A Hiking Guide’s
Holiday Gift Guide
If you’re like me, you love finding the best gifts for your loved ones to show them how much you appreciate them, help make their life easier or assist with a problem they may have, and so on. However, overconsumption is a serious problem in our world, so if you are looking for a gift, it’s important to find something that will be used and last for years to come.
In addition to the links to the 25 items I will share with you below, a great way to shop sustainably this holiday season is by shopping used quality gear. I have found some incredible items over the years at second hand shops and trift stores, and some of those items have made great gifts for my loved ones!
CLOTHING RELATED GIFTS
Shopping for gear and finding the right thing can take some time. I have tested all of these vetted items out on the trail myself, and use regularly. Click on the images below to shop!
Perfect for the aspiring year-round adventurer, microspikes help give you traction on slippery surfaces such as ice or packed snow. In Colorado, my microspikes live in my backpack for about seven months of the year, and make me feel invincible on winter trails! Buy these once and they should last you years to come.
This pairs great with microspikes or the snowshoes shown below! These trekking poles will last you forever. Trekking poles help your knees by relieving pressure and dispersing your weight across your body, rather than directly on your feet. They also offer additional stability going over uneven terrain or downhill, especially in steep areas and/or icy spots!
These are my FAVORITE snowshoes for winter adventures. I got these at the beginning of winter 2021, and have enjoyed plenty of winter hikes in them since, including over 19 miles one day! They are fantastic in so many different types of terrain, including even rockier areas. My favorite feature is the heel raisers in the back to really assist with hiking up steep inclines. They also make a men’s version.
I love these pants for windy and cold days in the mountains. They are a “soft shell” snow pant, meaning they aren’t fully waterproof, but they are extremely water resistant and fleece lined for extra warmth. I will admit the sizing for this brand is strange, you may need to size up, especially if you’re planning on wearing an extra layer underneath such as a thermal or merino wool base layer.
This microfleece jacket is very similar to the brand Melanzana’s infamous microgrid hoodie, however it’s a little thicker – making it a perfect midlayer for hiking. Did I mention they have thumb holes? My favorite! These do run slightly large, so I recommend sizing down if you’re in between sizes.
I wear these boots year round in more technical terrain. They are great on loose scree, slippery surfaces, and everything in between. These boots are great for the winter too, because they are durable, waterproof, and higher to keep snow out of your ankles – one of the worst feelings!
My go-to jacket for mountain hikes, backpacking, walking the dogs, or just going out in the city. It has two external pockets and an internal zipped pocket. I love that it is slightly oversized, so it fits over my baselayer and a thin midlayer perfectly. If you want it a little more fitted, I would go down a size. They also make this jacket in men’s.
This is my favorite down jacket for very cold temps. I wear this any time it’s windy and less than 25 degrees F. I love that its thicker but still lightweight, packs down into its own hood, and the thumbholes are a game changer for me and my cold hands!
CAMPING RELATED GIFTS
For the happy camper in your life – these gifts are guaranteed to make them even happier! Click each image below to shop.
While not ultralight, this tent is a great camping and backpacking tent. It is so spacious with lots of pockets to store gear, and still light enough to carry, especially if you split up the gear between two people. The 2+ of this tent means it is has enough space for about 2.5 people – aka big enough to stash your gear or fit your pup! This tent has lasted me many successful trips over the last 4 years. I also own this tent in the 3+ version for some extra space on longer trips.
This sleeping pad is out of stock often and raved about in the backpacking world, and for good reason. It’s extremely lightweight, packs down very thin, and is way warmer than you would think given how light and thin it is. All that aside, it is REALLY comfortable, even for a side sleeper. It is a more fragile sleeping pad, so beware of dog nails and sharp objects, and use an accordion sleeping pad underneath if you’re in a rockier are
For colder nights, camping or backpacking, this is my go to sleeping pad. I love it and have had mine for years (they don’t make my version anymore but they revamped it into this one!). After countless camping and backpacking trips it finally got a small leak in it, but after being patched works like NEW again! This is a great sleeping pad for colder nights because of it’s high insulative value. If you’re a side sleeper, this is the pad for you. It’s incredibly thick so your hips won’t sink in a ton, yet still lightweight enough to bring backpacking!
12. MOUNTAIN HARDWARE BISHOP PASS 15 DEGREE SLEEPING BAG
Is this a sleeping bag or a cozy cloud? I’m a pretty cold sleeper so I sleep with this bag most of the year, and will opt for a cooler bag in the warmer months. I’m a side sleeper and have plenty of space in this bag to move around still, which I really appreciate because I personally am not typically the biggest fan of the mummy bags. Mountain Hardware makes fantastic gear – I’ve used this bag on a lot of nights in all types of different terrain for years now and know I will continue to use it on all my backpacking/camping adventures for years to come.
On warmer nights, I’ll opt for this cooler down bag from Sea to Summit. This bag is incredibly well made and lightweight, and seriously comfortable like everything else from Sea to Summit. I love that it comes with a compression sack AND stuff sack, which is rare, and I’m impressed with how small it packs down. This is another surprising mummy bag that contains a TON of space for extra comfort.
The cutest camp stove! This Eureka camp stove is great with wind, small and lightweight, and a quick boil, which is great after a long day at camp. It is really easy to control the heat and it’s very well made – this stove will last you many years to come.
Name a better feeling than sitting down after a long day at camp or hiking… I’ll wait. This is the perfect lightweight, small camp or backpacking chair! I even bring this on day hikes sometimes since it is so light.
TECH RELATED GIFTS
For the tech lover in your life. Click the images to shop!
16. GARMIN INREACH MINI 2 SATELLITE COMMUNICATION DEVICE
I cannot recommend this device enough – it is so tiny and versatile, and the newer versions have a battery life of up to TWO WEEKS! If you’re serious about getting outside, especially in areas with no cell service, I highly recommend asking for one of these as a gift or investing in one yourself. It has made me a much more confident adventurer in a lot of ways, because the fear of not being able to reach out to the rest of the world is no longer a problem.
I got the previous version of this watch in 2021 when I destroyed my last watch from climbing. I absolutely love it for tracking all my adventures, and the sapphire screen is a plus, making sure it will never get destroyed in while climbing again. The battery life is incredible, and it can do essentially everything you would ever need it to and more.
I have tried several headlamps over the years, specifically the big brands, but I recently took a chance on this cheaper headlamp because it was on sale and marketed to be better than the rest. Well, they were right. This headlamp is SO bright, and also has several different dimming settings and a redlight setting. This is especially great for someone who does a lot of navigating in the dark. Plus, it’s cheaper than the rest!
Check out these smaller gifts to help keep your favorite adventurer comfortable and safe. Click each image below to shop.
These are one of my go-to socks from Darn Tough! I love that these keep my feet dry and warm, but still breathe well. I am most likely to wear these socks hiking or on shorter winter days that aren’t as cold.
I recently purchased this beanie and it has quickly become my new favorite. Not only is it cute and unisex, but it is extremely soft and warm, and really gentle on my long hair. This is important for long days in the cold where friction would end up causing damage to my hair.
I LOVE these gloves as a thin, close-to-skin liner pair! They are very similar to the same material as a Melanzana microgrid fleece, or the rest of the OR Trail Mix line. I like them for normal wear while I’m moving to keep my hands warm and dry. I find these stay dry longer than other liner gloves I’ve tried. I do think they run a little large, so you may want to size down to get the best fit.
22. SURVIVING OUTDOORS LONGER EMERGENCY BIVVY
This is a great gift for someone you love that loves to adventure. This is one of the 10 essentials (shelter). I keep this in my pack at all times, but it is especially important in the colder months. Why? Because if something happens and you are unable to get yourself back to the trailhead, you need to be able to stay warm to prevent risk of hypothermia. This 3.5oz emergency bivvy can save your life – get it. It also includes a whistle and paracord for a fire starter!
Got a mountain mama in your life who loves the great outdoors? Get her a Kula Cloth! These are an eco-friendly, antimicrobial reusable cloths that offer a sustainable alternative to toilet paper in the outdoors. This cloth is Leave No Trace friendly and a woman-owned small business!
Extremely lightweight and handy for hikes where you know you’ll want to take a seat. Especially if there’s snow! Grab your adventure friend one of these to insulate their bum when they get to their destination! These weigh practically nothing and are extremely sustainable by reprocessing foam sleeping pad scraps, making it extremely comfortable, too.
What is a better gift than the gift of experience and knowledge?! Book your loved one a guided hike in the Rocky Mountains with Shelby, professional hiking guide and owner of Ground Up Adventures, where they will learn to become empowered and self-reliant for their own future adventures! Learn more about Ground Up Adventures here.
GUA BLACK FRIDAY SALE! 10% OFF when you book Friday 11/25-Monday 11/28! Return clients get an additional 5% off!
SHOP MY GEAR
Looking for the right gear can be a daunting process, not to mention takes a lot of time and research! I’ve stepped in to help by providing you with some of my favorite hiking gear items, but please reach out if you have any specific questions!
*Please note the links are affiliate links, in which I receive a small commission if you purchase something, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support in advance 🙂 *
LOOKING FOR MORE INFO OR OUTDOOR TIPS?
Check out these recommended blog posts!
I’m Shelby, a Professional Hiking Guide & Solo Hiking Coach in Buena Vista, Colorado. I have a passion for recreating safely in the outdoors, and love sharing that with others!
Book a Hike
I am currently scheduling guided hikes in the Collegiate Peaks of the Rocky Mountains for the 2023 spring-summer season. I would love to hike with you!
© 2023 Ground Up Adventures