A Backpacker’s Holiday Gift Guide (2016)

The holidays are quickly approaching, and the challenge of finding the perfect gift is creeping ever so near. Thankfully, I’m here to help. I’ve put together a hand crafted list of gift ideas that anyone who thrives in the outdoors is sure to love. The best part? I’ve considered every price point. Of course, I’ve personally tested each product on the list too, making sure every item mentioned is up to the challenge.

Sporkables Meals

Sporkables is a lesser known company that’s cranking out some of the best dehydrated meals available . Home cooked, locally sourced, and packed full of nutrition, few products on the market come anywhere close to their quality. They make excellent stocking suffers, and considering the variety available, everyone will find something to love here. You’ll be supporting a small business too. Each pack feeds one at around $4-5$ each. Sporkables Meals

Sporkables 1

Thermarest Z seat

The item that seems completely unnecessary until you’ve used one yourself, the Z-seat weighs just 2.5 ounces and is useful in every season for hikers and backpackers. Just keeping the ol’ tush off of frozen or wet ground when backpacking has ensured that this little goody comes along on every backpacking trip I take, but it’s also useful for crawling out of tents and stashing gear on in wet conditions. It’s warm, light, practically indestructible, and can easily be slipped into any pack. Just $15. Z Seat

thermarest Z Seat

Orange Screw

Even the enthusiast who has it all is unlikely to have a set of these. Boasting impressive holding power, the Orange Screw can be used to tie down kayaks, create anchors for pet lines, or even work as loose soil and sand anchors for tents and tarps. A set of small screws retails for $22 and is constructed from 100 percent recycled materials. A larger screw is available too. http://www.orangescrew.com

Orange Screw

Merino Wool Buff

The ever useful Buff, now available in Merino wool for better insulation, moisture management, and odor resistance. It’s more comfortable than the original and it provides an even wider range of use due to the naturally regulative properties of wool. It can be worn in a variety of ways on the head and neck (think beanie, scarf, hair tie, etc) and is especially useful on windy, snowy days on the mountain. Color options are endless and one size fits all, removing the guesswork. $29. Merino Wool Buff

Merino Wool Buff

Seirus All Weather Gloves

With their impressive ability to block wind, rain and cold, the Seirus gloves are some of the warmest light weight gloves I’ve tested. They fit well, maintain dexterity, and are light enough to always keep on hand, making them perfect for cool weather hikers. They’re some of the most affordable gloves I can recommend too, at only $34.99. Seirus All Weather Gloves

Seirus All weather gloves

Swedish FireKnife

A personal favorite of mine, the Fireknife performs double duty as a fire starter and an impressively well made blade. It’s sharp, durable, feels great in the hand, and comes in enough colors to satisfy anyone on your list. Pricing is all over the place, but can easily be found at a reasonable $30-$40. My review.  Swedish FireKnife

Swedish Fireknife
Swedish Fireknife, after many many uses in the humid Smokey Mountains. Never cleaned.

Mountain Khakis Old Faithful Sweater

This time of year, it’s important to stay warm, but why not look classy while doing it? The mountain man on your list will appreciate the rugged look, soft polyester build, and it’s ability to regulate body temperature both indoors and out. It comes in full and half zip styles with a nice range of colors to choose from. $114. Mountain Khakis Old Faithful

Mountain Khakis Old Faithful

Thermarest Prolite Sleeping pad

Offering the best combination of comfort, warmth, durability and price, The Prolite Plus is my go to sleeping pad as it offers year round performance at a light weight and relatively low cost. The foam construction makes for a great night’s sleep, and it self-inflates. They retail for $89-$120, depending on the size. Review hereThermarest Prolite Plus

Thermarest Prolite 2015 backpacking gear sleeping pad

Nemo Salsa/Rhumba 15 Sleeping bags

Winter camping doesn’t require mummification to stay warm. The Nemo Salsa and Rhumba Sleeping bags (men and women variants) provide more room in the shoulders and hips, creating for a more comfortable, less restrictive sleep system, while still staying impressive light and warm. They’re accurate to their temperature ratings (even the women’s as they include extra fill for the ladies), and they pack down small too. $270-$300. You can find my review of the older version, the Nocture picture below, here.  Nemo SalsaRhumba

Nemo Notcurne 15 Sleeping Bag

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV 2

One of the best tents on the market just got better with the new HV model for 2016. It provides an exceptional balance between weight, livability, and stability. It’s my go to shelter when I need the lightest shelter possible, but still want real protection from the elements. $389. It also comes in a MtnGlo version, which includes a strand of LED lights sewn into the tent body, pictured below. You can find my review here.  Fly Creek HV2

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL2

Those are some of my suggestions. I chose these products because I personally have found them to be of exceptional value and quality. These are products that I use, and I use them often. If you have other ideas for gifts or questions, feel free to post down below or send me an email. Check us out on Twitter and Facebook too!

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