All items listed here are things we’ve personally tested or brands that we love. From a tent to hiking boots, cycling, travel, or just being out around town, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, you’ll find gear to combat the elements and make life a little easier during an adventure.
We’ve got apparel, tech, footwear, packs and storage, and good old-fashioned classic gear.
How to Use This Guide
Consider this guide as much inspiration as guide. Recommending gifts for all of the “outdoors” is an impossible task, so think of this guide as an update on what’s new and exciting, what’s old and trusted, and which brands the GearJunkie team has tried and loved.
Some gifts will be a slam dunk. But others may be only close, not quite perfect. In that case, click through and start searching — filter by price, feature, or other category to dial in the ideal gift. Ultimately, the guide below is a selection of what we would love to give, or receive — only you can make it perfect.
Best Gifts for the Outdoors
Built for day missions, the REI Co-op Flash 22 pack is the perfect size for day hikes and done-in-a-day summits. This latest version earned a bluesign product designation for its use of recycled materials.
For breathability, there’s a mesh back panel and mesh shoulder straps with extra material by the neck and shoulders to prevent irritation. The back panel can be removed and used as a sit pad when it’s time to take a break and soak in the views.
The day pack has side pockets for water bottles and snacks, a drawstring closure with a lid with small zippered pockets, and several bungees and tool loops for tacking on extra gear. Inside, the Flash has a hydration sleeve and organizer pockets, including a key fob.Check Price at REI
Whoa. With every new advance in personal audio, I’m continually amazed at what we hear. Turtlebox — a brand on a self-proclaimed mission to produce the loudest, most outdoor-worthy speakers on the market — launched its Gen 2 Speaker this year. And boy, let me tell you, it’s legit.
The sound packs a wallop. Its rich, deep, crisp, and not garbled or tinny like early Bluetooth audio. But as good as it sounds, the Turtlebox remains fully IP67 waterproof, offers up to 25+ hours of battery life, and has tie-down points on all sides. In short, for as great as it works, you don’t have to worry about actually using it! It’s an investment, but it’d be a helluva gift for that special, tech-loving someone.
Laugh all you want, but for all the hoopla over everything YETI makes, perhaps the best product the GearJunkie team ever tested was the big, silly, One-Gallon Jug.
I won’t over-hype it — it’s pretty much what you expect: A big, heavy, tough jug. Yes, it’s insulated and works equally well for ice-cold beverages and piping-hot chili. Yes, you can drop it down the side of a mountain and it’ll probably hold up (one of my editors did). And yes, it has a really nifty magnet in the spot top to keep you from ever losing it.
But beyond that, it’s really just a bomber jug, limited only by your imagination.
You’d be surprised how heated GearJunkie debates get when it comes to pants. Not only which brand makes the best pants, but whether long pants or shorts are better for outdoor adventure. This gift guide is not going to settle those debates. But that said, if you know which side of the pants vs. shirts matter you fall on — obviously shorts! — KÜHL makes a pair fit for you (and the person on your list).
The Utah brand is renowned for making stylish, durable, intelligently designed outdoor apparel. And for those who’d like to show a little leg, KÜHL’s Renegade Shorts (for men) and Splash Short (for women) are good-looking and cleverly built to make them perfect activewear options. A hint of stretch pairs with UPF protection, water- and abrasion-resistant face fabric, and low-profile zipper pockets.
If there’s one thing that’s been missing from the world of smokeless fire pits — the latest and greatest trend in camping and tailgating alike — it’s their overall lack of portability.
No more! Breeo introduced the Y Series to make its fire pits and outdoor cooking accouterments easier to carry and assemble. The Y Series gets its name from its three retractable legs, so it can stand elevated off the ground.
But the real magic is in the single folding handle along its side. Weighing 31 pounds, the Breeo Y Series carries like a piece of luggage — just collapse the legs, lift, and go.
We’ve tested it and we approve. You can snag the fire pit alone for $495. But if you want to go all out, you can get the full Fire Master Bundle, which includes a cooking grate, fire pit cover, cast iron kettle, and hanging kettle hook, for $1,164.
The CRKT Woods Chogan T-Hawk is inspired by the EDC of WWI infantrymen, and it’s built with a level of durability and craftsmanship to reflect that legacy. Made with 1055 Carbon Steel and adorned with a Tennessee Hickory Handle, the Woods Chogan T-Hawk splits wood, hammers tent stakes — and looks good doing just about anything. The magnesium-phosphate coating offers supreme corrosion resistance so you can keep it in the family and pass it down from generation to generation.Check Price at CRKT
New in the GearJunkie testing rotation is the RUX storage system. At the center of the innovation is a collapsible tote — as big as a 70L duffel bag, with the structure of a dry storage box, and the packabilty of … well, an empty duffel bag.
The Essentials Set (pictured above) is an extremely modular and customizable kit. The 70L collapsible bin, a 25L divider bag, and a 3L grab-and-go pocket. These work in a variety of configurations, so set them up however is best for your desired organization. Even the backpack straps can clip in, move around, and clip off.
The materials shed moisture — just don’t submerge the thing. The lid can open like a picnic basket, or roll up like a truck bed cover. Or heck, take it off altogether — you can choose. It’s easy, innovative, and helps reduce clutter, both when you’re using it and when you’re not.
There’s a whole lot to love about Gnara Apparel Go There Pants. One: they allow everyone to answer nature’s call without taking off their pants, harness, or anything else. Two: they are comfortable, packed full of pockets and features, and truly are game-changing thanks to a patented hidden zipper.
We had two of our editors test these pants and they both love them. Looking for a gift that is durable, functional, and ready for an array of adventures outside? Look no further than these pants, available in sizes 00-22 (plus the newly added Cascade Granite color).Check Price at SheFly Apparel
For all the fancy design tech and cutting-edge materials, there’s something undeniably cool about made-in-America, hand-stitched leather. Vermont Glove is about as old school as it gets in the outdoors these days. The brand’s simple product line — gloves and mitts! — is handmade in Vermont.
The team will help you care for your gloves to extend their lifetime rather than just sell you a new pair. If you lose a glove, you can buy a new one — just one — instead of a whole new pair. And if those mitts need some light repair, well Vermont Glove can do that, too.
The Uphill Skier is an especially warm, outdoor-adventure glove with a merino liner. It’s not fancy, it’s just solidly made and exceptionally comfortable. When it comes to gifts with a great story and lifetime of use, a pair of Vermont Gloves fits the bill.Check Price at Vermont Glove
The Fenix PD36R Pro is our editors’ favorite overall flashlight on the market. It ranges from a low-end 30 lumens with a 42-hour runtime, up to a searingly bright 2,800 lumens that lights up objects at 1,247 feet with a 3.5-hour runtime. More realistically, the flashlight will run somewhere in between, making it a more-than-reliable flashlight for hunting, camping, or backpacking.
The metal case and build make it dust-proof, shock-resistant, and deliver an IP68 waterproof rating, which means it can withstand being underwater up to 6.5 feet for 30 minutes.
The Fenix PD36R Pro garners further praise for its ease of use (even with gloves), thanks to a large button for a simple off and on, a smaller tail switch to toggle through its five brightness modes, and a battery-status indicator light near the USB-C charging port. It weighs less than 6 ounces with the battery.Check Price at Fenix
Each year, the GearJunkie team tests somewhere close to 12 million different shoes — at least, it feels that way. The point is, there’s no shortage of new shoes from which to choose (or gift). So what makes the Vimazi so special?
In short, it’s the story. Vimazi built its brand on a novel idea: Make shoes specifically designed for runners’ various paces. Meaning, the brand has a shoe that caters specifically to your mile time and overall pace. The cushioning, the drop, the materials — it’s all purpose-built to suit your stride and speed.
We put ’em to the test, and they proved legit. That is, no shoddy materials or squishy science. The shoes held up and added some interest and confidence in daily runs. For serious runners or beginners, a pair of Vimazis offers a unique and compelling gift.Check Price at Vimazi
In addition to offering a variety of fun colors to your backpacking setup, the Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bags are actually an outstanding organizational tool for folks who hike, backpack, and camp often.
Sure, they’ll help keep all your things dry if you get caught in a quick rain shower or if something spills inside your pack. But even if there’s nothing but sun in the forecast, these dry bags help keep everything in your pack — or camp essentials setup — separated, easy to find, and organized. Gone are the days of pulling 10 things out of your bag just to find that one.
Camp smarter, not harder.
Simply the most innovative and convenient portable power setup on the market. Runhood — a brand nobody had heard of — wowed us in testing. The basic idea is to make the power station portable, by making each battery cell a standalone power source.
In other words, add both battery packs and the full power station has maximum power. But if you prefer to bring some more portable power, take one cell out, add on an adapter, and you have a backpack-friendly power bank. Plus, you can get the whole PRO setup, which includes solar panels and adapters, too.Check Price at Runhood
The hearty camper in your life may think they’re comfortable camping on that old sleeping mat they’ve had for years. But take it from a team of seasoned backpackers and campers, even if you can sleep on any old sleeping pad, it’s nothing compared to the luxury of sleeping on NEMO’s Roamer XL.
The Roamer is so comfortable, in fact, our editors have argued over who used it last and where it was! It’s obviously not for lightweight backpacking, but for anyone with some trunk space, the Roamer is easy to set up and cozier than everything except maybe your home mattress (jury’s out). And while it’s hyper-comfy, you will not need any special pump to inflate it to your liking.
Plus, it’s made of all Bluesign-certified, post-consumer recycled materials.
