Gear Gift Guides

25 Stocking Stuffers for Hikers Under $25

25 stockings stuffers for hikers under $25 that are all totally useful

Have you seen those stocking stuffers for hikers posts online? Full of $300 gadgets or things that are clearly too large to physically fit in a stocking? Me too. They’re ridiculous. A stocking should be full of fun small, fun, inexpensive stuff. And chocolate.

Some of my family is pretty outdoorsy (shocking right?) so I have some experience choosing gifts for hikers. I try to pick things that are high quality, fairly cheap and actually useful. Absolutely no gimmicks! No silly 6-in-1 gadgets! Because nothing is worse than getting stuff you don’t need and will never use. (And it’s so bad for the planet too.)

So here’s my list of 25 stocking stuffers for hikers under $25. They’re all totally useful and I think every hiker would be happy to find these things in their stocking on Christmas morning.

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

Mini Thermometer

Mini thermometer - a great stocking stuffer for hikers

Mountain weather is notoriously fickle. While you can’t change it, you can at least measure it. I often bring along a mini thermometer to check the temperature so I can see if it is actually excruciatingly cold… or if I’m just being a wimp.

Where to buy: Amazon | MEC

Signal Whistle

Fox 40 whistler - stocking stuffer for hikers

As soon as I get a new backpack, I pick up a Fox 40 Classic Whistle to attach the shoulder strap. They’re super loud, come in lots of colors and cost only a few bucks. A signal whistle is a super simple safety device you can use to call for help in an emergency. (And it’s actually part of the 10 Essentials – things you should bring on every hike.)

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Wool-Blend Hiking socks

Smartwool PhD wool socks for hikers

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, and every hiker will be happy to add another pair to their collection.

I like the ones from Darn Tough, especially the Merino Wool Micro Cushion Crew socks. I also love these Smartwool socks. My favourites are the PhD Approach socks. They are thin merino wool so they don’t make me overheat and they’ve never given me blisters.

Where to buy: REI | MEC

Tenacious Tape

Old-school hikers carry duct tape. New-school hikers carry Tenacious Tape. It sticks to pretty much everything (including silnylon) and doesn’t leave a sticky mess like duct tape does. I’ve used it to repair down jackets, sleeping bags and tent flies on hikes. I always carry a small roll of it on trips and I think it makes a unique stocking stuffer for hikers.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Tenacious Tape patches on a tent at Shi Shi Beach. Tenacious Tape patches are one of the best stocking stuffers for hikers and backpackers.
If you look closely, you might be able to see the Tenacious Tape patches on the end of my tent at Shi Shi Beach. A rogue wild rose bush put some holes in it a few years ago in the Yukon but the Tenacious Tape patches I stuck on that day have held strong ever since.

Mini-Size Travel Towel

PackTowl travel towel

I don’t go anywhere without a mini-size quick-dry microfibre towel. There’s great for wiping sweat off my brow, drying my feet after creek crossings, washing camp dishes and so much more. I like the PackTowl Personal Towel in the Face Cloth size.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | PackTowl | Amazon

Collapsible Water bottle

Collapsible water bottle for hikers - a great stocking stuffer

Sometimes you just need to carry extra water, but you don’t want the weight of another bottle when it’s empty. Enter the collapsible bottle.

I love these Platypus SoftBottles since they weigh almost nothing and roll up small when I’m not using them. Plus they come in fun colours so they are a great option for stocking stuffers for hikers.

Where to buy: REI | Platypus | MEC | Amazon

Lightweight Flask

Nalgene flask - a lightweight flask for hikers

A flask is a great luxury on a chilly night in camp. The traditional metal ones are heavy, but thankfully Nalgene makes a lightweight flask for backpackers.

