As winter approaches so does the holiday season, where we gather with family and friends and embrace the short days and long nights. During this season of celebration, we often show our love for each other by giving someone a gift. I know how hard it can be to find a good gift for your favorite dirtbag who enjoys spending their time outside sleeping on the ground as opposed to a luxury resort. So, for 2023 here are some top picks that I think will put a smile on that special dirtbag’s face.
Gifts under $25
Nite Ize Gear Ties $5-$7
The Nite Ize Gear Ties are rubber-coated twist ties that come in various sizes. I first discovered them as a way to manage all the cables I must carry for charging devices, and they work great. Grab an 18” version and you now have a great way to hang your gravity filter system so you can happily snack while your water gets ready for the next leg of your hike.
This little 19g light is a perfect way to illuminate the inside of your shelter during the long evenings of shoulder season. With a 360 swivel and an integrated hook to hang from inside the tent, this little lamp is great for reading and will save that precious headlamp battery for the miles you may want to hike in the dark.
Let’s face it any shelter you take out on the trail is going to require stakes, so why not grab a shiny new 6 pack to get you out there in style? If you’re like me, you probably bent and broke a few stakes this past season when you tried to use that rock to hammer a stake into some hard-packed or rocky soil.
Want to use an umbrella while hiking but also use trekking poles? Being ever the problem solver years ago I started making these hands-free kits for myself, and over the past 4+ years, we have been happy to share them with our customers. Weighing just 10g and only costing $10 it’s a great gift or stocking stuffer.
I have been using the same TOAKS spoon since 2016, that shiny piece of titanium has a pile of miles on it and its long length makes scooping every morsel out of the bottom of a freezer bag a breeze. I personally love the polished bowl as it feels better in my mouth and makes scrapping the cheese from my lasagna an easy task.
CNOC Vecto 2L $23
From the Oregon Desert Trail in 2018 to my most recent hike, a north-to-south traverse of Iceland, and a pile of miles and hikes in between, the Vecto has proven to be a fantastic option for water capacity. Generally, I carry 2 of these and use them for my gravity filter. They roll up small, are super easy to fill up, and are light. A perfect gift for that hiker who is looking to add some additional water-carrying capacity without having all the bulk of a bottle taking up space when not in use.
DirtSaw Deuce #2 $21
When nature calls, and it will, you need to have a good way to dig that cat hole in the backcountry. This updated DirtSaw version is a major improvement over the previous models. With recessed teeth on the leading edge this tool can saw through small roots and dirt with ease. Coming in at 17g this lightweight trowel should be in everyone’s oppo kit, if they need to know how to use it check out the video.
Gifts for $75 or Less
When the sun is blazing down on you in the desert or the rain is chilling you to the bone in the Appalachians, an umbrella is an awesome piece of gear. With 3 models to choose from the Silver Shadow, Silver Shadow Mini, and Silver Shadow Carbon there is an umbrella for every possible condition from heavy rain to travel abroad. Bonus for those looking at the Silver Shadow Mini it now includes an additional EVA foam handle that extends the grip for better comfort in hand.
TOAKS makes some of the most affordable titanium products on the market, but don’t let the low price fool you, these products are of the highest quality. The 2000ml is a bit overkill for a solo hiker, but if you’re a couple hiking in a group, the bigger size is handy for making a double batch of Annie’s Mac and Cheese or enough coffee to get you tuned up for a 30-mile day. Weighing just 9.1 oz this big old pot will not weigh you down.
A favorite among any outdoor enthusiast or traveler, these lightweight packing pods make organizing your kit a breeze. Utilizing waterproof fabric and taped seams these packing pods are splashproof and weigh nearly nothing. New this year is the addition of the Backpacking SMD packing pod XL. I personally love this new larger size for my food bag on longer hikes when I may be carrying 6-8 days of food. Available in either a 3-pack of mixed sizes, 3-pack of the large size, or the new stand-alone XL, anyone getting these for a gift will be stoked.
Weighing just 3oz the Sawyer Squeeze is the perfect water filter and trusted by countless thru-hikers year after year. With the ability to be screwed on a bottle, run as an inline filter on a hydration pack, or rigged up as a gravity filter (my preference), this simple filter will be a hit this holiday.
Big Ticket Items
This cross-body satchel is any traveler’s dream. Designed to hold your electronics on the go, this bag is ready to see the world with you. My ePouch has seen an ungodly amount of sky miles over the past 5 years and has been with me to Europe, Asia, and all over the US, and I have to say it’s one of my favorite pieces of travel gear. When I board an airplane I slip it under the seat in front of me, it has everything I need for a flight and still allows for my legs to enjoy the extra space under that seat. Get one for travel or use it as your everyday carry, either way, I promise you’re going to love this bag.
Lunar Duo Outfitter $210
A two-person tent that cost $210 and weighs just 3.5Lbs and is big enough for the tallest of hikers. The Lunar Duo is often called the backcountry palace with an internal floor that measures 54” x 90”, there is more than enough room for 2 people and their gear to live comfortably while on the trail.
Skyscape Trekker $275
While our award-winning Lunar Solo gets all the attention, my absolute favorite 1 person tent in our line is the Skyscape Trekker. Weighing only 28oz, this diamond-shaped 1-person shelter has kept me safe and dry in some of the gnarliest weather I have ever hiked in. Featuring 2 doors and 2 vestibules this shelter has ample room for gear and ease of entry and exit. Bonus when the weather is nice you can roll back all the exterior doors leaving you a 300-degree view of the night sky.
Haven Bundle $375
Tipping the scale right around the 2-pound mark, the Haven Bundle is an amazing value in an ultralight 2-person, double-wall shelter. By utilizing both the Haven Tarp and Haven Net Tent, this double-wall beauty has amazing condensation management and a ton of room inside for 2 people. What sets this shelter apart though from the competition is the ability to use either the inner or the outer as a stand-alone shelter. While we sell it as a 2-person shelter I know a few thru-hikers, me included, who use it as a solo shelter so can have a yard sale in their tent at night.
This was the first piece of gear I designed after our founder Ron taught me the philosophy and techniques to design gear. I set out to design a modern take on the classic rucksack. It’s got enough room for bulky layers on a winter snowshoe or ski tour, and it’s still small enough to get shoved under the seat on an airplane. This second generation of the pack has some great updates: narrower shoulder straps for a better fit, a breathable 3D mesh back for better comfort on a hot day, and new and improved fabrics for all the stretch pockets. While we feel it’s a great daypack, we have had many customers use the Wy’east this year to hike the Camino de Santiago and we know a few others who have thru-hiked the AT with it.
Flex Pack PR Plus $315-$385
The Flex PR Plus is the largest backpack in our line and features a massive 75L dry bag and capacity beyond that when needed. Designed for the needs of the packrafting community, this pack is also a favorite among trail crews hauling in tools, backcountry hunters in the Rockies and Alaska, and hikers who want a pack that can haul a load and keeps their gear safe and dry. One of my hiking partners year and I used Flex PR Plus packs for our north-to-south traverse across Iceland. The packs were the perfect solution for the bulky extra layers we needed to stay warm, and the 6+ days of food we carried between resupply points. The major bonus on that trip was no matter how much rain and wind we had, and we had plenty, our gear stayed dry as a bone inside the TPU-coated nylon dry bag.
Flight 30 Ultra $200-$300
A frameless pack designed for those looking to go fast and light, our Flight 30 Ultra is the perfect pack for trail runners, fastpackers, and anyone looking for a small lightweight pack for their next adventure. I generally use my Flight 30 Ultra for shorter weekend trips during the summer and early fall when I can get away with a small kit. If you have a trail runner in your life needing a new pack, then the Flight 30 is a great choice.
The go-to thru-hiking pack in our line, the Swift V and Swift X share the same clean lines and minimal approach in a backpack that long-distance hikers love. I’ve clocked well over 1,000 miles with my Swift X, and it has performed well in the Canadian Rockies to the deserts of Oregon and New Mexico. With a generous front pocket, large side pockets, and roll top design that can expand when needed, this pack is a thru-hiker dream. New this year were updated fabrics including Challenge Sailcloth Ultra Stretch, which brought a whole new level of durability to these packs. Give the gift of a comfortable pack this season.