GEAR SHOP

20 Great Gear Gifts for the Hikers on Your Holiday List

2020 has been a rough year. Between the pandemic, civil unrest, wildfires and weird weather, we still managed to get in some hiking time and try out some of the latest trail gear, apparel and accessories. We’ve selected our favorite items into this year’s Hiker Holiday Gift Guide. Here’s 20 of our favorite trail-tested gear items sure to please any hiker on your holiday list—and why not toss in a few for yourself!

TRAIL ESSENTIALS

This year, we upgraded to the SPOT Gen4. This new satellite tracking and messaging device is sturdier and more rugged than previous models, with a sleek black casing, and rubberized sides for better handling and drop protection. Messaging and tracking buttons are big and easy to use, and the SOS button is protected behind a flip-open cover to prevent accidental activation. And with new mapping features on the updated Find Me Spot web page, you can customize your tracking and messaging to communicate easily with family and friends back home. Special: $100*

National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated PCT Map Booklets cover the entire PCT with the same format, scale and information you need for planning and hiking anywhere along the trail. This includes trail mileage, elevation profiles, trailhead locations, connecting trails, resupply locations, etc. There are seven booklets for covering the CA section, and two each for OR and WA. PCT: Oregon was invited to review the OR maps and have approved of their information and accuracy. Pick up a single map for a small section, or a bundle for larger sections or the whole trail! $15–$125

Designed by Australian cycling company Knog, the Bilby 400 Headlamp employs an adjustable, waterproof, silicone headband that houses a smart, 5-way lighting system. The main high beam is a powerful, 400-lumen floodlight that turns night into day, and is ideal for setting up camp or cooking after dark. It also features mid and wide beams, a red night-vision light, and—our favorite—a downward-facing reading light. Plus, each beam has multiple brightness options. The Bilby is rechargeable via a standard USB-A plug, and a single charge can supply up to 105 hours of usage time. $60

Like it or not, face masks are the new normal for preventing the spread of COVID. On trail, away from others, you can generally feel safe going mask-free. However, when you’re at busy trailheads or popular viewpoints, it’s good to mask up to keep yourself and others safe. The LIFA Face Mask from Helly Hansen is made of a soft and comfortable 3-layer material treated with an antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal solution. Plus, each LIFA Face Mask purchase benefits the Conservation Alliance and their work to protect America’s wild places. That’s a win-win! $15

Following the devastating wildfires that engulfed Oregon in 2017, we rehiked the PCT to update our 5-star guidebook, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon. Revised chapters for the Sky Lakes/Crater Lake area, Central Cascades, and Columbia River Gorge include new trail descriptions, new campsite and water source info, and updated resupply and resource details. We also included an update about new wilderness permit requirements. We’re glad to continue working with Mountaineers Books to ensure that our guidebook provides the best and most current Oregon PCT information available.** $25

GREAT GEAR

When you’re hiking with Fido, you want to make sure they’re staying just as cool and hydrated as you. But frequently stopping to dig a watering dish out of your pack is a drag. Now Fido can have their own easy-drinking water bottle. Vapur’s 0.7-liter EZ Lick Dog Bottle has a special lick-ball dispenser so your pooch can get a quick and easy drink of water without hassle. This special design prevents spills and water waste, making it much more efficient and weight-saving than other watering methods. Plus, the EZ Lick is collapsible for easy stashing when empty, reusable, and easy to clean. $20

Who loves hiking with sand, twigs and pebbles in their shoes? Not us. Available in Low (for shoes and runners) and Mid (for boots) styles, Kahtoola’s INSTAgaiters are lightweight, water-resistant, and go on easily with an adjustable instep strap and offset zipper. Their stretchy, nylon/polyester construction provides great flexibility, so as not to hinder movement, and provide exceptional breathability for allowing your shoes and socks to vent properly. INSTAgaiters come in SM/MED and LG/XL sizes, and come in a variety of color combinations for adding a little flair to your trail ensemble. $40–$50

