Thru-Hiker’s Gift Guide 2019: Under $50

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 $50.

PICKY Oats Performance Oatmeal
MSRP: $3

I loved these. They are $3 a pop, so kind of a luxury—hence, great gift item to send a hiker. You can pour the water right in the pouch, and also they have so many great additional super foods in them, and on one particularly hard windy terrible day in the southern Virginia balds where I had next to no water, I used my last little bit to make one of these. And it was delicious. –Sprout, AT

Glamorise Full-Figure Sports Bra
MSRP: $12+

Larger women and larger-chested women have a really hard time finding a good, supportive, breathable, underwire free bra. I know it is weird to gift a bra, but I’m shocked at how this bra has worked out for me! I’m a 42H and the bra retails inexpensively and comes in a variety of colors.  –Shannon Quadres, Trek Blogger

Therm-a-Rest Z-Seat
MSRP: $14.95

Most hikers don’t know they need a sit pad until they’ve tried one. It doesn’t weigh much or take up a lot of space, so even meticulous packers will be likely to find room in their packs for this gift. Luxury without the weight penalty or inordinate price tag. -Ibex, AT

Lixada Camping Gas Stove
MSRP: $16

We got this item when our original stove packed up on us on the PCT. It’s $16, 0.88 ounces (25g), and if all you’re really going to be doing is boiling water we don’t think there is a lighter and cheaper choice. -Rancher and Dopple, PCT

Deuce of Spades Trowel
MSRP: $19.95

Nothing says Happy Holidays like backcountry bathroom essentials. The Deuce of Spades is UL and helps make it quick and easy to dig LNT-approved catholes to keep our beautiful trails clean.

Baby, Triple Crown; WRHR

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket Knife
MSRP: $19.99

All you’ll ever need and light. I only ever really used the scissors to open food packaging. On a whole thru-hike I maybe used the blade eight times. –Camel, AT

Kula Cloth
MSRP: $20

This will keep you cleaner than a regular pee rag and is way more sustainable than using toilet paper. Plus, you’re supporting a woman-owned business and product made in the US.


Nathan Reflective Gloves: Women’s | Men’s
MSRP: $29.99

I use a lot of crossover running accessories for backpacking, including these gloves. These are a slim, streamlined pair of next-to-skin gloves I use during shoulder season hiking and backpacking. They’re warm down to the upper 30s as long as you keep moving, and are easy to grip poles with. They fit true to size, and aren’t bulky in my pack. Touch-screen compatible, which, you know, is important. –Maggie Slepian, Managing Editor

NEMO Switchback
MSRP: $30+

Lightweight, slightly thicker (better sleep), still compact like its competition, convenient! –Pace Car, Trek Writer

Columbia Silver Ridge Sun Shirt 
MSRP: $32+

A staple on trail and for a good reason. SPF 50, highly wicking, and comes with Polartec Alpha Active Insulation to help regulate your temperature. -Rancher and Dopple, PCT

Sawyer Squeeze
MSRP: $35

The original is the best bet, but if you know the hiker is counting grams, opt for the Micro instead of the Mini. The Micro won’t have the same flow rate for as long as the Original, but it is still faster than the Mini. –Maggie Slepian, Managing Editor

Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow
MSRP: $45+

At the end of a long day it’s comfort I want. A warm sleeping bag, a cushy air pad, and a pillow that nestles my head through a long night’s sleep. The Sea to Summit Aeros Ultralight Pillow does just that. The 2.1 ounces for the Ultralight regular are a small price to pay for a good sleep. The pillow inflates with a few breaths and deflates even quicker. It packs small inside my sleeping bag compression sack. Pamper yourself. You deserve it after a long day on trail. -Cassidy, Long Trail

Katadyn BeFree
MSRP: $44.95

Team Katadyn over Sawyer any day: superior flow rate and there is no way you’re going to drink >1K liters of H2O during a thru-hike. –Pumpkin, AT

Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow Carbon
MSRP: $45

Let’s be honest, no rain gear is going to keep you dry for long. That’s why I recommend doubling up with a rain jacket and an ultralight umbrella. Works great for beating the heat and staying dry in a downpour. –Bacon, AT

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