Need a gift for the outdoor enthusiasts in your life? This Hiking Gift Guide 2020 will give you great ideas for gifts for hikers and hillwalkers who love spending time outside. Whether you are looking for stocking fillers, a secret Santa gift or something bigger to put under the tree, practical, creative or unusual ideas – this gift guide is for you!
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In 2020, many people (re-) discovered the joys of hiking, hill-walking and (wild) camping. Never before, was there such a widespread awakening to the fact of how important it is for our mental and physical health to spend time outside.
And that means that you are very likely to have an outdoor enthusiast in your life – someone who loves hiking, hillwalking and other outdoor adventures.
If you are looking for a Christmas or birthday present for an outdoorsy person, look no further than this Hiking Gift Guide. You will find:
- Great gear every hiker should have,
- Practical gifts for hikers and campers,
- Experience gifts for hikers,
- Zero-waste gifts for hillwalkers,
- Creative gifts for outdoor enthusiasts,
- Books for adventurers,
- and more unusual gift ideas for hikers.
A word on the links in this post: As a small business owner I try to support other small businesses wherever possible and urge you to do the same for your Christmas shopping. That said, recommending products on Amazon is part of my income strategy (see my Disclaimer for more info) and thus I have decided to link to gifts on Amazon in this guide wherever it makes sense.
Practical Gifts for Hikers
Maps are an essential tool for hikers to find great trails, plan their route and prepare for conditions of the hike.
Hiking maps are different from regular road maps because they contain additional topographical information that is useful for navigation.
In the UK, the two most popular map publishers of hiking maps are Ordnance Survey (OS Maps) and Harvey. While OS Maps contain a great amount of detail, Harvey maps are geared even more towards walkers. Harvey’s waterproof coating makes them a particularly useful gift for hikers.
Navigating with a map is impossible without a compass. Every hiker needs a compass to make sure they stay on the right track, especially when there is no obvious trail or visibility is poor. – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Headlamps are an essential tool to carry on a hike, whether it is to illuminate the trail after dark (whether you plan to hike in the dark or not) or to signal for help in an emergency. – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Waterproof bags & pouches
A hiker can never have enough waterproof bags and pouches to store their belongings.
- differently shaped drybags to stow away big and small items – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- see-through pouches for electronic devices – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- and waterproof map cases to carry around your neck. – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Experience Gifts for Hikers
A Map Reading & Navigation Course
Using a map and compass to navigate in the wilderness can be intimidating – but it’s not a hard skill to learn. A map reading and navigation course provides adventurers with the skills and confidence to use these tools to hike safely and responsibly.
Outside of Scotland, look for your local mountaineering club, hiking society or trail running club to enquire about navigation courses.
Winter Skills Course
Hiking in winter requires a completely different set of skills than walking in summer. A winter skills course is the perfect gift for someone who is new to winter mountaineering.
From planning suitable routes for winter conditions to the safe use of crampons and ice axes, a winter skills course covers it all.
Ice Climbing Lessons
Ice climbing is a fun activity to try, but not on everybody’s radar. At the National Ice Climbing Centre in the Scottish Highlands, Ice Factor, you can book ice climbing lessons to learn this skill – a truly unusual gift for hikers!
Looking for something a little bit different? Some of my favourite gifts I’ve ever received were activity vouchers for kayaking, rafting, ziplining, caving and even bungee jumping.
In Scotland, many outdoor activity providers are offering gift vouchers – and in 2020, they really need our support!
- Canoeing on the River Beauly with In Your Element,
- Coasteering near Edinburgh with Ocean Vertical,
- Climbing a Via Ferrata in the Highlands with Vertical Descents,
- Stargazing with Dark Sky Ranger Elizabeth Tindal,
- Pony trekking in the Cairngorms National Park with Scot Mountain Holidays,
- Learning bushcraft in the Scottish wilderness with Primal Adventures,
– all these can make a trip to Scotland extra special! Find more ideas here.
If you live elsewhere, look for activity providers in your local area.
Zero Waste Gifts for Hikers
What’s a packed lunch without a homemade sandwich?
