Top 25 Gifts for Backpackers

We put a list together of our favorite clothing, gear, electronics and food to buy for the backpacker in your family.

GEAR

Biolite headlamp 330 on rock black

BioLite – HeadLamp 330

Photo: Dirt & Sol

When it comes to headlamps, we have our favorites over here at Dirt & Sol. BioLite’s HeadLamp 330 is an ultralight headlamp that is worthy of any trip. The best feature of the headlamp is the separation between the light and the battery. The rechargable battery is fastened to the back of the strap leaving just the light up front for a system that is virtually bounce free. Check out our review on the headlamp in a past article on National Preparedness Month.

CRKT Knife in wood

CRKT – Pilar Knife

Photo: Dirt & Sol

The CRKT Pilar has a 2.4″ flat grind blade which makes it compact enough to stash just about anywhere. The knife is opened by a thumb flip and secured open with a frame lock design. This knife comes really sharp out of the box, no need to put it to stone before you use it.

MSR Whisperlite Universal on rock

MSR – WhisperLite Universal Stove

Photo: Dirt & Sol

The MSR WhisperLite Universal is a backpacker’s dream stove. It is the lightest stove in its class and also the most versatile. This fancy little stove can use liquid fuel or canister fuel depending on when and where your next fuel source will be available. With the ability to use liquid fuel, this stove really shines in cold weather environments. Never used a liquid fuel stove? Check out the how-to guide here.

Woman blowing up thermarest sleeping pad

Therm-a-Rest – NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad

Photo: Therm-a-Rest

Do you want ultra lightweight sleeping pad performance from a brand that has been doing it since the 70s? The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad is just over a half pound in weight and boasts 2.5″ of squish. If you are looking for a way to save some weight before heading into the backcountry, this is it.

MSR Trail Base Water Filter near river

MSR – Trail Base Water Filter Kit

Photo: Dirt & Sol

We’ve never used a water filtration system with such free flow and speed. When very tired and parched, filtering water can be one of the worst options to rehydrate. Enter the fastest and most versatile water filtration system by MSR. Over the summer a Dirt & Sol crew member was on a mountain bike ride far into the backcountry and ran out of water. He took the TrailShot water filter from the kit, stuck it in a creek and filled both of his bottles numerous times with the simple squeeze of the bladder.

REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus Tent on white background

REI Co-Op – Half Dome 2 Plus Tent

Photo: REI Co-Op

When it comes to backpacking tents, there is a big brother to all others, the REI Half Dome 2 Tent. To call this tent tried and true is a joke, this tent basically defined a category and continues to do so year after year. Maybe you need a little extra leg room or space to throw your bag in if it rains? The REI Half Dome 2 Plus Tent offers 4 more square feet of floor space and breathing room. An absolute go-to at 5.5lbs packed weight.

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight on white background

Adventure Medical Kits – Ultralight/Watertight .7 Medical Kit

Photo: Adventure Medical Kits

Weighing in at just 8oz, this basic first aid kit is perfect for any backpacking trip. With a watertight design, you can throw it in the bottom of your pack and not worry about it until things get hairy.

Blue nalgene on rock

Nalgene – 32oz Wide Mouth

Photo: Dirt & Sol

The Nalgene bottle is an institution.

FEATHERED FRIENDS Hummingbird UL 20/30 Sleeping Bag

Feathered Friends – Hummingbird UL 20/30 Sleeping Bag

Photo: Feathered Friends

Handmade in Seattle since 1972. Doesn’t that say enough about the quality of Feathered Friends products? The Hummingbird UL 20/30 is the slimmest cut of all 3 season bags from Feathered Friends, which makes it a great lightweight option for getting into the backcountry. FF used the Pertex Endurance with 950+ fill power down making it the lightest of their mummy bags ever. 720oz – 606oz depending on temperature and length.

G3 Tension Strap on ski poles

G3 – Tension Strap

Photo: Dirt & Sol

Versatility. When in the backcountry you need tools and gear that can do more than one thing. In the end, it saves you weight and allows you to be more versatile as an outdoors person. The G3 Tension Strap is traditionally used to fasten skis together but you can really use it for anything. This is truly one of our favorites on the list!

South Col™ 70 OutDry Backpack

Mountain Hardwear – South Col 70 OutDry

Photo: Mountain Hardwear

This is one of those packs that does everything. The South Col 70 OutDry was placed in a rain room for 24hrs and the contents still proved dry. This great looking pack has ample lash points and load adjustability for any rowdy adventure.

Black Diamond Equipment Distance Carbon AR Trekking Poles

Black Diamond Equipment – Distance Carbon AR Trekking Poles

Photo: Black Diamond Equipment

Designed for the lightweight lovers, the Carbon AR Trekking Poles weigh in at 13.69oz for the pair. They are equipped with the reliable FlickLock system for easy use with gloves or in a situation where your poles need to be deployed quickly. Want to get ultra-ultra lightweight? These poles can be used as the structure poles for the Distance Tent with Z Poles. Mind, blown.

