Outdoor gift ideas: budget gear they’ll use

Looking for outdoor gift ideas for the nature lovers in your life? These items are inexpensive and highly useful. 

How to give better gifts

If you stress about finding gifts, you’re not alone. Americans are so bad at giving gifts that economists consider the tradition a major source of inefficiency, contributing to billions of dollars in wasted value every year. Instead of trying to read minds, we should focus on utility. What will people use day in and day out?

Second, try to keep it inexpensive. Budget gifts are easier to justify and have lower consequences if your gift recipient doesn’t like it. Cheap gifts allow you to share the love with more of your friends.

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Gift ideas for the skier 

Depending on where they ski, alpine skiers will love inexpensive pass add ons. Many resorts offer early access to score fresh tracks before the lifts open. Other resorts, like Winter Park, offer season pass add ons like a Cirque Sled Pass to access additional terrain. Other skiers might enjoy a coupon to have their skis waxed and edges sharpened at their local shop. 

Backcountry Skiers can always use another ski strap. These durable, plastic straps can help to fix a broken ski boot, attach a stubborn skin, or fasten gear to the outside of a pack. Shorter sizes are best for skis, longer sizes are better for carrying gear. 

Gift ideas for the climber 

Gym Climbers will love extra chalk. Chalk helps to fight the clammy hands that usually accompany high exposure. If your friend or family member doesn’t already have a chalk bag, it is a great first purchase for new climbers. Be sure to bring your chalk bag if you plan on watching Free Solo. 





Outdoor Climbers will benefit from extra locking carabiners that are useful for belaying, rappelling, and building anchors. Also useful is a personal anchor system, which climbers use as their life line at the top of a pitch. This PAS makes it easy to adjust the length from the anchor or to extend a rappel.

Gift ideas or the trail runner 

Runners of all breeds will love Body Glide gel to prevent chafing. It’s easy to apply, cheap, and will solve a common problem long-distance runners love to complain about. If you don’t want to bring up nipple-chaffing with your dad or colleague, stick to these socks which help to reduce blisters. They look funny, but work great! 



Gift ideas for the hiker 

Hikers who like the idea of extra control on loose descents, and aren’t afraid of sporting a pair of poles, will love the Cascade Mountain Tech trekking poles. These poles are light-weight with all the features like adjustable length and cork grips, minus the Black Diamond price tag. 

For hikers who want to venture out in winter, a set of micro-spikes will provide much needed traction. A new pair is fairly expensive. Look around used gear shops to find a better deal. Either way, these are a good investment. 



Gift ideas for the backpacker 

For folks who love to backpack, gear weight is a big concern. This portable seat by Thermarest weighs almost nothing and is a huge upgrade from any rock. For folks who prefer hiking in Trail Runners or low-profile hiking boots, a pair of Dirty Girl gaiters will help keep dirt and pebbles out of their shoes andminimize the need to stop, untie and shake them out. The fluorescent colors and tie-dye styles will add flair to your trail outfit. 


Gift ideas for the mountain biker 

Mountain bikers will benefit from repair basics like chain lube, tire levers, a patch kit, spare tube, chain tool and master links. If your friend is eager to do longer rides, this small-stem bag which dangles from the handlebars can add water carrying capacity, provide a handy pocket for mid-ride treats, or carry a cold one on cruiser missions.