Backpackers are notoriously hard to buy for, but we take the stress out of holiday season this year with these great gift selections.
Klymit Double Wide Pad and Luxury Camp Pillow
The new Klymit Double V is the first two-person pad from this brand leader in the ultralight space and is one of the lightest double pads on the market, weighing in at just 40.5 oz., with the very reasonable price tag of $129. Based on the Static V, the Double V features Klymit’s signature body mapping and v-chamber design that limits air movement and heat loss in a uniquely ergonomic body map designed to minimize the movement of the person next to you. It fills the floors of most two-person tents completely at 47 inches, making for a cozy night’s sleep. Flush-flat inflation and deflation valves won’t poke sleepers and the pad inflates in about 10 fills of the included stuff sack that doubles as an air pump. It’s quite durable in 75D poly, but only has an R value of 1.6, so it’s not exactly a four-season option. Add a couple of Klymit Luxe pillows to your order to up your ultralight comfort game. The new 6.2 oz. camp pillows feature removable plush sleeves with synthetic padding and an engineered weld pattern to lift and support the head. Adjust the air pressure for custom sleeping comfort.
klymit.com | Double V Sleeping Pad $129 | Luxe Camp Pillow $39.95
Platypus Meta Bottle
One of the latest in portable personal water filters, the new Platypus Meta Bottle is ideal for adventure travel and all outdoor pursuits, combining a squishable liter water bottle with a built-in micro filtration device that all comes apart for easy cleaning, and can be compacted down to half its size for storage and transport. The Microfilter accessory turns the bottle into a fast and easy personal water filter for safe drinking water in the backcountry. With the pump-free design you just unthread the bottom half and use it to scoop water out of the nearest water source, close the bottle and drink. The hollow fiber Microfilter removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9% of protozoa, according to the brand, and delivers up to two liters of water per minute with a 1,000-liter lifespan. It cleans by shaking it with clean water.
cascadedesigns.com/platypus | Meta Bottle w/ Microfilter $49.95 | .75L $19.95 (no filter) | 1L $21.95 (no filter)
LuminAID PackLite Max
The extremely simple and efficient LuminAid solar lantern was engineered to save weight, space, and batteries while providing light in any outdoors or camping scenario. Requiring no fuel, power cells, or even USB charging, the little solar charged-LED light of the collapsible, floating, 7-ounce LuminAid has been a real innovation for our vanlife and camping this summer. It folds flat to about an inch thick and expands into a 6" cube. The inflatable diffusion box shines light over a 200 sq. ft. area with just 150 lumens, and now recharges via a dual-charging system: either the high-efficiency solar panels or through a new USB charge port (cord included). It can be hung on just about anything and daisy-chained with multiple lanterns. The PackLite Max is IP67 waterproof.
luminaid.com | PackLite Max $29.99
Opinel No. 12 Explore
Like all Opinel knives, the new No. 12 Explore for hiking, camping, hunting and fishing is made in France at the base of the Alps, where the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship and heritage began. Founded in 1890 by Joseph Opinel, the company is still owned and operated by the Opinel family and is best known for the iconic No. 8 folding knife. Available in orange and green, the new No. 12 Explore features a folding stainless steel blade, a 110 dB survival whistle, a fire starter and a gutting hook. The 10-cm Swedish Sandvik steel blade lends a precise cut and holds its edge through extended use. Opinel’s patented locking ring provides safety in the folded and open positions. The knife’s handle is made from fiberglass-reinforced polymer designed to withstand shock, water, and extreme temperatures, with a softer, elastomer grip for a secure and comfortable hold.
opinel-usa.com | No. 12 Explore $49
Granite Gear Lutsen Series
While you may be more familiar with some of the bigger names in packs, Granite Gear has a strong legacy and offers some unique features in a great value. Perfect for the serious backpacker in your life, its newest line of innovative backpacks in the Lutsen Series does not disappoint. Featuring Granite Gear's newest innovative and adjustable Re-Fit System technology, which allows you to quickly and easily adjust the torso length and hip belt. The three Lutsen backpacks range from 2.9 lbs. to 3.1 lbs., and is available in three colors. The 55-liter forgoes a traditional top pocket in a sleek, convenient design as well.
