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70 Crappy (however sensible) Christmas Items for Hikers |

(Be aware: This yr’s checklist incorporates a lot of your outdated favourites, together with 20 new additions. I notice that December 24 could be very late for a Christmas present publish, however what the hey, this text has by no means actually been concerning the pressies. Blissful Christmas to everybody, and should your festive season be filled with peace, marvel, and no 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 gear, or journey studies from far-flung locales. Nope, they’ve been about crappy hiker items which you could choose up for lower than 5 {dollars}.


From Walmart with Love.

Subsequently, 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 purpose, you are feeling a way of obligation to provide your hiker buddies one thing, contemplate the next 70 present concepts for below $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 luggage for Christmas.

2.  Path Patches – Excellent 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 could have to go artificial and even cotton. No Merino Wool or any of these different fancy blends. If attainable, attempt to make your alternative seasonal-appropriate. You understand those with little Christmas bushes and snowmen on them……..possibly some reindeer as nicely.

4.  Dental Floss – Along with serving to to maintain your tooth clear, uber-strong dental floss can be utilized as thread for gear repairs within the area, an emergency alternative for a damaged shoelace, and even a makeshift clothesline below your shelter at evening.

5.  Bandana –  You’ll be able to typically discover these multi-purpose gems on the backside of out of doors retailer cut price 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 helpful in case you are 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 luggage. At simply over $3 every they signify glorious worth, weigh solely a few ounces, take up just about no area in your pack, and might 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.  Rest room Paper – In the event that they aren’t too choosy with reference to softness/high quality, $10 value of bathroom roll can doubtlessly final the giftee all of a multi-month thru-hike…………no less than when supplemented with the stuff they’ll pinch from lodges, eating places, gasoline stations, and classier public restrooms.

8. Titan (or Voile) Straps – Used to carry collectively two trekking poles when pitching mid-style shelters in doubtlessly stormy circumstances. I used this strong setup throughout my current journey to the Faroes/Greenland/Lapland (see picture 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’ll be able to most likely choose 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 buy 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 mountaineering in extraordinarily chilly and moist circumstances. For particulars, see “ Maintain Your Arms Heat Whereas Climbing in Chilly Climate.”

plastic disposable gloves

12.  Baking Soda – One other glorious 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 footwear. 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 generally is a sanity saver through the top of bug season. Certainly, when the midges, mozzies, or sandflies are swarming, I’m undecided there’s a higher value-for-money merchandise in a single’s backpacking equipment.

13.  $10 Goodwill Present card – Polyester Hawaiian-style shirts, solar attire, saggy shorts, 100wt fleece – the checklist of cut price 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 mountaineering shirts (picture 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 believe that the diligent use of hand sanitizer is a part of the rationale. I all the time preserve a small bottle helpful in one of many shoulder strap pockets on my backpack (together with sunscreen and lip balm).

15.  Folgers Basic Decaf On the spot – None of that fancy By way of 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 deliver a smile to your fellow hiker’s dials. And bear in mind…….

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

18.  Tyvek Groundsheet – This would possibly really value you nothing if you will discover a chunk in a building web site dumpster. Customise the dimensions 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 commonplace security pins, and I preserve 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 manner of claiming, “mate, you really want 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 normally 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 nicely for a fraction of the worth.

24. Zipper Cleaner – Protecting tent zippers clear charges simply behind laundering your sleeping bag on the checklist of issues hikers are susceptible to overlook on the finish of a protracted backpacking season. Zipper upkeep is very vital if a lot of your mountaineering is finished 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 apparent, the outdated Johnny bag can be used as an emergency water holder (as much as 2 liters) in case considered one of your bottles develops a leak. Additionally they turn out to be useful as a water-resistant cowl in your telephone throughout river crossings. It’s even attainable to make use of the contact display screen by way of the latex – helpful for protected 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, but it surely additionally turns out to be useful in case you are overcome by the urge to exploit a cow whereas out on path (i.e. Which was its authentic objective 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 when you add the mini-tweezers from the Swiss Military Basic, you’ve a gossamer weight combo (0.4 oz), which ought to cowl just about all your restore and tick removing wants whereas out within the area.

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

29.  Ibuprofen – Vitamin “I”. A hurting hiker’s finest good friend. Might be discovered in lots of (if not most) hikers’ First-Assist kits. Neglect concerning the title manufacturers reminiscent of Advil and go generic. For $10 you’ll be able to normally choose up a 100-count bottle at most main supermarkets.

30.  Backcountry Bidet / Reconstituted Sports activities Drink Bottle (600ml) – Low cost and multi-purpose. You’ll be able to choose one up at any petrol/gasoline station. Search for bottles with a flip-cap spout. Present you care by together with the next directions and warnings on an accompanying Publish-it notice:

A. You should definitely 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 finest, 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 mountaineering day.

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

31. Bleach – Neglect about these fancy filters and chlorine dioxide drops. Bleach tastes horrible and might not be 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 evening of your journey.

33. Security Sun shades – A lot of totally different choices. Go for one that provides good UV safety. You’ll be able to typically choose them up for round $10 a pair on-line or at {hardware} shops.

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

35. Ultralight Backpackin’ Ideas – Greater than a decade after it was revealed, Mike Clelland’s Ultralight Backpackin’ Ideas nonetheless charges as some of the informative and entertaining books on the right way 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…….nicely………..

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, considered one of Trumpy’s most memorable solutions was to comply with Finland’s instance in serving to to maintain America’s “forests flooring clear.” Hikers can do their half by choosing up a pair of those light-weight leaf scoopers for his or her subsequent backcountry tour. They weigh below 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 a terrific possibility for both the yard or your subsequent backpacking journey.

