Budget Gifts for Backpackers and Thru-Hikers

Trail TalkAbby Evans
best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear


Shopping for a backpacker, thru-hiker or the all around adventurous dirtbag in your life? Want to give something that they’ll actually use but won’t break th
e bank? Here are 20 gift ideas ranked from lowest price to highest — all under $50. 

Tick Remover $2.85

A tick remover is an inexpensive stocking stuffer that can remind a friend you’re thinking of the — and their safety! It’s a lightweight tool that allows hikers to properly remove ticks, which can be plentiful on long trails, especially the Appalachian Trail.

Ultralight Portable Bidet $9.99

Nothing says I love you and want you to clean your butt and save the earth quite like gifting someone a CuloClean Bidet for the holidays. This backpacking bidet is about the size of a wine bottle cork and fits into the top of a water bottle. A bidet is an efficient way to stop worrying about packing out toilet paper while maintaining proper hygiene on trail.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Hiker Wallet $11.99

Do you notice your loved one leaving on backpacking trips with all their money, credit cards and driver’s license jammed into a sad little plastic Ziploc bag? If so, an ultralight wallet might be just right for them! It keeps all their valuables in one place and is more durable and cute too. For bonus points, stuff a gift card to Garage Grown Gear inside ; )

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Hiking Neck Gaiter $13.99

On trail, you rarely see a hiker without a neck gaiter or Buff. This versatile gift can be used as a headband, scarf, sweat rag, towel, hat and so much more. I used one every day of my AT thru-hike to hold my hair back. It’s an essential and versatile piece of any hiker's wardrobe.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

 

Bug Net $14.95

This will save your hiker’s sanity. In some sections of a long trail, bugs can be so relentless that it’s led me to run screaming through the woods. A bug net will give your hiker relief from the onslaught. They’ll think such kind and warm thoughts about you when they’re safe from a torrent of mosquitos!

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Cork Roller Ball $14.99

Injury prevention: the gift that keeps on giving! Fewer things tell a thru-hiker that you care about them and believe they can make it the full way on a long trail than a Rawlogy cork massage ball. This tiny lightweight ball will provide your hiker relief at the end of every day when they roll out their feet, calves, quads or other muscles — a wonderful self-care practice that keeps hikers on trail.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Stuff Sacks $17

Stuff sacks are a common part of any backpacker’s gear list. They’ll keep your hiker’s gear dry and organized. Hikers are always getting new gear and switching up their set ups — but the need for stuff sacks stays the same no matter what you’re carrying. When your hiker’s sleeping clothes and sleeping bag are still dry after a long day of hiking in the rain, they’ll thank you deep in their heart and soul.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Ultralight Trowel $17.95

Everybody needs a poop shovel. When your hiker is in a dire situation with number two in the backcountry and they are scrambling for their trowel to dig a cat hole — wouldn’t you want them to have a loving memory of you at the same time? It’s a great way to help your friend when the going gets rough — literally.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Ankle Gaiters $19.99

There are few things more annoying than a tiny rock in your shoe when you’re hiking. You might be walking for miles that day, but the only thing you can focus on is a rock about the size of the fingernail on your pinkie toe. Sometimes, I would be lazy and not take off my shoe, and then I’d wind up with blisters from the silly rock I refused to stop and take out. Ankle gaiters prevent this from happening in the first place and allow your hiker to carry on without stopping for any pesky pebbles along the way.

