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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 When Disaster Strikes: Putting Together A Basic Emergency Toolkit When Disaster Strikes: Putting Together A Basic Emergency Toolkit Read More  can make for great gifts, but here are a few nifty additions that you can get without breaking the bank.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter ($20)

gift-ideas-outdoors-lifestraw

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.

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Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System ($20)

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.

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System Ideal for outdoor recreation, hiking, camping, scouting, domestic and international travel and emergency preparedness Buy Now At Amazon

Northbound Train LED Headlamp ($30)

gift-ideas-outdoors-led-headlamp

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.

Ultra-Bright LED Headlamp Flashlight Plus Hard Case for Running, Camping, Hiking. White-Red-Strobe Lights with Dimmer, only 3.2oz, Waterproof IPX 4 with 3 Energizer AAA Batteries Ultra-Bright LED Headlamp Flashlight Plus Hard Case for Running, Camping, Hiking. White-Red-Strobe Lights with Dimmer, only 3.2oz, Waterproof IPX 4 with 3 Energizer AAA Batteries YOUR COMPLETE HEADLAMP SOLUTION: Get the best value on Amazon, including super lighweight & comfortable, bright & durable headlamp, a pelican-style waterproof hard case to protect your headlamp from impacts, and three long-lasting Energizer brand AAA batteries, and unparallaled customer service from a U.S.A. seller located in Minnesota (Yes, "Minnesota Nice" is True!). Buy Now At Amazon $22.97

Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Light ($40)

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.

Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Light, Gray/Green Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Light, Gray/Green Magnetic closure allows you to clip the Mini Hozuki anywhere or hang it from any stainless steel surface or hook to mini Hozuki lights together Buy Now At Amazon $29.96

New Trent PowerPak Xtreme ($50)

gift-ideas-outdoors-external-battery

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 6 Android Apps Every Hiker Needs 6 Android Apps Every Hiker Needs How can your Android device improve your next hiking trip? These six apps can challenge you, help you explore, and provide incredibly useful information. Read More .

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.

New Trent PowerPak Xtreme 12000mAh Rugged Water/Dirt/Shockproof Dual USB Port External Battery Charger/Power Pack for Smartphones, Tablets and more. (Black-Orange) New Trent PowerPak Xtreme 12000mAh Rugged Water/Dirt/Shockproof Dual USB Port External Battery Charger/Power Pack for Smartphones, Tablets and more. (Black-Orange) Rugged Series 5V@2A-1A Dual USB Charger charges 2 devices simultaneously. 2A output is for iPad/Tablet and 1A output is for iPhone/smartphones. Buy Now At Amazon

Coleman Fold N Go Grill ($60)

gift-ideas-outdoors-coleman-grill

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.

Coleman Fold N Go Instastart Grill Coleman Fold N Go Instastart Grill Compact, lightweight, portable grill is ready to pick up and go anywhere. Buy Now At Amazon

Coleman 2-Burner Fold N Go Stove ($70)

gift-ideas-outdoors-coleman-stove

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.

Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart Fold N Go 2-Burner Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart Fold N Go 2-Burner Material: [grates] chrome-plated copper nickel Buy Now At Amazon

Retevis H-777 Walkie Talkie 5-Pack ($90)

gift-ideas-outdoors-walkie-talkie

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 Turn Your Phone Into An Awesome Walkie-Talkie With Blip.me [Android & iOS] Turn Your Phone Into An Awesome Walkie-Talkie With Blip.me [Android & iOS] There are many wacky, interesting, useful and just plain fun apps you can install on your smartphone. When we come down to it, no app is really absolutely essential, and we all did very well... Read More 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.

Retevis H-777 2 Way Radio UHF 400-470MHz 3W 16CH CTCSS/DCS Flashlight with Earpiece Walkie Talkies(5 Pack) Retevis H-777 2 Way Radio UHF 400-470MHz 3W 16CH CTCSS/DCS Flashlight with Earpiece Walkie Talkies(5 Pack) Each work group can have their own channel to minimize disruptions in other departments Buy Now At Amazon $79.99

Final Thoughts

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 Holiday Shopping List: For The Techy Outdoorsman Holiday Shopping List: For The Techy Outdoorsman Read More 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

  1. robh
    December 6, 2014 at 9:25 am

    "The Walker's Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs" by Tristan Gooley. Hardback, 448 pages published in May, hit the UK bestsellers lists and gained lots of very positive press reviews.
    Currently reduced from £20 to £5 on Amazon UK.

    Also, a detail (paper) map of areas they are likley to visit. In the age of GPS and mapping on mobile phones too many people rely on technology without realising that when it fails (the battery dies, they drop in in a puddle etc) they're potentially lost.

    And don't forget about basics like warm hat and gloves for cold or canvas hat for hot (water absorbent so it can be soaked the keep the head cooled longer).

