It’s hard to buy gifts for someone who says they don’t want or need anything. I know that because I’m one of those people, and I always end up getting gifts from people despite the fact that I say I don’t need anything. It can be hard to tell people that what I really need is outdoorsy gear, or money to go towards something I’m saving up for. So usually I don’t say anything and just let them do what they’re going to do, which is probably to buy me something despite what I tell them. Since I know other people often have the same problem, especially if they’re more focused on adventures and experiences, I complied a list of outdoors-focused gifts (ranging from a couple dollars to some more pricey options) that’ll hopefully help you buy friends and family gifts they’ll love!
Chances are someone who’s outdoorsy has something they collect stickers on. Stickers are a great souvenir that don’t clutter the house, and durable ones will last for years before ending up in a landfill. There are wooden ones that I’ll link here. Most that I end up buying are vinyl or something that’s waterproof, which you can find here (Redbubble is the best site I’ve found, and you can even custom make them for free!). Places to put them on include computers, tablets, cars, and bear canisters. I have a large collection on all of those places, and I like that they let me remember my adventures without taking up too much space. If you’re buying someone stickers as a gift, think about where they’ve been, adventures you’ve shared with them, or something that’s a special reminder for them that they can have where they go.
If you’re looking for something more expensive for someone, I’d suggest to ask them what gear they’ve been looking at, or getting some sort of gift card. Remember that backpacking and adventure gear is very specialized these days, and you can’t always tell what someone wants or what will fit them. There’s gift cards for REI, Marmot, and visa gift cards for when you really don’t know what they want at all. If you know what brand they’re looking at for a certain item, a gift card for that brand (Osprey, Gregory, etc.) can be a good option as well.
Do they not have a headlamp yet? A water filter? Warm enough gloves or waterproof gear? These things might not always be flashy, but can save lives and are very helpful for people who like to be in remote areas. You can find things like this on Amazon, but there’s a few hiker favorites that I’ll link to, including Sawyer’s Mini Water Filter and Black Diamond Equipment Headlamps. Even within headlamps, there’s a lot of variability, but having some type of safety gear is better than none, and sometimes hikers forget how important these things can be!
Something to Help Them be More Environmentally Friendly
Reusable Water Bottle
A Nalgene is always useful for day hikers, but if the person you’re buying for is worried about weight of their items, you might want to think about a silicone water bottle like this one, or something more compact-able. There are of course lots of options beyond water bottles, so I’ll list some other environmentally conscious gifts:
These can be used for groceries, a school or college bag for a computer or lunch, or pretty much anything you can imagine! Originally I thought of this because it’s an easy gift to sew (and if you’re crafty, this is definitely something that is pretty inexpensive and a thoughtful gift that can be customized). But you can also buy nice bags that are specially made for a certain sport or type of hiking (for example). Some of these include ski boot bags, backpacking dyneema pouches, and grocery bags.
Two great choices are Rumpl and Therm-a-Rest proton. These are really good for camping and backpacking, but they’re also useful for living in a van, someone who travels a lot, or just being by the fireplace at home. They’re warm and fairly lightweight. These aren’t your run of the mill blankets, and they’re water resistant and great for people who aren’t afraid to get covered in dirt or sand outside.
National Parks Pass or a state parks pass. You’ll have to know the person you’re buying for pretty well, but if you know that their pass is going to run out soon, now might be the time to buy them one! The national parks pass is about $80, and state park passes can be about the same for one year (varies, but in New York it’s $80 per year and $750 for a lifetime pass). Different passes end at different dates, so make sure you do specific research on which one. I’ve never found a pass that’s over $80 per year, so it’s a good gift if you’re looking for something under $100.
Hiking Themed Glasses
If they love hiking and booze, there’s whiskey glasses that have mountains in the middle of them. This is a nice gift for people who have everything to hike and just enjoy being a part of the hiking community, but also have room for another cup on their shelf.