10 Great Gifts for the Hiker

    Hikers can be territorial about their gear. They should. Out on the trails,  it’s only you and that which you’ve got at hand. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun either. After all, there are essentials and then there are essentials.

    So here are some suggestions for holiday gifts that won’t max out the credit card.

    The Osprey Stratos34. Image courtesy Osprey.

    The Osprey Stratos 34. Image courtesy Osprey.

    1. Stuff everything into the lightweight yet large—for day hikes—Osprey Stratos 34 pack. The compression straps help keep everything in place while convenient hip pockets allow quick access to small essential items. Well ventilated, there’s ample room for bulky items and zippered stashes too. $139.95

    2. Talk about multi-tasking. The Leatherman Juice C2 is a one tool triage unit that can, with adroit hands, fix everything from poles to packs while also lending a hand in the al fresco kitchen for slicing. Light and small, the Juice C2 has four screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, knife, openers and a cork screw. Even better, Leatherman guarantees it for 25 years., $60

    3. You’ve heard that cotton kills. Comfortable yes, but it absorbs water and holds it against you’re skin making you cold. So wick it away with a barebones Trail Tee from L.L. Bean. Quick drying with a relaxed fit (meaning roomy), the t-shirt is a staple on the trail and then for the to-do list at home. $22.95

    4. I’ve long been Darn Tough fan. Socks help form the foundation for all hikes and the durable Vermont-made have been contributing to happy feet all over the world. Whether with Merino wool or Coolmax, the stitching holds everything together. They’ve recently introduced some bright colors into their offerings. There’s even a lifetime guarantee. $19

    5. Make a splash and don’t worry about it with Rocky Mountain Low Gaiters by Outdoor Research. A standard piece of sturdy gear, the gaiters are adept at warding off mud, rocks and pesky sticks, while also holding their own on rock scrambles., $33.50

    6. Okay, the Energizer 3 LED Headlight is not a premium item, but it’s quite a deal for the price. A trusted companion while hiking before the sun rises and after it sets, there’s a high and low mode depending on your whim. The light also comes in handy when you’re home and the power goes out. Plus, batteries are included. $15

    7. A hip flask can make for quite a favorable companion at the end of a day on the trail, particularly if one is on an overnight excursion. The plastic GSI Outdoors basic flask holds 10 ounces of your favorite beverage. No bottles or cans to worry about. No sweat to share either with a buddy since the top is also a shot cap. Talk about convenient., $7.95

    8. Duct tape is indispensable in the woods and on mountains. Wrap some around your hiking poles and it is there for the quick trail fix. Torn pack, ripped rain jacket, cracked water bottle and even using it as a defense against blisters, duct tape is the outdoor elixir., $5-$6

    9. The three-section adjustable Mountainsmith Rhyolite 6061trekking poles are not only sturdy but a good value. With rubber boot tips and removable baskets, the poles are easy to twist and lock. The poles provide some added lift on the ascents and truly shine as descents, particularly when they’re steep. They readily collapse when not needed, particularly on rock scrambles and in areas of pesky branches., $39.95

    10. From the Department of Shameless Self-Promotion, a guidebook is always a good idea. Whether a new book or new edition of a favorite, books are not only essential for the trails, but they’re wonderful companions during the winter planning season. Northeast hikers might enjoy 50 Best Hikes in New England by, well, me., $19.95

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