Posted on December 05 2020
Are you looking for something special to give to a hiker or backpacker in your life? Perhaps you are the hiker/backpacker and you're looking to pick up a few little things for yourself this holiday season in preparation for a backpacking trip next season. Either way, this list of 50 Stocking Stuffers and Gifts for Hikers has you covered. We have gifts for all budgets.
Supporting us means supporting not just one small business, but all the other small businesses we support. We are encouraging everyone to shop local and shop small this holiday season. All of us can use a little help after this tough year.
Now, let's jump right into the 50 Stocking Stuffers for hikers and ultralight backpackers! These are in no particular order. I think they all make great gifts.
These eco-friendly cork massage balls are one of the hottest items in the backpacking world and by far the most popular massage ball on the long trails. Rawlogy Massage Balls are perfect for rolling out your sore feet at the end of a long day.
No one wants to hike with blisters. No one! The Injinji Cool-Max Liner Socks are the best selling sock for preventing blisters. They are lightweight, super breathable, and are usually worn under a regular sock. The individual toes keep each toe isolated from the others preventing rubbing and blistering. These are especially useful on sandy trails.
If your feet run hot, liner socks may not be the best route. In that case, stick with a single sock to prevent blisters. The Injinji Trail or Injinji NuWool Socks still isolate each toe providing maximum comfort and blister protection all the while letting your feet breathe on those really hot days.
The single most popular bladder carried by long distance backpackers is the CNOC Vecto. They come in 2L and 3L sizes. What sets them apart from other bladders is the wide opening for filling and cleaning as well as the durable TPU material used in their construction.
Hot spots are no fun. If left untended to they will almost always become a full blown blister that hurts every single step of every single day until they heal. Leukotape is the most trusted hot spot, blister stopper out there. The adhesive used on the Leukotape beats all other sports tape adhesives. That means you can hike for days, take a shower, keep walking and that Leukotape will stay exactly where you put it. It's also great to use over other blister treatments like mole skin to keep it in place or even as a patch on holes in your clothes. In the most desperate of times, I've used Leukotape to splint a broken trekking pole using some sticks and tent stakes and hiked off trail deep in the mountains for days through torrential rain. Trust me, this needs to be in your first aid and emergency repair kits.
Gaiters are a must if you hike in shorts on sandy trails. Running Funky Gaiters keep small rocks and sand from coming in your shoes around the ankle. Unlike many competitors, the Running Funky Gaiters have elastic around the top to hold them in place for 1000s of miles and years of walking. They come in fun colors so you can spice those trail photos of your feet with all those trail mile markers.
Mother nature is so unpredictable. It's always better to be a little over prepared than under prepared, especially when we are talking about keeping your sleeping bag dry. If the unavoidable happens and you fall in a creek, a rainstorm pops up, or you set your backpack down in a puddle of water you'll sleep better in a dry sleeping bag. Get a dry sack and don't risk getting holes in flimsy garbage bags. Most people use the Sea to Summit 13L for sleeping bags and clothes bags. 2L bags are great for protecting electronics and other essentials that shouldn't get wet.
Long hot hiking days require hikers and backpackers to replenish electrolytes. Nuun tablets taste good, provide essential minerals, and break up the monotony of drinking plain water all day every day. Drop 1 tab in 16 oz of water to feel refreshed for a whole afternoon of hiking.
Because you're outside all day every day it is essential to protect your lips from sunburn. Aloe Gator Lip Balm is my favorite. It has SPF35 for long lasting protection and it holds up in your pocket through those hot days.
Most backpackers don't want sungloves when they start a hike but after a couple hot days under the blazing sun, everyone wishes they brought a pair to protect their hands while using trekking poles. It sure beats reapplying sunscreen several times a day and then cleaning it off at night. It's much easier and more effective to wear the Glacier Gear Fingerless Sungloves from the get go.
11. Lightload Towels
New backpackers often start a trip with a towel much larger than what's needed. They are often heavy too. When you carry everything on your back, ounces add up quickly. Carry only what you need and nothing more. If you can get away with something smaller, do it. The Lightload Towel is the most absorbable antimicrobial ultralight towel on the market. They aren't the most durable but they last for quite a while and are extremely useful to dry off with after a shower or to mop the condensation out of your tent in the morning. Get a couple of these. You'll be happy you did.
12. Hand Sanitizer
In today's world I don't need to explain why everyone needs hand sanitizer. What should be taken into consideration is the size of the bottle you carry. I can make a 0.5 oz bottle last for weeks using just a couple drops at a time. The Sanell 0.5 oz Hand Sanitizer bottles are hard to come by so don't pass this one up.
Cold wet conditions require you to take extra precautions to keep your feet warm and dry. The RAB Vapour Barrier Socks are perfect for this! They trap heat in and keep water out. The RAB Vapour Barriers go between your liner sock and regular sock. Your now warm feet will sweat some on the inside so bring a couple pairs of liner socks with you and trade them out during the day. At night if your feet are cold you can put the RAB Vapor Barriers over your sleep socks to help warm your feet faster. Because they are so light and so effective I recommend them for rainy and or snowy trails. They are also great in the winter.
14. Kula Cloth
Ladies, if you haven't heard of Kula Cloth let me just tell you that you need this ASAP in your outdoor adventure life. This revolutionary silver infused super soft high tech pee rag will be essential every time you need to pee which is a lot if you're drinking enough water. Quit using toilet paper and stop trying to air dry. Just wipe off, rinse, and repeat.
Go to bed feeling clean and refreshed every night. You'll sleep better and certainly smell better too. Most wipes are too small to provide an adequate cleaning at the end of the day. But according to one PCT hiker who shopped with us in multiple locations, obtaining more Adventure Bath Wipes were her top priority when she came into our shop.
16. Goodr Sunglasses
It's important to protect your eyes while hiking all day. You might as well look good while doing covering all those miles too. All Goodr Sunglasses are polarized, sporty, and ultra comfortable with fun names like Flamingos on a Booze Cruise, Sunbathing With Wizards, Whiskey Shots with Satin, Swedish Meatball, Donkey Goggles, and the list goes on!
There's almost nothing that Shock Cord and Pop-Locks can't last onto a backpack. These are great for securing tents, sleeping bags, potato chips, you name it to the outside of your backpack. You can use them to add pockets or secure a sunbrella. The options are limitless!
These little pads are so important if the dreadful day arises when you see a blister on your foot. But the dread will vanish once you cover it with these 2nd Skin Blister Pads. The healing gel will speed up the healing and reduce the pain of that pesky blister. Don't leave without them! Remember it's better to be prepared and these are so light you won't even notice them in the first aid kit until you need them.
19. Molefoam Padding
For decades moleskin has been the go to to take care of blisters in the backcountry. Well, Molefoam Padding in my opinion is so much better! The foam has thickness. Instead of covering your blister with mole skin, use 2nd Skin. Now take a piece of Molefoam and cut a hole out slightly larger than the blister itself. The Molefoam acts like a bridge around the blister. When pressure is applied to the blistered area, the pressure doesn't reach the blister. It is instead absorbed by the Molefoam.
Backpacking is all about optimizing. If your backpacking trip is long enough that you will need to go into a town/resort to resupply and charge electronics the Dual USB Wall Charger is a must. Plugs can be in short supply so it's better to be able to charge multiple things at the same time using only 1 outlet.
21. Magoo’s Magic
The name says it all. Magoo's Magic is indeed magical! I've never found a better product for preventing chafing and more importantly treating chafing. This is an all natural, handmade product that is worth its weight in gold. When I was on the PCT in NorCal last year I started chafing down there, back there, over there. I didn't even realize it until I had stopped hiking for the day. I simply applied Magoo's Magic and went to bed. I got up the next day having forgotten about the chaf and never thought about it again. Magical! Don't wait to chafe to then look for an anti-chaffing product. Start with this stuff in your backpack.
22. Deuce of Spades
Everyone has to go in the woods at some point. Some people bring heavy shovels. Some people bring bulky shovels. The Deuce of Spades Trowel is neither heavy nor bulky. In fact, this little ultralight trowel fits in a quart-sized ziplock bag with the toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You'll never be left scrambling to get everything together when nature calls again.
23. Nano PackTowel
Small towels are the best when backpacking. After all, the only thing you're using to dry yourself off with is your hand so a towel much larger than that is just a waste. The Nano PackTowel is the size of a washcloth. It's durable, washable, and will last for years.
For those of you looking for something with a little spikiness to rub your feet at night or a ball to do some trigger point therapy with on the trail, the Rubz Massage Ball is my recommendation. It's definitely heavier than the Rawlogy Cork Massage Ball, but because it's rubber it's a little softer and more forgiving on the tender muscles.
Everyone carries food while backpacking and the majority of them carry either an LiteAF Bear Bag Kit or something similar. These are uber light and have a wider top opening so it's easy to see all your food choices without having to dump the entire bag out to see what you want to eat. Bonus, because it's made of DCF the rodents have a really had time chewing through it so you can sleep good at night knowing your food is safe.
Knives are essential in the backcountry and having a few other essentials on the knife is nice especially if it doesn't add too much weight to your backpack. I've been using the Mini Swiss Army Knife for years! I have used mine to cut tape, dig out ingrown toe nails, trim nails with the scissors, open packages, cut out mole foam, pull out splinters or cactus thorns with the tweezers, etc. The list is long for all the things I've used this little 0.5 oz Mini Swiss Army Knife for and I absolutely wouldn't leave for a backpacking trip without it. A helpful tip for not losing this little guy: tie a bright piece of cord to it so it's easy to spot if you drop it.
Have you ever taken off your sunglasses on a break under a big tree, relaxed for a bit, and then hit the trail for some afternoon miles? A mile or so later you realize your favorite sunglasses are right where you left them, under the tree, too far to bother walking back for them. The Edge Snap Back Eyewear Leash will keep the sunglasses close by even on those shady breaks so you never leave without them again.
At the end of the day you're looking forward to a peaceful night's sleep, but unfortunately you didn't fall asleep before before the hiker next to you who now sounds like they'll be sawing logs all night. You'll be happy and still get a good night's rest if you've got a pair of these Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs. Sweet dreams await you.
You might have thought fanny packs were a thing of the past. I'm here to tell you these are a must have for backpackers looking to go the distance. Never have you been able to have so many of your day-to-day essential items so close at hand. Your bug spray, sunscreen, Aloe Gator Lip Balm, snacks, mini Swiss Army Knife, Rawlogy Massage Ball, wallet, hiking permit, etc. Many many hikers tell me the Chicken Tramper UL Gear Fanny Pack is their best purchase while on the trail.
The importance of having a nice ultralight beanie can't be underestimated especially for early season backpacking or for active sports in the winter. The Icebreaker Unisex Cool-Lite™ Flexi Beanie is one of the lightest weight beanies on the market and makes it the perfect choice to take with you especially when every gram matters.
A bit of luxury can go a long way to making difficult days a little easier and nothing makes those hard days more tolerable than a good night of sleep. If you wake up with a crick in your neck or worse yet don't fall asleep because you can't get your head comfortable this 2.7 oz luxury Sea to Summit Aeros Premium Air Pillow will be worth every single gram.
If you're a cold sleeper or the nighttime temperatures are dropping a little more than you're used to, the Sea to Summit Sleeping Bag Liners are the way to go. These liners can add anywhere from 5-25 deg F of warmth. You don't need to shell out tons of money for another sleeping bag to survive the chilly nights. You can just add a liner.
33. Tenacious Tape
Oh the countless things I've repaired with Tenacious Tape - my puffy, raincoat, backpack, sleeping bag, tent, air mattress, etc. Tenacious Tape is waterproof, flexible, super sticky, and durable. You can cut any shape and size patch needed to fix small to medium sized holes. This inexpensive, ultralight, ultra useful tape is an absolute must have for your backpacking emergency repair kit.
34. Survival Matches
When my lighter runs out, malfunctions from too much rain, or gets lost these Survival Matches are my go to. I carry 3-5 in my emergency repair kit to get me through unexpected events. I've dipped into them more times than I care to remember. They work in wind and rain so no matter what you'll always be able to light your stove or start a fire.
These handy flexible containers are perfect for mixing up a dense protein/recovery drink to sip on throughout the day. The no-leak GoToob can also be used for jam or other hard to contain liquids.
36. Sawyer Filters
Hands down the single most popular filter on the trails these days is the Sawyer Squeeze. These lightweight, inexpensive, long lasting filters attach directly to several bladders, including the CNOC Vecto, Evernew, and also most SmartWater bottles.
You should always carry an ID, credit card, and some cash with you. You never know what kind of emergency you will have. Many hikers use a baggie but eventually they split open and everyone can see how much cash you are carrying around. It's best to use a wallet and the 2 Foot Adventures UL Wallet is the perfect choice. It comes with a clip so you'll never accidentally drop it when pulling items out of your fanny pack or backpack.