If there’s one splurge-worthy gift on this whole list, the Filson Mackinaw Cruiser Jacket is it. Filson is known for its handmade, classically designed outerwear, but it comes at a price.
Is it a little bougie? Yes. But we also are fond of the “buy once, cry once” approach to gear. Meaning, that if it’s expensive and will last a lifetime, that’s a better value than the discounted doodads that fall apart after a few seasons.
The heavyweight wool Mackinaw Cruiser is not a fall-apart piece; it’s an old-school, bomber wool overcoat. Wearing it makes you want to work in a lighthouse — and though we can’t be certain, we’re pretty sure it makes your beard grow a little faster.
The coat has four front cargo pockets in addition to two side hand pockets. It’s 100% wool and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without leaving you feeling damp or cold.
It is, in a word, awesome.Check Price at Filson
Maybe the most versatile bike helmet out there now, the Bell Spherical XR Mips checks all the boxes for a skull bucket.
Its Mips Spherical integration offers an extra layer of protection, with its “ball and socket design.” This is Bell’s first-ever gravel helmet, but the brand went big by targeting a helmet that was as airy and light as a road helmet but offered the coverage and protection of an MTB helmet.
The result is not the very best in either category, but probably the best mix of both we’ve tried. The Bell Spherical XR is plenty light, at 285 g, and we trust the full Spherical protection embedded within.
This helmet has been through extensive testing on our end and has proven both good-looking and very well-ventilated. It’s a great option for almost any discipline.Check Price at Bell Check Price at Backcountry
Born for the trail, Salomon’s Elixir Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boot is designed to go the distance. The mid-cut hiker puts an emphasis on soft cushioning that supports long pushes on the trail for extended periods. The waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry on damp trail days and the padded tongue and collar provide supportive, foot-hugging comfort that makes extended usage a joy to endure.
OK, base layers are not the most exciting gift you can receive. But the right pair of base layers can add a lifetime of comfort and peace of mind. Anyone who knows the outdoors knows Ibex. The vaunted leader in merino wool apparel from back in the day all but disappeared before rising like a phoenix from the ashes, resurrected by employees who loved the brand that much.
So to say the Woolies Base Layers are built with love is an understatement. But love isn’t the magic ingredient, its NuYarn — and there’s no way to explain materials science without sounding boring. But the key here is that NuYarn yields stronger, more thermally efficient materials that combine to make Ibex’s lightest-weight base layers ever. So in short, they’re lighter, tougher, and warmer than ever.
Anyone who thrives in (or fears) winter will thank you.Check Price at Ibex
“Darn-near perfect” — that’s how our reviewer described these pants, and it’s the consensus among almost all of our editors as well. The Ecotrek pants have many of the utility features that made the brand’s Flex Canvas debut pants one of our favorites but with the glorious addition of stretch!
They’re great for travel but are built for activity — like, say, crag or gym climbing (or, roll up the pant leg and take ’em on the bike).
The key details that make these great: Blue Ocean Nylon makes the pants moisture- and abrasion-resistant, and quick-drying; gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and spandex accommodate a host of sports and adventure.
These pants also have zippered back pockets and a hidden zippered front security pocket; EDC pockets along each thigh; button-up cuffs with a reflective strip for cyclists — and we could go on.
For the price, these pants are as utilitarian, comfortable, and stylish as any we’ve ever hopped into. And though the Ecotrek is largely marketed at men, some of our female testers also appreciated the build and fit.Check Price at Livsn Designs
How to Use This Guide
Most general outdoor enthusiasts would be thrilled to open a gift and find one of the above items inside. The products we chose all met GearJunkie’s standards of quality, and have useful functions outdoors.
But take it a step further: Ask yourself, what does the person I’m shopping for like to do? Are they a hiker? Do they car camp a lot? Or are they always on their bike? Zeroing in on the recipient’s hobbies, interests, and outdoor pursuits will help direct you to the gifts on this list that they’ll get the most use out of.
It also doesn’t hurt to search our site for reviews once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few options. GearJunkie has tested and reviewed many of the above outdoor products, and you’ll find a lot more detailed information there. We’ve also got Best Of articles for camping lanterns, ski socks, winter gloves, camp shoes, wireless earbuds, fleece jackets, and so much more! Those guides are great resources for shopping or comparing items within the same category.
It can be overwhelming shopping for outdoor gifts — hopefully, this guide makes that process a little easier.
Why Trust This Author?
Not only has Adam Ruggiero (that’s me!) worked with GearJunkie since 2015 — accumulating a profound wealth of gear knowledge in that time — he’s also accompanied by the entire editorial staff in recommending gifts for this guide.
Combined, this guide represents the sum total of the team’s testing and reporting over the year — and all the products prior that have stood the test of time.
GearJunkie’s gift guides are a chance for all the editors to reflect on their favorite gear, and the most innovative products to hit the market, and put them all into a handy, outdoor shopping cheat sheet.