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Hiking Gifts: Camping Gear Gift Ideas for the Solo Adventurer

Best hiking gifts
Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

Some people travel in wolf packs, while others pride themselves in the lone wolf mentality. These solo hikers thrive when exploring alone in the backcountry and relish the challenge. But considering solo-camping gear is built quite differently and for extremely different purposes than equipment for car camping, do you ever wonder what hiking gifts to buy for the solo adventurer in your life?

Male hikers are often focused on finding gear that fits into a very particular mindset. The gear is about prestige as well as about being highly practical. The more indestructible, or waterproof something is, the higher the appeal is. Hiking alone requires an entirely new focus, specifically on a few key features that facilitate ease of use and lightweight.

Jetboil

There are many hiking gear gifts out there with the solo-male hiker in mind. If you’re not a fan of outdoor adventures and you have no idea what kind of gift would make your solo traveler friend happy, we’re here to help you.

In this article, you’ll find tips and tricks on how to pick the right hiking gifts as well as reviews on the products we think would put a smile on your recipient’s face. We only recommend top-of-the-line products since we know every little thing counts out there. There’s something amazing about the thought that your gift may be the very thing that will save your traveler friend’s life if he ever finds himself in a sticky situation.

Our Top Picks

ProductUsabilityRecommended Hiking SeasonWaterproofPrice
Co-op Quarter Dome 1 TentWorks as isSpring, summer, autumnYesCheck price on Amazon
Co-op Igneo Sleeping BagWorks as isSpring, summer, autumnWater-resistantCheck price on Amazon
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MattressWorks best with a mattress inflatorSpring, summer, autumn, winterWater-resistantCheck price on Amazon
Patagonia Down Sweater JacketWorks as isSpring, summer, autumnWater-resistantCheck price on Amazon
Yeti Tundra CoolerWorks best with a reusable ice packSpring, summer, autumnYesCheck price on Amazon
Jetboil MiniMo Personal Cooking SystemThe fuel and the pot support are to be bought separatelySpring, summer, autumn, winterNoCheck price on Amazon
Exped Lightning 45 Hiking BagWorks as isSpring, summer, autumn, winterWater-resistantCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Primarily there are several main things to look for when considering what an experienced outdoor enthusiast may require when putting together his backpacking basics kit. They focus on keeping the body warm and dry and provide comfort during long days on the trail.

Fit

Finding equipment suitable for each and every body type can drastically change the experience of a backcountry trip. Just as often as women find it difficult to fit into unisex or male-specific equipment dimensions, larger men can also find it hard to source quality equipment suitable for their larger stature.

Unisex Gifts

Spending every night crammed into a tiny sleeping bag, falling off a small pad, and being unable to sit up fully in a tiny one-man tent, can cause even the strongest man to start to question his solo quest.

The good news is that many well-known companies, think Patagonia, REI, and others, who recognize the variety of issues being faced by larger men in the backcountry. Larger, wider and more spacious equipment has been developed to fit each and every body shape, even the linebackers among us.

Waterproofing

Going hand-in-hand with having heat focused equipment, it is also important to have equipment suitable for the environment. This means, that for everyone who doesn’t live in a desert (and sometimes even those people), planning ahead and expecting wet conditions is important. Nothing dampens the mood more than waking up in a puddle, with nobody to blame but yourself for not bringing waterproof and repellent equipment.

Waterproof Gift

Another reason why you should consider the gear’s water resistance is because it is very important to keep yourself dry and warm in the wilderness. When you can’t rely on another body in the tent to keep your warm, it’s extremely important to invest in high quality, durable equipment.

Being cold on the trail, while making camp—or worse yet, when trying to sleep—are major buzz killers even for the experienced backcountry camper. It’s important to stay warm, in every situation.

Weight

Hiking, or exploring, on your own is a powerful experience, but being weighed down by unnecessarily heavy equipment doesn’t have to be a part of this experience. Nowadays, with advancements in technology and materials, everything is getting lighter and lighter.

Hiking Gift Weight

Weight may not be all that vital of a concern among car campers, but if your friend is a backpacker or a hiker, make sure to pick the lightest outdoors gear possible that doesn’t sacrifice quality. A multi-day hiking trip with the right equipment means fewer curse words and fewer blisters.

Brand

Not surprisingly, investing in quality gear does make a huge difference when looking for hiking gear gifts that last. The tent found at the local hardware store or the rain jacket found at a stereotypical department store will not hold up in the face of weather, wear and time. Camping gear may just be one of the few areas where the more expensive it is, the higher the quality.

