Here are our recommendations for the 17 best gifts for lightweight and ultralight backpackers. We put this list together based on our personal experience using this gear, as well as through personally knowing the dedicated, energetic people behind these small, startup and cottage brands. We hope these ‘off the beaten trail’ gift ideas lead to many stunning ridge traverses, inspiring mountain peaks and grueling (yet somehow fun) bushwhacks.
Summit Bum Fanny Pack by Thrupack
Ideal for the backpacker who thinks his or her UL kit is complete, the Summit Bum Fanny Pack keeps essentials — think sunscreen, lip balm, lighter, camera, etc. — within reach at all times, while hiking and in camp. It’s durable, lightweight and handmade here in the U.S. Price: $45
Vecto 2L Water Container by Cnoc Outdoors
The Cnoc Outdoors Vecto is a collapsible water container differentiated by its patent-pending dual opening system, allowing for easy filling from a wide opening on one side and a narrow mouthpiece on the other. Use it for drinking or to filter water (with select Sawyer, HydroBlu and LifeStraw filters). Price: $17.99
Hiking Skirt (or Kilt) by Purple Rain Adventure Skirts
Purple Rain Adventure Skirts feature streamlined pockets, a yoga style waistband and air flow! They’re made with quick dry, stretchy, tough-as-nails fabric. We especially recommend the NEW purple skirt — the shade was decided by customers and it holds an OEKO-TEX environmental certification. Price: $64.99
Taster Pack by Food for the Sole
Not sure whether to go for the Triple Peanut Slaw or the Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Quinoa? With the Food for the Sole Taster Pack you can try all seven backcountry meals at a phenomenal price. Each item in the Taster Pack provides an approximately 250 calorie punch. Price: $28
Torrid APEX Jacket by Enlightened Equipment
Don’t let the weight fool you! The Torrid APEX Jacket by Enlightened Equipment delivers incredible warmth. This jacket is custom made just for you (or a gift recipient). Choose from a wide range of interior and exterior fabric colors, and also select a collar or hood. Price: Starting at $150
Lightweight Gloves by Give’r
Straight shootin' tough, the Lightweight Give'r Gloves might not be for weight weenies, but they’re a damn near perfect gift for everyone else. Made with premium cow leather, these unlined gloves come with the option of custom branded initials on the cuff. Price: $29.99
Mexican Rice and Beans by Backpacker’s Bistro
Brown rice simmered in homemade vegetable stock. Loaded with veggies such as red bell peppers, sweet corn, red onions, scallions, and jalapenos. Seasoned with dehydrated enchilada sauce and salsa, plus mouth-watering spices. Mexican Rice and Beans by Backpacker's Bistro anyone? Price: $9 (single)/ $15 (double)
Retro Medium Cushion Hiking Socks by Cloudline
These 80s inspired socks blend old school cool with modern merino. If you're looking for an easy way to strike up conversations on the trail while still wearing high-performance socks backed by a lifetime guarantee, the Cloudline Retro Medium Hiking Socks are your ticket. Price: $19.99
The Original Pee Cloth by Kula Cloth
Meet Kula Cloth, an intentionally designed pee cloth for adventurous women. It’s ridiculously absorbent and features silver-infused, antimicrobial fabric. The waterproof ‘clean’ side (so your hand doesn’t get wet) is made with custom-printed fabric and includes retro-reflective thread for locating it with your headlamp. Price: $20
TerraFlex by Xero Shoes
The Xero Shoes TerraFlex brings comfort, light weight and grip together into one shoe. Featuring a wide toe box and zero drop profile and backed by Xero Shoes’ 5,000 mile sole warranty, this shoe allows hikers to cover long distances and uneven terrain with confidence. Price: $99.99
Trail Buddies 3-Day Bundle for Two by Trailtopia
Skip meal planning and go straight for the Trail Buddies 3-Day Bundle for Two by Trailtopia. Serving up breakfasts, lunches, dinners and desserts using carefully sourced ingredients, this bundle is not-so-subtle-way of telling your fav backcountry partner that it’s time to start planning another adventure. Price: $67.06 (20% off individual meal prices)
Ultralight Roll Top Stuff Sack by High Tail Designs
These Ultralight Roll-Top Stuff Sacks by High Tail Designs keep your gear dry and organized. Bright color combinations help you easily identify your stuff on the forest floor. They also help you stand out from the pack. Extremely light and durable, they’re made from Dyneema Composite Fabric. Price: $29.99
Titanium Spork by Vargo Outdoors
Dubbed by many as “the perfect” eating utensil, no ultralight backpacker should be without Vargo Outdoors Titanium Spork. Four available colors help prevent it from being lost, serving up a fun way to know which one is yours. Just another Vargo original idea. Price: $11.95.
Water Bottle Shoulder Pouch by Superior Wilderness Designs
Ever wish your trimmed down, minimalist pack had, well, more pockets? Then check out the Water Bottle Shoulder Pouch by Superior Wilderness Designs. It works with virtually any brand/ model of pack with daisy chain on the shoulder strap, and holds a 1L bottle (or other items). Price: $15
Prairie Dog Trowel
Weighing just 0.7oz, the Prairie Dog Trowel will dig your dream cat hole. You can use either end, and if you tie it to a stick or trekking pole, you’ll muster up additional leverage. Don’t sacrifice good LNT practices just to cut down on weight. Instead pony up for the Prairie Dog. Price: Normally $24.99, but right now it’s ON SALE for $19.99!
Down Socks by Goose Feet Gear
Goose Feet Gear’s Down Socks were designed for cold feet sleepers. Made from your choice of lightweight nylon fabric and filled with 850+ power premium goose down, these are your ticket to a solid night’s rest, so you can get up and at ‘em for the trail miles ahead. Price: $64.99
V Seat by Klymit
Sure, a seat in the backcountry is luxe, but at 2.6 ounces the V Seat by Klymit means having your cake and eating it too. Plus the V-chambered seat cushion transitions seamlessly from granite outcroppings to cold bleachers and office chairs. Price: $16.95
All solid picks! I know personally, I’ve become a huge fan of Vargo, Kylmit and High tail designs all three due in large to GGG. Anyone unsure about the best way to make a foray into camping and wanting to support the smaller companies, I HIGHLY recommend the Garage Grown Gear seasonal boxes!
You have some kool items and I wish I could pick up a few but with Christmas and buying for my wife and four grandchildren I’m a little short. Keep up the great work of selecting these items. One comment on Klymit. Its aneat idea and I agree in the backcountry a soft seat of any kind is good but I had aKlymit mattress pad used it in the Winds and Yellowstone and one morning woke up lying on the stoces at Madison campground. Never sent it back thinking I’d locate the hole but never have. Hope the seat works better.