Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Gift Ideas

When it comes to equipment, most backpackers and campers prefer to choose their own, especially if you’re talking about a backpack, tent, boots, shoes, sleeping bag or stove. Those items require either a certain individual fit or are used according to individual preference. But there are still plenty of backpacking and camping gifts that you can put under the tree for your favorite hiker, backpacker or camper.

Flashlight or Lantern. When I go camping, I use a battery powered and/or propane fueled lantern in the tent and a full-sized Maglite if I’m going to be walking outside in the dark to a bathroom, shower or tree; or if I just want to see what’s making that crunching sound in the underbrush. Maglites are tough and rugged enough that if you drop them they won’t break into pieces and their light is bright enough to fully light up an area or pierce a thick fog. For backpackers that find themselves still walking when the sun sets, a personal MiniMaglite offers the same rugged build and comparable (for its size) brightness at a fraction of the weight and bulk, a smart choice when loading a pack.

Sleeping Pad. No matter how thick or plush their sleeping bag might be, a sleeping pad adds an extra layer of comfort and insulation to your camper’s night. Inflatable (especially self-inflatable) pads are great for tent campers and backpackers alike, or you can opt for the foam pads that can roll up pretty tight.

Cookset. For some people this might be an item that falls under the “I’d rather pick it out myself” category, but most will probably appreciate some newer/better cooking gear. I usually take one frying pan, one pot, a tin cup, metal fork, spoon, steak knife and metal or plastic plate and bowl, along with a spatula and some hot pads. These are all cast-offs from the kitchen or BBQ grill at home. Every once in a while I think it might be fun to try a brand new cookset or perhaps a Dutch oven.

Maps on CD. Technologically savvy campers or backpackers will appreciate a practical gift like this. The CD’s can be used on a laptop or, if they have a GPS unit, downloaded directly into the hardware.

Miscellaneous Items. Things like an assortment of band-aids (great for covering blisters or cuts), a travel pack of antiseptic wipes, a set of camp rags/towels, bungee cords, bungee ties, a package of zip-ties, or a can of insect repellant all make great stocking stuffers for the camper or backpacker in your life.

Gift Certificate. When all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate to your recipient’s favorite outdoor store so they can pick out what they need or want.

If you’re still unsure of what would make a good gift, check out gear sites like Campmor, REI, Backcountry or Altrec for more great holiday gift ideas for that special camper, hiker or backpacker.