For the companies selling these high-quality items, it is their end all and be all to make the most durable and resistant products on the market. They know that their name relies on it, and one misstep will be heard across the wilderness-loving community.

Hiking Gear Brand

Recognizable names in the industry—like Patagonia, REI, and Yeti—all invest heavily in research and development. This enables them to constantly be on the cusp of new technologies, new materials, and ideas that kick their products above the pack.

Warranty

Another bonus to investing in quality is the superior warranties that often come along with it. After all, you can’t call something a NeverFail Hinge, if it’s prone to failure.

Some brands tend to offer full refunds or exchanges on any items that happened to break on the trail, no matter how long ago it was purchased. This way, even though the product may be expensive, it certainly offers a great value for money when you consider how long it will be able to serve you.

Hiking Gear Warranty

One word of caution: unless it is a famed and established outdoors gear company, don’t trust their promises of warranty so easily. They may put up the words “lifetime warranty” on their product’s description, but untrustworthy companies may throw excuse after excuse at you when you actually call in to hold them to it.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Consider what kind of adventures your solo traveler friend likes to go on, then envision the kind of gear he would find useful. Don’t fret if you still can’t come up with anything because we’re sure that at least one of the products we are going to review below will turn out to be a good fit:

Co-op Quarter Dome 1 Tent

Price: Approx. $280CO-OP QUARTER DOME 1 TENT

Weight: 2.13 pounds

Dimensions: 90 x 40 x 33 inches

Specific features: Durable and long-lasting, vestibule for extra storage, maximum living space

Best use: 3-season, backpacking

One of the best one-man tents on the market, offering space, storage and room to breathe. The Co-op Quarter Dome 1 Tent holds up well under heavy weather conditions, including being buried under a deep snowfall, or surviving the winds and rains of a torrential thunderstorm.

Even after a sweaty, humid summer night, there is room to breathe, and a vent specifically built to limit condensation, something which most of us can appreciate after watching streams of condensation drip down the sides of our tents every morning.

This tent, despite being a one-man tent, is comfortable and considered spacious, even for people over 6ft tall. It has space to sit up comfortably! As many enthusiasts have noted, it packs up small and can take a thorough beating.

The only downside is that it’s a bit heavier than what you would expect from a one-man tent, but the weight should still be within a reasonable range.

PROS:

  • Very durable
  • Breathable
  • Spacious, good for taller people
  • Packs down small
 CONS:

  • On the heavy side

Related: Don’t forget to also purchase this Etekcity Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern because you’re definitely going to need it. Solo travelers always need to be ready for anything, and lighting is something no hiker can go without.

Check the price on Amazon

Co-op Igneo Sleeping Bag

Price: Approx. $270Sleeping Bag

Weight: 1.81 pounds

Dimensions: 72 inches

Specific features: Lightweight, durable and long-lasting, vestibule for extra storage, maximum living space

Best use: 3-season, riverside hiking or kayaking

Ever wake up in your tent with a river flowing underneath it and instantly start to dread the coming morning and the cold hike ahead? Waking up in a puddle soaking wet is considered a backpacker’s initiation, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

Finding a sleeping bag that actually repels water is vital for 3-season outdoor enthusiasts, this is especially true for those of us living in wetter climates. That’s why you might want to consider purchasing this Co-op Igneo Sleeping Bag as a gift for your outdoor enthusiast friend.

The duck down mummy bag is rated to a European Norm lower limit of comfort to 19 degrees Fahrenheit and comes in both regular and long sizes to fit most bodies. Rest assured that even if you forget to drag yourself into your tent at night, you’ll wake up warm and near-dry come morning.

This is a great and roomy tent overall if a bit tight and constricting around the legs. If you get cold feet easily, though, this may actually work in your favor because a smaller foot box usually means there’s less space to trap cold air in.

PROS:

  • Great water resistance
  • Warm
  • Lightweight
 CONS:

  • The foot box is small

Related: Even if your body is warm and dry, it won’t do if your face is exposed to the elements. Wear this Generic Igneo Facemask Beanie if the sleeping bag’s face and neck baffle aren’t enough to keep your upper half warm and toasty.