Where to buy: REI | Amazon

Electrolyte Drinks

Nuun electrolyte drinks

Sometimes water alone just isn’t enough. I like to bring electrolyte mix on long hikes to help prevent dehydration. Plus they make your water taste better. My favourite electrolyte mix is Nuun. It comes in dissolvable tablets that are way less messy than powders.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Fun Hiking Snacks

Trail mix is so 10 years ago (although it still tastes pretty good). These days there are tons of weird and wonderful hiking snacks on the market. Surprise the hiker on your list with a fun snack they’ve never tried before.

I love Moon Cheese – they’re freeze dried cheese bits without the weight and grease of actual cheese. Other ideas: astronaut ice cream, freeze dried fruit, stroop waffles, or high end jerky. (I like Lorissa’s Kitchen. And please skip the gas station jerky, it’s terrible).

Where to buy: MEC

Buff

Fabric tube scarves, often known as buffs are pretty awesome. You can wear it as a scarf, a hat, an ear warmer, a headband, a balaclava and more. I take one on all my trips – in the winter I bring a wool one, in the summer a wicking lightweight polyester one.

They also come in all kinds of colours and patterns. You can get ones with designs that celebrate the Appalachian Trail, state flags, and National Parks, so it’s easy to find one that your loved one with appreciate.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Buffs make great stocking stuffers for hikers and backpackers.
Wearing a buff to keep my ears warm on a chilly fall hike in Jasper National Park

Pocket knife

Opinel pocket knife - a great stocking stuffer for hikers

Every hiker needs a good basic knife. It doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Opinel’s inexpensive single blade knives have had the same simple design for decades. They’re great quality, compact and lightweight. Plus they their classic wood-handled design is pretty cool too.

Where to buy: REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Instant coffee

Starbucks Via instant coffee is a great hiking stocking stuffer

Just because you’re backpacking doesn’t mean you need to go without coffee. Grocery store instant coffee is gross. Thankfully a few companies have solved that problem. My favourite is Starbucks Via, but I’ve heard amazing things about Alpine Start Coffee too.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Spork

Snow Peak Spork

You don’t need to pack both a fork and a spoon when you can pack a spork instead. I like the fancy titanium ones from Snow Peak since they save weight in my pack. I have a blue one and my husband has a green one so we always know whose is whose.

If the hiker on your lists eats directly out of freeze-dried backpacking food bags all the time, get them a long spork. The extra length makes it easy to reach all the way down into the corners of the bag.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Snow Peak

Rope Tightening Caribiners

Nite Ize Figure 9 rope tightening caribiners

Getting a taut pitch on a tarp can be hard – it requires lots of adjusting and knot-tying. I started using the Nite Ize Figure 9 caribiners with rope tighteners on the ends a few years ago. OMG. So. Much. Easier.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Sunscreen Stick

Sun Bum sunscreen stick

It’s easy to get sunburned while hiking but it can be tough to remember to reapply on the go. I like the portable convenience of a tiny sunscreen stick. You can keep it in your pocket and quickly rub it on your nose and cheeks without getting your hands all sticky.  Sun Bum makes a great SPF 30 stick that is water resistant and designed for the face.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

GoToob Bottles

GoToob bottles

These little GoToob bottles are great at carrying pretty much anything and come in a bunch of sizes. And they don’t leak! I’ve used mine to carry pesto sauce, sun screen, olive oil, shampoo, peanut butter and more. They’re great for hiking, backpacking or travel.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Mini Condiment Packets

Soy sauce packets

Every time I get take out or fast food, I save the mini packets of condiments. I bring them backpacking to add to my meals. Be a hero and order a whole bunch of packets to put in your hiker’s stocking. Popular choices: hot sauce, mayonnaise, peanut butter, soy sauce.

Where to buy: Amazon

Blister Bandages

Unfortunately, blisters happen (despite our best efforts to prevent them). Every hiker needs some blister bandages in their first aid kit, so add some to their Christmas stocking.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Hikers get blisters. Blister dressings make great stocking stuffers for hikers and backpackers.
Sorry for the gross photo of my feet, but blisters happen. I always pack some blister dressings just in case.

