By Michele Herrmann & Katie Foote
When shopping for gear, serious backpackers know what they want. Yet sometimes they could use a little something extra –and that’s where this guide comes in. From edibles to essentials, to even some innovations, here are 30 gifts for backpackers and adventure travelers that give these road warriors extra leverage while going easy on their load.
After reading this list, make sure to head over to my buddy Will’s site at The Broke Backpacker to see his list of adventure gift ideas, too!
With one version suitable for warmer weather and another for colder temps, this stylish safety accessory from Speakeasy Travel Supply was created by a traveler who came up a prototype while on the road. It features a double-stitched pocket for maximum durability and a hidden, self-locking zipper for additional security. The lightweight Masasi Plum scarf ($55, shown above) is best for spring/summer, and made from a silky soft rayon jersey, while the soft sweater knit Aspen scarf is perfect for fall/winter (also at $55).
2. Deuter ACT Lite Pack
This is Jessie’s pack of choice, as the bag is made with both comfort and logic in mind. A padded hip belt, climate-controlled back and numerous large pockets and straps — perfect for affixing extra gear — are just a few features that make this bag awesome. Moreover, it ends up being uber spacious without taking up much space.
From Outdoor Herbivore, this limited trail food gift box set holds a medley of the company’s vegan meal combos. Choose from their Backpacking Meal samplers such as the Day Sampler (best-sellers Apple Quinoa Oatmeal, Blackened Quinoa and Lemongrass Thai Curry) and a Hot Trio (dried camp meals of Basil Walnut Penne, Lickety Split Lentils, and Blackened Quinoa). Sets of rice, soups and pasta plus instant quinoa and Baja black beans can also be picked. Comes in a recyclable Kraft Box; free shipping within US. Price: $31.99.
Make water filtration easier and more effective with this collapsible flask with a .01 micron microfilter to protect users against harmful organisms such as bacteria and cysts. The Katadyn BeFree microfilter meets EPA and NSF protocol in microfiltration. Then the filter’s Free Flow Channels are pretty tough too: nearly double the flow rate of other microfilmers at approximately 2L per minute. And it’s easy to achieve: Shake or swish the EZ-Clean Membrane in the water and be on your merry way. Price: $44.95.
5. KIND Fruit Bites
A nice snack idea for backpackers, this fruity food can sub for fresh produce while on the go or a day outing. The Fruit Bites are made with three fruit ingredients or less, and come in tasty flavors like cherries and apple and strawberry, cherries and apple. $22.47+.
Who doesn’t love taking photos and videos on a beautiful hike? The problem: using your gadgets can quickly drain the battery.
Which is where Energizer’s new solar panel-equipped daypack comes in. Along with practical features like padded adjustable shoulder and chest straps, a BPA-free drinking reservoir and organizational pockets, the backpack showcases a lightweight removable solar panel and powerbank to keep flashpackers happy. Price: $162.80.
Serious backpackers that love the challenge of getting out there in harsh winter conditions might want to strap on Hillsound’s adjustable crampons. They’re comfortable and super lightweight, yet provide a stabile slip-free experience in snow and ice thanks to stainless steel chains and 21 spikes on the shoe bottoms. Bonus: REI offers a 1-year return policy and free shipping when you spend $50! Pricing: $40.
It might not be the first (or last) thing a backpacker would think to carry, but this small personal alarm system can startle any wild creature or aggressor — it’s activated by pulling out a pin. It weighs less than one ounce, but its siren is piercing with a 130dB that’s as loud as an ambulance siren. Price: $16.99.
Tentrr, a network of fully-equipped campsites, links campers specifically to campsites on private, secluded land that is managed by local landowners (referred to as CampKeepers). CampKeepers offer amenities at their sites such as smores kits, kayak rentals, luxury bedding and a gas stove. Along with covering campsite usage, Tentrr gift cards can be used to purchase outdoor experiences such as a seaplane ride, a private fly fishing trip or a hiking trip with lunch. Monetary amounts can range from $25 up to $400; cards of $50 and above come with an additional gift.
10. Live Out There Women’s and Men’s Alps Down Vests
This vest can have a critical part in your giftee’s stay warm strategy because when his/her core stays warm, his/her extremities stay warm too. Plus, the sleeveless style offers unrestricted range of movement for total comfort on the slopes, in the city, and anywhere that adventure may take them. Women’s and men’s styles are available. Price: $129.99.
