Holiday Cheer for Every Hiker and Backpacker

Seriously, where has the last year gone?! We’ve got just what you need to kick off the holiday season: our annual Great Gear Gift Guide! We’re taking the guesswork out of holiday shopping for the hikers and backpackers on your list. Here are 20 hand-picked trail and camp items that we’ve been using this year. There’s new stuff, and some old faves, all sure to please any outdoor lover—or maybe just yourself! 


This pick from our summer gear guide is still one of our favorite new items of the year. About the size of a snack bar, the Platypus QuickDraw Microfilter weighs just 2.2 ounces, and is one of the smallest, simplest and fastest water treatment devices we’ve ever used. Simply scoop up water in the 1-liter “dirty” bladder, screw on the QuickDraw, and squeeze it into any water container you have—or drink straight from the filter. The filter and bladder roll up nicely into a neat little package for stashing in your pack’s lid, or any other pocket for quick access when needed. It couldn’t be easier! $40

Snow Peak, the leader in finely-crafted outdoor cooking and dining wear, have collected the two utensils you need most—a fork and a spoon—into a compact and reusable set that will stash easily in any food bag or bear can. Each utensil in the Titanium Fork & Spoon Set measures 6.5 inches long, and feature regular-sized heads so you can shovel your meal down when you’re hungriest. And get this, the whole set—fork, spoon and canvas carry case—weighs only 1.1 ounces! Constructed of durable, long-lasting Japanese titanium, this will be the last hiking utensil set you ever buy. $26

A reliable light source is one of hiking’s Ten Essentials, and should be in everyone’s backpack. The innovative new Snap Solo Headlamp from Princeton Tec adds a whole new level of versatility to outdoor lighting. This compact headlamp runs on three AAA batteries, and churns out an impressive 300 lumens of lighting power. The simple dimmer button lets you choose from three lighting modes, so you can fine-tune the light you need for the task at hand. For added hands-free lighting you can remove the lamp element from the housing and attach it to any magnetic surface. How’s that for handy? $35

At the end of a long hiking day, a little cleanup can do a lot to refresh and revitalize. Whether it’s a dip in the lake, or quick splash with your water bottle, you can wash up dry off with an Ultralite PackTowl. Available in a variety of sizes, these featherweight towels are made of soft, super-absorbent, fast-drying material so you can clean up, hang to dry, then pack away for the next use. Our favorites are the Face- and Hand-size towels, which are small enough to fit in any pocket or toiletry kit. You’ll hike in a better mood when you’re feeling fresh—and your companions will thank you for it! $15–$50

When you want to save on pack weight, but not have to sacrifice the finer things, go for this ultralight titanium pot set from MSR. The Titan 2 Pot Set comes with two nesting titanium pots so you can prepare delicious backcountry meals and not just settle for boiling water for freeze-dried bags. The lid of the larger pot flips over to provide a durable plate for your outdoor dining convenience. You can even stash your pocket-size canister stove inside to keep it safe. And the whole set—including its LiteLifter pot handle—packs up nice and neat for easy packing. $159

Another pick from our summer gear guide, this featherweight trekking umbrella from Six Moon Designs has become a mainstay in our packs. Constructed with a silnylon canopy and a carbon fiber frame, the Rain Walker SUL is a full-size umbrella that weighs just 5.5 ounces, and easily carries in any pack’s side pocket for quick and easy access. And it doesn’t just shed rain like a pro (ideal for the shoulder seasons), but it’s also great for a little portable shade when slogging over hot, exposed lava beds and burn areas. Add a Hands-Free Kit for extra convenience. $60

The gals on our team cannot stop raving about the Tinkle Belle! This compact and lightweight urinary device allows the convenience of peeing while standing up. No more having to take off your pack, search for cover, drop your pants, and try not to splash all over yourself—all while hoping no one walks by and sees your bare derriere hanging out there. Using the Tinkle Belle could not be easier. Just unfold it, position it and go. 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! $28


For a big hike, you need a big pack. The Osprey Aether Plus has everything you need to go the distance—and then some! With more pockets and features than we can list here, the Aether Plus is the gear organizer’s dream. When loaded down with all your gear, it carries like a cloud thanks to its Fit-on-the-Fly harness and AirScape back panel. Our favorite feature is its removable DayLid daypack, which is perfect for peak-bagging and side trips. Available in sizes ranging from 60L for shorter treks, to 100L for the big, long hauls. Also available as the women’s Ariel Plus. $340–390

For cooler weather outings, or as your insulation layer on your long-distance hauls, pack along this lightweight, synthetic jacket for reliable warmth outdoors. The ultralight (10 oz.) SuperStrand LT Jacket is constructed of wind- and water-repellent nylon, and is filled with VerticalX synthetic down for warmth comparable to a 700–800 fill jacket. The standard fit is comfortable by itself over a baselayer, yet roomy enough to let you add an extra layer underneath if needed without bulking up too much. For packing away, just stuff it into its own pocket and you’re good to go. M/W $199

When you’re doing more than just boiling water for instant meals, you no longer have to let part of your dinner get cold while cooking the other half. The award-winning* Optimus Gemini Stove is perfect for camp gourmets who want the versatility of a two-burner stove that’s compact and light enough to pack into the backcountry. Packed up, the Gemini is about the size of a 1-liter bottle, and weighs just 28 ounces. The dual burners are capable of everything from boiling to simmering, using separate flame controls. And it runs off any type of canister butane or isobutane fuel. $149 