Check the price on Amazon

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Mattress

Price: Approx. $200Therm-A-Rest NeoAir

Weight: 1.08 pounds

Dimensions: 72 x 20 x 2.5 inches inflated, 9×4 inches packed

Specific features: Lightweight, thermal, repair kit included, stuff sack included, no-slip fabric, triangular core matrix baffled pattern, reflective ThermaCapture technology

Best use: 4-season, backpacking

If you camp in the winter or the shoulder seasons, having a warm and reliable thermal sleeping pad is an essential requirement. Shelling out a little extra money initially will save you many sleepless nights thinking about how cold it is in your tent. No matter how warm your sleeping bag is, it’s inevitable that the chill from the ground will begin to seep through the down at some point.

Plan ahead, invest in a proper thermal mattress that doesn’t compromise on warmth. On top of being incredibly warm, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Mattress is structured to maintain its shape over a long period and built to support even larger campers who may have struggled in the past to stay on tiny mummy shaped pads.

It also packs down small—to the size of a small water bottle—so it won’t take up a lot of space in your backpack. With every purchase, a stuff sack and a repair kit will also be thrown into the package.

It does leak air a little bit over the night—to this date, an air mattress that is completely leak-proof hasn’t been invented—but not so much that it should be considered a major flaw.

PROS:

  • Very warm thanks to the reflective ThermaCapture technology
  • Maintains its shape well, a good choice for heavier hikers
  • Packs down to the size of a small water bottle
  • A stuff sack and a repair kit are included in the package
 CONS:

  • Leaks air a little bit overnight

Related: So you wouldn’t have to blow air into the mattress manually, you should purchase this Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mattress Inflator. This mini pump will have your mattress up and running from zero in three minutes or less. No need to dread how out of breath you’ll be after each mattress-inflating session.

Check the price on Amazon

Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket

Price: $150 – $300Patagonia Mens Down Sweater Jacket

Weight: 0.82 pounds

Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 6 inches

Specific features: Windproof, goose-down, two zippered pockets, packs small, available sizes range from XS to XXL, DRW-coated shell, recycled polyester RipStop shell

Best use: Middle layer, 3-season, backpacking

Layer, layer, Layer! At least that’s what the experts advise when heading into the great outdoors. This is a great farm to factory goose down layer to add below your shell, and because the goose down is ethically traced, you can feel good about it. The polyester is completely recycled as well, keeping with Patagonia’s continued commitment to saving the planet.

Specifically, Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket comes with a few great additions, like the way you can neatly tuck the entire thing into a small compact pocket, or the zippered hand-warmer specific pockets. Because it can be used as a standalone jacket, or as a warm layer, it’s extremely versatile as needed in the backcountry; a gift for every solo hiker to enjoy.

This jacket is quite expensive, though. Although the price is justified by the fact that it’s down-filled, it wouldn’t be the first choice of budget travelers. Also, it doesn’t come with a hood, so you need to find some other ways to protect the top of your head with when it rains or snows.

PROS:

  • Environmentally friendly due to the ethically-traced goose down and recycled polyester
  • Packs down into its own pocket
  • Comes with zippered hand pockets
  • Versatile
 CONS:

  • On the expensive side
  • Doesn’t come with a hood

Related: If you are fond of challenging the wilderness during the colder seasons, be sure to also keep your feet well-protected. These Sorel Paxson Snow Boots will ensure that you won’t lose heat from your extremities while your torso is warm and toasty. These boots are waterproof and durable—perfect for trekking in winter months.

Check the price on Amazon

Yeti Tundra Cooler

Price: Approx. $400YETI Tundra 65 Cooler

Weight: 38 pounds

Dimensions: 16 x 17.5 x 30.5 inches

Specific features: one piece, durable rotomolded construction, bear-proof T-Rex lid latches, unmatched ice-retention, 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation

Best use: car camping, base camp, sport-fishing, hunting

We admit that this might not be something as lightweight and back-packable as the other gifts on this list, but trust us—every man needs the perfect cooler. The Yeti Tundra Cooler is pretty much indestructible.

Thanks to the thick layer of PermaFrost insulation, this cooler will effectively keep the goods cold. It will be waiting for you when you arrive back from your multi-day backpacking trip with cold beers inside.

This brand builds all its cooler to stand up to whatever outdoor enthusiasts may throw at it. This includes attacks from grizzly bears. The T-Rex lid latches are made of extremely durable rubber that can withstand a lot of wear and tear—pretty much indestructible.

Because of its extreme resistance to wildlife, it makes a great addition to any base camp, not to mention giving people something to show off about after the end of a great trip. If you’re looking for something that will ensure you can kick back and relax after a long day of hiking, this is the one.