Every traveler needs fresh water to fuel his or her adventures. GRAYL’s Water Filtration System allows you to purify water at home and also on the go, eliminating heavy metals, chemicals and protecting against viruses. You can use each of GRAYL’s replaceable and interchangeable filters 300 times, virtually replacing 300 bottles of water, no matter where you are in the world.
The device works like a French Press to clean water in less than 30 seconds without using batteries. Prices start at $59.50.
12. Inspirational Travel Quote Accessories
This line of wanderlust-inducing products can be found in the Jessie on a Journey Travel Shop. Designed by Jessie, each tote bag, pillow, mug, iPhone case, laptop skin and t-shirt is meant to encourage travel through inspirational quotes and stunning travel photography. For adventure and solo travelers specifically, these accessories and home products show off your love of seeing the world.
Click here to check out the Jessie on a Journey Travel Quote Collection.
13. Fashionable & Practical Travel Underwear
To ensure comfort in sun, sand, rain and snow, start with underwear that is as ready-for-anything as you are. Give-N-Go underwear is designed for travel and active use by ExOfficio: lightweight, odor-reducing, moisture-wicking and quick to clean on-the-road.
Choose from multiple styles which are surprisingly fashionable. Women can peruse the Lacy Collection, which is “technically sexy” with bikinis, low-rise bikinis and thongs.
Men will enjoy the Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs style, with an athletic fit and highly breathable 4-way stretch mesh fabric for maximum airflow. The seams are flat-lock stitched as to not dig in while seated for long periods (perfect for the plane!).
14. Single-Use Urinary Packets For Female Adventurers
For any female who might have to go when they’re on the go, seek an alternative to sketchy or nonexistent toilets and consider the Pee Pocket.
This single use, waterproof, disposable funnel allows women to urinate while standing, providing the perfect solution for active women who enjoy biking, traveling, camping, hiking or music festivals. It’s collapsible design easily fits in a purse or a wallet and includes a hygienic tissue wipe and disposal bag. This is a must-have for women who want to stay germ-free when there are no suitable or sit-down toilets available.
Click here for more information on the Pee Pocket ($7.99 for a 3-pack).
15. Convenient & Cute Rainwear
When you’re on vacation, a rainy day can be frustrating enough without having to deal with managing an umbrella in the wind or bulky, wet rain jackets.
For a lightweight, stylish and hands-free alternatives, check out RAINRAPS. The hooded, waterproof RAINRAP weighs only 8 ounces and comes with a travel pouch that fits in your handbag, glove compartment or suitcase.
The one-size-fits-all RAINRAPS come in eight color combinations and have a double-sided button closure for reversibility. If you plan to travel somewhere chilly, check out the WINTER RAP, which is designed with one side to repel the rain, while the soft heavier, fabric on the inside keeps you warm.
Click here to purchase RAINRAPS online.
16. The Gift Of Blogging
Are you, or do you know, an adventure traveler who wants to share their stories with the world — and get paid to do so? In honor of the holidays, Jessie is offering her one-on-one Travel Blogging Consulting via Skype. Those who want to learn the ins and outs of professional blogging and how to make money exploring the world can sign up for 20%.
Just click here to email Jessie with how many hours you’d like to sign up for and available dates/times. Make sure to mention the coupon code “GiftGuide2017” for the discount.
17. Pickpocket-Proof Garments
Do you know an adventurous traveler that’s constantly traveling from place-to-place, sometimes finding themselves in rougher foreign cities? This is the gift for them. Pickpocket-proof garments eliminate the need for purses and wallets, as the shirts, underwear and pants provide hidden interior pockets, so thieves will never know you even have valuables on you. With pickpocket-proof clothing, you’ll be giving your fearless loved one the gift of safety.
Click here to check out pickpocket-proof clothing, starting at $21.90.
18. Capture The World With A GoPro
I never leave town without my GoPro. What’s great about it is it takes high-quality video on a small device that can be easily affixed to anything, from a head mount to a surf board (just make sure you also tether it to yourself in case of a wave!).
This is one of your best options for capturing your adventures from a first-person perspective to share with loved ones and followers. GoPro also has free editing software to quickly create shareable videos on your phone or laptop.
