Best 2020 Gift Ideas for Backpackers
Backpacking on multi-day treks is one of our favorite hobbies. You’re out with nature, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to carry everything you need on your back for a few days.
Whether you’re looking for gifts for a hardcore, backcountry hiker, or someone who loves day hikes with their pup, we’ve curated a list of the best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers or your favorite hiker.
If you have specific questions about gear recommendations, write us a note in the comments section and we’ll get back to you. Our treks have ranged from tropical heat to high altitude, snowy mountaintops. Plus, you can check out a few of our hike videos:
- Amazon Jungle Trek to Tayos Cave, 4-Day Trek
- Cajas National Park, 2-Day Trek
- Ecuador’s Inca Trail to Ingapirca, 3-Day Trek
- Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas, 3-Day Trek
- Big Bend National Park, Texas, 1-Day Hikes
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas, 1-Day Hikes
Now, on to the best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers.
best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers or your favorite hiker
Fitness is critical for safety and enjoyment. This is our best 2020 gift idea for backpackers and it’s free! Originally created for ourselves to get in tip-top shape for our long backpacking treks, we include a day-by-day calendar paired with Beachbody On Demand’s streaming workouts. We included leg, core, and back workouts, along with flexibility recovery days to avoid injury. This 2-week plan coincides with the free 2-week trial offered by Beachbody.
I’ve been using this nifty site for a few years. It’s free to sign up and offers cashback on nearly every shopping site, like up to 5% cashback on Amazon to 4% on Patagonia. Seriously, this is a good one, and you won’t believe how many sites are listed. I felt silly for not doing it earlier. It’s like leaving free money on the table.
Plus, if you use this referral link, you’ll get $10 cash back on your next online purchase of $25 bucks, and that includes Amazon. Oh, and if you’re feeling generous, feel free to add me as your referrer with my personal email address, [email protected] Thanks!
Let’s face it, a hike won’t be nearly as fun if you’re not in shape to enjoy it. Nothing is more painful than strapping on a 50 lb. pack when your body is thoroughly sore from the day before. Luckily, we have just the solution above, with our 2-Week Backpacking Fitness Plan.
Our favorite app when we hit the trails. Download offline maps, and record your trip, step-by-step. We love that the maps are searchable, show many trails, show our altitude, and can save and email our hikes, all while our phones are in airplane mode. Don’t leave home without it!
These were our favorite purchase this year, which is why they are high on our list of the best 2020 gifts for backpackers. Ever the engineers, we like to track our calorie burn during our hikes. Outside of using our watches as heart rate monitors and pedometers, they come in handy with lights after dark at camp, timers for our meals, and our GPS location.
When we’re hiking, Ryan wears a 65 liter backpack and Alex a 50 liter. We both prefer Osprey because of their high quality, lifetime warranty, and solid engineering, making our packs feel as light as possible.
There are a lot of filtration products for backpackers. These ones use a breakthrough media technology that filters out even viruses. They work so well! You’d likely be appalled to see what water we have drank from. From a mud pit in Texas to green sludge in Mexico, this is the only filter your backpacker friend should ever hit the trails with. This is a top pick on our best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers.
For warm weather hiking, we always prefer to wear our FiveFingers over heavy and hot hiking boots. These shoes come in different styles, including for trail running with thicker soles than their street running styles. These shoes can’t be beat for trails that go in and out of the water, and we wore these on our 4-day trek to The Lost City of Colombia and our day hikes in the Borneo jungle in Gunung Mulu National Park. They won’t win any fashion contests, but they are amazing for foot health. A great choice from our best 2020 gift ideas list.
Alex’s favorite hiking boot, and honestly better than any that Ryan has found. Ahnu is a brand specifically made for women, by women. The Montara book is incredibly water-resistant, and her toes have stayed toasty through the most freezing of rainstorms. Sorry guys, Ryan is still looking for his dream boot, but has had good experience in the past with Timberland. Whatever boot you choose, avoid mesh, even if touted as waterproof. Nothing beats leather.
We’ve spent weeks in our tent, and recommend Big Agnes for the best value, lightweight tents. Trust us, this is an excellent, all terrain tent. We’ve camped in the snow in sub-zero temperatures, and in some of the rainiest places on earth, like Maui and Ecuador. Big Agnes has never let us down.
This three season, lower temperature sleeping bag has worked well for our travels, since we hike in a wide variety of climates. We’ve never been too cold when bundled up in socks and sweatshirts camping in the snow. These have worked well in tropical weather as well. This is a good place to start as a new camper if you’re unsure about the temperatures you’ll come across.
Always opt for an insulated mattress instead of a foam pad. They pack down smaller and are far more comfortable. We like this sleeping pad because it is insulated, keeping you from a wet or cold ground. This is essential, and one of the best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers. Sleeping well on the ground is possible, and they will thank you!