FOOD

MTN OPS BCAA TRAIL PACKS

MTN OPS – BCAA Trail Packs

Photo: MTN OPS

It’s time to start taking care of yourself on your multi night backpacking trips. It isn’t enough just to get in camp, eat some salty food and drink some water. MTN OPS has a great portable branch chain amino acid formula to take with you in the pack. Use them before, during or after a hike for lean muscle growth and recovery.

MountainHouse Biscuits and Gravy on white background

Mountain House – Biscuits and Gravy

Photo: Mountain House

Just the name “Mountain House” is synonymous with backcountry eating. Due to their light weight and balance of nutrition and taste, they are a must on any trip. Our favorite is waking up after a long day, adding some hot water and eating a full serving of the best biscuits and gravy you will get out of a bag. Mountain House’s magic keeps the biscuits tasting and feeling like real biscuits through every bite.

ELECTRONICS

Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator

Garmin – GPSMAP 66i GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator

Photo: Garmin

With too many functions to list, this GPS and satellite communicator is the cream of the crop for any backcountry pursuit. In addition to their already outstanding GPS interface, this unit can trigger an interactive SOS to the GEOS 24/7 search and rescue center and exchange 2-way messages via the 100% global Iridium satellite network.

Suunto 9 GPS Watch White background

Suunto – 9 Baro

Photo: Suunto

Intelligent battery modes, GPS navigation, barometer, 100m water resistant, estimated wrist HR, FusedTrack, weather functions… need we say more? Yes, yes we should. This watch looks just as good in the field as it does in the office!

CLOTHING

Bight Gear Bight Gear Men's Neoshell Nuker Jacket on white background

Bight Gear – Neoshell Nuker Softshell Jacket

Photo: Bight Gear

Bight Gear is operated by Peter Whittaker of the famous mountaineering family. This gear has been rigorously tested by RMI Guides on mountains all over the world. At Dirt & Sol we are a huge proponent of wearing a softshell jacket in nearly any situation. The Bight Gear NeoShell Nuker Jacket uses Polartec’s NeoShell fabric that provides great abrasion resistance and fantastic waterproof breathable comfort.

Patagonia Men's Cloud Ridge Jacket on white background

Patagonia – Cloud Ridge Rain Jacket

Photo: Patagonia

You have worn Patagonia, you love Patagonia, now try this Patagonia. The Cloud Ridge Rain Jacket is a 3 layer, helmet compatible, DWR coated rain jacket worthy of all adventures. Patagonia is synonymous with quality and this jacket is no exception.

La Sportiva Men's Eclipse GTX Hiking Boot bottom

La Sportiva – Eclipse GTX Hiking Boot

Photo: La Sportiva

The Eclipse GTX Hiking Boot has the tango family protective cuff, Gore-Tex Extended Comfort lining, 3D flex system and unparalleled traction from a boot in this class. Truly a bombproof hiking and backpacking boot.

original national geographic buff

Buff Original Headwear – Multifunctional Headwear

Photo: Buff Original Headwear

If you are like us, we have upwards of 20 Buffs in our arsenal. They are the do all clothing accessory for the outdoor adventurer. Wear the loop on your head, keep your neck warm or try our favorite move; wrap it around your water bottle and hand during a trail run.

Black diamond arc gloves

Black Diamond Equipment – Arc Gloves

Photo: Black Diamond Equipment

This motocross inspired glove is perfect for backpacking in colder weather. The 100% BD.dry waterproof breathable design is fully seam taped and light enough to stash in the pack when the weather gets warmer.

darn tough Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion on white background

Darn Tough – Hiker Boot Sock Full Cushion

Photo: Darn Tough

The name says it all. These sock are performance cut, meaning no slipping, bunching or blisters. The merino wool keeps your feet warm in the winter and cold in the summer. These aren’t your grandpa’s old wool socks, these are engineered for comfort.

arcteryx CERIUM SL HOODY on white background

Arc’teryx – Cerium SL Hoody

Photo: Arc’ teryx

The SL stands for superlight. The 850 fill down and the wind resistant Arato™ 7 nylon shell make this a go-to piece when the weather gets bad or the beers start to flow around the campfire. At just 215g, the Cerium SL is extremely light and packable.

arcteryx Creston AR Pant Carbon color

Arc’teryx – Creston AR Pants

Photo: Arc’ teryx

Arc’teryx making the list again! If you know their products you know we could fill a whole holiday wish list with their goodies. The new Creston AR pants are an all-around, brushed lining hiking pant that performs in any situation. The material, cut, gussets and profile provide the best freedom of movement in the backcountry.

BONUS +

Patagonia Men's Capilene® Midweight Bottoms and tops on man

Patagonia – Capilene Midweight Baselayer

Photo: Patagonia

This 100% recycled polyester has seen the summits of nearly every notable mountain on earth. Is that not deserving enough to be worn on a multi-day backpacking trip? The smooth texture and the HeiQ® Fresh odor control fabric make wearing these baselayers easy and comfortable.

SAXX – Kinetic Long

Photo: SAXX

We have sung their praises in the past, we will do it again. SAXX provides the best comfort and stability in any undergarment we have ever worn. The Ball Park Pouch keeps everything sorted and allows for bigger days at higher output in the backcountry.

Comments or questions about the Top 25 Gifts for Backpackers? Please drop us a line below, we would love to hear from you.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply