Best Gift Ideas of 2020 for Hikers, Backpackers, and Backcountry Hunters

Alpen Fuel 2020 Gift Guide

Just in time for the holidays, we are launching our 2nd Annual Gift Guide!  We are excited to bring you some new and exciting gear, as well as some tried and true items.  From stocking stuffers to more expensive products, you are sure to find something for the outdoor junkie in your life!

Don't forget to shop REI's Peak Deals for sale items up to 50% off!

Gifts Under $25

Inexpensive doesn't have to mean cheap.  Keep it simple, isn't that what backpacking is all about?


Gerber LST Knife

Gerber LST Ultralight Knife - Check price on Amazon

We carry the Gerber LST knife on every trip we go on.  It's a classic, designed by Pete Gerber himself back in 1980.  With a 420HC steel drop point blade and textured synthetic handle, the LST is perfect for the trail.  It's so small and light (1.2oz), you may find yourself using it as a daily pocketknife.


Meateater Cookbook

The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook - Check Price on Amazon

With over 4,000 five star ratings, the MeatEater Cookbook is already a classic.  As mentioned in the reviews, "this book is a must-have for anyone who ever spends any time harvesting food in the outdoors. The recipes are superb and simple, and the learning here is immense."


 Adventure Medical Kits

Adventure Medical Kits - Check Price on Amazon

Adventure Medical Kits make some of the best ultralight medical kits on the market.  We take one on every single backpacking trip and day hike we take.  If you really want to be prepared in the backcountry, check out our article on paramedic approved DIY kit additions.


Alpen Fuel Black Friday

Alpen Fuel Black Friday Deals - Shop Now

Support small business and give the gift of delicious trail food!  We stock products from over 20+ small brands.  Take 15% off of premier brands like Peak Refuel, Greenbelly meals, and ProBar!  Use code BLACKFRIDAY when checking out.

Trekology Ultralight Pillow

Trekology Ultralight Inflatable Pillow - Check current price on Amazon

When you are sleeping on the ground you need every advantage possible to get a good night's rest.  The Trekology Pillow folds down to 5x2 inches, inflates with 3-5 breaths, and has a strap to keep it oriented correctly on your sleeping pad.  We received one of these a few years back for Christmas and it earned a permanent spot on our gear list on the very first trip.


100 Parks 5000 Ideas

100 Parks 5000 Ideas - Check current price on Amazon

National Geographic turns to the United States' and Canada's most pristine and adventure-filled national, state, and city parks with 5,000 ideas for the ultimate vacation.  Filled with stunning photography, you will quickly fill up your adventure bucket list!

Anker PowerCore Battery

Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Power Bank - Check current price on Amazon

In the age of electronics, you need a reliable power bank along to make sure your phone/camera, GPS, watch, and other accessories are properly juiced up.  Anker PowerCore will charge your devices quickly, and only weights 6.35oz.


Monopoly Deal

Monopoly Deal Card Game - Check current price on Amazon

Whether you are car camping, backcountry hunting, or backpacking, you should have some games on hand for downtime or bad weather days.  Monopoly Deal is a fast paced card game that can be played with 2-5 people.  Games take 15-45 minutes to play depending upon how many people are playing.

Sea to Summit Alpha Spoon

Sea to Summit Alpha Light Cutlery - Check current price on Amazon

Not all backpacking utensils are created equal.  Utensils made from plastic break quickly, while short handled utensils leave you with freeze dried meal shmutz all over your fingers as you dig into your packet of stroganoff.  Level up with the Sea to Summit Long Handled Spoon, made from super-strong aircraft aluminum alloy - this may be the last spoon you will ever buy!


Tenacious Tape

GEAR AID Tenacious Tape Mini Patches - Check current price on Amazon

Keep your gear repaired and ready for action with Tenacious Tape.  Repair holes and tears to tents, tarps and more with this peel and stick repair tape; no sewing required.  Ultra-strong Tenacious Tape adhesive permanently bonds to outdoor fabrics and materials including nylon, rubber and plastic and is sealed with a waterproof coating and won’t peel off during a wash or a storm.

BRS Stove

BRS-3000T Ultra-Light Stove - Check current price on Amazon

The BRS-3000T is an inexpensive (only $16!) and ultralight stove that works well as a backup or primary cooking option.  Weighing only 25g, you won't even notice it is there.  Depending upon elevation, you can boil two cups of water with the BRS in under three minutes!


Darn Tough Socks

Darn Tough Hiking Socks - Check current price on Amazon

If you are like us, you always could use more hiking socks.  Darn Tough socks are durable and have a performance fit to stay in place all day.  If that isn't enough, Darn Tough socks have an unconditional lifetime warranty.  If you wear them out you get a free pair!


Sawyer Products Permethrin Spray

Sawyer Products Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing - Check current price on Amazon

After two years of treating our clothing with Sawyer Products spray, we can confidently say that it makes a huge difference!  In fact, while on our annual backpacking trip (through the Beartooths this year), we ended up using almost no inspect spray during the trip because we were using Sawyer Permethrin!  Just spray this stuff on to your clothes before a trip and you are good to go.  It not only repels insects, but it kills them if they contact your clothing.

