Thursday, June 13, 2024

70 Crappy (however sensible) Christmas Items for Hikers |

(Notice: This yr’s listing incorporates lots of your previous favourites, together with 20 new additions. I notice that December 24 may be very late for a Christmas present submit, however what the hey, this text has by no means actually been in regards to the pressies. Glad Christmas to everybody, and will your festive season be stuffed with peace, marvel, and at the very least two or three stomach laughs. Cheers, Cam). 

Within the 12 years since its launch, the preferred articles on The Mountaineering Life haven’t been about outside expertise, backpacking tools, or journey stories from far-flung locales. Nope, they’ve been about crappy hiker items you can choose 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 purpose, you are feeling a way of obligation to provide your hiker buddies one thing, take into account 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 trustworthy, 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 will 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. those with little Christmas timber and snowmen on them……..perhaps 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’ll be able to typically 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 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 number of hippy hiker mates that love these little baggage. At simply over $3 every they signify glorious worth, weigh solely a few ounces, take up just about no house in your pack, and may make for a enjoyable diversion throughout lengthy days on path. With each third set bought, patrons will obtain a complimentary eBook copy of The Light 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…………at the very least when supplemented with the stuff they are going to pinch from accommodations, 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 probably stormy situations. I used this stable setup throughout my current journey to the Faroes/Greenland/Lapland (see photograph beneath).

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 in all probability choose up a number 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 music on Amazon. They can be utilized as a part of a layering system to your arms when mountaineering in extraordinarily chilly and moist situations. For particulars, see “How you can Hold Your Fingers Heat Whereas Mountaineering in Chilly Climate.”

plastic disposable gloves

12.  Baking Soda – One other glorious multi-purpose merchandise that extra hikers ought to find out 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 is usually a sanity saver throughout 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 clothes, dishevelled shorts, 100wt fleece – the listing of discount basement hiker choices are virtually infinite. Keep away from socks, underwear, 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 (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 believe that the diligent use of hand sanitizer is a part of the rationale. 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 Traditional 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 positive to carry 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 need to make an effort, choose singles with quite a lot of flavours.

18.  Tyvek Groundsheet – This would possibly really price you nothing if yow will discover a chunk in a development website dumpster. Customise the dimensions for the giftee. It’s the little issues that rely.

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 normal 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: Useful travel-sized selection pack. Weight-conscious hikers can repackage into mini-dropper bottles (see beneath). Not solely are they reasonably priced and sensible, however gifting Dr.Bronner’s is a none-too-subtle approach of claiming, “mate, you really want to work in your hygiene.”

22.  Mini Dropper Bottles (2 Pack) – For nearly twenty 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 worth.

24. Zipper Cleaner – Protecting tent zippers clear charges simply behind laundering your sleeping bag on the listing of issues hikers are vulnerable to overlook on the finish of a protracted backpacking season. Zipper upkeep is particularly necessary if a lot of your mountaineering is finished in coastal or desert environments (Tip: All the time be light with zippers; by no means drive a caught zipper).

25.  Condoms – Along with the apparent, the previous Johnny bag may 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 to your telephone throughout river crossings. It’s even attainable to make use of the contact display screen by the latex – helpful for secure sexting.

Whether or not you’re 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 things works wonders on thigh and bum chafe, nevertheless it additionally is useful in case you are overcome by the urge to take advantage of a cow whereas out on path (i.e. Which was its unique function when developed again in 1899).

27.  Titanium Stitching Scissors – I’ve a few gram weenie hiker mates who love this stuff. They tip the scales at solely 0.3 oz, and for those who add the mini-tweezers from the Swiss Military Traditional, you might have a gossamer weight combo (0.4 oz), which ought to cowl just about all your restore and tick elimination wants whereas out within the subject.

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

29.  Ibuprofen – Vitamin “I”. A hurting hiker’s finest pal. Could be discovered in lots of (if not most) hikers’ First-Assist kits. Neglect in regards to the identify manufacturers comparable to Advil and go generic. For $10 you’ll be able to often 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 Submit-it observe:

A. Be sure you fill the bottle to the highest earlier than use, as roughly solely the primary 200 ml are squirtable;

B. Quick, 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 to your morning constitutional.

31. Bleach – Neglect about these fancy filters and chlorine dioxide drops. Bleach tastes horrible and will 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 night time 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 people that usually 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 learn how 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 ideas 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, patrons will obtain both a “Rake America Nice Once more” or “I Love Finland” bumper sticker.