Very few backpacks come with a shoulder strap pocket yet they are so convenient for stashing glasses, a phone, a couple bars, lip balm, etc. After adding a shoulder strap pocket or additional 2 Foot Adventures Hip Belt Pocket to your backpack you'll wonder how you ever lived without one!
39. Drink Tube Kit
Hikers and backpackers everywhere are switching from camelback style bladders to SmartWater bottles. The only problem is that in doing so many hikers don't drink enough to stay properly hydrated while hiking. Some people can't reach their bottles without taking off their packs. This Drink Tube Kit is the answer.
If you really dislike drinking from a hose then you might consider adding a Superior Wilderness Designs (SWD) Water Bottle Shoulder Pouch. This easy to attach pouch will put your water right up front where you'll have easy access to it all the time. Some people even use these to hold their cell phone because of their generous size.
As I mentioned above, most hikers use the Sawyer Squeeze Filter and SmartWater Bottles for their hydration and water treatment system while backpacking. The Sawyer Cleaning Coupling is a great alternative to carrying the bulky Sawyer syringe used for backflushing the filter. It allows you to backflush the Sawyer Squeeze Filter with only a SmartWater Bottle.
There's an infinite number of ways to use a bandana in the backcountry. You can use it under your hat to shade your neck, make a headband, a temporary mask if needed, a rag to clean your pot or wash yourself with. A bandana can be used as a pre-filter for cleaning really dirty water before sending it through your Sawyer Filter. It can be used for so many more things it's best if you have at least one on your next backpacking trip.
Anker PowerCore Battery Packs are the most trusted external batteries used to recharge cell phones and other electronics while off grid. They are in almost every single thruhiker's backpack. Most hikers carry a 10000 mAh unless they are doing extensive video editing while on trail in which case they often will carry 2, 10000 mAh or a single 20000 mAh battery but those start to get quite heavy.
As the number of electronic devices increases on the trail many backpackers are opting to add a solar panel to their setup. With the Renogy 5W Portable Solar Panel you can keep your Anker 10000 mAh Battery charged and expedite those trips into town where everywhere else has to spend the night to charge their electronics. Reducing your time in towns is the number one way to save money on a thruhike or other long distance backpacking/adventure trip.
This little stove has an almost cult following because it is tiny, ultra lightweight, dependable, and inexpensive. There's not another stove on the market that competes with the BRS-3000T Titanium Backpacking Stove on all levels.
46. Buff Original
If you don't have a Buff in your backpack already, you need this. I use mine practically every day, mostly as a beanie. But you can be used as a sweat guard, balaclava, headband, neck gaiter, emergency masks, wrist sweat band, beanie, pre-filter for your water, etc. It's one of the the most functional pieces of gear in my ultralight backpacking kit and I've never gone on a trip without it.
Dr. Bronner's Soap is the goto soap for the outdoors. It can be used for laundry detergent, dishwashing, hand washing, shampoo, and even toothpaste if you don't mind tasting soup. It is available in many scents, and the travel sized bottles are perfect to take along with you backpacking. Please use responsibly and keep all soaps out of and away from all water sources. Even natural soaps can change the pH of the water harming wildlife.
More and more hikers are choosing to cold soak their meals instead of cooking. If you are one of those hikers and looking for the perfect container, look no further! The CNOC Cold Soak Bag has a wide top opening and holds a sufficient quantity of food. Many hikers use the Talenti gelato containers but that isn't nearly enough food for me. The CNOC Cold Soak Bag is.
While we are talking about eating, every hiker will appreciate having an Optimus Long Handled Metal Spoon. A metal spoon is necessary because if you have ever tried to stir cold peanut butter you'll know that it will snap a plastic spoon almost every time. Most thruhikers upgrade from a plastic spoon to a metal spoon for this reason. The Optimus Long Handled Spoon allows you to reach deep down into the bag of food and scrape every last morsel of goodness out without getting your hands dirty.
Wet snow covered trails in winter and early spring backpacking require extra attention on our feet from snow traction to stable shoes, to waterproof socks. Sealskinz has been the leader and innovator in waterproof socks for more than 25 years providing top quality products that are perfect for all types of outdoor adventures, including backpacking. These socks will keep your feet dry, warm, and comfortable all day long.
There you have it! 50 items any backpacker or hiker would be excited to receive this holiday season. If you have any questions about any of these items send an email to info@2footadventures. There are many other potential stocking stuffer items on our website but these are the top 50 and among the most useful for everyone! And the best news: every item is available from us, a small business that caters especially to you!