Outdoor Articles

Backpacking Gift Ideas Under $50 and $100

These are some of my favorite tried-and-true backpacking products for under $100. Some make good stocking stuffers while others are more substantial. Among the collection are items that would make good gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or holidays.

Hiker Medals

Under $50


  • Therm-A-Rest Trekker Pillow Case, $15. Soft against the skin and can be stuffed with extra clothing or an inflatable pillow.
  • Therm-A-Rest Down Pillow, $17. This down pillow shell offers luxurious comfort when paired with an inflatable pillow.
  • Exped UL Inflatable Pillow, $45. This pillow is smaller and lighter than many other inflatable pillows making it feel more like standard gear and less like a luxury. Be sure to get the UL (ultralight) version for the smallest, lightest pillow in the line.


  • Hygienna Backcountry Bidet, $13. Small item that attaches to just about any water bottle to create a backcountry bidet. Let’s keep toilet paper out of the backcountry.
  • MaskIt bags, $20.  These biodegradeable, opaque bags were designed for feminine hygiene products but work very well for used toilet paper (leave no trace). See the complete MaskIt line.
  • Kula Cloth Pee Rag, $20.  A quarter of a bandana works fine as a pee rag but the Kula Cloth is more absorbent and has antimicrobial qualities. Plus there are cool designs. Only available on pre-sale; verify that it’s in production before purchasing for Christmas 2018.
  • Deuce of Spades, $20. Super strong, weighs less than an ounce and comes in pretty colors. There’s no better trowel for the UL backpacker who does the right thing and practices Leave No trace.



Kahtoola Microspikes


  • Toad&Co Americano Hat, $55. A lightweight, stylish hat that stays put in the wind and bounces back every time after being crushed in a pack.
  • Nesco Pro Dehydrator, $57.  For anyone who likes to cook and wants to make healthy backcountry meals, a dehydrator is critical. Pair it with “Recipes for Adventure” and “The Hungry Spork” (see above) for the perfect starter kit. Throw in some fruit roll trays ($8) to enable dehydrating soups and sauces.
  • ZPacks Vertice Waterproof Mitts, $65. These lightweight, factory seam sealed rain mitts can be worn alone or paired with warm gloves to create a layered system. Ski gloves will get soaked and are too warm for hiking so a layered systems works better in cold, wet conditions. I prefer the shape of Mountain Laurel eVent Mitts, $45, but seam sealing at home is a pain.
  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sunscreen Brush, $65. Lightweight mineral powder brushes on easily and there’s no mess to wash off of hands.
  • Kahtoola Microspikes, $70. These quality spikes will keep the adventurer safe on moderate amounts of packed snow.
  • Tilley Airflow Hat, $70. Tilley is legendary for making quality hats with a lifetime guarantee. This is one of their more popular models.
  • REI FlexLite Camp Chair, $79 or splurge on Helinox Camp Zero, $115, to shave off ounces. The folding chairs weigh in at 1 lb, 10 oz vs 1 lb respectively.
  • Gossamer Gear LT4 Trekking Pole, $96. This is pushing the boundary of the $100 limit because you need two of these featherweight, durable poles. Get one for a Christmas present and one for a birthday present. Or celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas with one gift for each!

Photo Album of Select Products

Colorescience mineral powder and Beyond Coastal Facestick sunscreen

Hydrapak collapsible bottles

Petzl E+lite headlamp


Tuck’s Tooque Sherpa style wool hat

A Leader water shoes are light, comfortable and inexpensive

Hygienna backcountry bidet fits on most narrow-mouth water bottles

Toad&Co Americano hat

Gossamer Gear trekking pole


Tilley Airflow hat and sunsleeves

Tailwind Recovery powder and Hydrapak Stash collapsible bottle

Kate’s Real Food bars

Cusa Premium Tea powder

Kahtoola Microspikes




3 thoughts on “Backpacking Gift Ideas Under $50 and $100”

  1. Megin October 23, 2018

    Awesome that you have the Kula cloth on here! I ordered one and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.
    Just a note – Colorescience should have an “e” after the “r”. 🙂

    1. Inga October 23, 2018

      Thank you SO much for catching the typo. I’ll fix it.

  2. John Compisi October 29, 2018

    Great recommendations for Christmas, birthdays and other occasions for your outdoorsy friends and family. Thank you.

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