Backpacking Gift Ideas: Our 2016 Backpacking Gift Guide

Looking for gift ideas for an avid backpacker on your list? Our backpacking gift guide features our trail-tested favorite backpacking gear, and the backpacking and hiking gifts that top our own lists this year.

Our backpacking gift guide features our favorite, trail-tested gear for the backpacker on your gift list

Sure, we’re huge fans of a great day hike – but there’s just something magical about overnighting in the woods. We backpack some serious mileage every year, giving us the chance to thoroughly test out some of the best backpacking gear from our favorite brands. We share the philosophy that great gear can go a long ways to enhance an adventure – and that lightweight, thoughtfully-designed backpacking gear is invaluable when the miles start to rack up after a long adventure on the trail.

We’ve wrapped our favorite backpacking gear into our 2016 Outdoor Gift Guide to make gift giving easy for the backpacker on your list. Find the perfect gift – or some new gear for your own backpacking adventures.

 
Osprey Aether 60 Backpack

Feature-Packed

Osprey Aether 60 Backpack

Why we love it

We’ve loved backpacking with our Osprey packs over the years, and while our Aether 70L is still going strong, we love the upgrades on this newer model. The Osprey Aether 60 is a mid-sized pack that’s perfect for overnights and multi-day adventures, and it offers outstanding on-trail comfort from its innovative suspension.

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REI Half Dome 2 Tent - outdoor gift ideas

SWEET DREAMS UNDER THE STARS

REI Half Dome 2 Tent

Why we love it

The lightweight REI Half Dome 2 is our go-to tent for backpacking trips. This award-winning classic from REI features a roomy interior that’s large enough for two adults to comfortably sleep and sit up. Large pockets at both ends offer ample storage, and two vestibules offer outdoor storage for backpacks and muddy boots. And setup and teardown? A breeze.

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GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Cookset - hiking gift ideas

DINNER FOR TWO

GSI Outdoors Halulite MicroDualist Cookset

Why we love it

The Halulite MicroDualist is our favorite lightweight backpacking cookset for two. The set weighs only one pound, and includes a cooking pot, a strainer lid, two bowls, two insulated mugs, two lids, two telescoping sporks, a stove bag, and a sink/stuff sack.

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Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System - hiking gift ideas

ICE ICE BABY

Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System

Why we love it

A must-have for wintertime adventures! The Kahtoola MICROspikes make trekking on icy or snowy trails a breeze with 12 stainless steel spikes per foot. The pair fit into an included travel tote for easy and convenient packing in a bag, pocket or backpack.

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Lowa Phoenix GTX Mid Hiking Boots

Cushy Comfort + Trekking Support

Lowa Phoenix GTX Mid Hiking Boots

Why we love it

They’re comfortable, breathable and waterproof, with a streamlined design. The Phoenix GTX from Lowa is perfect for just about any on-foot outdoor adventure, from multi-day adventures in the Cohutta Wilderness to epic treks on the Appalachian Trail. These boots blend the cushioned comfort of a day boot with the support of a trekking boot, making them an equally great choice for single-day trips and multi-day adventures.

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Atlanta Trails T-shirts - hiking gift ideas

WEAR YOUR ATL LOVE

Atlanta Trails T-shirts

Why we love it

Help support Atlanta Trails – and show off your love of Georgia’s outdoors. The front features the Atlanta skyline, set in Georgia’s mountains, coastline and waterways, and the back features an Atlanta Trails logo. Available in 100% cotton, women’s and dry-fit styles.

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Sawyer Mini Filter

Lightweight Filtration

Sawyer Mini Filter

Why we love it

The Sawyer Mini is the easiest-to-use, lightest and most effective water filter we’ve tested. It lasts longer and outperforms most other backpacking water filters available, and has replaced the heavier pump-style filters in our gear closet.

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National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps - hiking gift ideas

X MARKS THE SPOT

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Maps

Why we love it

Hiking with a physical map and compass is important in the event we lose cell service or GPS power. And the National Geographic Trails Illustrated are our favorite: they’re water and tear resistant, trustworthy and easy to read.

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Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Sleeping Bag Liner  - backpacking gift ideas

Sweet Dreams

Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Sleeping Bag Liner

Why we love it

For warm-weather camping we love to pack this sleeping bag liner: it provides just enough warmth and breathability to make summertime sleeping comfortable. And it’s great in cold weather, to add a little extra warmth to our winter bags – and it’s machine washable, too.

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Garmin Oregon 700 GPS - hiking gift ideas

Where are we?!

Garmin Oregon 700 GPS

Why we love it

The Garmin Oregon 700 GPS tracks our position, sets waypoints and finds trails from a touchscreen-equipped, tough, waterproof shell. No cell network? No problem… unlike our cell phones, the Oregon 700 stores its maps in-device for offline use.  With thousands of miles logged on our Garmin Oregon GPS units over the years, they’re our favorite tool for mapping trails around Georgia and around the world.

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Sea to Summit Ultra-Mesh Stuff Sack - hiking gift ideas

Keep It Organized

Sea to Summit Ultra-Mesh Stuff Sack

Why we love it

The Sea to Summit Ultra-Mesh Stuff Sacks are a staple in our hiking and camping bags. They’re a great way to keep small gear organized, contained and all in one place – and the see-through mesh makes it easy to find small gear at the bottom.

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Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir 3L - backpacking gift ideas under $25

ULTIMATE HYDRATION

Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir 3L

Why we love it

The Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir is a game changer when it comes to hydration. Gone are the days of digging through our packs for water bottles when you’ve got a handy bite valve secured to your backpack. The result? We drink more water, drink more often, and stay better hydrated.

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Gerber Folding Knife - backpacking gift ideas under $25

BASIC BUT USEFUL

Gerber Folding Knife

Why we love it

A quality folding knife should be a staple in any backpack. Its uses are endless, from whittling kindling and cutting rope to emergencies.

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Adventure Medical Fire Lite kit - outdoor gift ideas

LIGHT IT UP

Adventure Medical Fire Lite Kit

Why we love it

Sometime nature just doesn’t cooperate and building a fire can be nearly impossible. With the Adventure Medical Fire Lite Kit starting a fire is easy in any weather. The kit includes a firestarter and 20 pieces of Tinder Quick waterproof tinder.

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Black Diamond Spot Headlamp - outdoor gift ideas

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

Why we love it

Light and bright, the Black Diamond Spot Headlamp shines a 200 lumen beam. When our adventures keep us out after dark or up before sunrise, hands free illumination is a necessity and this Black Diamond Spot has us covered, with three brightness settings and a strobe feature. And it’s waterproof, too.

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Darn Tough Socks - outdoor gift ideas

MADE IN THE USA + GUARANTEED FOR LIFE

Darn Tough Socks

Why we love it

Darn Tough socks are nearly indestructible and darn comfortable – and they’re unconditionally guaranteed, for life! Fast drying and wicking merino wool keeps our feet comfy and dry, even on the longest adventures. Sizes, thicknesses and heights are available for just about any type of outdoor activity.

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Asheville Trails T-shirts - hiking gift ideas

WEAR YOUR AVL LOVE

Asheville Trails T-shirts

Why we love it

Help support Asheville Trails, our newest site – and show off your love of western North Carolina’s beauty. The front features an Asheville mountainscape graphic, and the back features an Asheville Trails logo. Available in 100% cotton, women’s and dry-fit styles.

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Lander Cascade Power Bank   - backpacking gift ideas

OFF-GRID ENERGY

Lander Cascade Power Bank

Why we love it

The Lander Cascade Power Bank is sleek and efficient keeping our smartphones and gadgets powered up while on the go. Three different sizes are available, offering plenty of power for all our off-grid adventures.

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Suunto A-10 Compass - hiking gift ideas

WHERE’S NORTH?

Suunto A-10 Compass

Why we love it

We love our fancy GPS unit but in case we lose power or something goes wrong we always keep a compass on hand. The Suunto A-10 Compass is quick, reliable and easy to use in the field.

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Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack - backpacking gift ideas

Keep It Dry

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack

Why we love it

Our adventures take us through a range of terrain and weather, so we never leave home without a dry bag or two. The Seat to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sack comes in a range of sizes to keep our electronics and gear safe and dry, whether we’re fording rivers, caught in an unexpected downpour or soaking up some sun on our paddleboards.

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Jetboil Flash Cooking System

In a Flash

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Why we love it

The Jetboil system is genius in design – an insulated mug attaches to a super high effiency stove for fast, convenient cooking and water boiling on the hiking trail. The system attaches directly to a fuel canister for quick and easy setup. And features like a built-in handle and a temperature indicator make this our favorite backpacking cooking system.

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GSI Outdoors Halulite Boiler backpacking pot - gift idea

Ultralight Cookware

GSI Outdoors Halulite 1.8 L Boiler

Why we love it

The Halulite 1.8 L Boiler is super light, durable and packs up nice and tight with a locking fold-up handle. The pot’s uncoated, anodized aluminum resists scratches and stains, and transfers heat quickly and uniformly making anything from boiling water to heating soup quick and easy. The interior easily nests a 220 g fuel canister and compact stove, keeping everything neat and organized in our backpack.