Our all-in-one nutritional health insurance. We make sure to bring Shakeology powder with us on every hike. It replaces our breakfast or a mid-day meal, so that we don’t need to stop for long periods of time while we make other food. It gives us energy and our nutrition on the trip, since you can only get so much from hydrated meals, oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and mac and cheese.
The day we lost our Nalgene last month, was a very bad day. Our water bottles are always glued to our hands and is a constant reminder to keep hydrated. Nalgene bottles are incredibly durable, handy, and its measurements help immensely while cooking over a campfire.
This camp light casts a warm glow in our tent and campsite when we’re settling in for the night. Save the battery on your cell phone and use this small, inflatable lamp to light up your space. Every backpacker needs this light. It’s a great choice from our list of the best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers
The most versatile jacket we own. It kept us comfortable and dry in 50 F degree weather in Ecuador, and kept us warm and cozy atop snowcapped volcanoes in Argentina. We prefer the North Face jacket to its competitor, Patagonia, because of the fitted shape.
The best, lightweight rain jacket that money can buy. After living in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador – all during serious rainy seasons – this jacket came out on top. We’ve compared this jacket alongside Patagonia’s Torrentshell jacket, and the Marmot jacket stayed drier and warmer.
We opt for Merino wool socks when we’re hiking and skiing. They’re quick-dry, sweat-wicking, and toasty. They come in a variety of thicknesses, so they’re great for summer hiking as well. Make sure that they fit well and aren’t too big or too small to avoid rubbing or blisters.
These patented pillows grace our bed as well as in our backpacks. They roll up, making them easy to stuff into a backpack, and can be washed in the washing machine. We prefer their interlocking filler to any memory foam pillow on the market.
Our favorite mementos from our travels are our GoPro videos. After each trip, Ryan takes some time to compile our best moments in a memorable, music video-style film, like our adventure of a lifetime into the Amazon jungle.
Are you interested in a GoPro but don’t know where to start? Ryan compiled a How to Make GoPro Videos 101 guide, free for download.
Easy to pack and hold – even while scuba diving and horseback riding – make sure that your GoPro is safe but can get the best shot. Don’t worry, we won’t tell you that it’s a fancy selfie stick, but it kind of is. This is the best handle for adventure videos and one of the best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers or hikers.
Both Ryan and Alex wear the Sahara style hiking pants for REI. It’s important that the waist fits well, especially if your heavy pack pushes down on the pants. This is why we avoid any drawstring hiking pants and pants with buckles. Depending on your hike, hiking pants may not be necessary, but these are wind-resistant, and don’t snag on thorns when cotton leggings or sweatpants would.
A small, lightweight towel comes in handy on the trail. This towel comes in a variety of sizes, but we like the “body” size so that we can take a swim and know that we don’t have to wait to air dry.
These bracelets are a safety precaution, woven tightly from strong paracord. Once, one of our friends slipped off a steep trail, and she used her bracelet to climb back to safety and drag up her pack. On top of that, these bracelets double as a whistle and compass. Others even come with LED lights.
Including everything but the gas, this has been our cooking system for years. It includes two sporks, two bowls, two cups, one lidded pot, a small sponge, and the gas burner adapter. We love our meal ritual after a long day on the trail.
At the end of a long hike, nothing is looked forward to more than a warm meal. We like Backpacker’s Pantry’s selection of vegetarian meals, and they conveniently come in packs for two people. Don’t let your favorite hikers go hungry or “rough it” with instant noodles.
On long treks, without any possibility for charging our devices, we bring along this solar power charger by Anker. When the sun is shining, strap it to your backpack as you walk, and charge your phones, GoPro, and camera. This charger is critical for long hikes, but know that you need direct sunlight for this charger to work best.
A portable charger is critical while hiking. Make sure no GoPro or phone goes uncharged. This small charger from Anker tops up our phones about four times every charge. We have had ours for two years now, and it’s one of the best 2020 gift ideas for backpackers.
Ryan has used Black Diamond headlamps for the past twelve years, and they’re the most durable and longlasting. Make sure everyone is suited up with a headlamp with an extra set of batteries before starting any hike.
The last thing that you want to happen is for your water bottle to fall off of your bag from a broken carabiner! You can never have too many carabiners on your backpack, as they can strap up a solar power charger or your wet swimsuit to dry in the sun.
Ultramarathon legend, Scott Jurek, tackles the speed record running the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Reading about his journey and adventure on the trail will surely put a spring into your step on your next hike. A great read and one of the best 2020 gift ideas that will inspire backpackers or your favorite hiker.
Note: Ryan and Alex Duo Life believes in transparency on the web so we are disclosing that there are product links in this document that will earn us affiliate commissions for purchases you make. All products are the exact same products that we purchased after careful review and use regularly. We have not been given any free products by companies in exchange for mentioning them. They are just products we love and use. Enjoy!
Hey we’re Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “happiness engineers.” After eight years working as corporates engineers internationally, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — leading couples to engineer their best lives. The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.