2019 HOLIDAY GEAR GUIDE
20 Great Gifts for PCT Hikers
It’s that time of year again. Time to get to work on your holiday gear wish list to prepare for next year’s trail adventures. Or maybe you’re shopping for the hiker on your holiday list. This year, we’ve got you covered with this list of great gear gifts for everyone from PCT hikers to weekend backpackers to casual dayhikers. Here’s 20 great gear gifts we’ve used on trail, or have recently discovered, that can add some comfort, convenience or luxury to any hiker’s gear kit.
Hiking the PCT: Oregon (2019)
Following the devastating wildfires of 2017, we got busy rehiking the PCT thru Oregon, and updating our guidebook. The new 2019 edition includes revised info on trail conditions, campsites, water sources, and resupply locations. We’ve also added info about new permits that will be required in some wilderness areas starting in 2020. This 2019 edition of Hiking the PCT: Oregon is not yet available in stores, and is only available at PCT: Oregon. Click the button to request your autographed copy, and start planning your Oregon PCT hike with the most up-to-date guidebook available.
Trails Illustrated PCT Maps
PCT hikers used to have to cobble together trail maps from a variety of sources, or print out countless pages at home. No more! The Trails Illustrated Pacific Crest Trail map booklets for Oregon and Washington cover the entire length of each state’s portion of the PCT, and include campsites, water sources, connecting trails, and resupply locations. Each booklet is printed on waterproof, tear-resistant paper, and are compact enough to carry in your pack or pocket. Plus, maps were produced with assistance from Halfmile and PCT: Oregon to be as complete and up-to-date as possible.
Adventure Medical First Aid Kit
As one of hiking’s Ten Essentials, a good first aid kit is a must. You don’t have to carry an entire field hospital, but a few essentials for dealing with blisters, bug bites and minor injuries are a good idea. We pack along this 3.7-ounce UL First Aid Kit because it’s small enough to slip into any small space in our pack. It includes a good selection of bandages, moleskin, antiseptic wipes and basic medicines, all in a water-resistant DryFlex bag. There’s even extra room to include our allergy meds and few extras, so we’re always prepared to deal with most minor backcountry contingencies.
We recently discovered Bitchstix Balms and became fast fans—and not just for their quirky name! Our favorite item is Quit Your Bitchin’ Muscle Rub. This pain relief balm is made of all-natural and organic ingredients, including essential oils, vitamin E and arnica. We’ve used it on sore feet, knees and shoulders and it works great. The Son of a Bitch Anti-Chafe Rub is pretty nice too, preventing painful rubbing in those sensitive spots. They also have sunscreen stix and flavorful lip balms. Plus, we like that Bitchstix donates to orgs that support survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
SPOT X Messenger
We’ve been hiking with a SPOT device for years. It’s let us keep in touch with friends and fam back home, let them track our progress on distant, long-distance hikes, and given us the security of knowing we could call for help if the need arose—thankfully not an action we’ve ever needed. This year, we upgraded to the new SPOT X Satellite Messenger. Weighing just 7 ounces, it provides 2-way satellite messaging, and works through our iPhone using Bluetooth and the easy-to-use SPOT App. It’s just a small addition for a lot of peace of mind. The SPOT X requires a monthly service plan.
Montbell Handy Scoop
If you’ve ever tried digging a cathole with a rock or your trekking pole, you know that’s no small task—especially when you have more pressing matters at hand. That’s why we use Montbell’s 1.4-ounce Handy Scoop. It’s constructed of sturdy, 1mm-thick stainless steel, and makes digging that hole much quicker and easier. And it’s small enough to stash in our toiletry kit, or clip on the back of our pack. With the PCT and many wilderness areas getting more popular, it’s important to make sure we’re all following proper Leave No Trace practices when taking care of business outdoors.
