With the holidays right around the corner there is bound to be a sense of panic setting in. It can be hard to find a useful gift for the backpacker in your life, especially if you don't know what they have. These are a few ideas that you can't go wrong with. Things we use all the time, things we always need, or things we wish we had but can't afford.
$15 Dollars and Below-
- GSI Wine Glasses- If your backpacker enjoys the finer things in life consider getting them a set of ultralight, collapsible wine glasses. GSI makes plastic glasses that nest to take up minimal space. If they prefer beer to wine, don't worry GSI makes pint glass also.
- Solar Powered Luci Lantern- The Mpowerd Luci light is a solar powered, waterproof, and inflatable lantern that is nearly weightless. Mpowerd makes multiple models for emergencies, mood lighting or a disco in your tent. The compact lantern does not require batteries and holds a charge for months.
- Platypus Softbottle- Forget the Nalgene bottles from the 90's, it is all about ultralight, collapsible soft side containers. Check out the Platypus Softbottle that houses 34oz of liquid while only weighing 1.2 ounces. For comparison that is less then half the weight of a hard shelled Nalgene bottle.
- Nite Ize S Biners- These ultralight and tiny S biners are strong enough to hold gear anywhere. They come in a bunch of sizes and colors and are all useful. Stick with the stainless steel ones as they tend to hold up the longest and be the most useful.
$30 Dollars and Below-
- Sawyer Mini Filter- Backcountry water can be filled with junk, but the Sawyer Mini Filter takes care of that easily. The filter removes 99.9% of bacteria, and Protozoa. The complete setup weighs 2ounces and can be easily carried in a pocket for short day hikes.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp- Coming in just under the market the Petzl Tikka pack 100 lumens of lightning into a small, affordable package. The Tikka will provide enough light for early morning starts on the trail, as well as providing the perfect amount of light around camp in the evenings. The Tikka has a reputation of lasting for years of service.
- Snow Peak Titanium Mug- The Snow Peak 450mL single walled mug is an ultralight option for the tea/coffee drinker. At 2.4 ounces the mug is nearly weightless and provides a durable mug that will last for years to come.
- Press Bot Coffee Press- For those who love their coffee the Press Bot from a small company out of Flagstaff maybe the perfect gift. The collapsible 2.4 ounce device fits inside a standard Nalgene bottle, thus turning it into the ultimate backcountry coffee press. The nifty design even doubles as point and shoot camera stand for smaller cameras, making backcountry selfies easier.
$50 Dollars and Below-
- Goal Zero Switch 10- With the increase of electronics in the backcountry companies are producing rugged power options. The Goal Zero Switch 10 is my choice for powering devices up to a cell phone. The battery holds enough juice to fully charge an iPhone 5 or provide multiple charges of a GPS watch. The battery weighs four ounces and can be charged using a USB or connecting to a backcountry solar panel.
- Nemo Fillow Pillow- Seen by a luxury to the ultralight crowd the pillow can be the difference between just sleeping and having a great nights sleep. Nemo makes one of the most comfortable pillows on the market called the Fillo. By mixing 3 in of inflatable comfort with a 1 inch foam toper Nemo found the perfect balance between comfort and packability. The pillow weighs 1.5 ounces and has a removable cover for easily cleaning.
- Sea to Summit eVent Compression Dry Sack- Sea to Summit has created some of the best compression sacks on the market. Using the eVent waterproof material and a compression strap system these sacks can compress your down sleeping bag into submission. The bags are durable, easy to use, and relatively light.
- MSR Dromedary/Dromlite Water Bags- If backpacking in expansive deserts there is no more reliable option then the MSR Dromedary/Dromlite Bags. These bags have been a favorite in the industry for decades and are very reliable. The bags come in a variety of sizes and have many options to convert them to a hydration reservoir or shower.
$50 Dollars and Above-
- National Parks Annual Pass- Give an annual pass to the National Parks across the country. Not only is this useful at the National Parks, but also at some of the other lands managed by federal government.
- Alite Monarch Butterfly Chair- Some folks are more interested in comfort then lowering their pack weight. The Alite Monarch chair provides the best of both works by providing a comfortable seat under 1.5 lbs. The chair takes some balancing skills, so if you bought the GSI wine glasses already you may pass on this.
- Eno Sub7 Hammock- Give your backpacker the comfort of sleeping in a hammock with the Eno Sub7 Hammock. Weighing in at just 6.5 ounces there is no excuse not to take it along. The hammock doubles as a camp chair when hung properly.
- Garmin Fenix 1,2, or 3- The Garmin Fenix is the ultimate outdoor watch. Garmin packed a solid amount of features into a tiny package that is moderately easy to use. GPS, fitness tracking, weather, elevation and mobile connect ability are just a few of selling points. The Fenix 1, 2, and 3 are similar in design with minor style and layout differences. All versions are a great introduction to the world of wearable GPS.
- Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags- The best sleeping bags on the market are made by an outfit called Western Mountaineering. High quality down, American craftsmanship, and high end materials combine to create the last sleeping bag you will need to buy. The price point is high, but if taken care of properly these bags will last a lifetime. Many options are available so find out what your backpacker is using to find a comparable model.