Need to go the additional mile in forest fireplace prevention? This Finnish girl reveals us how by caring for the forest flooring close to her dwelling.

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 simply left in your automotive refreshingly lukewarm. Earn gram weenie bonus factors by buying it from considered one of your favorite ultralight cottage gear corporations.

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 mountaineering buddy in the hunt for a bit extra back-country consolation throughout their noon breaks. Alternatively, large spenders can splash out on a new Z-Seat Pad and share the posterior love amongst three of their hiker pals.

39.  Frogg Toggs / DriDucks Rain Pants – The entire Frog Toggs go well with will value round $22. Nevertheless, whereas the jacket could also be a useful 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. No matter the atmosphere, 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 area (picture from

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

41 Baskin & Robbins Pink Spoon –  In the event you order a sundae at Baskin & Robbins, it comes with a semi-durable, difficult-to-lose, long-handled pink plastic spoon. I used considered 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, one of the best thru-hiking story ever written. You’ll be able to usually choose up a used copy for lower than a fiver on Amazon. Mainly, it’s the story of a various bunch of men who went out for a multi-month stroll, received as much as a lot of memorable adventures, met some cool path angels, took some zero days, had some variations of opinion with reference to route choice, break up into separate teams, stood by one another when instances have been robust, completed their journeys at totally different termini, and, lastly, met up for celebratory post-hike beers on a area 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’ll be able to choose up both a paperback or Kindle model of “The Yosemite” and “My First Summer time within the Sierra” for lower than $5 on Amazon. Greater than three a long time after first studying Muir’s works as a young person, he stays considered 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 good friend, Liz “Snorkel” Thomas, backpacking sage, creator, and Queen of City Through-hiking. In response to 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 anything you can also make up.” A 100-pack will set you again $5.

46.  PeakFinder App – This advice is from my outdated mate, Paul Magnanti (Pmags). Whereas mountaineering 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 after I thought he was taking the piss, he confirmed me the PeakFinder app on his telephone ($3.99 as of 2022). To make use of the app, merely level the digital camera at your mountain of alternative, and a panoramic drawing will overlay the picture and offer you all of the related particulars. It presently has info on greater than 950,000 peaks all over the world (Be aware: Different helpful apps for hikers embrace PlantNet (free, easy, quick, and correct plant identifications), SkySafari (simple to make use of astronomy information to the evening sky), and Knots 3D (take a wild guess).

PeakFinder App (picture from

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

48Dehydrated Cocktails – Good for hip flask-carrying backpackers that wish to lengthen 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 a little bit greater than you bargained for throughout a wild evening at Path Days, present your self considered one of these customized light-weight dolls (3.2 oz / pins included). Certain they value a bit over $10, but it surely’s arduous to place a worth on a great dose of path revenge.

Personalised Revenge Voodoo Doll

50. Backpacking Abilities/Instructional Books – A lot of the backpacking recommendation you see on YouTube is 90 % tip and 10 % iceberg. For folk simply entering into the game, I extremely suggest choosing 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 ability set and information base.

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

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

The legendary Grandma Gatewood.

53. Spam satchels – America’s favourite thriller meat. Cheap, long-lasting, and filled with fats and protein, (in idea) spam looks as if it could be a great possibility for calorie-loading long-distance hikers. Till you really style it. I throw up a little bit in my mouth simply occupied with it.

54.  Mack’s Silicone Ear Plugs – Anti-snoring answer. In response to 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 mountaineering the Appalachian Path through the common season (Be aware: As a bonus, I can personally attest that Mack’s silicone plugs work nice within the pool as nicely, for these of us which are susceptible to swimmer’s ear infections).

55Beano Extremely When your mountaineering accomplice 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, reminiscent of myself, that repeatedly 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 alternative for a lot of weight-conscious backpackers.

58Spiky Therapeutic massage BallLight-weight and compact merchandise that helps to scale back muscle ache and rigidity within the toes, calves, hips, glutes, and shoulders. For a little bit extra cash, you’ll be able to go for a lighter and extra environmentally pleasant cork possibility from Rawology.

59Handsfree Umbrella Clamp – Purposeful 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. Resort/Spa Slippers – Tipping the scales at round 70 gr/2.5 oz, resort slippers are an inexpensive, gentle, compact, and comfy camp shoe possibility. They’re additionally ultimate for backcountry huts when that you must depart your mountaineering footwear on the door.

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

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

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

64. Foot File/Callus Remover – You’ll be able to typically choose foot information up for below $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 nicely and final for the lengthy haul. I purchased a Probelle a couple of years again, and it’s nonetheless going robust.

65. Nikwax Down Wash –  For arguably probably the most cherished (and infrequently the costliest) 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 (Be aware: 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 a terrific emergency fireplace starter. Empty the contents of your garments dryer’s lint catcher right into a tiny Ziploc bag. Throw in some additional lint out of your stomach button simply to provide the present a extra private contact.


Stomach lint extraction – Japanese type.

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

68. 100 Wt Fleece – Sturdy, breathable, and moisture-resistant lively put on. A wonderful value-for-money merchandise that (most of the time) has a spot in my backpacking equipment no matter the atmosphere or season. They’ll normally value a little bit over $10, however you’ll be able to typically discover them on particular for below $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 luggage. 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 received to tip your cap to a utilitarian merchandise that merely refuses to go away. Talking of one thing/one that’s unimaginable to kill…………..

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