Lightweight Backpack Gift Guide 2020

Lightweight Backpacking Gift Guide

Backpacking gear has gotten a lot lighter in recent years due to the development of lighter weight materials and fabrics which means that you can lighten your load by swapping out old gear for new lighter weight items or feel less guilty about bringing some luxury items along that you’d leave at home previously. Here are 20 of our top gift ideas for the lightweight backpacker in your family.

1. Durston X-Mid-1 Ultralight Tent

X-Mid-1 UL Tent
The X-Mid is a lightweight double-wall tent (27 oz) that’s easy-to-set-up, spacious, and weather-worthy. Introduced this past year, it’s taken the backpacking world by storm and is one of the highest-rated and most affordable one-person trekking pole tents available today. A two-person version is also available.

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2. Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt

Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation is an ultralight top quilt that weighs significantly less than an equivalent sleeping bag and can be used to sleep “on the ground” or in a hammock. It comes complete with a ventable drawstring footbox and a sleeping pad attachment system to keep cold drafts from reaching you when you roll over at night. It is insulated with 850 or 950 fill power down and available in a wide range of temperature ratings, lengths, and widths.

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Enlightened Equipment

3. Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Messenger

Garmin inreach mini satellite Messanger
The Garmin inReach Mini is a pocket-sized satellite messenger that can send an SOS message to Search and Rescue in an emergency when you’re out of cell phone range. It can also send email messages and text messages to friends and family, whenever you want to update them or share your GPS coordinates. It has an easy to use push-button interface but can also pair with a Smartphone via bluetooth to display GPS maps and navigational information. Weighing just 3.5 oz, it’s small enough to tuck into your pants pocket.

Check for the latest price at:
REI | Backcountry | Amazon

4. Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad

Thermarest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad
The ThermaRest NeoAir UberLite is the lightest weight inflatable sleeping pad made by Therm-a-Rest. It weighs just 8.8 oz and has an R-value of 2, so it’s best for warm weather use. When deflated, it packs up amazingly small, making it easy to carry is a smaller volume lightweight backpack.

Check for the latest price at:
REI | Backcountry | Amazon

5. Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS
Gaia GPS is the most comprehensive mapping and navigation phone app available today (available for both iPhone and Android) and an essential tool for any day hiker or backpacker. Most ultralight backpackers prefer using phone apps for GPS navigation over a dedicated hand-held unit they’re so much lighter weight and because they already carry a smartphone as a camera, music device, and book reader.  Gaia includes dozens of map sources including those published by the USGS, USFS, NPS, and National Geographic, and you can track your route or plan your own routes using it.

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6. Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Backpack

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Ultralight Backpack

The Hyperlite Mountain Gear Windrider Backpack (HMG) is a durable waterproof backpack made with an ultralight material called Dyneema. It’s an ultralight thru-hiker favorite on long-distance hiking trails worldwide because it’s so tough. Available in black or the classic white color. Unisex.

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7. Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket

Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket
The Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket is the most popular waterproof/breathable rain jacket used by backpackers because it is so lightweight. Weighing a mere 6.3 ounces, it is perfect for wearing in warmer weather and summer when you need to carry a waterproof hooded jacket but want to keep your gear as lightweight and compact as possible. The Helium also has a fully adjustable hood, which is a real bonus on such a lightweight rain jacket. A women’s model is also available.

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Outdoor Research | REI | Backcountry

8. Gossamer Gear “The One” Tent

Gossamer Gear The One

The Gossamer Gear “One” Tent is an ultralight, trekking-pole tent that weighs 17.7 oz. It has a spacious interior that’s a palace for one, with excellent ventilation to help prevent internal condensation. Factory seam-taped, The One is made with non-sag siliconized polyester instead of Dyneema to help keep its price competitive. The front vestibule is quite large with a zippered center opening which can be closed shut in inclement weather, or rolled back for views and ventilation.

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Gossamer Gear

9. Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket

Feathered Friend EOS Jacket

Weighing just 10.6 oz, the Feathered Friends EOS Hooded Down Jacket excels at keeping you warm on its own when conditions call for moving light and fast, or as a layering piece to augment a down quilt when weather moves in. Filled with premium 900+ fill down, Feathered Friends’ down clothing and sleeping bags are prized by hikers and backpackers around the world.

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Feathered Friends

10. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter Kit


The Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter system is the most popular water filter used by ultralight backpackers today. With a field weight of only 3 oz., it makes filtering water as simple as filling a pouch and squeezing water into your mouth. No pills, no pumps, and no wait. The kit includes a 32 fl. oz. pouch; collapsible pouches are made from durable Mylar foil and can be reused hundreds of times. The Hollow-fiber membrane filter removes 99.99999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera, and E.coli; and removes 99.9999% of all protozoa, such as giardia and cryptosporidium.