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A nice pair of lightweight gloves is a good thing to pack along at any time of year. Mountain Hardwear’s unisex WindLab Gore-Tex Infinium Stretch Gloves are windproof, water-repellent, and made of soft and stretchy Gore-Tex Infinium 3-layer fabric for keeping the digits warm and comfortable. Plus, they feature palm pads for improved grip, and Stimulus technology coatings on the thumbs and index fingers so you can still operate your touch-screen cameras and GPS devices without having to expose your fingers. We especially like how light and packable they are. $50

When you’re ready to hit the trail for a dayhike or winter snowshoe, load up with Osprey’s Mira 32 (women’s) or Manta 34 (men’s). We love these packs’ adjustable harness and 3D mesh back panel for precise fitting and keeping things ventilated. Plenty of pockets inside and out allow you to organize all of your trail essentials, including side bottle pockets, hip belt pockets, and a mesh outer pocket. They even come with a 2.5-liter hydration system for easy drinking on the go. And when the weather goes south—as it often does in the NW—just pull out the included rain cover and keep on trekkin’. $180

We’ve been winter trail tromping in MSR snowshoes for years. They go on easy, stay on securely, and provide exceptional grip on icy surfaces. And they’re way better than rental snowshoes. When you’re ready to up your winter outdoor exploring, gear up with MSR’s Evo Ascent Snowshoe Kit. This all-you-need kit comes with a pair of Evo Ascent Snowshoes, designed to tackle a variety of on- and off-trail winter terrain with TriFit bindings, Televator heel lifts, and extendable tails. You also get a pair of DynaLock Explore Poles, and a hydration-compatible carry pack with removable foam snow seat. $299

CAMP COMFORT

Despite their additional weight, we love our insulated bottles. Camelbak’s award-winning MultiBev Bottle is an innovative way to enjoy hot or cold refreshment in a whole new way. The bottom of the stainless steel, 22-ounce bottle unscrews to provide an insulated 16-ounce cup—perfect for sipping hot beverages or a nice cup of soup. It’s also BPA-, BPS, and BPF-free for clean drinking. The MultiBev is a bit heavier than other insulated bottles, so not ideal for long-distance adventures—but it makes a great way to savor a warm pick-me-up on chilly fall dayhikes or winter snowshoe outings. $50

When we finally got our hands on Primus’s new Firestick Stove, we were pretty stoked with this tiny, ultralight cooker. Packed up, it’s about the size of a roll of quarters, and completely enclosed so you don’t have to worry about damage when packing or stuffing. Twist off the top cap and the wide pot supports spring out into a sturdy cooking surface. Compatible with most isobutane fuel canisters, the Firestick can boil a liter of water in less than five minutes. Available in 3.7-ounce stainless steel or 3.1-ounce titanium models, each come with a wool storage bag and pocket piezo lighter. $90–$120

Outdoor Research’s Helium Rain Jacket is known for its extreme light weight and exceptional performance. Now they have applied that same technology to an insulated puffy jacket. The new Helium Down Jacket combines an ultralight Pertex Quantum ripstop, water-repellent shell with responsibly-sourced, 800-fill goose down for an incredibly warm, durable piece of backcountry outerwear. The Helium Down Hoodie adds Diamond Fuse waterproof fabric on the hood and shoulders for extra protection. Each features microfleece-lined hand pockets, internal stash pockets, and a zip chest pocket. $229–$279

See more great hiking tops, bottoms, jackets and shoes in Our Favorite Hiking Apparel and Footwear for 2020.