For a little extra living space on solo journeys, head into the backcountry with the Sea to Summit Alto TR1 UL Tent. We spent a lot of our early summer in this ultralight, ultra-roomy shelter and loved it. The interior boasts almost 20 square feet of area, with an impressive 42 inches of headroom. The 84-inch length is also great for taller occupants. It features an asymmetric floorplan with a side alcove, which is great for extra storage and added elbow room. The Alto’s semi-freestanding design makes setup quick and easy, and packing is a breeze with its unique stuff sack system. $399

Good sleep on the trail is essential for long-distance endurance. That’s why we never hike without a good pillow in our sleep kit. It’s way more comfortable than a wadded up jacket—and totally worth the extra few ounces in the pack. The Therm-a-Rest Air Head Down Pillow packs up to about the size of a softball, and weighs just 5 ounces (reg. size). Just inflate it to your desired firmness and rest your head on a warm, insulated pillow for a good night’s sleep anywhere you go. After your trip, the down slipcase is removable for washing. Includes stuff sack. $60

Looking for a comfy pair of lightweight kicks for local dayhikes and trail runs? Look no further than the SCARPA Spin Infinity GTX. Out of the box, the Spins are super-comfy, and cradle the feet like a nice pair of slippers. The breathable mesh upper, backed by a Gore-Tex Invisible Fit liner, is perfect for shoulder season outings when the trail or weather may be a little soggy. Under the hood, foot support is provided by a dual-layer EVA midsole for exceptional cushion and impact absorption. And the beefy, Vibram outsole provides excellent traction on a variety of terrain, dry and wet. $169

Not every hike is a long-distance haul. For those days when you just want to throw on some runners and hit some trail, grab the Gregory Arrio 24 and go. This lightweight daypack features a breathable mesh back panel and enough pockets to keep your essentials organized. The main compartment holds a hydration bladder (sold separately), and is big enough to carry your jacket, lunch and essentials. Outside, there’s a bottle sleeve and two zipper pockets for small items; the fixed lid has a small zipper pocket for keys, phone, etc. For cyclists, there’s a handy light attachment loop. $99 


There’s nothing quite as refreshing as kicking it in camp and enjoying your beverage of choice—a cold one on a hot, sunny day, or a warm pick-me-up on a chilly morning or evening. Enjoy your drink with some style in the ORCA Whiskey Barrel Cup. This 12-ounce insulated cup is constructed of vacuum-sealed, dual-wall stainless steel, and features a dual-seal screw-on lid to keep your drink from spilling. Just flip open the whale tail sip top and enjoy. Rubber gaskets around the cup ensure a secure grip, so your cup won’t get away from you. Available in wood grain, black, and brushed steel finishes. $35

Discover every creek, meadow and waterfall there is to see on and around Oregon’s tallest volcanic peak. Day Hiking Mount Hood, by Hiking the PCT: Oregon author Eli Boschetto, features 85 dayhikes that highlight the best trails and views this iconic NW peak has to offer. Use the Hikes at a Glance chart to select trails best suited for wildflowers, cloudy days, walks with kids, romps with Fido, or a winter ramble. Each hike features driving directions, trail map and difficulty level, in addition to seasonal suggestions, natural and cultural history, and permit requirements. First edition published in 2020. $22

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Don’t fuss with printing countless online PCT maps or using outdated agency maps. National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated Pacific Crest Trail map booklets cover the entire length of the PCT, and are the most current and comprehensive PCT maps available. Each booklet is printed on waterproof, tear-resistant paper, and are compact enough to carry in your pack or pocket. The Oregon and Washington sections are each covered in two booklets, and feature campsites, water sources and more. Pick up a single map for a small section, or a bundle for larger sections or the whole trail! $25–$125

Wanna do something good for the environment? Use a reusable bag when you go shopping. Wanna do something awesome for the planet? Use a recycled Gore-Tex bag when you go shopping. ReFleece tote bags, laptop cases and wallets are constructed of salvaged outdoor gear materials. This gives what would be trash a new life, instead of sending it to the landfill. ReFleece products are made with upcycled and recycled materials from Polartec, Gore-Tex, Patagonia and more. Each product is unique and durable, and helps conserve resources and eliminate waste. $26–$50

Tired of the same ol’ freeze-dried lasagne for dinner? Dial up your backcountry dining experience with this new guide from our friends at I Heart PNW. Memorable Backcountry Meals, by Lisa “Deepdive” Holmes, features 44 meals using fresh ingredients you can prepare at home and enjoy on your next backcountry adventure. Included are selections for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and trail snacks. Check this out for flavor: Almond Berry Oatmeal, Asian Noodle Salad, Artichoke Spinach Alfredo Orzo, Pineapple Pork Fried Rice, and Mango Rice Pudding. Yum! What are you waiting for? $25

Remember grab bags? Here’s the adult outdoor adventurer’s version. Nomadik Gear Boxes arrive monthly, and are filled with name-brand gear you can use on trail and in camp. You can customize your gear selections based on your outdoor interest, from hiking to cycling to paddling and more, and boxes are often themed with gear for survival, camp cooking, essentials, etc. In recent boxes, we’ve received items like a Rumpl down blanket, an AceCamp stove, a LedLenser headlamp, and our new favorite Parks Project beanie! Use code PCT20 and save 20% off your first box! $30–$33

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* 2021 ISPO Award, 2021 Outdoor Retailer Innovation Award

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