granitegear.com | Lutsen backpack 35L $179.99 | 45L $199.99 | 55L $219.99
Let’s face it: beer is too heavy for backpacking. That’s what personalized flasks, filled with your favorite craft whiskey, are for. Founded and operated out of Kirby, Wyoming, by fourth generation Wyoming cattle ranchers, Wyoming Whiskey crafts traditional bourbon using classic distilling methods with non-GMO ingredients - sourced exclusively from the Big Horn Basin, including hand-selected corn, wheat and barley. As if that wasn’t enough, the brand’s water comes from a mile-deep limestone aquifer. Its Small Batch Bourbon is medium- amber with a nose of sweet corn, molasses, and clove; medium-bodied with a palate of vanilla, caramel, charred oak, and a hint of citrus, according to tasters. The finish is smooth and mild with lingering caramel and toast.
wyomingwhiskey.com | Small Batch Bourbon $39
The new Reactik headlamp from Petzl is a teched-out beauty that's perfect for runners, particularly those who love to run into the wee hours of the night. The headlamp features Reactive Lightning technology whereby a sensor adjusts the beam’s brightness and width in correlation to the situation. It is Bluetooth equipped to work with Petzl’s new MyPetzl Light app for both Android devices and iPhones. With 300 lumens, the weather resistant REACTIK offers backpackers and trail runners a compact, intelligent, connected, rechargeable unprecedented lighting option. You can consult your smart phone or tablet to check remaining battery life and adapt the performance of the headlamp to your favorite activity. During a workout REACTIK analyzes the ambient light and adjusts brightness instantly to user requirements. Create a custom profile or use one Petzl’s pre-sets for specific sports. Weight: 115 grams.
petzl.com | REACTIK+ $109.95
Leki Anti-Shock Trekking Poles
An all-time favorite pole brand for both backpackers and skiers, this fall Leki is introducing the new DSS (Dynamic Suspension System) anti-shock technology featured on four Micro series folding poles, which may just be a world’s first. The anti-shock mechanism is positioned in the flex tip, in order to be as close to the point of impact as possible, neutralizing pole-plant shock and vibration before it travels up the pole, which the brand says reduces peak impact force by up to 40 percent. The LEKI DSS poles start at $159 for the Micro Vario Ti Cor-Tec DSS and go up to $219 for the Micro Vario Carbon DSS.
leki.com | Anti-Shock Trekking Poles $159
Hilleberg Niak Two-Person Tent
Another, perhaps lesser-known, brand renowned for its quality and design, Hilleberg is introducing a simple but effective three-season tent for backpacking -- the new Hilleberg Niak 2-person tent. It weighs 3lbs., 5 oz., and features a single door and single vestibule. The brand says that while it is a true 2-person tent for lightweight backpacking, it’s ideal for one person and a dog.
hilleberg.com | Niak Tent $730
Gear Aid Portable Lighting
Long-known for their gear repair solutions, Gear Aid recently launched a line of three heavy-duty portable, water-resistant lighting solutions that double as charging stations. They transform from multi-functional directional light into lanterns with the included carrying bag/diffuser, and they can be affixed to surfaces and objects easily by using Gear Aid or GoPro mounts (sold separately). Three lights — the SPARK, ARC, and FLUX — compose the new series. The Spark is the only one that does not have two light temperature settings and power-out; it weighs 4 oz. with 160 lumens. The Arc features 60 tiny LEDs and will charge a cell phone 5 times with a 9 hour run time, depending on which power setting you’re running. The Flux features 82 LEDs and both can output 320-640 lumens. These are the most burly, handy USB-chargeable lights I’ve ever played with.
gearaid.com | Spark $49.95 | Arc $99.95 | Flux $149.95
After five years of backpackers putting the Alpinisto to the test in high alpine environments, Gregory has come back with an updated version of this pack that is stronger, lighter (by 10 percent, thanks to new fabrics), and even better fitting. The brand’s new, lightweight Fusion Flex Suspension System features a 7001-aluminum frame for optimal load support, while the climbing-specific hip belt and harness maintain comfort for technical ascents. Full-length side zippers offer unrestricted access to the stuff inside. New tool attachments and over-sized, as are tear-resistant crampon pockets, and the A-frame ski carry system has wider, with easier-to-use straps.
gregorypacks.com | Alpinisto 35L $199 | 50L $219
Kammock Wallaby Hammock
Every backpacker needs a hammock, and Kammock hammocks are some of the best options out there for weight and packability. The Wallaby (add the Python strap kit) is basic and pretty much all you need, for under a hundred bucks – unless you want to add a Dragonfly insect net and Kuhli rain shelter to build out your complete hammock sleep system, which is pretty awesome. Throw your inflatable pad in there for even more comfort and insulation.
kammock.com | Wallaby Hammock $65 | Python Straps $29.95 | Dragonfly Insect Net $75 | Kuli Rain Tarp $159
Snow Peak BiPod Stove and Titanium Cook Set
When it comes to lightweight backpacking stoves you’ve got plenty of options, but for my money, I love using anything from the elegantly designed Snow Peak brand. The BiPod Stove is like other mini stoves, but different. For staters, its got two legs that when attached to a small fuel canister forms a tripod, a unique, compact design that creates exceptional stability for larger pots. It weighs in at 200 grams with an imporessive 11,600 BTU output (3.5 minute standard boil time). It comes with a mini-igniter and pairs nicely with any of Snow Peak’s titanium cookwear. For instance, just add the Titanium French Press and go.
snowpeak.com | BiPod Stove $89.95 | Titanium French Press $55.95
Tentsile Flite+ Hammock
When it comes to hammocks, you’ve got options. From Tentsile, the Flite+ is an ultralight two-person tree tent. It is the perfect size for backpacking and adventuring deep into the wilderness. Featuring a cross brace for extra headroom, the Flite+ is a little bit more spacious than its predecessor. It comes with only one ratchet to save on weight, and its handy size means it can be set up between most tree configurations - even in dense forest. The hammock comes with a full insect mesh top with 2 doors and a removable rain fly for unbeatable views. This can be pegged out to the ground, creating a covered porch area and multi-story camping base. The rain fly flaps can also be folded underneath the tent and hooked to each other, creating a second windbreak and a thermal buffer. Due to its minimal size, the Flite+ is suitable for persons below 6'1"/184cm and 220kg/485lbs.
tentsile.com | Flite+ Hammock $350
One of the true game-changers of our generation of backpackers, you must have at least one Buff in every kit: skiing, hiking, fly fishing, etc. Personally I’m a huge fan of the Merino Wool Buff, but the new lightweight UV-protection Buffs are amazing and critical for summer wear too. Add in Insect Shield and you’ve really got something special when traveling through buggy areas. The new running hats and trucker hats, as well as beanies, are an expansion for the brand, so if you’re a fan, check them out as well this spring. Buffs make perfect stocking stuffers for the backpacking wonk in your life.
buffusa.com | Merino Wool $29 | UV Protection $25 | Insect Shield $29
MyPakage Merino Baselayers
Performance underwear is all the rage, especially for getting active outdoors, and MyPackage has some great stocking stuffer offerings. I’m personally a huge fan of the Merino collection, offering the usual list of wool properties like odor-resistance, wicking and temperature regulation. MyPakage is known for its Keyhole Comfort Tech and the Merino line is said to be “Shrink Free.” Available in boxer briefs and long sleeve as well as First Layers. And although wool is worn all year long now, the Pro-X performance ¾ tight is also one of my favorites, with wicking polyester and knit and stretch mesh.
mypakage.com | Boxer Briefs $55 | Long Sleeve $100 | First Layers $110
Adidas Outdoors Apparel Head to Toe
For the Millennial backpacker in your life, there’s almost no better brand than adidas Outdoors and its Terrex line of apparel and shoes. Check out the new Agravic hooded puffy featuring a Pertex Quantum Down with 800+ fill power RDS certified down. Overlapping baffles cover seams to retain warmth and heat guards at openings further trap warm air inside. The new Tracefinder CH ($220) is a bomber, cold-weather hiking boot featuring Primaloft insulation, a Climaproof membrane and adidas Boost midsoles for energy rebound on rocky terrain. Continental outsoles ensure proper grip for serious hikers.