You’ve probably heard of our fondness for our packable camp chairs. This is how we got our trail name, “Lounger,” after all. Our chair of choice this year is Big Agnes’s compact and comfy Skyline UL Chair. Weighing just 1.7 pounds, the Skyline assembles using a unique hub-less frame which provides more stability when in use, and less bulk when packed up. For more camp comfort, its pre-bent pole design provides a deeper seat than comparable models. And no worries if it gets wet, as the seat is constructed of ripstop nylon treated with a UTS waterproof coating. Go ahead. Kick back. $110

It’s not the lightest or most compact tent on the market, but this summer we loved camping with the Meteor Lite 2P Tent. This freestanding shelter boasts a comfortably large living space (29.8 sq.ft.), and generous headroom (41 in.), and setup is quick and easy with its hubbed DAC Featherlite pole unit. Its two large side doors are great for easy entry and exit, and its two vestibules provide plenty of room for gear storage. Our favorite feature, the roll-back rain fly, offers excellent stargazing through its black, no-see-um mesh walls. And packing up is a breeze with its burrito-bag stuff sack. $370

HOLIDAY CHEER

Start planning your 2021 hiking to-do list with one or more of these new NW trail guides. Our own new guide, Day Hiking Mount Hood, offers 85 hikes on and around Oregon’s tallest peak, and includes trails for every season. For something more casual, check out Urban Hikes Washington. This guide features 40 walks and easy hikes around all four corners of the Evergreen State. New to backpacking? Pick up I Heart Backpacking: How to Get Started. This helpful guide offers tips and info for beginning backcountry travel, and features ten intro backpacking trips in OR and WA. $22–$25

We’ve never endorsed an alcoholic beverage before, but when we learned about Tahoe Blue Vodka, and their contribution to the preservation of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding environment, we thought that was something we could get on board with. This award-winning vodka is distilled using clean, clear Lake Tahoe water, and consists of a gluten-free blend of corn, grape and sugarcane varieties. We are by no means vodka connoisseurs, but this is pretty good stuff. Fill your trail flask and enjoy with mixers from Packit Gourmet or Bar Country for a little backcountry happy hour! $30

Remember grab bags when you were a kid? Well here’s the adult outdoor adventurer’s version. Nomadik Gear Boxes arrive monthly, and are filled with name-brand gear and treats you can use for travel, on trail and in camp. You can even customize your gear selections based on your outdoor interest, from hiking to cycling to paddling and more. We subscribe to the lightweight hiker boxes, and have recently received some great cold weather gear, including an insulated mug, knit beanie, dry skin treatment, and Hiker’s Brew coffee! Use code PCT20 and save 20% off your first box! $30–$33

We often pack along a small daypack for side-tripping from camp, fetching resupplies, or loading up water away from camp. Weighing just 6 ounces, and made of lightweight, ripstop polyester, Klymit’s new Day Bag provides 20 liters of load capacity in its main compartment, and carries comfortably with adjustable mesh shoulder straps. The sweet bonus feature is that you can incorporate Klymit’s V-Seat (sold separately) into the bag for more comfort and support—then remove it for a comfy sit pad when you’re ready to break for lunch or kick back at a viewpoint. Day Bag: $30; V-Seat: $17

There are lots of great trail blanket options out there, but this year we liked Rumpl’s new Featherlite Down Blanket—and not just because they’re a Portland-based company. Packed up, the Featherlite weighs a scant one pound, and compresses to about the size of a 1-liter bottle. Spread out, it measures 52 x 75 inches, making it big enough to curl up and snuggle in just about any position. It’s constructed of 10D ripstop nylon, features a DWR finish, and is stuffed with responsibly-sourced, 800-fill hydrophobic down. Its unique cape clip, which allows it to be worn hands-free, is also pretty sweet. $399

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This post contains affiliate links. All purchases made through these links help support the costs and operations of PCT: Oregon. For more information on PCT: Oregon’s gear selections, reviews and affiliates, click here.
*SPOT devices require an annual service subscription, in addition to unit purchase.
**The 2019 edition of Hiking the PCT: Oregon does not include changes to the trail resulting from wildfires in 2020. This information will not be available until 2021. Updated information will be posted on PCT: Oregon when available, and will be included in the next book printing.

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