Gifts for Backpackers – Practical Ideas

You’ve got a holiday or occasion coming up and want to get that special backpacker in your life a great gift.  

I hear you. (And it’s truly appreciated).

Excited to find just the right item, you start searching “gifts for backpackers”, but all you find are suggestions on the greatest winter jackets and tents.

Now, you know your backpacker.  They’re picky.  Heck, all of us are picky, especially when it comes to clothing and our staple gear. 

You know better than to get your special outdoors person a tent, jacket, rain gear, or even socks without a direct link to the specific item. 

Well, I’ve got you covered with my list of the top gifts for backpackers.  All items were chosen for their small size, low weight, versatility, and usability. 

I did throw in a couple of luxury items, because sometimes we all cheat a bit on those base camping trips. 

Best of all, almost all of the items listed won’t break the bank. 

Before You Shop

While these are great gifts that a lot of backpackers will love, you just never know. We’re a fickle, picky bunch.

I always recommend verifying the return and exchange policies before purchasing and make sure to hold onto that receipt.

Our Top Gifts for Backpackers

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive payment at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and brands I know, use, and trust and that I think you would like too. You can read my full disclaimer policy here.


Light is important. Light is so very important. Backpackers are always on the lookout for lightweight, long-lasting light.

Black Diamond Moji Lantern

At only 3 ounces and 3 X 3 X 2.5 inches, with an output of 100 lumens, this lantern is perfect for backpacking.

It conveniently runs off 3 AAA batteries and can last for 13 hours on high and up to 70 hours on low. Meaning it won’t need new batteries on shorter trips.

You’ll have to decide on a color, but hey, you can do that right?

Goal Zero Crush Light Lantern

A little larger than the Moji at 3.2 ounces and (rounding) 5 X 5 X 4 inches, it collapses down for easy packing.

It runs for about 3.5 hours providing 60 lumens of light, but can be recharged with a micro-USB cable or using the built-in solar panel.

Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp

Headlamps are backpacking 101.

Sadly, most backpackers are kind of cheap and we seem to always wish we had splurged on a headlamp with more lumens.

The Black Diamond Storm 400 is perfect. 400 lumens of light, a red light option, and a non-bulky, comfortable design make this a great option for your backpacker.

Food – We all Have to Eat

Unless you happen to know for a fact that the backpacker in your life dehydrates and prepares their own food, you can’t go wrong with a couple of meals.

Patagonia Backpacking Meals

Patagonia, (Yes, THAT Patagonia), recently entered the backpacking meal universe.

I haven’t met anyone yet that didn’t like these meals. Non GMO and organic, they have everything you want and nothing you don’t

They’re hearty and a little spicy, perfect for the backcountry.


Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, every backpacker I know has 10 used cans of fuel, none of which have enough for a weekend trip.

We’re always running to the store last minute to get fuel. It’s a thing.

So trust me, your backpacker will fully appreciate getting some fuel with a big bow.

Backpacking Fuel

Unless your backpacker uses liquid fuel, any canister brand will work.

The attachments are universal for backpacking stoves.

3.9 ounces is the most common size since they fit in the pot for easy carrying.

Repair Kits

We love our gear. A lot of research went into finding the right sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, and rain jacket. And we really don’t want to have to find a new one just yet.

So we repair our gear. It’s a badge of honor to have gear so worn it needs a little TLC.

Help your backpacker out with a gear repair kit they can take with them. Just put a few of these items in a small (lightweight) bag and you’ll be sure to get a huge thank you!

Tenacious Tape

Tenacious Tape

$2.95 – $9.95

Tenacious tape is a backpacking standard.

It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and options.

Put together a pack with some patches and a roll so your favorite backpacker has options.

Mesh Repair

Mesh Repair


There is nothing worse than holes in your tent mesh.

That’s the only thing between you and the biting bugs.

This is one of those items every backpacker regrets not having because when you need it, you NEED it.

First Aid Kit

I put this under “Repair” because it’s basically human repair.

We don’t want to think about things happening when outdoors, but they do.

Send your backpacker off with some basics like moleskin, ibuprofen and a few bandaids.

Chalk this up to another, you don’t think you need it until you do.

Dry Bags, Waterproof Bags

Dry bags are an essential in any backpacking kit. They’re used to corral food for bear hangs, keep those essentials nice and dry (like your sleeping bag), and keep wet things from contaminating the rest of the gear.

You can’t have too many good quality dry bags.

Sea to Summit Dry Bags

Sea to Summit Dry Bags


Sea to Summit makes some of the best dry bags out there.

8 to 13 Liters should fit the needs of most backpackers.

Sea to Summit Compression Dry Sacks

Take it up a notch and present your backpacker with the luxury of a compression dry sack.

These are perfect for safely storing those down sleeping bags, or dry clothes.

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Stuff Sacks

If you’ve heard the word “Dyneema” uttered more than once in a revered tone, then this is the gift for your backpacker.

Dyneema is the brand name for Cuben Fiber, the holy grail of fabric for backpacking.

It’s lightweight and waterproof.

Hyperlite is the go-to brand for all things Dyneema.

This is a treat for any backpacker.

The Luxury Items

Unless you’re dealing with a true ultralighter (in which case they won’t want anything), we all have our luxury items.

Even if it’s something we only take on shorter trips or when we’ll be base camping.

You may get a, “What is this?”, but secretly they’re pleased.

GSI Infinity Backpacker Mug

Look, I don’t care how lightweight you want to go, no one likes cold coffee.

This little gem will keep your coffee or tea piping hot, is easy to wash and weighs just 3.5 ounces.

Even better, the inside mug doubles as a measuring cup! This is surprisingly useful.

Matador Mini Pocket Blanket

It may seem like too much of a luxury, but weighing only 1.3 ounces, why wouldn’t you take it?

It’s water and puncture resistant and adds that little bit of extra warmth when you need it.

This has come in handy on those nights when the sleeping bag needed a little extra help.

Helinox Chair Zero

Now this is a big splurge and it’s not for everyone. But, almost every backpacker I know who has this chair loves it.

At just over a pound (18 ounces), it saves your back and helps make things a little easier the next morning.

While I don’t take mine on every trip, it manages to come on about 50% of my outings.

One note on this one – make sure you’re looking at the Chair Zero and not the Chair One. There’s a pound difference between the two.

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