adidas.com | Agravic Puffy $349 | Tracefinder CH Boot $220
Kelty Redwing Reserve 50
One of Kelty’s best selling backpack lines, the new Redwing 50-liter Reserve is just at home on the trains of Europe as it is the trails of Arcadia National Park. Every detail has been carefully considered from the stylish fabric and design to the travel-friendly features that include an RFID-blocking pocket, locking zippers, and durable metal buckles. Ample organization and a convenient U-Shaped zipper make this pack simple to use, and the PerfectFIT suspension enables easy on-body adjustments for one-size-fits-all versatility and comfort. Plus, the dual-use hydration / laptop sleeve will take you from the highest peaks to the city streets. The Redwing 50 Reserve is truly a pack to be savored.
kelty.com | Redwing Reserve 50 $159.95
Treksta may be lesser known, but the Korean shoemaker actually invented the lightweight hiking show category over 30 years ago while manufacturing for other brands. Treksta's Fall/Winter options all share the company's signature NestFIT construction, a unique system that unites the insole, midsole and outsole to cradle the foot in a natural position and shape for long-term comfort and prevention of muscle fatigue. Essentially an approach shoe and light hiker combined, the Libero's split suede upper offers protection from rocks, and features Treksta's T-frame construction and heel cup, which hold the foot in place while hiking and scrambling. The Hypergrip Super Gum rubber outsole, also made by Treksta, provides sticky grip on any type of rock and trail.
treksta.com | Libero Hiking Shoe $135
Helinox Chair Zero
If you’re like us, you will forgo a camp chair in favor of going lighter when backpacking. Fortunately, decisions like this are quickly becoming a thing of the past. We’ve been using Helinox chairs for years now, and the new Chair Zero allows us to always take it with us no matter where we go. Chair Zero weighs just one pound and sits 11 inches off the ground, packing down to about the size of a Nalgene.
helinox.com | Chair Zero $119.95
Montane Fireball Verso Pull-On
Here’s an innovative lightweight solution for fastpackers -- a reversible insulating piece with high-tech materials that create unique versatility. Used as a windproof layer, the Pertex Quantum Rip-stop outer fabric provides wind and weather resistance, with 40 grams of Primaloft Silver Active insulation turned in for lightweight, water-resistant warmth. Primaloft’s new Silver Active is treated to reduce “searching,” which allows it to be paired with extremely air-permeable and breathable Hypervent fabric. Then, turn it inside out during high exertion (the insulation away from the body) so the Hypervent can breath instead. Articulated arms, a semi-automatic front zipper and a concealed chest pocket complete the picture. Weight 8.6 oz.
montane.co.uk | Fireball Verso Pull-On $149
Safe Catch Tuna Elite Single Serving Pouch
Everyone knows packaged tuna is a backpacker’s staple, and today’s tuna options are better than ever. Safe Catch brand Elite Wild Tuna Pouches are single-serve pouches with no fillers and no additives. Safe Catch is gluten free, certified Paleo, and hand selected and tested to strict mercury limits (over 10X stricter than FDA regulations, says the brand, and four times lower in mercury than Wild Planet tuna). Safe Catch hand packs premium raw wild skipjack tuna steaks to retain vital Omega 3 oils and nutrients before slow cooking them. Fish are wild and sustainably caught without using FADs or long lines.
safecatch.com | Tuna Elite Single Serving Pouch $39.99/12 pack.