Click here to check the brand name GoPro Hero 6. It’s 20% off at Backcountry.com for a limited time!
19. Inspire Thrills Through Reading
Lonely Planet’s “Atlas of Adventure” is a must-read for anyone needing inspiration for future journeys.
It’s one of their more thought-provoking travel guides, packed with trip ideas, from mountaineering in Argentina to dogsledding in Greenland and beyond. The book showcases thrills in over 150 countries, so it’ll be relevant pretty much no matter where you’re itching to go.
Click here to get the book for yourself or a loved one this holiday for $25.22.
20. Travel By Lightweight Hammock
Any avid camper knows there’s nothing better than sleeping out under the stars or on a beach in a hammock.
Hammock Bliss makes an affordable, lightweight double hammock made from a parachute nylon fabric that holds up to 350 pounds. Along with being quick-drying, mildew-resistent and breathable, it comes with a permanently affixed pouch to store your gear.
Click here to purchase the hammock, on sale for $54.36 (originally $67.95). Backcountry offers free shipping on 2-day shipping for orders over $50.
21. Bike-Friendly Wine Rack
When exploring the outdoors by bike, nothing beats a picnic. On your next cycling trip bring a Bicycle Wine Rack, courtesy of Oopsmark. After traveling across the countryside, you will be ready to un-wine-d with this adorable and fashionable accessory. This piece is hand-crafted with fine vegetable-tanned leather and attaches to most bike frames to hold the bottle securely.
Click here to purchase the rack for $34.
22. Low-level Light & Life-Line Location Application
E/T Lights from Triage offer the latest in portable low-level illumination, which has countless uses for the adventure traveler. For example, illuminate your book during a camping trip, or get your things organized during an early wake-up at a hostel dormitory room.
These tough and compact lights provide one week of continuous illumination. Originally developed for Special Ops medics to prioritize wounded, they are combat proven. Even better, each purchase of the E/T Light comes with a f-Ready app that keeps family and friends up-to-date with your current location. It turns your screen into a visual signaling device and transmits a lifeline email to three friends/family. The email features your status, location (with a link to Google maps), and a message stating they look for the visual screen coming from your phone to zone in on you.
Click here to buy the app for $29.95.
Even the most advanced adventure and/or solo traveler can face an unexpected medical emergency. Medjet, an air evacuation membership program with no adventure travel exclusions, is said to ensure that if a traveler ends up in the hospital for any reason, Medjet will bring them home: no health questions, deductibles or claim forms required. Medjet arranges air medical transfer to the member’s hospital of choice – not just the closest one. Short-term memberships start at $99.
Looking like a Thermos but offering so much more, the GreenTraveler is a rugged, reusable lunch box built to go everywhere you do. Its four compartments are engineered to carry food, drink and even soup. With twin loops for straps or carabiners, the GreenTraveler holds 33 ounces, and is microwaveable and dishwasher safe, made from food-safe ABS plastic. It even comes with its own spork-like utensil. Price: $49.99.
For those who like to lounge on a blanket but hate to have a large bundle in their bag, can pack this go-to mini option. Able to accommodate two people, Pocket Blanket2.0 features corner weights that pull out to act as corner stakes and sand pockets for improved performance in breezy conditions. It’s water repellent, puncture resistant and extremely compact plus available in two colors. Price: $29.99.
This premium brand of instant coffee offers an original blend that comes in a single-serve sachet crafted from high-quality, high-altitude Arabica beans sourced from Columbia. This coffee can dissolve in hot or cold liquids, perfect for getting some caffeine while on the go. Price: $8.99.
Available for both men and women, this pair of socks is equipped with SilverSport’s nanotechnology to keep them germ-free and odor-free no matter how much you sweat. They are machine washable and also feature a dynamic arch bridge for a supportive compression fit. Price: $14.
Sold through Backcountry, this mini-stove for backpacking, camping, and climbing apparently works pretty quickly. (We’ve been told that you can have a hot cup of tea at the top of the trail in under 3 minutes.) Other noted selling points: sideways burner storage that takes up less pack space, convenient piezo ignitor, and advanced simmer control with redesigned valve. Another bonus – you can eat right from the cup with lower spoon angle. Price: $134.95.