We featured the Tinkle Belle in our Great Gear Guide earlier this year, but our lady hikers love this thing so much, we’re bringing it back for our holiday guide, too! This compact, lightweight urinary device allows the convenience of peeing while standing up, without having to search for cover, take off your pack, drop your pants, and splash on yourself—all while hoping no one walks by and sees your bare butt hanging out there. When not in use, it stashes in a cute, little pouch that can hang on your pack for quick and easy access. Ladies, peeing in the woods will never be easier!
BarCountry Pocket Cocktails
How do you treat yourself after a long day of hiking? We like to kick back in camp and enjoy a refreshing margarita! And BarCountry’s Pocket Cocktails makes it really easy to do just that with their tiny, packable cocktail mixers. Just pour the drink mix into your cup or water bottle, add a little water and your own alcohol, and it’s time for happy hour! Our team’s favorite flavor is the Coconut–Lime Margarita—so tasty!. They also have a Cherry Old-Fashioned, Elderflower Moscow Mule, and Bloody Mary. Our advice: use extra-cold water for the best results. Cheers!
GSI Outdoors Spice Missile
Hey backcountry gourmets! If you’re anything like us, bland backcountry meals just don’t cut it. We used to pack little baggies with our favorite spices to help enhance our rice, potatoes and noodles, but now we use GSI Outdoors’ Spice Missile. This small, 2-ounce canister has six compartments for carrying some of our must-have spices into the backcountry. Each screw-top “stage” of the missile holds two spices, and features rotating shaker caps so we can add just the right amount of flavor we need. And as a durable, reusable item, it means less waste to pack out.
Good To-Go Meals
Making homemade trail meals is usually more work than we’re willing to do—but we still like to eat good food on trail. So we’re especially selective when it comes to prepackaged meals. Good To-Go is one of our favorite meal brands for their selection of flavorful dishes made with all-natural ingredients and no preservatives. Plus, they’re low in sodium and gluten-free, with some vegetarian and vegan options. Our favorites are their Pad Thai with shrimp and veggies, and their award-winning Oatmeal with quinoa and chia, with dried currants, pumpkin seeds and savory spices—yum!
Hyperlite REpack Cooking Cozy
Choking down a cold dinner at the end of a long trail day is never appetizing. And wrapping your meal pack in your jacket while it steeps is often an invitation to disaster. That’s why Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s new REpack Cooking Cozy is so handy. This ultralight (just 1.4 ounces!) cozy is made with 3M Thinsulate, and features a handy clip closure to keep the heat in your food packet while it steeps. This is especially good for meals that take longer to prepare. The REpack can accommodate many single-serve packets, and meals repacked into quart-size ziptop bags.
Cnoc Outdoors Cold Soak Bag
Ok, how many have tried rehydrating your lunch or dinner in a regular ziptop bag while hiking, only to have it break open and spill your meal all over the inside of your pack? Now you can rehydrate your meals with confidence in Cnoc’s new Cold Soak Bag. This reusable, 1-liter bag weighs just 1.9 ounces, is constructed of durable TPU polyurethane material, and features a dual sealing system to ensure that it stays closed. No more leaks or spills. Just use it, rinse it, and use it again. We like it for beans, noodles, veggies and our favorite Packit Gourmet salads.
MSR Thru-Link Microfilter
Having to stop hiking and pump water to refill your hydration bladder sucks. With the Thru-Link In-Line Microfilter, you just scoop your bladder into the water, stuff it back into your pack, and enjoy safe, clean water on the go. The 2.5-ounce Thru-Link connects to any hydration hose system, and features a dual filtering system to eliminate waterborne bacteria and protozoa, as well as particulates, chemicals, odors and nasty tastes. In camp, you can even use it as a gravity filter. It’s not the smallest in-line filter out there, but definitely one of the most effective.