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

Wish to go the additional mile in forest fireplace prevention? This Finnish woman exhibits us how by caring for the forest flooring close to her house.

37. Beer Koozie – Multi-purpose merchandise. Emergency mitten, storage to 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 automobile refreshingly lukewarm. Earn gram weenie bonus factors by buying it from certainly one of your favorite ultralight cottage gear corporations.

38.  Therm-a-rest Z-Lite Seat Pad  – When your previous Z-Lite has gone flatter than gander’s arch, lob off a few segments and present them to a mountaineering buddy searching 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 buddies.

39.  Frogg Toggs / DriDucks Rain Pants – The whole Frog Toggs go well with will price round $22. Nevertheless, whereas the jacket could also be a purposeful 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 atmosphere, likelihood is 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, house blankets may also 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 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’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, acquired as much as a number 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 occasions had been robust, completed their journeys at totally different termini, and, lastly, met up for celebratory post-hike beers on a subject referred to 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 many years after first studying Muir’s works as an adolescent, 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 Via-hiking. In keeping 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 previous 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 nearby. 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 digicam at your mountain of alternative, and a panoramic drawing will overlay the picture and offer you all of the related particulars. It at the moment has info on greater than 950,000 peaks world wide (Notice: 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 observe. “The Residing Mountain” is Shepherd’s fantastically written testomony to the fun and wonders of strolling in nature, particularly in her beloved Cairngorm mountains.

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

49. Customized Revenge Voodoo Doll – When sharing somebody’s path combine has left you with a debilitating case of the trots, otherwise you picked up a bit of 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 price a bit over $10, nevertheless it’s exhausting to place a worth on a very good dose of path revenge.

Customized 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 entering into the game, I extremely advocate selecting up a handful of basic 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 information 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, reduce 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 mountaineering in purple rock nation or alternatively make use of it as a poor man’s consuming vessel.

52. Plastic Bathe Curtain – Neglect about fancy supplies comparable to 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 full of fats and protein, (in idea) spam looks as if it will be a very good possibility for calorie-loading long-distance hikers. Till you really style it. I throw up a bit of in my mouth simply occupied with it.

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

55Beano Extremely When your mountaineering associate 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, comparable to myself, that usually scratch or lose sun shades out within the boonies.

57Smartwater bottle – Light-weight (1.3 oz), lengthy, slim, clean 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 ft, calves, hips, glutes, and shoulders. For a bit of additional cash, you’ll be able to go for a lighter and extra environmentally pleasant cork possibility from Rawology.

59Handsfree Umbrella Clamp – Practical 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, resort slippers are an inexpensive, mild, compact, and comfy camp shoe possibility. They’re additionally perfect for backcountry huts when you’ll want to go away your mountaineering sneakers on the door.

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

63. Blaze Orange Vest (and hat) – Important equipment when mountaineering throughout looking season in lots of locations within the US. Within the phrases of PMags (seen within the photograph beneath): “Sporting blaze orange is nice for security; hunters admire it, and it’s a respectful approach 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 recordsdata up for beneath $10, however for one thing as necessary as your ft, I’d advocate 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 number of years again, and it’s nonetheless going robust.

65. Nikwax Down Wash –  For arguably essentially the most cherished (and sometimes 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 (Notice: If you wish to go the additional yard, purchase the giftee a number of tennis balls to assist within the drying course of).

66. Lint –  Makes for a fantastic emergency fireplace 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 provide the present a extra private contact.


Stomach lint extraction – Japanese fashion.

67. Packing Pod Pillow – I have a tendency to not use numerous stuff sacks after I hike, however over the past 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, 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 often price a bit of over $10, however you’ll be able to typically discover them on particular for beneath $20 or $30.

69. Mini Carabiners – Ideas the size 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 numerous shit, however on the finish of the day, you’ve acquired to tip your cap to a utilitarian merchandise that merely refuses to go away. Talking of one thing/one that’s unimaginable to kill…………..

Associated Posts

*Disclosure: This submit incorporates some affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests ‘The Mountaineering Life’ receives a small (on this case, very, very small) fee if you are going to buy an merchandise after clicking on one of many hyperlinks. This comes at no further price to the reader and helps to help the web site in its persevering with purpose to create high quality content material for backpackers and hikers. 

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles