The holiday season is an excellent time to stock up on backpacking gear, whether it's for yourself or a loved one. With so many sales and free shipping, it's hard to pass up on the deals. Plus, many backpacking items are the perfect size to fit into stockings. If you're looking for some useful items to gift the backpacker in your life this holiday season, check out our list for some great ideas!
Trekking poles have multiple uses, making them super useful for the price. Of course, they're helpful for navigating rocky terrain or water crossings. They can also be used for setting up tarps as windbreaks around your campfire or cooking area. They can also do double duty if you have a trekking pole tent!
Our Tri-Fold trekking poles fold down to just 15-inches when not in use, making them a great options for backpackers. They can be a lifesaver on water crossings or very steep climbs.
Guy line is a must, especially if you prefer setting up your own tent or tarp as opposed to a freestanding one. Your backpacker friend will love our lightweight, reflective guy line. Plus, it stays nice and taut so they won't have to worry about any sagging.
Guy Line Adjusters
Naturally, if you're using guy lines, you'll want some guy line adjusters to make things easier. These are super small and portable and fit a range of guy line sizes.
You never know when you'll need a knife when you're backpacking. Whether it's to cut cord, open food packages, or spark a fire, it's good to be prepared.
No matter what, you need to eat while out on the trail. Pre-packaged, dried meals are quick and convenient. There are tons to choose from and are actually pretty tasty. You can find a range of foods from scrambled eggs for breakfast to beef stroganoff for dinner.
You'll need something to eat those trail meals with. If you don't feel like carrying multiple utensils, a spork is a good option. We especially like the long-handled titanium ones because they keep your hands clean and they last forever.
For backpacking, you don't need a huge cooking pot to prepare your food. Again, we prefer titanium since it's long-lasting. It's very lightweight too, perfect for ultralight hikers.
Titanium cooking pots are great for backpacking. They're ultralight, but extremely durable.
Mini First-aid Kit
A regular-sized first-aid kit is too bulky to take in a backpack. Mini ones are the perfect size, though. Cuts and scrapes are the most common injury while hiking. These little first aid kits will have bandages and ointment to take care of these, plus burn cream, gauze, and more.
Some kind of light source is needed for getting around camp and your tent at night. Headlamps are more convenient than flashlights since they keep your hands free. They're a must if you like reading in your downtime after dark too.
Not sure what gear your friend or loved one needs? You can't go wrong with a gift card! They're convenient for the giver since you can choose whatever amount you like. And the recipient can get whatever they need. It's a win-win!
A tarp can come in handy for any backpacking scenario. You can use it as extra protection over your tent during rain or snow. They can also be rigged up to provide a windbreak around your cooking area. Or, you can even use them as an emergency shelter if you get caught in bad weather and don't have time to set up your tent.
Having a cushy seat handy is a trail luxury. Sit pads are great because they take up nearly no room in packs and are quick and easy to blow up.
Cups are another must-have on the trail. Titanium mugs are wonderful. Perfect for a hot cup of tea or coffee on a cool morning! They take up little space in packs and are very durable and rust-resistant.
You can never have too many tent stakes. Between getting lost, stuck, or broken, it's good to have extras. And, if you camp in sandy or snowy areas regularly, you know that snow and sand stakes are essential.
Even if you're camping in warmer months, it's a good idea to keep a beanie or other warm hat in your pack. It can get chilly in the mornings and evenings. Plus, hats take up hardly any room in packs.
Sleep can be difficult while backpacking. Between strange noises, a strange bed, and a strange place, creature comforts, even small ones, can make a big difference in getting a good night's sleep. That's why we love comfy, compact down camping pillows.
Most sleeping pads are easy enough to air up. It can be taxing blowing one up after hiking all day, though. Save your lungs (and keep mold from growing inside your pad!) by using a pump bag.
A quality sleeping pad can make all the difference in your sleep system. Plus, a sleek ultralight one can save you space and weight in your pack.
If you enjoy tarp camping, consider using some tarp poles if your hiking sticks aren't working for you. They're adjustable so your backpacker friend can get just the right configuration.
Without stuff sacs, things can get chaotic inside a backpack. They're great for separating items, like eating utensils and tools. They also add protection from any moisture that might seep into your bag from rain, water containers, etc.
The socks you wear hiking can make a huge difference in your comfort level. Many excellent brands sell quality hiking socks. We highly recommend merino wool ones no matter what the season. They're not itchy like traditional wool and help wick moisture away from your feet, preventing rubbing and blisters.
Like hats, it's wise to keep a pair of gloves in your pack. A knit pair is fine for wearing around camp. For trekking, consider getting a pair with pads that allow you to grip better and use electronics if needed.
It's imperative to have a water filter in good working condition. (It's smart to have a backup too, like water purification tablets. There's something else you could include as a stocking stuffer!) Many hikers are fans of the Sawyer brand filters, but there are many quality ones on the market.
Some people just like taking water bottles on the trail. Water bladders can be convenient too if you have room for one. They're especially handy if you need to carry in extra water.
It's fun to cook over an open fire. But sometimes that's not a possibility. (Lots of places, especially in the western states, don't allow fires.) Backpacking stoves are small, but convenient, for cooking your backcountry food quickly and safely.
Bear bags (or canisters, which are required in some places) are essential in bear country. Even if bears aren't much of an issue, they can help keep other hungry critters out of your food, like raccoons and marmots. Even if you don't need to worry about critters, bear bags make good places to store clothes or food inside your pack too.
Even if you mostly eat packaged trail meals, you might still want to keep a bowl in your pack. We recommend collapsible or stackable ones so they take up less room when you're not using them.
There are tons of backpacking items that make great stocking stuffers. Do a little research to see what your backpacker friend needs. Or, go the easy route and send them a gift card.
Do you stock up on backpacking gear during the holiday season? What are your favorite items to get?
If you're looking for more backpacking inspiration, check out some of our informative articles below.
For some amazing backpacking trips, visit The Trailhead, our interactive hike map. It contains a curated list of dozens of hikes, each with a detailed write-up.
Finally, check out our comprehensive list of backpacking articles that cover just about everything there is to know about backpacking. If you're just starting out, our Backpacking 101 section covers all the basics. If you already have a few trips under your belt, you can find more advanced topics covered in our Expert Articles.