The holidays are a time to splurge on those you love, but shopping for a personalized gift can take a lot of time and effort. We’re here to help with our detailed gift guide for outdoor enthusiasts, with hand-picked options broken down by price to make the buying process easier. Whether you’re shopping for a hiker, backpacker, climber, runner, skier, or biker in your life, the recommendations below represent some of our favorite and most frequently used outdoor products and accessories (spoiler: we spend a lot of time outside).

This article has been sponsored by REI, but the picks and descriptions below were made independently and based on our experiences with and opinions of the products.


Under $25

NUUN Sport Hydration Tablets ($7)

NUUN Sport Hydration tabletsFor the runners, bikers, climbers, and backcountry skiers among us, the concept of “bonking” needs little introduction. For the rest of us, it’s simple science: when you sweat out more water than you take in, things can go downhill quickly. Refueling with water alone can only go so far, and you’ll want to add essential minerals and electrolytes to mimic the sweat your body is losing. Our favorite solution comes from NUUN in the form of their Sport Hydration Tablets. Simply drop one tablet into a half-liter of water, wait two minutes while it fizzes, and drink up (caffeinated and non-caffeinated varieties are available). And for longer workouts, NUUN also offers their Endurance drink mix, which supplies you with both electrolytes and carbohydrates (60 calories per half-liter).
See the NUUN Sport Hydration Tablets

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Chums Baja Urban Sunglasses Strap ($10)

Chumbs Baja Urban sunglasses strapSunglasses straps of old may not have been the most fashionable accessories, but modern brands like Chums and Croakies have brought them back to the mainstream with colorful designs and patterns. Chums’ Baja Urban Sunglasses Strap is our personal favorite, with a simple but effective rubber grip for securing your glasses and vibrant, multi-toned retention cord that adds a fun pop of color and looks good. For activities from hiking and backpacking to rock climbing and biking, the added security and convenience of not having to worry about where to stash your glasses when you dip into the shade or need to check your phone are no-brainers.
See the Chums Baja Urban Sunglasses Strap

 

Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack ($13-$25)

Osprey Ultralight dry sackPopular among adventurers like backpackers, travelers, and kayakers, dry sacks help protect critical gear by sealing out moisture. They can also help considerably with organization by serving as a dedicated storage sack for clothing and other items that you want to keep separate from the rest of your equipment. Backpack specialist Osprey offers a proven design in their Ultralight Dry Sack, which comes in a wide range of available sizes (from 3L all the way up to 30L), boasts a reliable roll-top closure, and has a coating along the fabric and seams that provides stalwart security against moisture creeping in.
See the Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack

 

Sea to Summit X-Bowl ($17)

Sea to Summit X bowlFor backcountry chefs and campers that like to keep bulk to a minimum, collapsible cookware is a must. We like silicone in particular for its flexibility and ease of cleaning—leftover food and residue tends to just slough off with a little water and rarely requires scrubbing. Sea to Summit’s X-Bowl has been our go-to vessel for years, with a light and collapsible design that folds nearly flat and stows easily in a pack and rigid, wear-resistant nylon base that doubles as a prep surface. For reference, our X-Bowl has withstood countless backpacking and camping trips, making the $17 price tag incredibly easy to get behind.
See the Sea to Summit X-Bowl

 

Smartwool Merino 250 Reversible Headband ($22)

Smartwool Merino 250 Reversible HeadbandMerino wool is one of our favorite materials for performance use due to its natural odor-fighting and moisture-wicking abilities, plus it’s super soft and cozy to boot. Common merino products include baselayers and hiking socks, but for runners that head out in the winter, a quality wool headband can help a lot with heat retention and all-around comfort. Smartwool is an industry leader in the wool market, and their Merino 250 Reversible Headband combines crucial cold-weather warmth, great breathability, and a smooth, snug feel that nicely protects against cold ears. The design is also reversible, which essentially means you’re getting two headbands for the price of one.
See the Smartwool Merino 250 Headband

 

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew ($22)

Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew hiking sockEvery hiker needs a quality pair of hiking socks, and Darn Tough’s Light Hiker Micro Crew have been one of our top-rated picks—and one of the most popular options on the market—for years. True to their name, Darn Tough socks last virtually forever (we have hole-free pairs that are 7+ years old) and are backed by an industry-leading lifetime guarantee (no receipt needed). Quality merino socks are undeniably expensive, but the Light Hiker Micro Crew earns its price tag with a cozy seamless construction, reinforced heel and toes, excellent padding and breathability for 3-season use, and a comfortable, foot-hugging fit.
See the Men's Light Hiker socks  See the Women's Light Hiker socks