Thermarest Z sitting pad

Therm-a-Rest Z Insulated Sitting Pad - Check current price on Amazon

More often than not in the backcountry there is never a good place to sit!  Change that with this light and compact sitting pad.  Whether you are glassing for high country mule deer or just eating breakfast before breaking camp - keep your backside warm, dry, and comfortable with a Z insulated sitting pad.

Gifts $25-$75

When you need something more than a stocking stuffer...



Platypus Water Bladder

Platypus Big Zip Water Reservoir - Check current price on Amazon

This isn't your normal hydration bladder.  With a taste free bladder, fast flow valve, and high 3L capacity, the Big Zip will keep you hydrated for miles of backcountry hiking, mountain biking, or hunting!


REI Co-op Minimalist GTX Mittens

REI Co-op Minimalist GTX Mittens - Check current price on REI

 Backcountry skiing and ultralight backpackers find lots to love with the REI Minimalist GTX Mitten shells.  Gore-Tex lined, they fit nicely over lightweight gloves and give you confidence to stay dry no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.



Trekking The National Parks

Trekking the National Parks Board Game - Check current price on Amazon

This award winning family board game can help you dream and scheme about your next family adventure!  It's easy to learn and is well reviewed for gamers of all ages. 


Leatherman Micra

Leatherman Micra Multitool Check price on Amazon

If you have no idea what to get the sportsman in your life, get them a Micra Multitool.  Even if they already have one, we are betting they can use another one!  The Micra is made from stainless steel and contains 11 tools - a knife blade, scissors, flat and phillips screwdriver, ruler, nail cleaner, tweezers, bottle opener, nail file, medium screwdriver, extra-small screwdriver, and key ring.  Like all Leatherman tools, the Micra has a 25 year warranty.



Black Diamond Spot 325 - Check current price on Amazon

If you need a super bright, durable headlamp (325 lumens!), check out the Spot 325 from Black Diamond.  It is waterproof and ideal for outdoor activities like mountaineering, running, hiking and backpacking. Burn times range from 65 hour on high to an astounding 600 hours on low!


Sleepingo sleeping pad

Sleepingo Ultralight Sleeping Pad - Check current price on Amazon

Lightweight sleeping pads can be very expensive.  If you want to cut weight but not fork over $100+ to do so, check out the Sleepingo pad.  It's 2 inches thick, weighs only 14.5oz, and has over 4k five-star ratings.  The best part is you get all of that for under $40!

Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen Classic Stainless Steel Water Bottle - Check current price on Amazon

Everyone can always use another durable and rugged water bottle!  Klean Kanteen Classic water bottles have been around for 18 years and are designed to last a lifetime.  Stay hydrated in style while minimizing the waste that comes with cheap, plastic water bottles.


REI Flash 22 Daypack

REI Flash 22 Daypack- Check current price on REI

The REI Flash 22 is small on size but delivers big on features.  The Flash is perfect for gym trips, day hikes, and summits.  With features like padded shoulder straps with a sternum strap, hydration sleeves and large side pockets - it's everything you need and nothing you don't.  Best of all, it only weighs 13oz!


Gifts $75-$150

With some products, you get what you pay for.  Each of the trail tested items in this category will be around for the long haul.


Vuori Halo Performance Hoodie

Vuori Halo Performance Women's Hoodie - Check current price on REI

Perfect for sliding into before a workout or after a cold day on the ski hill, the women's Vuori Halo Performance hoodie delivers wicking performance in the form of a soft and functional hoodie.

Steripen Ultra

SteriPEN Ultra UV Water Purifier - Check current price on Amazon

The SteriPEN Ultra features an internal battery that’s recharged from any USB power source and can treat up to 50L  of water when fully charged.  It uses Ultraviolet (UV-C) light rays to safely destroy 99.99% of protozoa (including Giardia and Cryptosporidia), bacteria and even viruses.  Purify 16oz of water in less than a minute! 


Vargo Titanium BOT

Vargo Titanium BOT Bottle Pot - Check current price on Amazon

Stop carrying (and paying for) a water bottle AND cooking pot - the Titanium BOT is made to replace both. Half water bottle, half cooking pot, it performs both functions exceptionally well while weighing less than most standard water bottles. It converts easily from a water bottle to a cooking pot with a simple flip of the lid yet its watertight, temperature resistant O-ring won’t melt when exposed to heat.

Kestrel Knives

Kestrel Mountain Scalpel Cerakote - $90

Weighing only 26g with one blade and a sheath, the Mountain Scalpel is the lightest replaceable blade knife on the market. It is made from aerospace grade Titanium and is precision machined to accept 60A, 70A and 60XT scalpel blades. It pairs perfectly with a fixed blade or can be used as a standalone knife when counting ounces.


Portable Jump Starter

DBPOWER Portable Car Jump Starter - Check current price on Amazon

Imagine you are alone late at night at a USFS trailhead after hiking out ten miles to your truck and find that the battery is dead and nobody is around to give you a jump. If you have one of these under the seat and you will be just fine!  Even if you are just in the parking lot at Costco, you can jump your own car instead of being rescued by a soccer mom!


