A Holiday Shopping Guide for Hikers and Backpackers

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We’re now less than a month away from Christmas, and it is truly time to start thinking about the gifts you want to give to your favorite outdoor adventurer this year. To help out, I’ll be producing a series of Gift Guides over the next few days, providing some suggestions for items we’d all like to find our our tree or in our stocking this holiday season.

Salewa Ultra Flex Mid GTX Hiking Boots ($189)
If your favorite hiker likes to go fast and light on the trail, without sacrificing comfort and support, the Salewa Ultra Flex Mid GTX speed hiking boot is the shoe for them. This boot feels like a running shoe on your foot and comes with a technical sole made by Michelin tires, providing a fantastic grip on a variety of surfaces. In terms of comfort and agility, it is really tough to to beat this awesome option from Salewa.

Osprey Aether AG 60 Backpack ($290)
Every hiker and backpacker needs a good pack to carry all of their gear with them out on the trail, and they don’t come much better than Osprey’s Aether AG 60. The pack is spacious, comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and adept at shouldering heavy loads. It’s Anti-Gravity suspension is perfect for long days on the trail, while a slew of other features make this the perfect option for hiking the Appalachian Trail or making your way across Europe.

CamelBak Fourteener 20 Hydration Pack ($125)
On a day hike you don’t need a pack as big as the Aether, but you sill want to carry extra gear, food, and water with you. On those outings, the CamelBak Fourteener 20 is a great choice. Lightweight, compact, and filled with pockets and storage areas to organize your gear, the Fourteener is just the right size for a day out on the trail. It even comes with a 3-liter hydration bladder to keep you refreshed while out on the trail.

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The North Face Ventrix Jacket ($199)
Insulated jackets are common in the outdoor industry, so it takes something truly special to be able to stand out from the crowd. The Ventrix from The North Face is just that type of jacket. It is lightweight, comfortable, and warm. It is also form fitting and built for use in aerobic pursuits, including hiking, trail running, and climbing. Best of all, the Ventrix has a series of hidden venting points that allow excess heat and moisture to escape, while keeping the wearer plenty warm and dry at the same time.

Outdoor Research Echo Duo Shirt ($39)
Activewear has come a long way and now plays a crucial role in keeping us comfortable out on the trail. The Outdoor Research Echo Duo shirt is a perfect case in point. It is extremely comfortable, does a great job of wicking moisture, and allows the wearer to stay dry while hiking through the backcountry. It even looks great and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either.

Leki Micro Vario Ti Core-Tec Trekking Poles ($140)
A good set of trekking poles is something that every hiker can appreciate, whether they’re just out for the day or plan on thru-hiking the entire PCT. For my money, Leki makes the best trekking poles in the business, and their Vario Ti Core-Tec models are a great blend of durability, affordability, and light weight.

Thorlo Outdoor Athlete Socks ($17)
A good pair of boots goes a long way to keeping our feet healthy and happy in the trails, but without the right socks, blisters and hotspots can ruin any hike. That’s why a pair of Thorlo Outdoor Athlete socks are so special. They wick moisture away, allow our feet to breathe, and provide ankle and arch support too. All of that makes them a great option for hikers.

Smartwool PhD HyFi Gloves ($45)
Another lightweight, yet still high performance, product that hikers will love are the Smartwool PhD HyFi Training gloves. These gloves are plenty warm for active days on the trail, but now so thick and heavy that you’ll wish you had brought something lighter. The thumbs and forefingers are compatible with touchscreens as well, making it easy to text and call without having to take them off.

Petzl Tikka Headlamp ($30)
The Petzl Tikka Headlamp has been around awhile, but it is a classic piece of gear in the truest sense of the word. Easy to use, lightweight, and water resistant, the Tikka can put out as much as 200 lumens of light on its brightest setting. Powered by either 3 AAA batteries or a USB rechargeable kit, this headlamp offers versatility and reliability no matter where you go.

Kraig Becker