12 Days of Trail Gifts For Under $50
Gift One: Cheap Good Sleep
A new floor:
Window Film Groundsheet (or polycryo from Gossamer Gear) Weight:2oz Cost: $5-$15
If your hiker likes to sleep under a tarp (floorless shelter), or is a cowboy camper (out under the stars), they need a ground sheet. My favorite ground sheet is a rectangle of Window Film. It looks like saran wrap and it’s super light weight, about 2 ounces will cover 4’x6′.
Window film isn’t super durable, but if treated gently a piece can last 500-1000 miles. It’s always nice to have a fresh extra waiting in a bounce box though, so you might want to splurge and get the multi window pack or a roll when you head to the hardware store. ACE has “cut to fit” window kits, which are nice because you can choose the dimensions of your floor.
A mattress enhancer/ seat/ yoga mat:
Your hiker will be stoked to have a little extra insulation from the cold ground at night regardless of if they sleep in a tent or a tarp. This full length pad has become one of my favorite pieces of gear. I sit on it at almost every break, I put my shorty mattress on top of it at night, and it’s great for stretching & yoga. In winter this matt works great to insulate air mattresses from the snow. It can be folded and packed on the top of your pack, adding rain protection & helping to keep your perishables and water a couple degrees cooler.
For more substantial sleep gear gifts be sure to consult your hiker! We hikers get opinionated about our shelters, air mattresses, and sleeping bags. It can be super hard to find what we want at most outdoor stores, and each hiker has specific needs and desires. My favorite sleeping bags are made by Western Mountaineering, and I’m really into cottage industry shelter companies like ZPacks and Yama Mountain Gear.