Farm to Feet Hiking Socks
Keeping our feet fresh and comfortable is key to keeping us moving down the trail. Sourced and made in the US, Farm to Feet technical hiking socks feature a blend of odor- and bacteria-resistant merino wool, nylon and spandex to provide strategic cushioning and exceptional breathability for packing on the miles. We like their Cascade Locks 3/4 Crew. It’s constructed with a seamless toe for minimizing friction on our tender tootsies, and extra cushioning where we want it. Plus, it features a colorful design of the Columbia River Gorge—just right for hiking in Oregon!
In our recent Not Your Ordinary Trail Wear feature, we mentioned how much we love our Sherpa beanie. Made of natural wool, with a microfiber lining, it’s kept our noggin warm and toasty on countless backcountry treks. We’ve had ours for years. Available in a variety of men’s and women’s styles, featuring bold colors and traditional designs, each Sherpa beanie is handcrafted to last, even in the harshest backcountry conditions. Plus, each purchase of Sherpa apparel helps provide good jobs and educational opportunities for Nepal’s Sherpa peoples.
Sea to Summit Airlite Towels
When we’re out on the trail for weeks at a time, we carry a small hygiene kit with soap, cleansing wipes and a small towel. This way, we can clean up in camp, feel refreshed at the end of the day, and keep our sleeping bag from getting grimy with the day’s sweat and trail dirt. For this, Sea to Summit’s Airlite Towels are just the ticket. Super-soft, ultra-absorbent, and quick-drying, these microfiber towels are great for cleaning up and drying off—without adding noticeable weight or bulk to our pack. Weighing just a few ounces, it’s a small concession for staying clean and comfortable.
We're giving away a Great Gifts gear bundle!
Watch for our announcement next week, and get ready to enter to win our prize package with many of the great gear items featured in this year’s gear gift guide!
Six Moon Designs UL Umbrella
An umbrella hiking? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Last year, while rehiking the PCT thru Oregon to update our guidebook, we packed an ultralight trekking umbrella, and it really saved our bacon from the sun across miles of burned forest and sweltering lava beds. Six Moon Designs’ Silver Shadow Mini is a 38-inch-wide canopy of portable shade that’s worth its scant 6.8 ounces. Open, it features a reflective, UPF 50+ silver top and a black underside for keeping things cool; closed, it collapses down to just 10 inches and fits into any pack’s side pocket.
Big Agnes Mica Basin Chair
We love hiking with our camp chair. After all, we didn’t get the trail name “Lounger” for nothing! This year, we took Big Agnes’ Mica Basin Chair for a spin—and this is some serious camp comfort! It features a luxuriously large bucket seat constructed of durable, waterproof ripstop nylon, and a sturdy hub-less pole structure for exceptional support. At 2 pounds, it’s heavier and bulkier than our usual UL camp chair, so we’re not hauling this on any long-distance treks, but we’ve been enjoying it on car camping trips, packing into basecamps, and it’s great for concert-in-the-park events.
NEMO Tensor Insulated Pad
This year, we reviewed a variety of sleeping gear in our never-ending search for the most comfortable camp sleeping out there. One of our favorite sleeping pads was NEMO’s Tensor Insulated Pad. Available in five size and shape configurations, we chose the 1-pound regular mummy. It inflates to a luxurious 3-inch thickness and kept us comfortable in near-freezing temps. Its multi-function valve makes inflating and deflating a breeze, and it even comes with a Vortex pump/stuff sack. Plus, it was one of the quieter pads we slept on, with minimal noise while tossing and turning.
Nomadik Gear Boxes
Remember grab bags when you were a kid? Well, here’s a grown-up version of the grab bag—just for hikers. Each Nomadik Gear Box features up to $60 worth of mystery outdoor gear and trail food samples. Just fill out the user profile and your boxes will be customized for the type of outdoor activity you like, from hiking to climbing to skiing and more. Boxes have included hammocks, water filters, drybags and more—all from premium brands. You never know what cool accessory or food sample you’ll get. Use code 15OFF to get 15% off any subscription box!
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