For outdoor lovers, no gift is better than the opportunity to get outside. However, when it comes time to choose a present for your outdoorsy friends and family, the best gifts are those that make being outside for long stretches of time easier and more comfortable. To help you choose the absolutely perfect present for your adventurous loved one, we’ve created this complete guide to the 50+ best, most practical gifts for outdoor lovers that they’ll be sure to love and use for years to come.
Overall Best Gifts for Outdoor Lovers
Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while outdoors, as hours in the sun can really dehydrate you. To keep water ice cold, a Hydro Flask water bottle is the perfect adventure companion. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough for a cold morning or a full day out on the trails.
Having access to clean water while outside is a must, so a water purification system is one of the most helpful gifts for outdoor lovers that you can give. We recommend the USB-rechargeable SteriPen Ultra, which is must lighter than the other products in the SteriPen line, and purifies water using UV light.
Many people who go outside often, especially at higher altitudes, need warm baselayers, and they make for some of the most practical outdoor gifts out there. Smartwool’s Merino 250 baselayer line offers extra-warm, cozy layers that wick sweat and moisture seamlessly on the trails and slopes.
Sometimes, the best times to be outdoors are in the early morning and late in the afternoon. However, if your loved one plans adventures in non-optimal daylight, it’s critical to bring a lighting source. Needless to say, a head lamp is one of the best gifts for hikers because it’s truly an essential item. Our favorite head lamp is the Black Diamond Spot – it’s lightweight, durable, and isn’t too expensive.
Truly the only item that someone needs to get out on the trails is a good set of shoes, and a waterproof set of hiking boots is the perfect companion for an intrepid hiker that loves to be outdoors, rain or shine. Keen waterproof hiking boots are durable and waterproof, with thick treads and fabrics that will keep your feet safe and dry, no matter the conditions. They also come in styles for both men and women.
Don’t underestimate how powerful sun exposure can be on a long day outdoors. One of the most useful gifts for hikers is a pair of high-quality, polarized sunglasses to keep their eyes safe and protected while exposed to the sun. There are tons of polarized sunglasses ranging in style and price available, so you’ll have to choose based on your favorite hiker’s preferences.
While outdoors in colder temperatures, it can be important to bring some extra layers, especially if you’re going to be at altitude. The Patagonia Down Sweater is our favorite compressible puffer because it’s a sustainably-made, warm, and cozy thermal layer for cold conditions. When paired with a rain jacket, it can keep your adventurer warm even in light snow!
Often for outdoor adventures, people need to carry gear, water, snacks, and extra clothing. Having a day pack that feels comfortable and distributes weight evenly is absolutely critical. Osprey day packs are hands down the best and more durable option for day packs – we recommend a size between 18 and 30 liters for daytime adventures.
In addition to a day pack, another great outdoor gift is a weatherproof, waterproof day pack cover. This will not only keep your loved one’s backpack dry, but will protect all of the contents inside in case of bad weather out in the trails or on the mountain.
A towel can come in handy on any hiking trip. From humid, sweaty trails to impromptu swimming sessions, outdoorsy people can always use a towel that’s small and thin enough to carry around in a day pack. Youphoria Outdoors makes an affordable quick-dry microfiber towel that comes in a lot of fun colors and is perfect for shoving in your bag on the way out to the trails.
Cheap Gifts for Outdoor Lovers on a Budget (Under $25)
It might seem obvious, but think, durable socks are a must-have item in any intrepid person’s wardrobe. Smartwool’s hiking socks are great companions out on the trails! They’re warm, quick drying, and are super cushioned and comfortable. Give one pair or a few for an extra special outdoor gift!
What’s better than regular wool socks? Wool socks with mountains on them, duh. Outdoorsy people love to show off their love for the mountains, and these Darn Tough Yeti wool socks will surely come in handy on the slopes and trails, and is one of the most relevant gifts for outdoor lovers.
Snacks are a gift that keeps on giving, especially out on the trails where you’re expending energy and burning calories left and right.
From our own experience, some snacks that hikers like include:
- Clif bars
- Kind bars
- Gu gels (caffeinated and uncaffeinated)
- Trail mix
- Jerky (vegan and meat varieties)
Often, regular bug spray can be oily, greasy, or uncomfortable. That’s why we’d recommend Sawyer Products Permethrin Spray to bug-proof your clothing and bags, instead! This spray is light and fabric-friendly, meaning you can spray it on any clothing to make it bus-resistant.
Sunscreen is another must-have for any outdoor lover to protect your skin from the harsh UV rays of the sun. We use and recommend Sun Bum sunscreen because it’s a) PABA-free and b) reef safe. Generally, this means that it’s free of harsh chemicals and is safe for marine life, including coral reefs.
Carabiners are literally the most useful and versatile item for hikers. Use them to strap things on your bags, to your pants, or onto trees. Hook your bags to your tent while you’re sleeping, or hang dry wet clothes. You can buy a set of 10 colorful carabiners for cheap, and they’ll last your loved ones for a long time.
When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go…and a trowel can help you cover up when you’re doing your business in the woods. The best, most useful trowels are lightweight and have a small loop to hook to the outside of your backpack (with a carabiner!). This hiking trowel is a great, inexpensive gift option for the serious hiker.
In colder or windy conditions, a beanie is one of the most practical gifts for outdoor lovers because it can help keep them safe and warm. For outdoor adventures, you don’t need anything fancy, so something like this affordable beanie from Neff is a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite hiker, biker, or runner.
While only really relevant for colder climates, a good pair of gloves can help hikers stay outdoors later in the season, and in higher altitudes where the air tends to be chillier and windier. The North Face e-Tip Gloves are a great hiking companion because they work with touch screens like phones and tablets…meaning you don’t have to take them off for anything, really.
Nothing says “I love you” more than giving someone a gift to freshen their stinky shoes, right? Well, for people who spend a lot of time outside, a gift like this is totally welcome, because those shoes get muddy, damp, sweaty and downright disgusting somethings. Scented Sneaker Balls are an inexpensive, kind of hilarious option for a stocking stuffer or gift for your favorite outdoor lover.
For people who spend lots of time in the water, a waterproof phone case is an easy and affordable gift that will go a long way. This case can protect a phone in the event of immersion in the water, and has a strap that users can clip onto a life jacket or a kayak for easy access.
Many people don’t think of night-time as the best time to be outdoors, but Dark Skies by Valerie Stimac will show you otherwise. This vibrant book of beautiful spots for stargazing will definitely pique your interest about the night sky, and inspire you to get out more when it’s dark and clear out. (Plus, Valerie is a friend of ours and is an expert on the space tourism world over on her blog, Space Tourism Guide!)
There’s no story more famous (or infamous) than that of Christopher (Alexander “Supertramp”) McCandless. Jon Krakauer documents this bittersweet tale about a suburban young man who hitchhikes across country and travels to Alaska to embark into the wilderness alone. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is one of the most famous outdoor books out there, and is a stark reminder of the sheer force and power of nature vs. humanity.
For a great fireside book or a read for the hammock after a long day on the trails, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is a quintessential read. As an intimate, detailed, entertaining journey into the backwoods of the Appalachian Trail, it’s a fantastic and memorable read for anyone who is passionate about exploration, hiking, or seeing the world and nature from a different lens.
There are few novels in the hiking genre than Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This popular hiking novel is a classic, especially for adventurous female hikers who are looking for an emotional and physical journey through the Pacific Crest Trail with renowned author Cheryl Strayed.
Practical Gifts for Outdoor Lovers
A swimsuit is a must for anyone who loves the water and especially the outdoors, and is one of the best gifts for outdoor lovers. Here are our recommendations for swimsuits:
- Women’s Swimwear: While there are tons of women’s swimsuit companies out there, our favorite for kayaking (and other water sports) is Summersalt. They’ve got tons of cute, colorful styles that stay put if you’re fighting rapids or taking a dip in the water. Click here to browse Summersalt swimsuits.
- Men’s Swimwear: Original Penguin has some fantastic options for men’s swimwear – our readers love them because they’re comfortable and durable, and they have tons of different styles to choose from. Click here to browse Original Penguin swim styles.
Water sports lovers will need a bag to put them in. Instead of a traditional canvas backpack, we recommend packing stuff into a dry bag, which will keep valuables dry and safe in the water. Dry bags come in lots of shapes and sizes, but the best ones have a top that rolls up and buckles to keep water out. We strongly recommend a waterproof dry bag as a gift for kayakers, canoers, paddle boarders, and swimmers!
A helmet can come in handy for a lot of outdoor activities, from rock climbing to biking to skiing and snowboarding. While the helmets for each of these activities are slightly different, you may want to consider doing some research into sport helmets for your loved ones’ favorite outdoor activities.
Hikers often face trails and conditions where extra support is extremely helpful. That’s why one of the most useful gifts for hikers is a set of durable, portable trekking poles. Leki Foldable Trekking Poles are perfect for traveling hikers, as they’ll fit into a standard suitcase and are extremely light weight.
For wildlife watching just about anywhere in the world, a good pair of binoculars is essential, and makes a great gift for outdoor lovers. These affordable, lightweight binoculars are a great starting point for hikers or bird watchers who enjoy getting a closer look at wildlife, but there are several types of binoculars that come in a variety of zoom lengths and quality.
When you’re outside for hours in the hot, direct sun, it’s really easy to get a sunburn, and a hat can help prevent that. Any hat will make a great gift, but this one by TrailHeads comes in a bunch of colors and is super lightweight and breathable.
