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Fun and Useful Gifts for Hikers Who Love Winter

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Once you’ve been bitten by the hiking bug, it’s pretty much impossible to stop, even if you live in cold-weather climates where you can’t stop walking for fear of freezing solid. If you know someone who adores winter hiking as much as we do, then we’ve got a few perfect gifts to recommend.

Two people hiking through the mountains in the winter.
Young couple hiking outside in sunny winter mountains

Here are our favorite gifts for winter hikers, or for hikers who love winter, or for winter lovers who also hike. You get the idea! Some of these gifts would also be useful for cross-country skiers, snowshoers, downhill skiers, and snowboarders, basically anyone who loves getting outside in the winter.

Winter Gear: Stay Safe and Have Fun on the Trail

Not only do the following pieces of gear make great gifts for winter hikers, but they are also essential items to make winter hiking more safe and fun. Making sure your loved ones are outfitted properly for winter adventures will make you feel better. Want to go on some winter adventures of your own? Gift yourself. We won’t judge!

Microspikes: Our Favorite Gift for Winter Hiking

If we could only recommend one gift for anyone who loves to hike in the winter, it would be a pair of Kahtoola microspikes.

The extra stability they provide for hiking on icy trails is so liberating, and they hardly take up any room in a backpack. I’d actually consider microspikes an essential item for hiking in New England or other northern climates. They’re perfect for times when the trail is too packed for snowshoes but too slippery for boots, and they could also be a lifesaver in icy conditions!

Kahtoola microspiks from REI - great gifts for hikers who love winter.
Photo credit: REI

Prevent Frozen Hydration with an Insulated Water Bottle

Hydroflask widemouth water bottle.
Photo credit: Hydroflask

You know it’s cold when you stop to take a swig of water on the trail only to find that the top layer is frozen over and you can’t hydrate.

Not only will a Hydroflask water bottle keep water from freezing, but it will also allow you to pack a hot drink like tea, coffee, or cocoa so that you can enjoy a winter warmer during trailside rest stops.

A fancy water bottle really does make the best gift. Why? Because most people are too cheap to buy one for themselves, but it’s always appreciated!

I suggest purchasing a bottle with a wide mouth for easy cleaning.

Insualted Food Container: Perfect for Cold-Weather Snacks

Here’s another Hydroflask product that is indispensable on long hikes. It’s an insulated food jar so that hikers can bring soup, pasta, curries, and other hot snacks on the trail.

These little jars are rugged, leak-proof, and most importantly, they keep hot food hot and cold food cold. A soft grip makes them easy to open, even with mittens, and they come in cool colors that hikers love.

We have been using Hydroflask products for almost a decade and can vouch for their durability. We’ve had jars roll down mountains and bounce off rocks without much more than a scratch.

Hydroflask insulated food jar - a great gift for hikers.
Photo credit: Hydroflask

Emergency Bivy: Expect the Unexpected

Emergency bivvy sleeping bag for hikers.
Photo credit: REI

This is one of those gifts for hikers that you hope will never get used. The SOL Emergency Bivvy is basically a tiny emergency sleeping bag that can be used by hikers who become lost, disoriented, or injured on the trail.

It weighs a mere 3.5 oz., packs down smaller than a 12 oz. soda can. and comes with a rescue whistle and tinder cord.

It may not be the most sought-after gift for hikers, but it’s an affordable way to make hiking in the winter safer.

Trekking Poles: Increase Balance and Stability on Icy Trails

Trekking poles offer so many benefits for hikers all through the year. They provide balance and stability while helping take weight off knees on downhill sections. During the winter, this extra support is even more important, reducing fatigue, and keeping hikers safer on slippery trails.

We’re not going to lie – these Black Diamond Trekking Poles are on the pricey side, but they are the highest-rated trekking poles at REI for a reason.

They are fully adjustable, feature comfortable cork grips (this is a must), and are lightweight. We are going into the 6th season of hiking with these and they are still going strong!

Trekking poles for winter hikers.
Photo credit: REI

Snowshoes: Take Winter HIking to the Next Level

If you’re buying a gift for a hiker that lives in a snowy climate and they don’t already have a pair of snowshoes, this is the obvious gift and one that will be very well received.

The MSR Evo Snowshoes are lighter, smaller, and easier to get on and off than snowshoes of the past. They are the perfect vehicle for deep snow when hikers need something that floats and grips at the same time.

I bought these snowshoes as a gift for my husband last year, and it was his favorite gift.

Snowshoes for hikers who love winter.
Photo credit: REI

Winter Clothing: Practical Gifts for Hikers

Winter hiking requires a few choice pieces of clothing, specifically layers that are light, warm, and able to wick moisture. For this purpose, we almost always choose merino wool, which has all the qualities mentioned above, and it’s anti-microbial so it doesn’t smell funky. Here are some of our favorite clothing gifts for winter hiking.

Merino Neck Gaiter for Cold-Weather Sports

A wool neck gaiter from Minus33.
Photo credit: Minus33

There is nothing like a soft merino neck gaiter for giving you all the warmth without the bulk. This midweight neck gaiter from Minus33 can be worn as a traditional neck gaiter, a headband, or a face mask. It comes in a variety of fun colors and can be washed and dried.

One size fits all, so you can feel confident giving this affordable gift to every hiker on your list. Minus33 is a small manufacturer of merino wool clothing and products based in Ashland, New Hampshire.

Darn Tough Vermont Socks for toasty toes

Darn Tough socks are made in Vermont, come with a lifetime warranty, and are incredibly warm for outdoor adventures.

I think merino wool socks are the perfect gift for everyone because it doesn’t matter if your favorite hiker needs socks or not. They will always be appreciated, and they will always get used.

Darn Tough has lots of different types of socks for different activities from skiing and snowboarding to winter hiking. They offer free shipping if you order two or more pairs.

Darn Tough socks for winter hikers.
Photo credit: Darn Tough Vermont

Merino Wool Base Layers in fun colors for Winter Hiking

A green merino wool base layer by Woolx.
Photo credit: Woolx

Merino base layers are a bit of a splurge, but they are worth the extra cost for so many reasons. Unlike synthetic layers, these wool layers by Woolx don’t smell. They wick moisture away from your skin, keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and they remain fresh through multiple wearings without needing a wash.

Gift merino layers to your very favorite hikers, maybe even yourself! Woolx is a small company based in upstate New York that is committed to providing shoppers with ethically sourced wool from around the world.

A Cool New Beanie: An Easy Gift for Hikers Who Love Winter

Winter hats are like wool socks – you can never have too many, which means they make great gifts for winter lovers of all persuasions. And if you’re looking for an amazing selection of beanies in all kinds of colors and patterns, you have to check out Turtle Fur.

Turtle Fur got its start in Vermont in 1982 and is still based here. Not only are they committed to environmental sustainability, but they also have a mission to make the outdoors more inclusive for everyone.

A winter beanie is a great gift for hikers.
Photo credit: Turtle Fur

Stocking Stuffers: Little Gifts for Hikers Who Love Winter

The following little gifts are perfect for adding to care packages and stockings. They are small, affordable, and extremely useful for all of the winter hikers in your life.

  • Polarized sunglasses: Because sun and snow mix together to create all kinds of glare.
  • SPF sunscreen: The winter sun has a bad habit of burning tender cheeks. Give the gift of reef-safe protection.
  • Lip balm: Make dry, chapped lips a thing of the past.
  • Arnica Recovery Lotion: This stuff is amazing after a long day of hiking. I wish they had a stock option.
  • Hand and toe warmers: Perfect for pockets, as well as inside mittens and boots!
  • Alltrails Pro: This is an app with downloadable trail maps, a navigation system, and a database of awesome hikes all over the USA. Any hiker would appreciate this.

Looking for more gift ideas for the outdoor lovers in your life? Check out these posts!


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A collage of photos featuring the bet gifts for hikers who love winter.

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