Check for the latest price at:
REI | Amazon

11. Enlightened Equipment Recon Bug Bivy

EE Recon Bug Bivy

Weighing just 6.35 oz, the Enlightened Equipment Recon Bivy protects your quilt or sleeping bag from splashback, moisture, and bugs if you’re sleeping under a floorless tarp or pyramid tent. The Recon comes with no-see-um mesh panels over the head and torso, providing excellent ventilation. A center zipper runs the length of the mesh window, making it easy to set up your sleep system and get in and out of the Recon. Elastic cords let you tie it up or stake it out to increase interior space or suspend it under your ultralight backpacking shelter.

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Enlightened Equipment

12. The Deuce #2 Ultralight Backcountry Trowel

The Deuce Ultralight Backcountry Trowel

The Deuce #2 (pun intended) is an ultralight leave-no-trace trowel for burying your poop in the backcountry. Weighing just 0.6 oz, it has serrated edges for digging into hard rock-and-root filled soil to make a discrete deposit. While the Deuce makes a humorous gift, it helps emphasize the need for us to all pitch in together to preserve the wilderness.

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REI | Amazon

13. ZPacks Bear Bag Kit

Zpacks Bear Bag Kit
Weighing 3.4 ounces, the ZPacks Bear Bag Kit is made with rodent-resistant Dyneema. It has a roll-top and taped seams to keep the water out. The complete kit also includes: 50 feet of 2 mm Z-Line Slick cord, a rock sock to throw over tree branches, and a mini carabiner to attach the bag. The bear bag also makes a great waterproof case for a MacBook Pro.

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14. Hammock Gear Dyneema Fiber Hex Tarp

Hammock Gear Hex Tarp
Weighing just 5.14 oz, the Hammock Gear Dyneema Fiber Hex Hammock Tarp is amazingly lightweight and well made. It folds up small and provides huge weight savings when compared to other hammock tarps made from silnylon or silpoly, in some cases as much as a pound or more. Six-sided, it is optimized for three-season use and provides excellent protection against wind and rain.

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Hammock Gear

15. Darn Tough Hiker Socks

Darn Tough Hiker

Last but not least, give the gift of Darn Tough Full Cushion Hiker Socks. Super durable, cushioned, and comfortable, these wool socks fit like a dream. Their merino wool is naturally antimicrobial and repels bacteria and odors—a great feature when you need to get any extra day or two out of your socks. Darn Tough even guarantees them and will replace them for free if you can wear them out.

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Darn Tough | REI | Moosejaw

16. Zpacks Solo Quilt

Zpacks Solo Quilt

The Zpacks Solo Quilt is available in multiple widths, lengths, colors, and temperature ratings. It has a closed foot box and includes a strap so you can attach it to a sleeping pad. An elastic cord is used to tighten the bag around your neck to prevent drafts. The Solo Quilt is insulated with 900 fill power goose down. A standard width, 6′ long, 35-degree quilt weighs 14.8 oz and costs $339. Multiple lengths and widths are available at different price points.

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17. UGQ Outdoor Zeppelin Down Under Quilt

UGQ Outdoor Zeppelin Underquilt
The UGQ Outdoor Zeppelin is a luxurious hammock under quilt with dual draft collars to retain maximum warmth. Each quilt features 10 dual differential cut chambers which provide for maximum loft and insulation. Each chamber is filled with precisely the right amount of down to a density of 130%. UGQ provides smaller chambers than you would find on the average quilt, resulting in better distribution and stability of the down chamber. Each Zeppelin Under Quilt includes a full channel suspension w/ s-biner attachments, 10 secondary connection points, foot/head drawcords and removable secondary suspension.

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UGQ Outdoor

18. Six Moon Designs Silver Shadow Carbon Umbrella

The Silver Shadow Carbon is the crown jewel of hiking umbrellas. A sleek, carbon fiber shaft, spreader, and ribs drop the weight of this umbrella to a mere 6.8 oz while maintaining full coverage. Its rigid shaft ensures that it won’t unexpectedly collapse and its simple design with minimal parts keeps it light and durable. The Silver Shadow Carbon has a large reflective surface on top to deflect sunlight and a black underside to absorb wandering rays, allowing you to walk cooler and protect your eyes from glare.  Its coating sheds water easily, eliminating the need to wear sweaty rain gear.

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Six Moon Designs

19. Black Rock Gear Down Hat

Black Rock Gear Down Hat
Black Rock Gear Down Hats are ideal for sitting around the campfire on cool nights or sleeping under a quilt. Sewn to size with a snug deep fit, these beanies are insulated with 950 fill power goose down and are extremely lightweight. These handmade beanies are available in a broad range of patterns and colors and are highly prized by their owners.

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Black Rock Gear

20. Bear Boxer Contender Lightweight Bear Canister

Bear Boxer Contender
The Bear Boxer Contender (26 oz) is the lightest weight bear canister approved by the IGBC and SIBBG for use in both Grizzly and Black Bear country! Bear resistant food containers are mandatory in most National Parks & Forests where grizzly and black bears are present. The Bare Boxer Contender will hold about 3-day food supply for 1 person and fits most lightweight backpacks vertically or horizontally. Opens easily with almost any key, knife blade, or screwdriver. For example, it is significantly smaller and lighter weight than the BearVault BV450 or BV500.

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Gossamer Gear

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