When you’ve been outside for hours and are ready for a rest, there’s no better feeling than setting up your hammock between two tall trees and relaxing with someone you love. An ENO DoubleNest Hammock is one of coolest gifts for outdoor lovers that you can give to a person or couple…especially hikers and campers. It’s super portable, lightweight, and easy to set up basically anywhere with trees.
Most outdoorsy people find pleasure in simply hanging out in the woods, and one great way to do that in comfort is with a Helinox Ultralight Chair. This foldable chair is super light and easy to carry, making it a perfect hiking or camping companion so you can sit and savor the best views along the way.
Before you freak out about the price of a YETI cooler, we’ll say one thing: these things last FOREVER. They’re heavy-duty and durable, made to be your cooler companion for life. If your loved one enjoys toting food and drinks to their favorite trails and parks, the YETI Hopper Backflip Cooler is a backpack-style cooler that’s perfect for adventures.
This is obvious, but outdoor lovers will need something to protect them from the elements while camping. The Big Agnes Tiger Wall tent is lightweight and easy to set up, perfect for backpacking trips or walk-up campsites. While they’re not cheap, think of this as a big splurge that will (hopefully) enable you and your loved ones to make great outdoor memories for years.
Even in hotter climates, campers will usually want something to cover their body while sleeping. A good, versatile sleeping bag and inflatable mat will come in handy for any outdoor lover. For use in different climates, you’ll want to give your loved ones a thermal, zippered sleeping bag like the Kelty Cosmic Down.
While hiking or camping, it is a LOT easier to cook things on a stove than on an open fire. The Jetboil Sumo camping stove system is small, lightweight, and compressible, perfect for backpacking or road trips for your favorite outdoor lover.
Not going to lie, we think this is one of the coolest gadgets on our list: a camping mess kit that folds out into a 10-piece dining set! Your loved one can use it to cook and clean while hiking or camping, and it all collapses into one easy-to-carry piece they can use again and again.
Leave No Trace is a big movement in the outdoor industry right now, and that includes trash from snacks and drinks. One of the best ways to support this great movement and the people who believe in it is by enabling good behaviors, and reusable silicone snack bags are a super simple and impactful gift that does so.
If your adventurous loved one has a dog (or IS a dog…), a hiking harness is a perfect gift for adventurous pups. This hiking dog harness has two small pouches for things like treats and toys, and is a comfortable alternative to a collar for long hours on the trails.
Outdoor sports and activities can cause all kinds of muscle aches and pains. A foam roller is often a runner’s favorite tool for post-run stretching, massage, and relieving tension after hours of racing through the streets and trails. If you’re looking for something that will get used by your favorite runner all the time, a good, solid foam roller like this one is one of the best gifts for runners.
Outside Magazine is the go-to magazine for outdoor sports and adventures, and it’s an industry favorite for inspiring and moving stories about nature and outdoor feats. An Outside Magazine annual subscription is a fantastic gift for anyone who loves the outdoors and spends a lot of time outside on adventures.
National Geographic is THE magazine for adventure lovers, with a history of exploration that dates back to the 1880s. Your loved ones can find some of the best, most inspiring landscape photography and adventure stories in every issue of National Geographic, making an annual subscription a fantastic gift that keeps on giving.
REI is any outdoor lover’s paradise, with awesome, durable gear and clothing for any adventure outside. They’re a co-op, meaning that you can pay to be a member and get discounts and dividends based on the purchases you make in-store. You can buy your loved one a lifetime co-op membership or a gift card to let them choose their own adventures.
Technology Outdoor Gifts
Garmin watches are basically the smartphones for outdoor people. Garmin’s GPS capabilities are some of the best out there, and their Forerunner watches help thousands of runners, hikers, and skiers track mileage around the world. Their newest version, the Garmin Forerunner 245, comes in a music and non-music version, and has a screen that shows you your stats for each run or hike.
For those wanting a more integrated running watch that syncs with an iPhone, an Apple Watch can definitely do the trick. It can track your distance and speed through apps like Runkeeper, and can also sync with the music, messaging, and calls on your phone. It’s definitely a more expensive option, but it’s a great all-in-one splurge for your favorite runner that they’ll definitely wear all the time.
A GoPro Hero Black is an excellent gift for the avid adventure lover who wants to document their time on the trails and in the water. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite outdoor lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the trails again and again.
If your loved one is into photography or video and wants something that takes higher-quality images than a phone, a Sony a6400 mirrorless camera is a perfect companion for outdoor lovers. It’s light, compact, and durable, making it great for windy or dusty conditions. The Sony mirrorless line is the best in class for compact, professional-grade cameras, and the a6400 is the newest, most robust iteration of their a6000 line.
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