Pot Scraper

GSI pot scraper for camping

Nobody loves doing camping dishes, especially on backpacking trips. I’ve owned this tiny GSI pot scraper for years and despite its small size, it make a big difference. One side is hard to scrape up stuck on food while the other is soft like a spatula to wipe surfaces clean.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Water Treatment Tablets

Water treatment tablets

What happens if you run out of water on a hike? Is the water safe to drink? (Hint: probably not.) I keep some emergency water treatment tablets in my first aid kit just in case. These aren’t most exciting of the options for stocking stuffers for hikers, but they are super practical. 

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Foam Earplugs

Foam ear plugs. A great stocking stuffer for hikers.

Backcountry camping isn’t always quiet. Sometimes your tent-mate snores, the group across the way parties too late or those damn frogs croak all night. I always bring a pair of foam earplugs camping. They help me get a good night’s sleep.

Where to buy: REI | Amazon

Rainwear Waterproofing Treatment

Nikwax TX.Direct wash-in waterproof treatment for hiking jackets

Every hiker owns a rain jacket, and every rain jacket needs re-waterproofing every year or two. I like Nikwax TX.Direct. It’s an easy to use wash-in and one bottle is enough to treat a few jackets.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Energy Bars

Pro bar energy bar - a great hiking snack

Grocery store granola bars are packed with sugar and not much else. Quality energy bars make great stocking stuffers for hikers. There are tons out there to suit every palette. (One year I put 10 different peanut butter flavoured bars in my Dad’s stocking so he could do a taste test. He LOVES peanut butter.)

My current favourites are the Chocolate Coconut ProBar, Clif Bar Chocolate Hazelnut Butter bar, and Honey Stinger Energy Chews.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

Handwarmers

Chemical handwarmers

Are you stuffing the stocking of a hiker with cold hands? Tuck some handwarmers into their stocking. They can make a big difference on cold days.

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

A Gift Card

REI Gift Card - a great stocking stuffer for hikers

If all else fails, get them a gift card to their favourite gear store. It’s something you KNOW they’ll use, and that way they’ll get to pick out the gear themselves. I love REI, but Amazon has a pretty good selection of outdoor gear these days too. (And if you’re in Canada, the hiker on your list definitely wants an MEC gift card.)

Where to buy: REI | MEC | Amazon

So there’s my list of totally useful stocking stuffers for hikers. What other totally useful items would you put in a hiker’s Christmas stocking? Tell me in the comments?

More Gift Ideas for Hikers:

More Gear Advice:

6 Comments

  • Reply
    Robino
    November 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Vaseline! I use it to lube between my toes especially hiking on hot days. No more blisters on the tootsies.

  • Reply
    Sally
    November 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    This is a great post, we are heading to Darwin next Easter and definitely need to purchase some of this stuff for a 4 camping days in Kakadu. I will definitely pin this post for later.

  • Reply
    Travelevil
    January 20, 2019 at 12:54 am

    The “Instant coffee” and the “Spork” are the best, the feeling of sipping a cup of coffee in the morning is something I can’t live without, truly a nice guide and cool list, you can add a self defense tool beside the Whistle like those Tactical Pen working as a glass breaker, just saying.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      January 20, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Glad you liked the list! I used to be addicted to coffee but I actually quit caffeine cold turkey in Nepal a couple years ago when I couldn’t get good coffee (and the time change was too great). Since then I drink decaf in the morning if I can get a good cup, but otherwise I just skip it. Makes camping soooo much easier. But I know most people still want their morning coffee 🙂

      • Reply
        TRAVELEVIL
        January 28, 2019 at 3:46 am

        Sure, switching from caffeine to decaf it’s like quitting smoking, I don’t drink coffee if it’s not a Robusta and Arabica mix hhhh, also I prefer Thé and herbal infusions when camping or hiking.

  • Reply
    Johanna
    November 21, 2019 at 7:19 am

    Yes to useful gifts 🙂
    I love to gift something handmade. Like selfmade lipbalm, homemade snacks like energy balls or self made beeswax wrap to pack your hiking snacks zero waste.

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