12 Gifts

12 Hiker Gifts, Day 11

By |December 23rd, 2014|12 Gifts, 2014 posts|Comments Off on 12 Hiker Gifts, Day 11

12 trail gifts for under $50, Day 11
Gift 11: Sacks & Baggies

It can be challenging to organize even the simplest of backpacks, and stuff-sacks and plastic baggies are amazing tools for keeping things organized. Stuff sacks and baggies can add up quickly in weight, and it is always important to only bring what you need. Though it might not seem like a trash compactor bag or a silicone nylon stuff sack could possibly add much weight to a pack, it is a good idea to go for the lightest bag you can find that looks like it will last & do it’s job.

Ziplocks: If you are still looking for a good last minute gift for you hiker, you only have to go as far as your kitchen drawers. Give the gift of ziplock baggies! Hikers use hundreds of ziplocks during their time on the trail & a good variety is always appreciated. Everything from dinky little snack sized & sandwich zippies all the way to the heavy duty freezer quarts, gallons, & 2 gallons will find purpose on the trail. I usually buy a big variety pack from Costco before a big hike. In normal front country life I’m all about re-using plastic bags, but the trail is where zippies go to be used to the point of being used up. It is winter and your hiker might not remember the value of the spectacular stocking suffer of plastic bags, but just remind them that they will be needing those zippies come hiking season!

LokSak: Ziplocks on steroids. These bags keep things dry, dust free, and happy for much much longer than a normal freezer bag. I keep my cell phone in one, my maps […]

12 Hiker Gifts, Day 10

By |December 21st, 2014|12 Gifts, 2014 posts|Comments Off on 12 Hiker Gifts, Day 10

12 Days of Trail Gifts for Under $50, Day 10
Gift 10: Dry it, You’ll Like It!


Food Dehydrators are a wonderful tool that allow a hiker to bring their favorite fruits, jerky’s, and soups into the backcountry with them in a light weight package. I mostly use my dehydrator for fruit, but have experimented with a few soup recipes and beef jerky. It’s very rare for me to bring actual apples or tomatoes on the trail, but when they are dried, 4 or 5 full fruits fit into a little ziplock baggie & I will eat them every day.

Food Dehydrators range in price all over the place, some are under $50 and fit well within the theme of this blog series, and others can get quite pricey. I purchased a very simple food dehydrator with only a heating element off of Craigslist for $20 and it has served me well. A friend of mine has an amazing dehydrator with internal convection and a thermometer that may have cost a bit more. His drys fruit in about 8 hours while mine can take 30 hours. Think about what you or your hiker might want & base your choice of dehydrator off of that. If your hiker likes simple, quite things, maybe a heating element style like mine would be best. If your hiker likes convenience, control (temperature & timer settings), & doesn’t mind motors & sound, then a convection style would be the way to go. Mother Earth has a great article on selecting a dehydrator.

My favorite dehydrator recipe book is Dry It, You’ll Like It by Gen Macmaniman. This little book is fun with a handwritten font and great ideas for making tasty dehydrated treats like apple […]

12 gifts for hikers, Day 9

By |December 20th, 2014|12 Gifts, 2014 posts|Comments Off on 12 gifts for hikers, Day 9

12 Days of Trail Gifts For Under $50
Gift 9: Guidebooks

A good guidebook will get your hiker amped for their dream trail. Most big trails have apps, maps, forums, and data books, but a guidebook can be a great place to start planning and imagining yourself on the journey. Nothing can compare to pouring over pages of trail descriptions, resupply stops, and photos some of the trails gems. If you give a guidebook, take it as a major compliment when they start ripping it to pieces. If the guidebook you give them gets “chunked” that means it’s going with them on the journey, to be mailed out section at a time. 
Pacific Crest Trail:
Yogi’s PCT guide is particularly great because it is a compilation of tips & trail specific tricks from a bunch of different hikers. The guidebook package has a town guide & a trail preparation guide. Between the two books your hiker will be able to learn everything from what kind of sleeping bag to use & which towns are the best for resupplies. 
Wilderness Press PCT book with maps! (Half mile maps & apps are great too, & most are free)
CA, OR, & WA DeLorme Gazetteers or Benchmark Atlases: These aren’t really a guidebook, but they are wonderful planning tools, and provide detailed overview maps for evacuations from the trail. I usually highlight the whole trail I’m hiking and make color copies of the pages. I carry a copy & put one up at home so my family can have a reminder of where I am while I’m gone.
Continental Divide Trail: 
My top picks are Yogi’s CDT guidebook, Jonathan Ley’s Map Set, and the beautiful Bear Creek Map Books by Jerry Brown
Appalachian Trail:
AWOL’s A. T. Guide is a perfect trail […]

12 Gifts for Hikers, Day 8

By |December 19th, 2014|12 Gifts, 2014 posts|Comments Off on 12 Gifts for Hikers, Day 8

12 Trail Gifts Under $50, Day 8
Gift 8: Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Give the gift of good hygiene this Christmas. Of course your hiker will stink when they are on the trail, but help them stay clean in the places that count.

Bandanas: These can be used as foot cleaning rags, sun protection under a hat, a towel, “Gentlemen’s Rags” for the guys to avoid chafe (external gonads like to be washed off daily), and “Pee Rags” so the ladies can avoid having to drip dry. Most hikers cary at least one bandana, I carry two or three. I trim them to the size I need, but I usually have at least one whole bandana for under my hat. Trail specific Bandanas can be excellent, the PCT bandana has mileage & town stops & can be used as a sign while hitching into town, the CDT bandana is bright & has a great map of the trail to help explain what you are doing out there, and the AT Conservancy sells a AT map buff

Little bottles: For soap, water treatment, olive oil, sunscreen…. and whatever else your hiker might want to put in an itty bitty bottle, these little guys come in handy all the time. I usually stalk anyone I know who uses contact lenses and hijack any empty tiny saline solution bottles, but there is a more reliable way to find these. You can order them up from United States Plastic Corporation, (thanks to Mike Clelland for the tip), or through Gossamer Gear.

For the Ladies: Give a Diva Cup, Moon Cup, or Keeper to that hiker lady in your life. She will be stoked to not have to carry bloody tampons anymore! These […]