70 Crappy (however sensible) Christmas Items for Hikers |


(Word: This yr’s record incorporates a lot of your outdated favourites, together with 20 new additions. I notice that December 24 could be very late for a Christmas reward publish, however what the hey, this text has by no means actually been concerning the pressies. Comfortable Christmas to everybody, and will your festive season be stuffed with peace, surprise, and a minimum of 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 out of doors expertise, backpacking gear, or journey experiences from far-flung locales. Nope, they’ve been about crappy hiker items that you would be able to decide up for lower than 5 {dollars}.

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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 cause, you’re feeling a way of obligation to offer your hiker buddies one thing, think about the next 70 reward 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 luggage for Christmas.

2.  Path Patches – Splendid reward 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 might have to go artificial and even cotton. No Merino Wool or any of these different fancy blends. If doable, attempt to make your selection seasonal-appropriate. You already know 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 beneath your shelter at evening.

5.  Bandana –  You may usually discover these multi-purpose gems on the backside of outside 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 useful in case you are low on funds and determine to rob a comfort retailer.

Bandana-close-up

Bandana………..7-Eleven mode.

6. Hacky Sacks (set of 6)– I’ve just a few hippy hiker mates that love these little luggage. At simply over $3 every they characterize glorious worth, weigh solely a few ounces, take up nearly 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 Light 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 price of lavatory roll can probably final the giftee all of a multi-month thru-hike…………a minimum of when supplemented with the stuff they are going to pinch from inns, 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 latest journey to the Faroes/Greenland/Lapland (see photograph 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 possibly can most likely decide up just a few titanium stakes. Alternatively, you should purchase 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 fingers when mountain climbing in extraordinarily chilly and moist situations. For particulars, see “Easy methods to Preserve 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 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 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 could be a sanity saver in the course of the peak of bug season. Certainly, when the midges, mozzies, or sandflies are swarming, I’m unsure there’s a higher value-for-money merchandise in a single’s backpacking package.

13.  $10 Goodwill Present card – Polyester Hawaiian-style shirts, solar clothes, dishevelled shorts, 100wt fleece – the record of cut price basement hiker choices are nearly limitless. Keep away from socks, lingerie, and bandanas. There’s low-cost, and there’s simply plain cheesy.

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Tatu Jo – Legendary long-distance hiker and long-time connoisseur of thrift retailer mountain climbing 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 think that the diligent use of hand sanitizer is a part of the rationale. I all the time 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 Immediate – 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. When you actually wish to make an effort, choose singles with quite a lot of flavours.

18.  Tyvek Groundsheet – This would possibly truly price you nothing if you could find a bit in a development web site dumpster. Customise the scale 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: 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 actually need 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 nicely for a fraction of the value.

24. Zipper Cleaner – Holding tent zippers clear charges simply behind laundering your sleeping bag on the record of issues hikers are liable to overlook on the finish of an extended backpacking season. Zipper upkeep is very necessary if a lot of your mountain climbing is finished in coastal or desert environments (Tip: At all times be light with zippers; by no means pressure a caught zipper).

25.  Condoms – Along with the apparent, the outdated Johnny bag may also be used as an emergency water holder (as much as 2 liters) in case one in every of your bottles develops a leak. In addition they turn out to be useful as a water-proof cowl to your cellphone throughout river crossings. It’s even doable to make use of the contact display by way of 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 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 take advantage of a cow whereas out on path (i.e. Which was its unique goal 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 in the event you add the mini-tweezers from the Swiss Military Traditional, you may have a gossamer weight combo (0.4 oz), which ought to cowl nearly all your restore and tick elimination wants whereas out within the area.

28. 3M Micropore Tape – Breathable paper medical tape. Adheres nicely. 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. Will be discovered in lots of (if not most) hikers’ First-Assist kits. Neglect concerning the identify manufacturers reminiscent of Advil and go generic. For $10 you possibly can often decide up a 100-count bottle at most main supermarkets.

30.  Backcountry Bidet / Reconstituted Sports activities Drink Bottle (600ml) – Low-cost and multi-purpose. You may decide 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 Put up-it notice:

A. Remember to 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 mountain climbing 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 is probably not very efficient combatting giardia and crypto, however what the hey, for $10 you should purchase 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 gives good UV safety. You may usually decide them up for round $10 a pair on-line or at {hardware} shops.

34.  Electrolyte Tablets – Particularly useful when mountain climbing in sizzling temperatures and/or for people that often undergo from muscle cramps.

35. Ultralight Backpackin’ Ideas – Greater than a decade after it was printed, Mike Clelland’s Ultralight Backpackin’ Ideas nonetheless charges as probably the most informative and entertaining books on easy methods 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, one in every 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 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, consumers will obtain both a “Rake America Nice Once more” or “I Love Finland” bumper sticker.