The aftermarket insole game is competitive. We’ve tried them all, but a solid choice for backpackers is the CurrexSole Edgepro, engineered for the specific motion patterns of hiking. Available in three different profile heights, they’ve got lots of scientific and blind-study data to back up their claims. An ergonomic heel cup, triple-layer construction, and Poron beds to reduce rebound are just a few of the brand’s technology sells. If you don’t wear custom orthotics but want more support, definitely check them out.
currexsole.com | Edgepro $59.95
Deuter Aircontact Pro
Yep, there’s a lot of choices in packs out there, but guides and Euro trekkers have always known Deuter sits at the top of the pile. And speaking of guides, the Aircontact Pro is Deuter's best pack for big, heavy loads at 65 liters (plus 15). The pivoting Variflex hip belt is vertically adjustable to custom fit a range of backpackers. The highly breathable system takes the weight off the shoulders and allows natural hiking movement for stability and comfort with heavy loads.
deuterusa.com | Aircontact Pro $349
Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight 2 Tent
The SD Clip Flashlight was my first backpacking tent; I bought it back in about 1989. Now new backpackers can enjoy the same legacy and quality I did as a young explorer with the redesigned version of this best-selling classic. It’s a 3-season, 2-person tent upgraded with more usable interior space, a taller peak height, and more gear storage – while not increasing weight. The large single door, front vestibule and all-mesh body make it great for simple, summer backpacking, although it’s non-freestanding, which can be a pain on certain types of ground. It features a 42” peak height and 30 sq. ft. of interior space with a minimum weight of 3 lbs. 6 oz. The same tent is also available in a 1-person version, the Light Year, with a minimum weight of 2 lbs. 12 oz.MSRP: $199.95
sierradesigns.com | Flashlight 2 Tent $199.95 | Light Year Tent $169.95
Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter
Although low gaiters seem to be more popular these days, there’s still a place among hardcore backpackers for higher models, and the Armadillo LT are an affordable yet high performance option. Lightweight, breathable construction protects pants from rocks and crampons and keeps water and debris out of socks and boots, especially with 1000 d nylon on the bottom half of the gaiter. A waterproof YKK zipper provides a form-fitting contour fit while Flexia three-layer fabric on the upper lends four-way stretch and breathability. The Armadillo LT has burly boot attachments and like all Hillsound gaiters, it features a lifetime warranty.
hillsound.com | Armadillo LT Gaiter $49.00
We’ve been using the personal Lifestraw water filters for a while now, but backpacking nerds may love this new model with its sleek and durable, food-grade stainless steel body. The Lifestraw Steel has a replaceable activated carbon capsule that removes some chemicals and pesticides, is BPA- , aftertaste- and chemical-free, and requires no power or batteries to use. The two-stage filtration process removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, including E. coli, and 99.9% of waterborne protozoa, including Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Weight: 160 gr. (5.6 oz)
lifestraw.com | Lifestraw Steel $54.95
GSI Pinnacle Soloist Complete System
From iconic GSI Outdoors, the Pinnacle Soloist Complete System conveniently includes a micro-stove, windscreen and cookset-for-one in a lightweight and compact set that eliminates some shopping and decision making for both experienced and first-time backpackers. The cookset includes a telescoping Foon, mug/bowl with insulated sleeve, 1.1-liter boiler pot with a folding and locking handle, and strainer/Sip It lid. It pairs with GSI’s high-efficiency Iso-Butane canister top stove (165 grams/5.8 ounces and 10,200 BTU burner) and windscreen in one package. The whole package comes in a welded stuff sack that doubles as a sink, and also includes a stove bag). If you’re a fan, it is available as a two-person set as well.
gsioutdoors.com | Pinnacle Soloist Complete $89.95 | Dualist Complete $109.95
Mountainsmith Carbonlite Pro Poles
Every backpacker needs a pair of trekking poles, maybe a couple pairs, and we’ve tried them all. Golden, Colorado-based Mountainsmith is one of the trekking pole leaders, and its Carbonlite Pro continues to perform for all kinds of hiking, as well as when paired with ultra-light tarp-style tents. This high-end three-part carbon/aluminum composite pole is a great value if nothing else. They feature molded cork handles, telescoping sections, a spring-loaded anti-shock system (with twist lock-out feature), and twist-lock double-cam adjustments.
mountainsmith.com | Carbonlite Pro Poles $74.95
Other 2016 Holiday Gift Guides