Sunday, October 1, 2023

70 Crappy (however sensible) Christmas Presents for Hikers |

(Word: This 12 months’s record incorporates a lot of your outdated favourites, together with 20 new additions. I notice that December 24 may be very late for a Christmas present put up, however what the hey, this text has by no means actually been concerning the pressies. Completely satisfied Christmas to everybody, and should your festive season be stuffed with peace, surprise, and not less than two or three stomach laughs. Cheers, Cam). 

Within the 12 years since its launch, the preferred articles on The Climbing Life haven’t been about outside abilities, backpacking tools, or journey stories from far-flung locales. Nope, they’ve been about crappy hiker presents you can decide up for lower than 5 {dollars}.


From Walmart with Love.

Due to this fact, after a three-year hiatus, I’ve determined to mud off the festive season favorite and provides my thrifty readership extra of what they appear to like. With out additional ado, if cash’s tighter than a hairpin flip however for some inexplicable cause, you are feeling a way of obligation to offer your hiker buddies one thing, contemplate the next 70 present concepts for beneath $5 $10.

1.  A Field of Ziplocs – Just about everybody takes Ziplocs (or equivalents) backpacking. However let’s be sincere, nothing says, “I don’t give a shit about you” like plastic baggage for Christmas.

2.  Path Patches – Ideally suited present for hikers that need everybody to know that they’ve thru-hiked the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Path however aren’t fairly able to take the calf tattoo plunge.

3.  Socks – For lower than $10, you’ll have to go artificial and even cotton. No Merino Wool or any of these different fancy blends. If attainable, attempt to make your selection seasonal-appropriate. You understand those with little Christmas timber and snowmen on them……..possibly some reindeer as properly.

4.  Dental Floss – Along with serving to to maintain your enamel clear, uber-strong dental floss can be utilized as thread for gear repairs within the subject, an emergency substitute for a damaged shoelace, and even a makeshift clothesline beneath your shelter at night time.

5.  Bandana –  You may usually discover these multi-purpose gems on the backside of out of doors retailer discount bins. Potential makes use of embrace: towel, water filter, neck safety, pot cleaner, tent drier, pee rag for she-hikers, hanky, makeshift gaiters, helpful to put on in your face throughout sand storms, and useful if you’re low on funds and resolve to rob a comfort retailer.


Bandana………..7-Eleven mode.

6. Hacky Sacks (set of 6)– I’ve a couple of hippy hiker mates that love these little baggage. At simply over $3 every they signify wonderful worth, weigh solely a few ounces, take up just about no area in your pack, and may make for a enjoyable diversion throughout lengthy days on path. With each third set bought, consumers will obtain a complimentary eBook copy of The Mild Artwork of Bong and Pipe Making.

7.  Bathroom Paper – In the event that they aren’t too choosy with regard to softness/high quality, $10 value of bathroom roll can probably final the giftee all of a multi-month thru-hike…………not less than when supplemented with the stuff they’ll pinch from inns, eating places, fuel stations, and classier public restrooms.

8. Titan (or Voile) Straps – Used to carry collectively two trekking poles when pitching mid-style shelters in probably stormy situations. I used this strong setup throughout my latest journey to the Faroes/Greenland/Lapland (see photograph under).

MLD Duomid, Arctic Circle Path, Greenland.

9.  Loopy/Tremendous Glue – Helpful for sleeping mat repairs, small holes in tents, and at a pinch, even cuts and blisters.

10.  Tent Pegs – If you wish to go fancy, for a $10er you may in all probability decide up a couple of titanium stakes. Alternatively, you should buy six to eight of the Military Disposal Retailer selection.

11.  Plastic Disposable Kitchen Gloves – You should purchase 100-count packs (or extra) of those for a track on Amazon. They can be utilized as a part of a layering system in your fingers when climbing in extraordinarily chilly and moist situations. For particulars, see “The way to Hold Your Palms Heat Whereas Climbing in Chilly Climate.”

plastic disposable gloves

12.  Baking Soda – One other wonderful multi-purpose merchandise that extra hikers ought to learn about. Makes use of embrace toothpaste, deodorant substitute, cleansing pots and drink bottles, antacid for upset stomachs, and helps to take away foot odour from sneakers. As well as, baking soda assists in relieving itching related to insect bites, bee stings, and poison ivy/oak.

12. Head Web – Weighs solely an oz. or two and could be a sanity saver throughout the top of bug season. Certainly, when the midges, mozzies, or sandflies are swarming, I’m unsure there’s a higher value-for-money merchandise in a single’s backpacking equipment.

13.  $10 Goodwill Present card – Polyester Hawaiian-style shirts, solar clothes, saggy shorts, 100wt fleece – the record of discount basement hiker choices are virtually countless. Keep away from socks, lingerie, and bandanas. There’s low-cost, and there’s simply plain cheesy.


Tatu Jo – Legendary long-distance hiker and long-time connoisseur of thrift retailer climbing shirts (photograph courtesy of Whitney LaRuffa).

14.  Hand Sanitizer – I haven’t had a case of the trots within the “backcountry” (so to talk) since 1999. I think that the diligent use of hand sanitizer is a part of the explanation. I at all times maintain a small bottle useful in one of many shoulder strap pockets on my backpack (together with sunscreen and lip balm).

15.  Folgers Basic Decaf Prompt – None of that fancy Through stuff from Starbucks. The truth that it’s decaf leaves the giftee in little doubt as to how you actually really feel about them.

16.  Simpsons Bic Lighters – Customised Bic lighters that includes characters and scenes from The Simpsons. Whereas cooking up a feast at day’s finish, these little flame throwers are certain to carry a smile to your fellow hiker’s dials. And bear in mind…….

17.  Six-Pack of Ramen – A culinary staple for backpackers. If you happen to actually wish to make an effort, choose singles with a wide range of flavours.

18.  Tyvek Groundsheet – This would possibly truly value you nothing if you’ll find a bit in a development web site dumpster. Customise the scale for the giftee. It’s the little issues that depend.

19.  Reconstituted Talenti Ice Cream Container – A much-loved mainstay of the cold-soaking crowd.  The Talenti container sports activities a large mouth, a screw-top lid, and naturally, the not-to-be-scoffed-at bonus of a (semi)tasty pint of ice cream.

20.  Diaper Pins – This one is courtesy of long-time subscriber Gerry B, who wrote that “old school diaper pins are a lot bigger and stronger than customary security pins, and I maintain a pair hooked to my packs for drying socks or different items of clothes.

21. Dr. Bronner’s Cleaning soap: Helpful travel-sized selection pack. Weight-conscious hikers can repackage into mini-dropper bottles (see under). Not solely are they inexpensive and sensible, however gifting Dr.Bronner’s is a none-too-subtle method of claiming, “mate, you actually need to work in your hygiene.”

22.  Mini Dropper Bottles (2 Pack) – For nearly 20 years, I’ve repackaged my hand sanitizer and Aquamira in these tiny bottles for all of my backcountry journeys.

23.  Trash Compactor BagWhen bought in packets of 10 or 20, these infants often work out to between $1 and $2 a pop. It puzzles me as to why anybody would spend $40 plus for a dyneema pack liner, when a trash compactor bag weighs about the identical (a tiny bit heavier) and performs simply as properly for a fraction of the value.

24. Zipper Cleaner – Maintaining tent zippers clear charges simply behind laundering your sleeping bag on the record of issues hikers are susceptible to overlook on the finish of a protracted backpacking season. Zipper upkeep is particularly vital if a lot of your climbing is completed in coastal or desert environments (Tip: All the time be light with zippers; by no means pressure a caught zipper).

25.  Condoms – Along with the plain, the outdated Johnny bag will also be used as an emergency water holder (as much as 2 liters) in case certainly one of your bottles develops a leak. In addition they come in useful as a water-resistant cowl in your cellphone throughout river crossings. It’s even attainable to make use of the contact display screen by means of the latex – helpful for secure sexting.

Whether or not you might be sexting or fording a difficult river, if it’s not on, it’s not on.

26.  Bag Balm – Bag Balm now is available in sensible travel-sized 1/4 oz tubes. Not solely does these items works wonders on thigh and bum chafe, however it additionally is useful if you’re overcome by the urge to exploit a cow whereas out on path (i.e. Which was its authentic goal when developed again in 1899).

27.  Titanium Stitching Scissors – I’ve a few gram weenie hiker mates who love these items. They tip the scales at solely 0.3 oz, and in case you add the mini-tweezers from the Swiss Military Basic, you’ve gotten a gossamer weight combo (0.4 oz), which ought to cowl just about all your restore and tick removing wants whereas out within the subject.

28. 3M Micropore Tape – Breathable paper medical tape. Adheres properly. I’ve used it for years as a substitute of band-aids and different adhesive strips.

29.  Ibuprofen – Vitamin “I”. A hurting hiker’s greatest pal. May be discovered in lots of (if not most) hikers’ First-Assist kits. Overlook concerning the identify manufacturers similar to Advil and go generic. For $10 you may often decide up a 100-count bottle at most main supermarkets.

30.  Backcountry Bidet / Reconstituted Sports activities Drink Bottle (600ml) – Low cost and multi-purpose. You may decide one up at any petrol/fuel station. Search for bottles with a flip-cap spout. Present you care by together with the next directions and warnings on an accompanying Put up-it word:

A. You’ll want to fill the bottle to the highest earlier than use, as roughly solely the primary 200 ml are squirtable;

B. Brief, sharp squeezes fired at an upward angle of 45° work greatest, and;

C. Professional Tip: Don’t put the spout too near your freckle, as accidents can occur, and there’s nothing worse than discovering poo floaties in your ingesting water over the course of the climbing day.

A sports activities drink bottle and 4 squares of TP are all you want in your morning constitutional.

31. Bleach – Overlook about these fancy filters and chlorine dioxide drops. Bleach tastes horrible and is probably not very efficient combatting giardia and crypto, however what the hey, for $10 you should buy sufficient to final you a few thru-hikes after which put your financial savings in direction of a course of Fasigyn.

32Inflatable Pillow / Wine field bladder – The redneck’s backcountry pillow. For bogan bonus factors and a surefire thumper of a headache the next day, pack in a full field and drink all of it on the primary night time of your journey.

33. Security Sun shades – A number of totally different choices. Go for one that gives good UV safety. You may usually decide them up for round $10 a pair on-line or at {hardware} shops.

34.  Electrolyte Tablets – Particularly useful when climbing in sizzling temperatures and/or for folk that often undergo from muscle cramps.

35. Ultralight Backpackin’ Ideas – Greater than a decade after it was printed, Mike Clelland’s Ultralight Backpackin’ Ideas nonetheless charges as some of the informative and entertaining books on methods to lighten your pack weight.

36. Make America Nice Once more cap – Sensible and crappy. Regarding the former high quality, the hat’s brim helps to maintain the solar’s damaging rays off your face. As for the crappy half…….properly………..

37.  Hand Rake (Set of two) – Talking of the porn-star-hushing, document-squirreling, disinfectant-boosting, tax-avoiding, NFT-hawking, election-denying, riot-fanning, wannabee-Greenland-purchasing, former Commander Bankrupt In Chief, certainly one of Trumpy’s most memorable options was to observe Finland’s instance in serving to to maintain America’s “forests flooring clear.” Hikers can do their half by selecting up a pair of those light-weight leaf scoopers for his or her subsequent backcountry tour. They weigh beneath 12 oz a pair and are simple to strap onto the again of your pack when not in use. With each second pair bought, consumers will obtain both a “Rake America Nice Once more” or “I Love Finland” bumper sticker.

Leaf scoopers/hand rakes are an incredible possibility for both the yard or your subsequent backpacking journey.

Wish to go the additional mile in forest hearth prevention? This Finnish girl reveals us how by caring for the forest flooring close to her residence.

37. Beer Koozie – Multi-purpose merchandise. Emergency mitten, storage in your DSLR lenses, paw protector in case your canine steps on a cactus, and helps to maintain that post-hike beer that you just left in your automobile refreshingly lukewarm. Earn gram weenie bonus factors by buying it from certainly one of your favorite ultralight cottage gear firms.

38.  Therm-a-rest Z-Lite Seat Pad  – When your outdated Z-Lite has gone flatter than gander’s arch, lob off a few segments and present them to a climbing buddy in the hunt for a bit extra back-country consolation throughout their noon breaks. Alternatively, massive spenders can splash out on a new Z-Seat Pad and share the posterior love amongst three of their hiker mates.

39.  Frogg Toggs / DriDucks Rain Pants – The entire Frog Toggs swimsuit will value round $22. Nevertheless, whereas the jacket could also be a practical possibility for a lot of three-season backpacking excursions, the pants (est. worth $0.10) are about as sturdy as a pair of Altras on something however manicured trails. Regardless of the setting, chances are high you’ll blow out the crotch, bottom, or rip a gap in one of many legs inside a few days of leaving the trailhead.

Frog Toggs pants within the subject (photograph from

40.  Mylar Blanket (Pack of 10) – A discount at lower than a greenback a pop. Along with being utilized in emergencies, area blankets will also be employed as a light-weight floor sheet, signaling mirror, and makeshift tarp.

41 Baskin & Robbins Pink Spoon –  If you happen to order a sundae at Baskin & Robbins, it comes with a semi-durable, difficult-to-lose, long-handled pink plastic spoon. I used certainly one of these for 2000 miles on the Pacific Crest Path in 2012.

42.  The Fellowship of the Ring – That is the primary a part of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and for my cash, the most effective thru-hiking story ever written. You may typically decide up a used copy for lower than a fiver on Amazon. Principally, it’s the story of a various bunch of fellows who went out for a multi-month stroll, obtained as much as plenty of memorable adventures, met some cool path angels, took some zero days, had some variations of opinion with regard to route choice, break up into separate teams, stood by one another when instances had been powerful, completed their journeys at totally different termini, and, lastly, met up for celebratory post-hike beers on a subject known as Cormallen at journey’s finish.

The boys from the Fellowship with the Misty Mountains within the background.

43.  John Muir’s Works – You may decide up both a paperback or Kindle model of “The Yosemite” and “My First Summer season within the Sierra” for lower than $5 on Amazon. Greater than three many years after first studying Muir’s works as a young person, he stays certainly one of my favorite wilderness writers.

44.  Tenacious Tape – An improve from duct tape for out-in-the-field gear repairs to your tent, rain jacket, or wind shirt

45.  Mini Cube – This one is courtesy of my pal, Liz “Snorkel” Thomas, backpacking sage, creator, and Queen of City Through-hiking. In line with Snorks, “5 mini-dice weigh in at grams and supply hours of leisure for hikers trapped in a tent or shelter on a wet or snowy day. Good for Yahtzee, Farkel, and the rest you may make up.” A 100-pack will set you again $5.

46.  PeakFinder App – This suggestion is from my outdated mate, Paul Magnanti (Pmags). Whereas climbing in Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo vary in 2016, Mags blew me away when he began randomly rattling off the names and altitudes of each mountain close by. Simply once I thought he was taking the piss, he confirmed me the PeakFinder app on his cellphone ($3.99 as of 2022). To make use of the app, merely level the digicam at your mountain of selection, and a panoramic drawing will overlay the picture and offer you all of the related particulars. It at the moment has data on greater than 950,000 peaks world wide (Word: Different helpful apps for hikers embrace PlantNet (free, easy, quick, and correct plant identifications), SkySafari (simple to make use of astronomy information to the night time sky), and Knots 3D (take a wild guess).

PeakFinder App (photograph from

47. Nan Shepherd’s “The Residing Mountain”: Shepherd was a Scottish poet and nationalist who’s commemorated on the nation’s five-pound word. “The Residing Mountain” is Shepherd’s fantastically written testomony to the thrill and wonders of strolling in nature, particularly in her beloved Cairngorm mountains.

48Dehydrated Cocktails – Excellent for hip flask-carrying backpackers that wish to prolong hiker midnight previous 9 pm. Taste choices embrace Mango Margarita, Mint Mojito, and Blood Orange Mai Tai.

49. Personalised Revenge Voodoo Doll – When sharing somebody’s path combine has left you with a debilitating case of the trots, otherwise you picked up somewhat greater than you bargained for throughout a wild night time at Path Days, present your self certainly one of these customized light-weight dolls (3.2 oz / pins included). Positive they value a bit over $10, however it’s arduous to place a value on a superb dose of path revenge.

Personalised Revenge Voodoo Doll

50. Backpacking Abilities/Academic Books – A lot of the backpacking recommendation you see on YouTube is 90 % tip and 10 % iceberg. For folk simply stepping into the game, I extremely suggest selecting up a handful of traditional hiking-related texts, which is able to complement the time you spend out within the boonies in serving to to construct your backcountry talent set and data base.

51The underside half of a Platypus bladder – When your platy bladder is discoloured, more and more brittle, and the seam on the high has ruptured, lower it in half and regift the underside half to an ultralight hiker pal. They’ll then use it to scoop water from filthy puddles when climbing in crimson rock nation or alternatively make use of it as a poor man’s consuming vessel.

52. Plastic Bathe Curtain – Overlook about fancy supplies similar to Dyneema Composite Materials (DCF); the legendary Grandma Gatewood used a plastic bathe curtain for rain safety when she turned the primary lady to thru-hike the Appalachian Path in 1955. In doing so, she might have inadvertently turn into the originator of the Poncho Tarp.

The legendary Grandma Gatewood.

53. Spam satchels – America’s favourite thriller meat. Cheap, long-lasting, and full of fats and protein, (in idea) spam looks as if it will be a superb possibility for calorie-loading long-distance hikers. Till you truly style it. I throw up somewhat in my mouth simply enthusiastic about it.

54.  Mack’s Silicone Ear Plugs – Anti-snoring resolution. In line with their promo spiel, Mack’s “have been saving marriages since 1962.” A must have for anybody considering of going from hut to hut within the Alps or climbing the Appalachian Path throughout the common season (Word: As a bonus, I can personally attest that Mack’s silicone plugs work nice within the pool as properly, for these of us which can be susceptible to swimmer’s ear infections).