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REI Quarter Dome 3 Backpacking Tent - gift ideas

Light and Roomy

REI Quarter Dome Backpacking Tent

Why we love it

The latest Quarter Dome tent is lightweight and packs small – perfect for backpacking adventures with two adults and our favorite backpacking buddy, our large pup. Setup and teardown is extremely fast and easy, thanks to quick attachments and a hubbed pole system. A roof vent helps prevent condensation, even on warm Georgia summer nights. And three vestibules under the rainfly offer spacious room for dog gear, muddy boots and backpacks.

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Adventure Medical Ultralight First Aid Kit

Waterproof Safety

Adventure Medical Ultralight First Aid Kit

Why we love it

It’s always with us in case of an on-trail emergency. This waterproof medical kit is ultra-lightweight and includes essentials for accidents and emergencies out on the trail.

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Good To-Go Meals - gifts for hikers

Yum on the run

Good To-Go Meals

Why we love it

Mealtime on the trail just got one heck of an upgrade! Good To-Go’s gourmet backpacking meals have changed the way we think about trail food. They’re made by a former Iron Chef (for real!), and they’re super delicious and easy to prepare. Just add boiling water, wait 20 minutes, and you’ll be set for a meal more suited for a sit-down restaurant than a mountain summit. After a full day of backpacking, the Thai Curry is simply incredible.

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ENO SingleNest & DoubleNest Hammock - hiking gift ideas

Ultimate Relaxation

ENO SingleNest & DoubleNest Hammock

Why we love it

There’s just something magical about an ENO hammock. These lightweight, easy-rig hammocks are like a portable paradise, redefining relaxation on the trail or at a campsite. They’re so comfy we don’t ever want to get out – and we bet you won’t either. (And, did you know? ENO is based in Asheville, NC!)

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ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp

ENO Accessories

ENO ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp

Why we love it

Once we get into our ENO hammock we don’t want to get out – except if that means getting soaked in a sudden rainstorm. ENO’s ProFly Hammock Rain Tarp keeps us nestled in our relaxing cocoon while keeping us sheltered from ugly weather. It’s our favorite ENO hammock upgrade, turning our favorite open-air hammock into a rain-proof tent alternative. (And, did you know? ENO is based in Asheville, NC!)

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REI Flash Sleeping Bag

Lightweight ZZZ’s

REI Flash Sleeping Bag

Why we love it

Our go-to sleeping bags from REI are ultralight and ultra-comfy, featuring breathable, water-repellant insulation. And rated to 29 degrees F, it’s capable of keeping us warm through most of Georgia and North Carolina’s moderate seasons.

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REI Gift Card

Let them choose!

REI Gift Card

Why we love it

What’s not to love about an REI gift card?! With a huge selection of top outdoor brands, envy-worthy gear and a staff of outdoor-loving experts, it’s like an outdoor gear paradise. Not sure what to gift this year? Let them decide!

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Friends of Georgia State Parks Pass

Year-round outdoor adventure

Friends of Georgia State Parks Membership

Why we love it

Georgia’s State Parks celebrate our state’s incredible beauty and terrain diversity. From coastal Georgia barrier islands to colorful carved canyons, and from lofty mountain peaks to the depths of waterfall-filled gorges, Georgia’s State Parks are an incredible outdoor playground. Give an annual park pass for unlimited year-round adventure.

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Make a Donation to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

HELP MAINTAIN AND PROTECT THE AT

Make a Donation to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Why we love it

Help maintain and protect the trail that we all love! Make a donation to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and help support the organization tasked with the awesome responsibility of managing, maintaining and protecting the entire AT as well as stewardship of the lands and watersheds along its length.

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Make a Donation to the Georgia Conservancy

HELP CONSERVE GEORGIA’S NATURAL RESOURCES

Georgia Conservancy Gift Membership

Why we love it

Preserve the beauty and resources of our state! Give a gift membership to the Georgia Conservancy, and help protect and conserve Georgia’s natural resources. ‘Our work for land conservation, environmental advocacy, coastal protection, sustainable growth and outdoor stewardship recognizes the connection between the environment, the economy and our quality of life.’

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MORE GIFT IDEAS
 
 

Get outside, Georgia! #atlantatrails

Find the best outdoor adventures in the southeast! Our Georgia trail map search highlights our favorite adventures on a searchable map. Or check out our favorite Atlanta hiking trails, our favorite North Georgia hiking trails, the best hikes to Georgia waterfalls, and our favorite Atlanta running trails for more great ideas on how to get outside.

Snap a selfie on your favorite Georgia summit, a group shot from the Appalachian Trail, a morning sunrise with your favorite trail pup, or your favorite Georgia waterfall... we'd love to see your adventures! Share your photos with us! Tag them #atlantatrails on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We'll share our favorites, as well as our own favorite shots!