While the Yeti Cooler may not be able to tag along on multi-day trekking experiences, it will at least stay strong at basecamp, warding off any attempts by wild animals to steal your well-deserved dinner and beer.

PROS:

  • Very effective at keeping the drinks cold
  • Very durable
  • Very resistant to wildlife
 CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Expensive

Related: Rather than having to fill up the box with ice cubes before every camping trip, it’s much more convenient just to purchase this YETI ICE Reusable Cooler Ice Pack. It’s very convenient because you can simply store it somewhere in the house after you’re done with it and take it out to be refrozen when you need to use it again.

Check the price on Amazon

Jetboil MiniMo Personal Cooking System

Price: Approx. $135Jetboil MiniMo

Weight: 0.92 pounds

Dimensions: 5 x 6 inches

Specific features: improved simmer control, handle for the bowl

Best use: ultra-light backpacking, multi-day, and extended hiking trips

Time and time again, the Jetboil continues to woo the backpacking industry with its lightweight, yet powerful cooking ability. It is one of the 2015 Editor’s Choices from Backpacker and the 2016 UK Outdoor Industry award for camping equipment. The Jetboil MiniMo Personal Cooking System has continued the company tradition of innovation, which means that many of the features that the original Jetboil was lacking have been improved in the MiniMo.

For instance, the stove has added simmer control and helped improve temperature regulation down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The Jetboil is completely packable into the bowl (which also serves as a mug), making it perfect for the solo hiker to carry with him over long distances. It barely weighs anything at all, so all you’ll need to worry about is carrying your food!

A general concern with advanced systems like this is that they are generally not very durable. Jetboil MiniMo is made of high-quality materials, but the burner adjuster is rather quick to break off. This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, though, because you can make do and adjust it manually.

PROS:

  • Advanced simmer control and temperature regulation system
  • Great packability
  • Bowl that doubles as a mug
  • Lightweight
 CONS:

  • Not very durable

Related: The Jetboil systems work so well because their components are specifically designed to fit into each other, maximizing heat and cook time. This is why, adding the Jetboil Coffee Press, or Jetboil Pot Support as additional components can only serve to increase product satisfaction.

Check the price on Amazon

Exped Lightning 45 Hiking Bag

Price: Approx. $200Exped Bag

Weight: 2.31 pounds

Dimensions: 28.3 × 12.6 × 9.8 inches

Specific features: Lightweight, suspension system, water-resistant, 47L volume, PU coated, 210 D Dyneema gridstop nylon

Best use: Alpine, expedition, trekking, backpacking

Finally, after reviewing a series of warm, waterproof and extremely package gift ideas, Exped Lightning 45 Hiking Bag is the perfect idea to fit them all inside. Its specific design using roll-top closure ensures it remains water-resistant even during the worst weather. It is coated with PU to keep the fabric from being saturated with water. Perfect for winter hiking.

Made of 210 D Dyneema gridstop nylon, this backpack is really durable and can withstand a lot of rough treatments. Despite being only 47 L, it is extremely adjustable for all body shapes and sizes, even the bodybuilders out there. Unlike many multi-day packs, it conveniently includes a suspension system and a way to compress the contents.

Seriously, why don’t other packs allow you to compress your bulky clothing after packing it up? Just make sure that you’re not putting anything that won’t be usable anymore once bent out of shape inside this backpack, though.

PROS:

  • Great water-resistance
  • Compresses the contents
  • Great balance due to the suspension system
  • Durable
 CONS:

  • Doesn’t have a very large volume

Related: Considering everything else on our list is focusing on keeping you warm and dry, we highly recommend also purchasing the Exped Raincover to triple-confirm your stuff stays tinder dry on the trail.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

You’ve arrived at the end of the reviews. Adding even one of these items to your gift list for the solo adventurer in your life will not only improve his or her camping experience but likely make sure he invites you to the next one! Each of the items focuses on staying warm, staying dry and nearly all of them focus on being easily portable during longer expeditions.

Hiking With Best Gear

Many look at solo adventures as a quest, as a way to ground themselves, and as a series of personal accomplishments. That’s why getting the best gear offers bragging rights and has a certain sex appeal. Ask any ultra-light focused trekker, and they will tell you about how sexy their Jetboil cooking system is, how much it weighs, and how quickly it cooks their dinner.

So which hiking presents are you planning to give? Have you found our gift guide useful? Do you have any other gift ideas the addition of which you think will improve this article? Feel free to let us know in the comments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sean Nelson

Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.