While I was on the trail this year I got to thinking about Christmas, because, well it’s my favorite holiday :) I thought about the things I could get various family and friends...and about what I’d put on my list for myself. That train of thought led me to think, what would I recommend if someone was looking to buy a gift for a hiker? So I jotted a few thoughts down. Of course these gifts can be used for other occasions as well and as send off’s or welcome homes for family and friends embarking on a long distance hike.
My criteria for this list was simple: items should be either useful on the trail, benefit the trail, or be trail related to commemorate someone’s hike. Some of these came to mind because I am an ambassador with the companies, but I don’t get anything special from putting them in this list. Some of these are made by friends, who sell their creations to fund their hikes and I’d love more people to know about them. Some of these I just plain found on my own and think they are rad. I gave special consideration to companies that partner with trail organizations to donate some of the proceeds. It’s a great way to give back to the trails too.
The point is, here are some cool ideas (in no particular order) that go beyond the basic outdoor store gift card that I like and I think other hikers would too.
1: Tarma Designs Jewelry. They make a wide variety of pendants and earrings in different categories (running, biking, hiking, etc). They make pieces utilizing the PCT, AT, JMT, and Camino logos. Proceeds from the PCT and AT jewelry go to those respective trail organizations. https://tarmadesigns.com
2: Point6 Merino Socks are long wearing and have a lifetime guarantee. While they make a wide variety of functional hiking socks, they also have something called the Wild Playground Series. These socks utilize the logos of the AT, PCT, CDT, National Forest Foundation, LNT, and Trout Unlimited. Point6 donates a whopping 25% of the profit of each of these socks to their respective trail and conservation organizations. https://point6.com/collections/wild-playground-series
3: Salazon Chocolate also has a trail benefit series with sales of certain bars benefiting either the AT, PCT, or CDT. https://www.salazonchoc.com/collections/trail-series
4: Woolrich Blankets makes both a PCT and CDT version of their 40x60 soft wool blanket. http://www.woolrich.com/woolrich/browse/blankets-blankets-made-in-the-usa/_/N-80l
5: Arlette Laan Fiber Creations Backpacking Buddies. These handmade baby sock dolls are beyond adorable. Whimsical and ultralight, I carry one on my pack on all my hikes. They are fun little good luck encouragers to send with someone on their upcoming hike. She also makes an “Adventurers” version that comes with it’s own little backpack. https://squareup.com/market/arlette-laan-dolls-slash-photos/
6: Triple Crown Hiker Shane O’Donnell filmed his hikes of the PCT (2008), CDT(2012), and AT(2015). And, unlike a lot of hiking movies you’ve seen, his are edited well and have more of a storyline than just “I walked a lot” without being overly romanticized or dramatized. I haven’t seen the Wizards of the PCT, which started the series off, but I have seen the other two. I can tell you that he really captures life and community on the trail accurately. http://www.tbwproductions.com/
7: Trail organizations all have online shops and other ways to contribute to the trail while doing your shopping. Check out the organization for the trail your hiker has done to see what they offer. Here are a few:
8: Dirty Girl Gaiters produces affordable and colorful trail gaiters. They come in myriad designs and pretty much every hiker male and female wears a pair (or two). My recent favorite...the frosted donut patterned one. https://dirtygirlgaiters.com/
9: The Amazon Smile Program allows you to choose a non-profit to benefit with a percentage of all your Amazon purchases. All the same products and prices are available. The CDTC, PCTA, and ATC all have accounts (along with thousands of other non-profits). Set up your Smile Account to benefit the organization of your choice at https://smile.amazon.com/about
10: Backcountry Ninja’s has shirts, hats, stickers, etc all trail and hiking related owned and designed by thru-hikers http://backcountryninjas.com/all-gear
11: Hikertrash is another clothing, hat, and sticker design site owned and designed by thru-hikers http://www.wearehikertrash.com/
12: Anish Hikes T Shirts: Ok, so I do have some vested interest in this one ;) Here’s the link if you still haven’t purchased an AnishT and know someone who would like one https://ursportswear.com/products/anish-t-shirt