  2. Drew
    December 6, 2014 at 7:48 am

    BadDad-- Not entirely true. FRS frequencies can be used without a license; they operate around 462 MHz and 467Mhz, as long as the transmitter is less than 0.5 watts, which produces about a 2-mile range. If you are going to exceed 2 miles (thus using more than 0.5 watts) or use a frequency NOT in the FRS range, you can pay for a license. I do. Cheap, easy to get, valid for 5 years and prevents fines. The license application is often included in the blister-pack in many of these radios.

    • BadDad
      December 7, 2014 at 2:26 am

      You are correct, Drew but the radios shown were not FRS radios and have no FCC certification for FCC Part 95. GMRS allows higher power and is a good choice if someone is willing to pay the FCC the $80 for five years. I'd sure like to see the FCC reduce the license fee. I believe the license fee is rather steep.

      Now, the VHF MURS channels, of which there are five, works pretty although no repeaters are allowed. No license is required for two Watt radios but there are few manufacturers of the radios that have the correct FCC certification.

      Europe's FRS band use a digital mode which gives enhanced range due to error over the US analog FRS radios. Sure be nice if the FCC would modify the rules to allow digital. Even Australia has a better personal radio service at UHF than we do.

  3. BadDad
    December 5, 2014 at 2:23 am

    The portable radios noted in this article are good for amateur radio (ham) only. In the US, they are not approved by the FCC for business or personal use. The fines for unlicensed usage start at $10,000 per day per occurrence. Don't risk it. They aren't nice people

    • Joel Lee
      December 6, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks for mentioning that as I wasn't aware. Can you clarify the difference between "amateur radio" and "personal use"?

    • dragonmouth
      December 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      "Amateur Radio" - what is popularly known as short wave radio. Can be operated on many frequencies. World-wide reach and use. Requires a license in most, if not, all countries.

      "Personal Use" - all kinds of walkie-talkies, Citizens Band Radio. Usually low power, short range communications. Usually no license required.

    • BadDad
      December 7, 2014 at 2:17 am

      Amateur, also called ham radio, is a hobby service that requires a person to pass a test on FCC regulations and answer technical questions on electronic theory, RF propagation, antennas, etc. You are issued a license by the FCC based on several license classes. Personal use (FCC Part 95) is generally non-licensed services such as FRS (family radio service), MURS (Multi-user radio service), Citizen Band, or the licensed service, GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service).

      Many of the Chinese radios do not meet the requirements set-forth by the FCC for commercial licenses which must meet the FCC Part 90 regulations. Part 97, which governs, amateur radio do not have the same requirements thus an entree for these types of radios.

  4. Greg Breen
    December 5, 2014 at 2:15 am

    CACHE ME IF YOU CAN, game

    The only geocaching board game. Fun, fun, fun

    Dphgames.com

  5. Drew
    December 5, 2014 at 1:20 am

    I'd also put a solar charger on this list; I use an AllPower to charge my Anker 20,000 mah battery.

    • Joel Lee
      December 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Great idea! Charge up batteries during the day, expend them during the night.

  6. dragonmouth
    December 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    "Northbound Train LED Headlamp"
    WalMart offers three or four headlamps with similar or better functionality for $15-$20.

    • Joel Lee
      December 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      I try not to shop at Walmart anymore for several personal reasons, but if those work for you, by all means go for it. I'm sure you could find some cheaper headlamps on Amazon too. I'd be wary about quality and durability when going cheaper, but I know price is always an accurate indicator of that. Northbound Train is just a safe pick. :)

    • dragonmouth
      December 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Many people avoid Wally World for philosophical reason. Others avoid it because of the "you get what you pay for" adage. But just like with everything else, you have to be an educated consumer. You have to know what you are looking at. Many times I find the exact same merchandise as in WalMart, in chain sporting goods stores, such as Dick's, for 50%, 100% more. I don't even want to talk about specialty stores such as Cabella's, Gander Mountain, REI or Eastern Mountain Sports. I don't know how they have the conscience to overcharge like they do.

      I don't trust Amazon because I cannot examine the merchandise before purchasing. Purchasing online, then returning when it's not what you expected, is a royal PITA. Plus I find that, with careful shopping, I can buy the same or similar merchandise from other retailers at a lower price. Over the past few years, Amazon has become the path of least resistance for many shoppers.

      I have been using neck and head lights in a saltwater environment for at least the past 30 years. In that time I came to the conclusion that unless one goes real high end ($100+), there is very little difference in reliability and durability between lights. There is some difference in features but that is it.

      BTW - currently I am using a WalMart 5 LED light that clips to the bill of my hat. I bought it for $1.79 five years ago. It uses a C2032 button battery which I have yet to change. The light operates with 1, 3, or 5 LEDs being on at one time and is about 7mm thick.

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