Many innovations have been made in the hiking industry in the last five years leaving many shoppers wondering which product to buy. This can be a daunting task, especially if the person buying the gift is a non-gear savvy individual. By interviewing several outfitters and hikers and using our own input coming from years in the field, we have compiled a list of 10 items any hiker would love.
1. SteriPen – This lightweight portable water purifier uses UV light to destroying bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The Steripen is quick and light in that it can purify up to ½ a liter of water in as little as 48 seconds and weighs only 4 ounces (including batteries). This is a great gift for hikers and emergency personnel. Retail Price $99.
2. Subscription to Backpacker Magazine. This magazine is a great source of information from reviews on new gear to instructions helping hikers develop new skills. Backpacker Magazine includes articles keeping you up to date on issues related to conservation and the environment. Retail Price $15.95
3. Merino Wool Socks – Bygone are the days of itchy wool socks and sweaty feet with the introduction of Merino Wool socks. While SmartWool is known for popularizing this product and has the largest selection, there are alternatives for the savvy shopper. A great place to look is the Sock Shop in Sweetwater, TN which offers three pair of high quality Head brand Merino Wool trekking socks for $7.99.
4. Petzl Tikka Plus LED Headlamp – Known not only for its great illumination, but also for its comfort, efficiency, and weight, or lack of it that is. The Petzl Tikka has five settings, low, medium, high, bright, and strobe. This water resistant headlamp is 80% brighter than the original Petzl headlamp. Retail $35
5. Nalgene Everyday OTG Tritan Bottle – While there are several new products on the market, this product has been time tested and continues to receive high ratings. Unlike many of the new products, this product does not retain flavors or odors. The 22 ounce container is dishwasher safe and is suitable for both warm and cold beverages. Retail $10
6. Tool Logic SL Pro 2 Folding Knife – On the trail it is nice to have everything organized. This knife does just that by offering not only a knife, but also a magnesium alloy fire starter, a LED flashlight, and an emergency whistle. Weight 4 ounces. Retail $59
7. Jetboil Personal Cooking System – Stoves are one of the items that you should discuss with the individual before buying as a gift. Some people want quick, easy, and lightweight, while others want to be able to prepare a gourmet meal. While the Jetboil is not as light as some of its competitors, it has an incredibly fast boil time, works great in inclement weather, and stores easily. The fuel canister and stove are designed to fit snugly into the mug. 15.25 ounces including fuel canister. Retail $99
8. Nite Ize Flashflight Disc – While this isn’t technically hiking gear, this flying disc is amazing and fun to have around camp. It is a welcomed addition to sitting around the campfire all night. While illuminated disc have been around for years, this product is the most realistic and feels the most like the non-illuminated disc we are all used to.
9. Olympus Stylus 720 SW – This rugged 7.1 Megapixel point and shoot digital camera is designed to withstand drops up to five feet and shoot underwater down to 10 feet. Equipped with Bright Capture Technology it shows dramatic improvement shooting in low light conditions. This is a fun camera to use around mountain streams and waterfalls and takes high quality pictures and descent videos for the price. It is rare that I head out on the hiking trail or go mountain biking without it. Retail $239
10. Hiker First Aid Kit – First Aid Kits unfortunately are a necessity, yet too many hikers omit buying them which is what makes it the perfect gift. There are several on the market most of which are very similar, just make sure you pick a kit with an instruction manual, antihistamines, hand wipes, gauze bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain relievers. Look for kits that are 1-2 lbs or less. These kits range from $25 to $50.