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

Need to go the additional mile in forest hearth prevention? This Finnish girl reveals us how by taking good care of the forest flooring close to her dwelling.

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 automotive refreshingly lukewarm. Earn gram weenie bonus factors by buying it from one in every 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 reward them to a mountain climbing buddy in the hunt for a bit extra back-country consolation throughout their noon breaks. Alternatively, huge 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 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 setting, 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 (photograph from BWCA.com).

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

41 Baskin & Robbins Pink Spoon –  When you order a sundae at Baskin & Robbins, it comes with a semi-durable, difficult-to-lose, long-handled pink plastic spoon. I used one in every 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 may typically decide up a used copy for lower than a fiver on Amazon. Mainly, it’s the story of a various bunch of fellows who went out for a multi-month stroll, acquired 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 occasions have been powerful, completed their journeys at totally different termini, and, lastly, met up for celebratory post-hike beers on a area 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 may decide 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 one in every 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 Through-hiking. In accordance 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 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 mountain climbing 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 within reach. Simply once I thought he was taking the piss, he confirmed me the PeakFinder app on his cellphone ($3.99 as of 2022). To make use of the app, merely level the digital camera at your mountain of selection, and a panoramic drawing will overlay the picture and provide you with all of the related particulars. It at the moment has data on greater than 950,000 peaks world wide (Word: 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 (photograph from peakfinder.org).

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 superbly 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 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 bit of greater than you bargained for throughout a wild evening at Path Days, reward your self one in every of these personalised light-weight dolls (3.2 oz / pins included). Certain they price a bit over $10, but it surely’s arduous to place a worth on a superb dose of path revenge.

Personalised Revenge Voodoo Doll

50. Backpacking Expertise/Academic Books – A lot of the backpacking recommendation you see on YouTube is 90 p.c tip and 10 p.c iceberg. For folk simply stepping into the game, I extremely suggest choosing up a handful of traditional hiking-related texts, which can 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 pal. They will then use it to scoop water from filthy puddles when mountain climbing 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 turned the primary lady to thru-hike the Appalachian Path in 1955. In doing so, she could have inadvertently turn 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 principle) spam looks as if it might be a superb possibility for calorie-loading long-distance hikers. Till you truly style it. I throw up a bit of in my mouth simply serious about it.

54.  Mack’s Silicone Ear Plugs – Anti-snoring resolution. In accordance with 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 mountain climbing the Appalachian Path in the course of the common season (Word: As a bonus, I can personally attest that Mack’s silicone plugs work nice within the pool as nicely, for these of us which can be liable to swimmer’s ear infections).

55Beano Extremely When your mountain climbing accomplice is overdoing it on the dehydrated beans, and his or her farts would make a skunk blush, supply them some Beano Extremely to chop issues off on the pass.

56. Croakies (or equal) – Helpful reward for noggin-perching sunglass wearers, reminiscent of myself, that often 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 selection for a lot of weight-conscious backpackers.

58Spiky Therapeutic massage BallLight-weight and compact merchandise that helps to cut back muscle ache and stress within the ft, calves, hips, glutes, and shoulders. For a bit of extra cash, you possibly can 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 nearly 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, lodge slippers are an affordable, mild, compact, and cozy camp shoe possibility. They’re additionally supreme for backcountry huts when it’s essential to depart your mountain climbing sneakers on the door.

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

63. Blaze Orange Vest (and hat) – Important package when mountain climbing throughout looking season in lots of locations within the US. Within the phrases of PMags (seen within the photograph under): “Sporting blaze orange is sweet for security; hunters respect 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 may usually decide foot information up for beneath $10, however for one thing as necessary as your ft, 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 just a few years again, and it’s nonetheless going sturdy.

65. Nikwax Down Wash –  For arguably probably the most cherished (and sometimes the most costly) merchandise in a backpacker’s package, it surprises me what number of of us 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 (Word: If you wish to go the additional yard, purchase the giftee just a few tennis balls to help within the drying course of).

66. Lint –  Makes for an amazing emergency hearth 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 offer the reward a extra private contact.

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Stomach lint extraction – Japanese type.

67. Packing Pod Pillow – I have a tendency to not use numerous stuff sacks once I hike, however over the past couple of years, I’ve periodically introduced alongside a few SMD packing pods. Other than being useful for organizational functions, these brightly colored pods are additionally the proper measurement to make use of as a pillowcase, filled with no matter clothes gadgets you’re not sleeping in.

68. 100 Wt Fleece – Sturdy, breathable, and moisture-resistant energetic put on. A superb value-for-money merchandise that (as a rule) has a spot in my backpacking package regardless of the setting or season. They’ll often price a bit of over $10, however you possibly can usually discover them on particular for beneath $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 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…………..

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*Disclosure: This publish 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 extra price to the reader and helps to help the web site in its persevering with objective to create high quality content material for backpackers and hikers. 

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