Jetboil Flash

Jetboil Flash Cooking System - Check current price on Amazon

Boil water in a lightning quick 100 seconds with the Jetboil Flash!  By modeling the combustion and selecting materials to optimize efficiency, they were able to create the fastest Jetboil ever—cutting a full minute off their best boil time.  Not only is the Jetboil Flash fast, it's also compact and very fuel efficient. 



Marsupial Gear Binocular Harness - Check current price on Amazon

We bought this bino harness this spring and have used it extensively surveying mountain goats this summer, and on backcountry mule deer hunts.  We have loved it so far.  The design allows for one handed access to your optics.  Strong, quiet magnets hold the lid out of the way, and the rear pocket safely stores your cell phone.  It's built to last for years!  Make sure to also check out the Rangefinder Pouch that can attach to the side of the harness.


Prana Stretch Zion Pant

Prana Stretch Zion Pant - Check current price on Amazon

Are $80 hiking pants worth the money? The definitive answer is yes!  We bought a pair of these pants a while ago for hiking, and now wear them every. single. day.  They are exceptionally comfortable and durable.  Quick-dry woven fabric, a durable water repellent (DWR) finish and UPF 50+ protection keep you cool and dry on sunny days.  Seriously, if we could wear one pair of pants every day of the year, this would be the pair.  Read our full review here.


 OR Helium 2 Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket Men's - Check current price on Amazon

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket Women's - Check current price on Amazon

Outdoor Research makes serious gear for hardcore adventures.  The Outdoor Research Helium II jacket is so light, you'll forget it's clipped to your backpack until that sudden downpour hits.  Made from Pertex® Shield+™ 2.5-layer nylon, the Helium II is lightweight, waterproof, breathable and fully seam-taped.

YETI Camino Carryall 35

YETI Camino Carryall 35 - Check current price on Amazon

The Yeti Camino Carryall 35L Bag is designed to be an all-purpose bag, perfect for every adventure! Its waterproof, ultra-durable nylon fabric can withstand whatever you throw at it. Throw in your hiking boots boots, dirty camp dishes, or kids snacks and easily clean out the bag with a hose when your adventure is over.

Gifts Over $150

Take your gift giving to the next level with one of these premium products!  Or, just treat yourself.  You deserve it after all.


MSR Windburner Stove

MSR Windburner Stove - Check current price on Amazon

The MSR Windburner Stove uses radiant burner and a heat exchanger to deliver faster boil times and more fuel efficiency than conventional stoves that use convective heat only.  It can boil a full liter of water in 4 minutes 30 seconds!  The enclosed design makes it essentially impervious to the elements.


ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

ZOLEO Satellite Communicator - Check current price on Amazon

We have spent the last couple weeks testing this new device out, and wow are we impressed!  It's not quite as small as the Garmin InReach Mini, but it sells for $150 less!  The ZOLEO gives you two way global texting communication, SOS, check-in, and GPS location.  It interfaces quite well with smart phones and gives you a dedicated phone number that people can use to contact you when you are out of cell service.  Read our complete review here.  If you still decide to get a Garmin InReach Mini after reading our review, get one now - they are currently $100 off on Amazon and REI!


De Havilland Jacket

Stone Glacier De Havilland Jacket - $229

The De Havilland Jacket is a highly breathable softshell designed with the hunter in mind. With a tight weave DWR face and lightly brushed fleece backer, this jacket is perfect for high exertion situations.  Innovation and quality, just what you expect from Stone Glacier.

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt - $280

The Revelation down quilt is the gold standard for backpacking quilts.  Why quilts?  They are lighter and more versatile than mummy sleeping bags.  The standard Revelation weights in at only 19oz (30deg version)!  We used a 10 degree Revelation for one Fall trip and had to return it because it was too warm!  The build quality and customer service of EE is top notch.  Seriously, read the reviews on this quilt.  They are amazing!


Garmin Instict Solar

Garmin Instinct Solar Watch - Check current price on REI ($100 OFF!!!)

The Garmin Instinct has a built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter—plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) to help track in challenging environments.  The solar charging feature allows for 
up to 54 days of battery life!


Seek Outside LBO

Seek Outside Lil' Bug Out Shelter - $359

The Lil' Bug Out is a bomber lightweight shelter that covers everything from solo summer backpacking trips to deep snow late season hunts!  It can be used with an optional vestibule and ran as a hot tent when the mercury really takes a dive.

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50

Gossamer Gear Gorilla 50 Ultralight Backpack - $325

Gossamer Gear's Gorilla 50 is a versatile mid-size pack featuring a removable internal frame, external pockets (including a huge stretchy one on the back), quick-access fold over lid, and durable and superlight custom fabrics.  Gossamer Gear packs are time tested and are built to go the distance!

Big Agnes Tent

Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 - Check current price on Amazon

The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is an outstanding freestanding tent. It checks all of the boxes: it's comfortable, lightweight, and packs down small. It is holds up well in windy conditions and provides full protection when the clouds roll in.  At just over three pounds, it still has two side doors and roomy vestibules.


Backcountry Gear Guides

Make sure to check out our other Gear Guides!

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