I’ve been wearing a sun hoodie instead of sunscreen and I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

The Outdoor Research Echo Hoodie is one of my favourite sun hoodies. The fabric is thin and breathable so I don’t overheat, even though I’m wearing long sleeves and a hood. Even though the Echo doesn’t provide as much UPF sun protection as other hoodies, I like the fabric better since it isn’t hot to wear.

Gifts for Backpackers Under $200

Ursack Major Bear-Resistant Food Sack

Ursack AllMitey Bear-Resistant food sack for backpackers

The Ursack Major Bear-Resisant food storage bag is made with Kevlar fibres that stand up to the teeth and claws of bears, raccoons, mice, and other food-stealing critters. If you put your food inside a smell-proof inner bag, you can tie it securely to the trunk of a tree and don’t have to worry about constructing a tricky bear hang. They weigh a lot less than a bear canister too!

Platypus GravityWorks Filter

Platypus Gravityworks water filter for backpacking

On backpacking trips, I always bring my Platypus GravityWorks filter. Simply fill up the dirty bag and let gravity do the work of filtering your water while you attend to other camp chores (or just chill out). No annoying pumping or squeezing needed.

The 2L version is great for couples and I recommend the 4L version for groups.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Patagonia Nano Puff jacket - a lightweight insulated jacket for hikers and backpackers

The lightweight Patagonia Nano Puff jacket adds lots of warmth but packs down small. It uses down-free PrimaLoft Gold synthetic insulation which keeps you warm even when it gets wet. My husband loves this jacket.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad - an ultralight sleeping pad for backpackers

If you value a good night’s sleep and a light pack, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad is the perfect compromise. With 2.5″ of thickness, it keeps even side sleepers off the cold, hard ground. And it has an R-value of 4.2, which is enough insulation for everything but winter trips.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork poles are the Cadillac of trekking poles: lightweight carbon shafts, comfy cork grips, and easy-to-use FlickLock Pro telescopic adjustments. I love the rubber extension grips for even more hand positions in tricky terrain.

In the winter, add powder baskets (sold separately) and use them for snowshoeing or backcountry skiing.

Kindle Paperwhite eReader

Kindle Paperwhite eReader - a great gift for backpackers

I love reading in the tent on a backpacking trip. I got my first Kindle eReader over a decade ago since I was tired of hauling books into the backcountry. The newest version has up to 10 weeks of battery life, holds thousands of books, and is waterproof – perfect for backpacking.

Helinox Chair One

Helinox Chair One ultralight collapsible chair for backpacking

A few years ago I couldn’t imagine taking a chair on a backpacking trip. They were just too heavy. But then I tried out the Helinox Chair One. It folds down super small but is still super comfortable to sit in.

At 2 pounds, it’s light enough to bring on chill backpacking trips. (Although my husband brings his on every trip. He says it’s much easier on his back compared to sitting on the ground.)

Fjallraven Abisko Trail Fleece Jacket

Fjallraven Abisko Trail fleece for hiking

The lightweight Fjallraven Abisko Trail fleece jacket is one of my favourite layering pieces. It uses grid-knit fleece to trap warm air next to your body without adding bulk. I also love the Scandi-styling.

Ultralight Tarp

An ultralight silnylon backpacking tarp from MEC

On longer trips, we always bring an ultralight tarp. That way we can rig up a kitchen shelter or have a dry place to eat lunch in a rainstorm. There are lots of ultralight tarp options out there, but most weigh less than a pound and pack down to the size of a burrito.

Splurge Gifts for Backpackers

Mountain Hardwear Minimizer Gore-tex Paclite Plus Jacket

Mountain Hardwear Minimizer Jacket

If you’re looking for serious wet-weather protection in a tiny package, the Mountain Hardwear Minimizer Gore-tex Paclite Jacket delivers. It held up through several days of pouring rain in the Canadian Rockies and on a spring bike trip in France.

The ultralight fabric means that it packs up to the size of a grapefruit (it stuff into the chest pocket), which means its an easy layer to carry on any backpacking trip.

Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin inReach satellite messenger - essential safety gear for backpackers

Being able to call for help in the wilderness is important. I’ve had a Garmin inReach satellite messenger for a few years. It lets you send text messengers via satellite to loved ones at home. And it also has an SOS button so you can summon search and rescue in an emergency.

It’s not cheap, and you need to pair it with a monthly service plan, but it’s a great piece of safety kit

MSR Hubba Hubba 2-Person Tent

MSR Hubba Hubba 2 person tent

Over the last 15 years I’ve had two versions of the MSR Hubba Hubba Tent. In my opinion, it’s the best backpacking tent for most people. It’s lightweight, easy to set up, and great in bad weather. I’ve used mine all over Canada and the USA, as well as in Iceland and Australia.

If the Hubba Hubba 2 is a bit out of budget, the MSR Elixir is a good alternative, although it isn’t quite as light.

Therm-a-Rest Parsec 20 Down Sleeping Bag

Therm-a-Rest Parsec 20 sleeping bag

I’m a picky sleeper, so I’ve tried lots of different sleeping bags. My favourites are the ones made by Therm-a-Rest since they have a slightly wider cut that doesn’t feel claustrophobic.

They also use premium materials that make them super warm for their weight. Another feature I love is the detachable pad straps – that way my sleeping bag stays in place on my sleeping pad.

The Therm-a-Rest Parsec 20 is rated -6°C (20°F), which is great for three-season backpacking in the mountains. It also has Therm-a-Rests’s ThermaCapture lining which traps body heat and reflects it back at you. My favourite feature – the extra pocket of insulation to keep your chilly toes warm.

Gregory Amber 65/Stout 70 Backpack

Gregory Amber 65 Backpack

I’ve had this backpack for a few years now, and I think it’s a great option for most backpackers. It’s neither ultralight nor ultra-burly but it is comfortable to carry. It has a few features that I really like, such as the stretchy mesh outside pocket and a hipbelt pocket that’s big enough to fit my phone.

I have the women’s version called the Amber. The men’s is called the Stout. The 65L and 70L sizes are perfect for week-long trips. On shorter trips, I just cinch down the top of the bag.

So those are all my picks for the best gifts for backpackers. Do you have any other suggestions for backpacking gifts? Leave them in the comments.


Taryn Eyton