Thru-Hiker’s Gift Guide 2019: Under $150

We polled thru-hikers, our gear review team, and our writer crew to find out what they’d most want to find neatly wrapped and ready to throw into the pack. These are the items long-distance hikers couldn’t live without this past season, recommended straight from their packs.

Here are the gifts thru-hikers, gear reviewers, and the Trek team recommends, all under $150.

Tasc Challenge 3-Inch Shorts 
MSRP: $54 (Currently on sale)

I’m constantly on the lookout for shorts that fit well, don’t bunch, and are the right length for freedom of movement without chafing. These became my go-to shorts over the past season. These never chafed, the waistband is wide and sat high enough that I didn’t worry about it slipping under my pack’s hip belt, and they held up to hundreds of miles of running, hiking, and backpacking this season. They are lightweight, stretchy, and made from a comfortable blend of bamboo fibers and polyester.

Maggie Slepian, Trek Managing Editor

High Tail Designs Fanny Pack
MSRP: $55

I loved mine so much. Waterproof, perfect sized, great designs, durable, excellent for town, and when the zipper on mine got wonky, the company replaced it for free. –Sprout, AT

Cotopaxi Vamos Men’s Shorts
MSRP: $65

These are shorts made for active folks.  They are best used for light to moderate activity but are also great for wearing to tackle everyday tasks.  The features that worked great for me were the pockets and elastic waistband with drawcord that acts as a belt. These shorts are very comfortable for lounging around camp and mild activity. The shorts are a little more form fitting than others and this contributed to comfort. The company website actually recommends sizing down the shorts for a more athletic fit, which I don’t recommend for use over longer durations of time. – Chris Guynn, PCT

Anker PowerCore 26800
MSRP: $65.99

This beast is going to be overkill for your typical thru-hike. However, it was the ideal solution for the Wind River High Route this year, as we were expecting eight days between town stops.  In a range this beautiful, it’s near-impossible to not have your camera out the entire time (proof).  Add to this having the security blanket of a GPS app in the remote backcountry, the peace of mind of an additional 6 iPhone charges is worth the added weight.   The 26800 mAh also offers a dual inport port, which charges the battery at twice the speed.  A huge benefit to those who plan on spending limited time in town and/or using their phone for capturing or editing video.  For most long-distance backpacking situations, though, the 15000 mAh battery will offer plenty of juice. – Zach Davis, Editor-in-Chief

BearVault 450
MSRP: $70

Who hasn’t struggled to throw a good bear hang? Instead, toss that frustration and protect your food stash with the BearVault 450 or 500. Bears know where you hide your food. The trick is to stop them from getting it, and the BearVault does that. Get ahead of the curve on this one as more hiking areas begin requiring canisters. The 450 is good for five days of food, the 500 up to eight days.

-Cassidy, Long Trail

Patagonia Houdini 
MSRP: $99 (Currently on sale)

When you’re physically exerting yourself on climbs that are windy, this set will give you a little extra warmth by blocking the wind but won’t overheat you. Worth the few ounces! I wouldn’t ever go without them. –FAFA, PCT

Isobaa Merino 200 Zip Hoodie and Tights
MSRP: $120 for the top, $87 for the tights

This was the Year of Base Layers for me, and nothing came close to this merino top and bottom from UK-based Isobaa. The top has an athletic fit that works as a next-to-skin layer without feeling binding, the quarter-zip style allows for venting, and I don’t believe I’ll ever want a base layer sans hood ever again. I pack this top for all of my backcountry outings, from backpacking, to skiing, to day hikes. The tights fit true to size, are durable, and sit high enough that they don’t ride down during activity. The merino is soft and hasn’t pilled yet despite heavy usage over the past season. –Maggie Slepian, Managing Editor

Black Diamond trail ergo cork trekking poles
MSRP: $129.95

Natural cork grips, secure locking adjustments… these poles are comfortable and easily adjustable. “Everyone else’s on trail broke. Mine lasted the whole hike!” -Garden State, AT

Outdoor Research Ferrosi Hooded Jacket
MSRP: $130 (currently on sale)

If you were to scroll through my Instagram feed, you’ll see I’m rarely spotted without the Ferrosi on these days. It’s one of those pieces that checks so many boxes that you really narrow down what clothing you need on any given adventure. It’s an exceptional versatile active layer that manages to provide enough weather protection, warmth and breathability during a variety of activities.

Baby, Triple Crown; WRHR

Hoka Hoka One Challenger ATR 5
MSRP: $130

These ridiculous cruise ship shoes are actually pretty incredible.  2019 was my first chance at discovering this reality, since the Challenger ATR’s were offered in a wide model, a requirement for my nuclear Shrek feet.  Hoka’s THIC midsole is like walking on a cloud, which is a major asset to any hiker currently dealing with knee issues.  As someone who’s had two ACL reconstructions and meniscectomies, the cushion provided by the Challengers has been a godsend.  For trails with more unforgiving terrain, such as the Appalachian Trail, I’d opt for something with a more aggressive lug, like the Speedgoat. But, for most trails, the Challenger ATR’s will do the trick.  If you have knee issues or are worried that you might someday soon, give Hokas a shot. You can thank me later.  – Zach Davis, Editor-in-Chief

Patagonia Capilene Air Hoody
MSRP: $149

It was my sleep shirt, town shirt, camp shirt, emergency warmth shirt. It’s warm, soft, light, comfortable, awesome, and still looking good. –Captain, PCT

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