This gift list is for casual hikers that prefer day hikes on popular, easy-to-navigate trails. They enjoy a bit of fresh air, an easy to moderate hike, and a beautiful day in the great outdoors. They might not be heading out to the Pacific Crest Trail this weekend, but they’re definitely hitting the local hiking spot.
Keep reading for the best gifts for casual hikers.
1. Hiking Backpack
A dedicated backpack for hiking is a great idea for a casual hiker. It’s an easy way to keep all their hiking gear in one place. Plus, they won’t mind if the pack gets a little dirty or beat up on the trail.
This backpack from Cotopaxi is designed for day trips. The lightweight design makes this a really comfortable option for the trail. The straps will keep the pack comfortable and adjusted perfectly for some of those more difficult trails.
2. Hydration Pack
A hydration pack is an alternative pack option that also adds a hydration element. Rather than lugging around a large container of water, a sleek and ergonomic design of a pack will make the casual hike much more comfortable.
Camelpak is the OG of hydration packs and offers a range of options. The Rogue 85 OZ Hydration pack has the convenience of external fill in a sleek size. There are two external pockets for small items such as keys, wallet, and your phone. Great for the casual hiker, ready to hit the trail.
3. Hiking Fanny Pack
A third alternative for a hiking pack is a hiking fanny pack. There are a variety of options available from high-tech to classic.
The Knockabout bag from Mountain Smith is a hybrid waist and shoulder option that swings around from the back to the front with ease. With plenty of organization options, this fanny pack is a great solution for a day hike.
4. Beef Jerky
The casual hiker will need some essential items to fill their new hiking pack with and beef jerky is a great start. There’s a reason beef jerky has been loved by the outdoor community for generations. It’s lightweight and packed with protein. The natural electrolytes in beef jerky keep the hiker full, fueled, and ready for the trail.
Our New Hiking Go-To
This portable jerky is awesome for our hiking trips. Only problem with them was that I did not order enough!!
-Theodore P, Livermore, CA
Shop: Beef Jerky $6 - $28
5. A Local Hiking Guide
The internet is a great resource for discovering new hiking spots, but a guidebook will be your best bet for the full story. Most major cities will have a local guide that details the best spots to check out.
Here’s one of our favorites for Los Angeles.
6. National Parks Pass
This is a great, aspirational gift for the casual hiker. A National Parks Pass will give your loved one access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers the entrance fees at National Parks and National Wildlife Forests and Grasslands. The money generated from the sale of each pass goes back to preserving America’s most beautiful natural resources.
7. Coffee Table Book
A coffee table book that features beautiful hikes is a great way for the casual hiker to share their passion. They can proudly display the book on their coffee table. It also makes for a great conversation piece.
8. Quality Hiking Socks
Finding a quality pair of socks is critical for comfortable hiking. Too big and wrinkles will rub your feet causing blisters, too small and they can create too much undue pressure and slippage.
We’re big fans of Darn Tough socks. They have smooth ribbing that will stick to your foot and never slip. With reinforced cushioning around the heel, these are built for maximum comfort. Proven on the Appalachian Trail, these are socks that boast incredible durability.
9. Trekking Poles
Think of trekking poles as another set of limbs. A great tool for hikers of all skill levels, trekking poles enhance stability and reduce force on a hiker’s knees while on the trail. They can be adjusted in length to fit any height. Plus, some trekking poles include a spring system that can absorb shock and reduce impact.
Montem is an outdoor company that offers gear designed by hikers, for hikers. They have ultra strong trekking poles that will turn any casual hiker into a hiking superstar.
Sun protection is critical on a hike. Even for a casual hiker, it’s important to find an option that doesn’t rub off easily. Because the sunblock will go on your face and body, it’s important to find a natural, high quality solution.
We like the products from Oars + Alps. They use natural ingredients without harmful additives and harsh chemicals.
11. Lip Balm
Sun protection doesn’t end at sunblock. Don’t forget to protect your lips on the trail. This product is also from Oars + Alps.
12. Nano Puff Jacket
No matter where you are, it can get a little chilly on those early morning hikes, even for the casual hiker. Wearing layers is a great way to stay warm without overheating. There’s really only one name when it comes to outerwear and the outdoors – and that name is Patagonia. The jackets from Patagonia are undeniably expensive, but they’ll last a lifetime. Don’t forget to check out their recycled options as well.
Shop: Nano Puff Jacket - $199
13. Biodegradable Wipes
You never know what might happen on the trail, even for casual hikers. That’s why it’s a good idea to come prepared with wipes. Great for hands, faces, arms, and legs, these will keep the casual hiker clean and comfortable.
The products from Ursa Major are built for the great outdoors. Using only natural ingredients, their health and beauty products are great for hiking. The biodegradable wipes are made from bamboo and great to cleanse and hydrate your skin on the go.
14. Hydration Tablets
Staying hydrated is important for all hikers. There are a variety of options available, but we recommend sticking to options that minimize sugar and maximize electrolytes.
Nuun offers tablets that add a little fizz and flavor to your water. The Nuun Sport Tablets are a tasty and hydrating blend of electrolytes and minerals for on-the-go hydration.
Shop: Nuun Sport Tables - $7
15. Day Hike First Aid Kit
Safety first, especially on the trail. It’s important to always be prepared, you never know what might happen. That’s why it’s important to always carry a first aid kit. There are a variety of options out there and you can even build your own, but we like the kit from Hart. It’s built specifically for the needs of a day hike.
16. Swiss Army Knife
Following the same logic of the first aid kit, a swiss army knife is a nice tool to have just in case you need it, even for a casual hiker. Small, portable, and easy to pack, a quality swiss army knife is a great addition to any hike.
17. REI Gift Card
When in doubt, a gift card to REI is an excellent gift for the casual hiker. They can choose from REI’s large inventory to find the perfect item for their day hikes.
Shop: REI Gift Cards
18. Collapsible Dog Bowls
Don’t forget our favorite casual hike companions. A collapsible dog bowl can be folded to a smaller size, making it portable and easy to pack on a hike. This way your four-legged friend won’t be thirsty on those longer hikes.
Finding the perfect gift for the casual hike doesn’t have to be a pain. Hopefully this list offered some new ideas. Don’t forget to pick up the ultimate gift for casual hikers — beef jerky!
Keto jerky is very tasty. I tried some for keto snacking while hiking the Colorado Trail. I’m a newbie to jerky and was happily surprised by how tasty it is!
-Susan R, Baily, CO