Pee Cloth $19.99

Who doesn't want a fun piece of art that doubles as a pee cloth?! Kula Cloth is an awesome company that features signature work from a variety of different artists on their antimicrobial, lightweight pee rags. Find one that’s perfect for your favorite person to hike and pee outside with.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Hiking Socks $23.99

Darn Tough are the pair of technical wool hiking socks that keep on giving. Not only do they wick moisture and create a soft landing, they’ll also last a lifetime! Whenever Darn Tough socks develop a hole, they can be exchanged for a brand new pair of socks for free. This means you’re essentially giving your loved one endless socks with one pair of socks, which is pretty cool.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Shoulder Strap Pocket $24.99

A shoulder strap pocket is incredibly useful for easy access items. It’s the perfect size for a phone, wallet or hiker snacks. It’s a simple way to ensure important items stay safe and ready for action.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

UL Rain Suit $29.99

Frogg Toggs might not be the sexiest rain jacket and pants in the book — but you know what is super sexy? When you show up to a tentsite after a day of hiking in the rain and you’re dry. The ability to be dry after days of torrential downpour can mean the difference between crying when you get to camp and enjoying pitter-patter on your tent.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Water Bottle Sleeve $30

This nifty pack accessory reminds your hiker to keep drinking water — which is easy to forget when you’re walking all day. It can also keep your hiker from dislocating their shoulder when attempting to reach around their pack to grab a water bottle out of the side pocket.

Fuel Transfer Device $35

This tiny device can save your hiker a bunch of money on fuel cans. Oftentimes, fuel cans are left in hiker boxes along trail. Hiker boxes are where hikers can deposit gear they no longer need for other hikers to take and use. The Flip Fuel Transfer Device allows hikers to fill up an entire fuel canister for their stove with fuel from half-empty fuel canisters. Cool, eh?

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Trail Running Hat $38.99

A trail running hat comes in handy on many different occasions. It will help keep the sun out of your hiker’s eyes and prevent the rain from falling in their face. It can hold hair back, or just make your hiker look super cool. These hats are lightweight and breathable, designed to wick sweat. On hot days, soak them in streams for a quick cool down. It’s a fun and simple stocking stuffer that’s sure to bring a smile to your favorite backpacker’s face — especially when they’re not being blinded by the sun.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Cozy Beanie $40

A beanie can be the difference between being chilly on the trail or being cozy and warm. It’s an easy layer to pull on and off when needed. It’s also perfect for the winter season — they don’t even have to be on a backpacking trip to start using it. Alpine Fit’s merino wool beanie is lightweight and made in Alaska.

Water Filter $40.95

The Sawyer Squeeze is one of the most popular, lightweight and efficient water filters on trail. There’s no waiting thirty minutes for an iodine tablet to dissolve; water can be drunk straight out of the filter. And it can last through 100,000 gallons, as long as they continue to backflush and care for their filter properly.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Backpacking Pillow $49.95

Give the gift of sound sleep to your loved one this holiday season with an inflatable backpacking pillow. The Aeros Premium Pillow is a lightweight addition to a sleep system that provides more comfort than using a stuff sack. When your hiker is skipping down the trail because they’re well rested, they’ll think such kind thoughts about you.

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

Fanny Pack $49.99

A fanny pack was one of the most useful pieces of gear on my AT thru-hike. I stored my phone, cork roller ball and stretch band, candy bars, Clif Bars, sometimes a battery pack, and once … thirty packets of mayonnaise. A fanny pack is a helpful way to keep food easily accessible throughout the day. It also allows hikers to drop their packs to go to a scenic overlook, and still carry some snacks and their phone with them. Fanny packs can be super useful for town errands too, such as going to the grocery store or grabbing a bite at an eatery. 

best budget gifts for backpackers thru-hikers GGG Garage Grown Gear

 

Before giving any gifts to your favorite hiker, you may want to investigate what trails they might be attempting in the future, or what trails they might be frequenting the most. For example, if they’re into desert hiking, Frogg Toggs are not going to be very useful. It might be helpful to casually ask what gear they wish they had or check on their gear list if they have it posted online. In any case, nobody minds an extra pair of socks or a GGG gift card. Maybe stuff a gift card into a pair of socks? Happy trails! 

 

 

Abby Evans, or S.W. Fireball Queen of the Salamanders, enjoys thru-hiking, jumping in mud puddles and catching salamanders. When they're not doing these three things, they love to write about their on-foot adventures. They recently finished the Appalachian Trail and they're looking forward to the Pacific Crest Trail next summer!

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