Which gifts for hikers in your life are best?
What do you get for the hiker who has everything? The majority of outdoor adventurers already own sturdy footwear, jackets, and athletic clothes. Their cupboards are likely stocked with beef jerky and almond butter, and their national park permits are ready to go. What else could there possibly be? Quite a bit as it turns out, and we’ve rounded up our favorites.
A digital trail guide
Part of the appeal of hiking is being alone in nature, away from the comforts and conveniences of home. That said, a little digital assistance can transform your trek into something significantly less daunting, and it some cases, it could even save your life.
GPS units are everywhere these days, but a GPS specifically designed for hiking is a different animal. Take the Garmin Foretrex 4, for instance. The compact and waterproof device includes a highly-sensitive GPS receiver that can keep track of your routes for backtracking, log waypoints, and monitor conditions like altitude and compass heading. It supports wireless accessories too, such as heart rate monitors and cadence sensors.
When you’re done, you can even plug the Foretrex into your computer via USB to analyze your trip with Google Earth.
Hydration on the go
Hydration is important for every person, but for those who venture into seclusion on a regular basis, it’s even more vital. Sure, water bottles and canteens are ubiquitous for these folks, but there are a few other options you may not have considered.
An obvious solution is the hydration backpack. This version from Unigear features two liters of convenient water storage along with a small front pocket for mobile phones, car keys, snacks, or other piquant items. Another alternative is a water receptacle with a built-in purifier filter, which can be essential for longer hiking or camping trips. The GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier is one of the most popular variants out there, and considering it produces clean, safe drinking water from virtually any source in just 15 seconds, it’s easy to understand why. Better yet, no batteries or bulbs are needed.
A hiker’s Swiss Army Knife
Although a real Swiss Army Knife can certainly come in handy outdoors, this paracord bracelet multitool is basically the hiker’s equivalent. Described as an “all-in-one tactical tool kit,” it includes a knife scraper, firestarter, a fully functional compass, and a high-pitched whistle in a compact wearable bracelet. Additionally, as the name implies, it’s made of ultra-durable paracord that can hold up to 550 pounds — useful for tents, hammocks, backpacks, clotheslines, splints, and food storage. There’s also a second layer of inner paracord string for animal snares, sewing purposes, and sutures.
Let there be light!
A little-known tip for hiking — the ability to see where you’re going is extremely helpful. Although there are countless inexpensive headlamps on the market that light up the path just fine, they don’t have the power or durability of top-shelf units. For a headlamp with some oomph behind it that will last forever, consider the Black Diamond Equipment Spot 350. With a triple-power LED and double-power LED working together, the Equipment Spot can emit up to 350 lumens for excellent trail visibility.
Scope it out
While we’re on the topic of vision, binoculars are fantastic tools both for route inspection and good old-fashioned sightseeing. They’re quite bulky and heavy though, and serious hikers know bag space is a precious resource.
The Roxant Wide View Monocular is a lightweight alternative that still offers fantastic optical capability. Equipped with a non-slip comfort grip, the spotting scope features true 6×30 viewing, a retractable eyepiece, and a sturdy build quality endorsed by hunters, hikers, and concert-goers alike.
A little support
For some, a hike entails a somewhat leisurely stroll up a somewhat steep hill. For others, it’s closer to the events of Lord of the Rings, and for those people, a little extra support can make all the difference in the world. Ski poles can work just fine in a pinch, but they generally have different grips made for thick gloves, they aren’t as adjustable as hiking poles, and they aren’t as collapsable, either.
One of the best hiking poles out there is the Black Diamond Trail, a product renowned for its durability, comfortable rubber grip, and stellar build quality. However, they can be on the spendy side, and there are plenty of high-value options available. The BAFX Anti-Shock Trail Pole fits the bill perfectly, as it provides an aircraft-grade aluminum construction, adjustable length from 25.5 inches to 52 inches, and a one-year warranty all for $22.
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Andrew Hard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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