Great Hiking Gear
Good hiking boots can make or break your experience on the trail. But they are also highly personal as each person’s feet require different support.
Instead of buying a pair of hiking boots, take your loved one shopping to an outdoor retail shop near you or get them a gift card.
If you want my personal recommendation – check out Zamberlan boots (on Amazon US / on Amazon UK), which are also available online. I love my Zamberlan hiking boots and know many other hikers who swear by them!
A Hiking T-Shirt
The Scottish indie-label Birdie designs awesome technical t-shirts with the outlines of Scottish mountains, iconic place names and more. Custom orders are also available.
I have a “Rest and Be Thankful” t-shirt and love the fit and material so much!
A Waterproof Backpack
If you are looking for a gift for a hiker who lives in an area with a wet climate (like Scotland), a waterproof backpack might be the perfect gift for them.
Choose between backpacks with made from waterproof materials and with waterproof zippers, or waterproof backpacks with a roll-top closing system, similar to conventional dry bags.
Bringing a waterproof jacket on a hike is a no brainer, but how about waterproof trousers?
Waterproof over-trousers are one of the most useful items in my hiking backpack and a great gift to give to a hiker in your life.
Good hiking gloves should keep your hands not only warm but also dry. Look for gloves that are waterproof, windproof and lined with good insulation like fleece.
A buff is a multi-functional clothing item – and anything with multiple purposes is a perfect gift for hikers in my books.
It can be used as a scarf, a headband, face protection and even a make-shift pillowcase for a night in a tent.
Buffs are made from extra-warm Merino wool, but vegan-friendly versions are also available. I have a non-wool buff and it keeps me exceptionally warm when hiking. – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Books for Hikers
Novels, biographies, short stories and inspiring literature for armchair adventures:
- The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- The Evidence of Things Not Seen by W. H. Murray – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- She Explores by Gale Straub – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- Wild Women, edited by Mariella Frostrup – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Practical guides to plan a hike or adventure weekend in Scotland & beyond.
- Wilderness Weekends by Phoebe Smith is full of travel inspiration – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- Long-Distance Hiking Guides, like the West Highland Way – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK; or the Hebridean Way – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- The Munros: The Complete Collection of Maps by Harvey Maps provides a compendium of maps of all the Munros in Scotland – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
- Pocket Mountains walking guides contain walk ideas for different British areas – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Practical Gifts for (Wild) Campers
Long-distance hikers and wild campers are notorious for trying to reduce the weight of their packs. But they might find a bit of extra space for one of these gifts for happy campers.
It’s nice to be woken up by the sun when you’re out camping – but not when the sun rises at 3 am! An eye mask is a perfect solution for a good night’s rest in a tent. – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Bushcraft survival kits contain everything a wild camper might require far away from organised campsites – from firestarter to water filters. They are available in all sizes, but a small pocket-sized kit in a tin will fit in any backpack. – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
I love listening to podcasts and e-books when I’m out camping on my own. With my Audible subscription, I get to pick a new audiobook every month.
Some of my recent favourites were:
- The End of Everything by Katie Mack
- Smoke & Mirrors by Gemma Milne
- Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Backpacking Trowel
It isn’t the most glamorous subject, but a trowel is an essential piece of equipment for wild campers who want to do their “business” responsibly in the wild. And who wouldn’t? – Shop on Amazon US / Shop on Amazon UK
Creative Gifts for Hikers
A Trail Journal
Hiking (especially long-distance) gives you a lot of time to think about yourself and just about anything. Just the situation for a small notebook!
Mountain-Inspired Art Work
Mountains and trails make for beautiful art-work – I love browsing Etsy to find mountain-inspired art prints. Here are some of my recent discoveries:
- Illustrations by A Line in the Sky
- Prints by Munro to Moray
- “Hiking Essentials” print by Heather Lucy J
- “Buachaille Etive Mor” print by Evie Grace Caldwell
- Watercolour prints by Rosalie Haizlett
I hope this gift guide has helped you find practical, creative or unusual gifts for hikers and adventurers in your life!
Which one would you be most excited about yourself?
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