55Beano Extremely When your climbing companion is overdoing it on the dehydrated beans, and his or her farts would make a skunk blush, provide them some Beano Extremely to chop issues off on the pass.

56. Croakies (or equal) – Helpful present for noggin-perching sunglass wearers, similar to myself, that often scratch or lose sun shades out within the boonies.

57Smartwater bottle – Light-weight (1.3 oz), lengthy, slender, easy sides, and fairly sturdy, Smartwater is the ingesting vessel of selection for a lot of weight-conscious backpackers.

58Spiky Therapeutic massage BallLight-weight and compact merchandise that helps to cut back muscle ache and pressure within the toes, calves, hips, glutes, and shoulders. For somewhat extra cash, you may go for a lighter and extra environmentally pleasant cork possibility from Rawology.

59Handsfree Umbrella Clamp – Useful accent for umbrella customers (particularly those who wield trekking poles) that clips onto virtually any shoulder strap.

Greg “Malto” Gressel on a dampish hike in New York’s Adirondack mountains (2015).

60. Paper Espresso Filters – Low cost-as-chips merchandise that’s helpful for pre-filtering soiled or silty water.

61. Lodge/Spa Slippers – Tipping the scales at round 70 gr/2.5 oz, lodge slippers are an inexpensive, gentle, compact, and cozy camp shoe possibility. They’re additionally supreme for backcountry huts when you want to depart your climbing sneakers on the door.

62. Sponges – Featherweight, multi-purpose merchandise that can be utilized as a pot cleaner, condensation dryer, and, in case you’re actually determined, to take in the final drops of water in a shallower-than-shallow pothole (Word: A straw could be a greater possibility for the final level).

63. Blaze Orange Vest (and hat) – Important equipment when climbing throughout looking season in lots of locations within the US. Within the phrases of PMags (seen within the photograph under): “Sporting blaze orange is nice for security; hunters recognize it, and it’s a respectful method of sharing the outside amongst all customers.”

Yours really and Pmags throughout a 2014 journey within the Mount Evans Wilderness.

64. Foot File/Callus Remover – You may usually decide foot recordsdata up for beneath $10, however for one thing as vital as your toes, I’d suggest spending a wee bit extra for a mannequin that’s going to do the job properly and final for the lengthy haul. I purchased a Probelle a couple of years again, and it’s nonetheless going sturdy.

65. Nikwax Down Wash –  For arguably probably the most cherished (and sometimes the most costly) merchandise in a backpacker’s equipment, it surprises me what number of people don’t take higher care of their sleeping bag/quilt. In a nutshell, laundering your bag or quilt annually will assist it last more and insulate extra successfully (Word: If you wish to go the additional yard, purchase the giftee a couple of tennis balls to assist within the drying course of).

66. Lint –  Makes for an incredible emergency hearth starter. Empty the contents of your garments dryer’s lint catcher right into a tiny Ziploc bag. Throw in some further lint out of your stomach button simply to offer the present a extra private contact.


Stomach lint extraction – Japanese fashion.

67. Packing Pod Pillow – I have a tendency to not use loads of stuff sacks once I hike, however during the last couple of years, I’ve periodically introduced alongside a few SMD packing pods. Aside from being useful for organizational functions, these brightly colored pods are additionally the right dimension to make use of as a pillowcase, full of no matter clothes objects you’re not sleeping in.

68. 100 Wt Fleece – Sturdy, breathable, and moisture-resistant energetic put on. A wonderful value-for-money merchandise that (most of the time) has a spot in my backpacking equipment regardless of the setting or season. They’ll often value somewhat over $10, however you may usually discover them on particular for beneath $20 or $30.

69. Mini Carabiners – Ideas the dimensions at 0.1 oz/3 gr and can be utilized for guyline attachments, drying hooks, and hanging bear baggage. Poncho tarp customers can use them to make a fast transition from poncho to shelter mode when it’s raining.

70. Fanny Pack – Fanny packs are just like the fruitcakes of the backpacking world. They get loads of shit, however on the finish of the day, you’ve obtained to tip your cap to a utilitarian merchandise that merely refuses to go away. Talking of one thing/one that’s inconceivable to kill…………..

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*Disclosure: This put up incorporates some affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests ‘The Climbing Life’ receives a small (on this case, very, very small) fee if you buy an merchandise after clicking on one of many hyperlinks. This comes at no extra value to the reader and helps to assist the web site in its persevering with objective to create high quality content material for backpackers and hikers. 

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