The Christmas season may not be the ideal time for hiking and camping — at least for most of us — but that doesn’t mean we can’t start preparing for next summer. This is the perfect time to gift your friends and family with awesome gadgets and tools that will kick your next outdoor adventure up several notches.
Not all of us are blessed with a fountain of money, but there are still plenty of gift ideas that you can squeeze into your budget without sacrificing utility or novelty. These emergency survival basics can make for great gifts, but here are a few nifty additions that you can get without breaking the bank.
The LifeStraw is a remarkable piece of technology that enables you to stick your face in polluted waters and drink it down safely, without having to rely on purification techniques that could take hours or days.
The straw filters out a minimum of 99.9% of waterborne parasites and bacteria, and does so without using chemicals like iodine or chlorine.
It’s fast, durable, and portable, making it an essential part of any emergency kit. The LifeStraw could be a life-saver for lost hikers and injured campers. Every serious outdoor adventurer should consider keeping one of these around.
While the LifeStraw is excellent for emergency situations, it’s not great for regular use. In most cases, a robust filtration system is a more desirable alternative as it allows you to fill up and keep stock of water for the future. That’s where the Sawyer Mini comes in handy.
This miniature filtration setup fits in the palm of your hand and can clean up to 100,000 gallons of water in a single filter, removing at least 99.9999% of all waterborne parasites and bacteria. The system can be used to fill the included water bladder or regular disposable water bottles. Just fill it up, attach the system, and drink.
Every camper should have at least one LED headlamp in their arsenal. Not only is it infinitely more flexible and convenient than a handheld flashlight, but it often has longer battery life and brighter lighting. It comes out on top in almost every way.
This headlamp by Northbound Train is the #1 rated headlamp on Amazon, offering a light that can reach up to 30 meters in distance but can also be dimmed on demand with a single button control. Plus, it’s lightweight, comfortable, and durable with an IPX4 water-resistant rating.
As useful as it is to have a headlamp, it’s not an all-in-one solution. Sometimes you need a tool that provides stationary light over a wide area but is portable enough to carry around on long treks. The Mini Hozuki Light, which falls somewhere between a flashlight and a lantern, is the perfect fit for that.
The Mini Hozuki Light runs on 3 AAA batteries and lasts anywhere from 40 to 70 hours depending on the strength of light used (there are settings for low, medium, and high). It also has a built-in magnetic closure that, when combined with its 5-ounce weight, makes it easy to hook or clip onto anything. Great for hikers and campers alike.
If you or your intended giftee is an outdoor purist, go ahead and skip this one. Some people enjoy bringing their smartphones and tablets out into the heart of nature, whether to read ebooks, watch movies, or just keep in touch with the outside world. Plus, it’s the only way to make use of outdoor adventure apps like these.
The New Trent Powerpak Extreme is an external battery (12,000 mAh) with two USB ports, making it possible to charge two separate devices when there aren’t any outlets around. It’s also rather rugged: dirtproof, shockproof, and waterproof — robust enough that it can withstand an hour of submersion below 3 feet of water.
Coleman Fold N Go Grill ($60)
It’s nice to be able to cook campfire meals over an actual campfire, but for moments when convenience is more important than authenticity, the Coleman Fold N Go Grill provides everything you need in no time at all.
This quick-setup grill requires nothing more than a 16.4-ounce propane canister to provide 6,000 BTUs of heat. It doesn’t even require matches. It’s compact for portability yet durable enough to handle whatever you might want to cook on it. The cherry on top: removable grill pan and grease plate make for easy cleanup.
If you’re looking for something a little more versatile than the Fold N Go Grill, you may be more impressed with the Coleman Fold N Go Stove. The stove is similar in size to the grill and just as portable when folded up, but provides two separate open-flame cooking areas that can each accommodate 12-inch pans.
Again, all you need is a 16.4-ounce propane canister for fuel and there’s no need for a match. The heat, which can reach 20,000 BTUs, is much stronger as well.
For hikers and campers who prefer going in groups, outdoor communication can become a hassle when everyone splits up. Thick foliage and remote locations can make mobile phones inoperable, which is where walkie talkies can prove useful. Plus, they’re more convenient than dialing numbers.
The Retevis H-777 is a 16-channel single-band two-way radio with an effective range up to 3 miles. The handheld comes with an earpiece for clarity and doubles as a makeshift flashlight thanks to a built-in LED torchlight. They can be bought as singles for $25 each but the 5-pack is a much better value.
You could turn your phones into walkie talkies if you wanted to, but when you’re out in the wilderness and want to conserve your phone’s battery life as much as possible, these walkie talkies could end up being the smarter choice.
This is all just scratching the surface. Surely there are dozens of other awesome gift ideas for tech-savvy hikers and campers. If you aren’t happy with the above selections, at least you can use them to point you in the right direction.
Need more ideas? Check out our gift guide for outdoorsmen from last year.
What other gift ideas do you have? If you’re an avid hiker or camper, what sorts of techy gifts would you love to receive? Share with us in the comments below!
Image Credits: Outdoor Compass Via Shutterstock