 

Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain ($23)

Staying Alive in Avalanche TerrainThere’s no substitute for the hands-on training provided by a certified avalanche course, but gifting the book Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain is a nice nudge for your backcountry-curious ski friends. Written by long-time avalanche professional Bruce Tremper, this book effectively breaks down the basics of snow science and winter backcountry travel, including how to evaluate terrain and travel safely, perform search and rescue tactics, and mitigate ever-present human factors. In fact, this book has become so ubiquitous in the world of snow safety that it now is required or recommended reading for many Level 1 avalanche courses from AIRAE (the unspoken standard among training courses) and other organizations.
See Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain

 

$25-$50

goodr Circle Gs Polarized Sunglasses ($25)

Goodr Circle Gs Polarized SunglassesHigh-end, premium sunglasses have their place, but the backcountry, as we’ve come to learn the hard way, is definitely not one of them. After scratching or cracking a number of pricey shades, we turned to goodr’s Circle Gs Polarized Sunglasses for their combination of value and respectable all-around performance. You don’t get top-notch clarity or optics, but for just $25, goodr’s glasses are impressively crisp and good-looking with a nice selection of frame and tint colors. And if they get broken or chipped on an adventure, it’s nice knowing that a replacement won’t break the bank. If you don’t like the circular shape, goodr’s OG Sunglasses cost the same but have a more traditional wayfarer design.
See the goodr Circle Gs Polarized Sunglasses

 

Climbskin Hand Cream ($25)

Climbskin Hand CreamRock climbing can wreak havoc on skin, and many climbers turn to salves and balms for cracked fingers and hands. We’ve tried several options on the market, but Climbskin’s Hand Creak has performed head and shoulders above the rest. Unlike many products that leave a thick, waxy finish, Climbskin is light and butter-like in texture and nicely absorbs into the skin. The cream itself also contains only natural ingredients with no artificial colors or scents, which gives it a nice, natural feel. It’s undeniably pricey at $25 for a tiny 1-ounce canister, but given how little you need to apply, it should last most committed climbers at least a couple months.
See the Climbskin Hand Cream

 

YETI Rambler Colster ($25)

YETI Rambler ColsterA $25 koozie might seem like a real luxury item, but no one does premium insulation quite like YETI. The Rambler Colster’s double-wall vacuum design will keep your beverage cold for considerably longer than a cheap foam alternative, which is particularly great on sweltering summer days when beer can go from ice-cold to lukewarm before you’ve even popped the tab. The durable and confidence-inspiring construction is great for uses like camping, kayaking, or paddleboarding, and the Colster can also pull double duty as a cup or mug should you want to share a beverage with pals. Sure, it’s a bit of a splurge, but that’s what the holidays are for.
See the YETI Rambler Colster

 

AeroPress Coffee Maker ($32)

AeroPress Coffee MakerMany outdoor-goers turn to instant coffee when camping or backpacking, but there’s no substitute for fresh-brewed java after a restless night in a tent. AeroPress’ Coffee Maker is our favorite solution for making quality coffee miles from the trailhead, and it’s telling that it’s recently become our preferred at-home method too. The process is quick and simple: place one of the included micro-filters in the base, screw it onto the bottom portion of the AeroPress, add a scoop or two of your favorite ground coffee, fill it up with boiling water, and press down. The entire unit is very functional, highly portable, and makes smooth, great-tasting coffee every time. It's impressively easy to clean too—the filter and used grounds pop right out with a light push, which only adds to the backcountry appeal.
See the AeroPress Coffee Maker

 

MiiR 16 oz. Food Canister ($35)

MiiR Food CanisterThe MiiR food canister is one of our favorite and most frequently used possessions, outdoor gear or otherwise. In essence, it’s a major upgrade from standard glass or plastic food storage containers with a double wall-insulated build that keeps food hot or cold for longer, a leakproof lid that securely twists closed, and markers on the inside for quickly measuring portions. You even get a removable bowl that nests at the top to keep certain ingredients separate during travel. $35 might seem like a lot to spend on glorified Tupperware, but we love the MiiR for everything from schlepping leftovers to work to bringing a hot meal on day hikes and camping trips.
See the MiiR 16 oz. Food Canister

 

LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Power Lantern ($50)

LuminAID PackLite Max 2 in 1 Power LanternIn the past, camp lanterns were gas-powered and quite heavy and bulky, but today’s market looks entirely different. LuminAID’s PackLite Max 2-in-1 Power Lantern is case in point: as the name suggests, the PackLite Max is both a light and a charger, with an integrated solar panel and two USB ports to repower your phone or tablet. The lamp is also inflatable and packs down to a diminutive size for stowing in a full trunk or gear bin. All in all, it’s a fun and well-executed design at a pretty affordable price, which is great for tech-savvy campers and those that like to get off the grid.
See the LuminAID PackLite Max Power Lantern

 

$50-$100

Hydro Flask 20L Insulated Tote ($65)

Hydro Flask 20L Insulated ToteIt might feel wrong to daydream about summer during peak holiday season, but there’s no harm in wishful thinking. For warm-weather lovers that live for long, sunny days on the trail or the water, a soft-sided cooler is an excellent and highly practical gift. Fill it up with ice and drinks for a picnic or outdoor concert, pack lunch and snacks for a day at the beach, use it to keep your groceries chilled while you run other errands—the list is seemingly endless. And while the market is certainly stacked, Hydro Flask’s 20L Insulated Tote is one of the most well-built and good-looking designs available with good ice retention, a soft and waterproof exterior that packs away nicely, a lined interior that makes cleanup a breeze, and an outer pocket for small essentials.
See the Hydro Flask 20L Insulated Tote

 

Vuori Performance Jogger Pants ($84)

Vuori Performance Jogger PantsVuori is an up-and-comer in the outdoor clothing world, but they’ve wasted no time in assembling a quality lineup of athletic apparel that nicely merges style and performance. Their flagship Performance Jogger was quick to win us over: while we were initially hesitant to spend close to $100 on a pair of joggers, trying them on did the trick. Put simply, the fabric is pillowy-soft, ultra-comfortable, and noticeably light and airy-feeling. The pants also have a slight stretchiness that gives them an athletic look and feel, and the fit is very flattering with a slim but casual shape and loose elastic at the ankles. Just one word of caution: if you buy these for someone else, you’re almost certainly going to want to get yourself a pair too (and yes, they do come in a men's version).
See the Women's Performance Jogger  See the Men's Performance Jogger  

 

Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket ($99)

Rumpl Original Puffy BlanketIf you’ve walked into an REI store recently, you’ve probably inadvertently spotted Rumpl’s vibrant camp blankets. And after testing one ourselves, we immediately understood the newfound popularity. Their flagship Original Puffy Blanket checks all the boxes we look for in an outdoor-ready design: it’s weather-resistant with a reasonably thick polyester shell and DWR (durable water repellent) coating, warm and cozy with synthetic insulation, and packs down nicely into its included stuff sack. You also get fun features like a clip to go hands-free with the blanket wrapped around you and corner loops to anchor it down on windy days. The hardest choice you’ll have to make is which pattern to choose (we love the national park-inspired designs in particular).
See the Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket

 

KEEN Howser II Slippers ($100)

KEEN Howser II slippersA comfy pair of slippers is a must for the fall and winter months, and hiking footwear specialist KEEN pulls the formula off nicely with their Howser II. Versatility is the real highlight: the interior is cozy with a soft microfleece lining and nicely padded footbed, while the outer nylon upper and thick rubber outsole make it easy and sleek enough to wear while running errands or walking the dog. In fact, we’ve spent entire days in these slippers more times than we’d like to count. Bonus: they also make for a great camp shoe.
See the Men's KEEN Howser II

 

$100-$200

Fjallraven Ulvo 23 Pack ($110)

Fjallraven Ulvo 23 packA daypack is a critical piece of gear for activities from commuting to light hiking and air travel. There are a bevy of options on the market—from casual and stylish packs for around-town use to hiking-focused models tailormade for the outdoors—but Fjallraven blurs that line nicely with their Ulvo 23. The pack is durable and water-resistant with a thick nylon build, and the backpanel and shoulder straps are nicely cushioned and mesh-backed to keep air moving. For work and air travel, you also get a dedicated laptop sleeve and generous side pockets for a water bottle or thermos. The Ulvo won’t be mistaken for a true hiking design—you don’t get a hipbelt, external storage, or spot for a hydration reservoir—but fits in both in the city and on casual outdoor adventures, which is no small feat. 
See the Fjallraven Ulvo 23 Pack

 

Patagonia Black Hole 55 ($139)

Patagonia Black Hole 55 duffel bagWhether you’re hitting the gym or traveling across the country, you’ll likely need a convenient way to transport your gear and clothing from point A to point B, and duffel bags are a highly versatile option. Patagonia’s Black Hole series is legendary in the duffel world for its classy looks and burly construction that can withstand years of abuse. To make carrying easier, the 55-liter Black Hole also sports removable backpack straps in addition to the reinforced haul handles, and the padded base adds structure and protection. Of note: given its popularity, Patagonia’s Black Hole collection includes a number of other designs, including larger- and smaller-capacity duffels, travel and fanny packs, and more.
See the Patagonia Black Hole 55

 

GSI Pinnacle Camper Cookset ($150)

GSI Pinnacle Camper CooksetEvery aspiring camp chef needs a quality, outdoor-ready cookset to prep and serve their concoctions, and GSI Outdoors makes things easy with their all-in-one Camper Cookset. The set includes four plates, bowls, and mugs, 2-liter and 3-liter pots, a pan, and accessories like a pot gripper and stuff sack. The pots and pan are light but well-made and scratch-resistant with Teflon-coated aluminum, and GSI nailed the details with integrated strainers in the pot lids, foam sleeves on the mugs, and color coding to help you keep track of which plate or bowl is yours. And when it comes time to pack up camp, everything nests satisfyingly in the larger pot.
See the GSI Pinnacle Camper Cookset

 

AfterShokz Aeropex Headphones ($160)

AfterShokz Aeropex HeadphonesFor that friend or family member who loves listening to music or podcasts while running, the AfterShokz Aeropex bone-conducting headphones are a really nice alternative to standard ear buds. The bone-conduction technology is pretty neat: the headphones deliver sound through your cheekbones, keeping your ears open to hear road noise and other important sounds around you. And with the Aeropex’s around-the-neck design, you don’t have to worry about dropping or losing them either. The rest of the design is similar to many high-quality headphones, including two-way functionality for phone calls with noise-canceling technology, an 8-hour battery life, and good protection against water and dust.
See the AfterShokz Aeropex Headphones

 

COROS PACE 2 ($200)

COROS PACE 2 GPS watchGPS sports watches provide a host of benefits for backcountry explorers, runners, and endurance athletes, including activity tracking, health monitoring, hands-free navigation, and more. These timepieces can get pretty spendy, but COROS’ PACE 2 stands out for its impressive battery life and well-rounded feature set in a lightweight and affordable package. The watch is low-profile and looks the part for daily wear, easily connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and provides consistent and reliable stats on par with higher-end models. It doesn’t offer functionality for backcountry activities like hiking, skiing, or climbing and isn’t built to withstand hard impacts, but we highly recommend it for urban athletes and those new to activity tracking.
See the COROS PACE 2

 

$200+

Giro Manifest MIPS Spherical ($260)

Giro Manifest MIPS Spherical mountain bike helmetThe mountain bike market is hot right now, and so too (thankfully) is the accompanying helmet selection. For trail riders, there are a litany of choices, but none has set itself apart as well as Giro’s Manifest Spherical. Using a unique two-piece shell that can pivot in an impact, you get standout safety, plus comfort and ventilation are class-leading. It’s the kind of lid that’s light and airy enough for all-day XC epics, but there’s plenty of coverage for techy descents. At $260, the Manifest is undeniably a pricey gift, but there’s a reason it’s currently our top-rated MTB bucket: it’s that good.
See the Giro Manifest MIPS Spherical 

 

Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Bluetooth Massager ($299)

Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Bluetooth MassagerRegardless of the activity, exercise can be hard on the body, and many athletes suffer from body aches, tight muscles, sore joints, and more. There are an overwhelming number of recovery tools on the market, but when massage balls and foam rollers just aren’t cutting it, a percussion massager is an excellent next line of defense. Hyperice’s Hypervolt 2 Bluetooth Massager is a proven choice with a quiet, three-speed design, five included head attachments, and easy integration with Hyperice’s app for detailed warmup and recovery tutorials. It’s also carry on-friendly and cordless with a generous three-hour battery life, making it a great travel companion. For $100 less, Hyperice also makes an even more compact GO version with fewer attachments, or you can splurge for the more powerful Hypervolt 2 Pro ($399).
See the Hyperice Hypervolt 2 Massager

 

Garmin inReach Mini ($350)

Garmin inReach Mini satellite messengerWe all worry about our loved ones when they’re out of cell service on a far-off adventure in the mountains or across the world. For reliably staying in touch in these types of remote settings, we turn to satellite messenger devices, with Garmin’s inReach Mini leading the pack. Don’t be fooled by the diminutive size: this device packs a serious punch with texting capabilities, weather forecasting, navigation and tracking functionality, and a last-resort SOS feature to coordinate a rescue in the event of an emergency. We bring along our inReach pretty much any time we’re going to be out of cell service—whether we’re going on a multi-day backpacking expedition or car camping in a national forest. These devices don’t come cheap and require an active subscription for use, but it’s hard to put a price on having a dependable safety net.
See the Garmin inReach Mini

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