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Affordable Gifts for Teens Who Love the Outdoors: 2020 Edition

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If you raise outdoor kids, there’s a good chance they’ll grow up to be outdoor teens and adults, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend equal time being proud of the people they’ve become, and fearing for their adventure-loving lives. And then, you’ll do the only sensible thing and outfit them with the tools they need to be safe and have fun while embarking on countless outdoor adventures.

The following gifts are perfect for our outdoor-loving teens and young adults – practical items that won’t put a huge dent in your wallet, and a few cool gifts that are just for fun.

Gifts for Teens who Hike and Camp

Hiking and camping are the gateway drugs to the outdoors! We started doing both when our kids were young, and I see the trend continuing now that they are young adults. Here are some great gift ideas for teens that love hiking and camping.

A Rechargeable Headlamp

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from raising kids, it’s that you can never have enough headlamps. We have them stashed in day packs and glove compartments, but we still can’t seem to find them when we need them. An inexpensive, lightweight headlamp is one of the most useful outdoor gifts for teens, perfect for hiking, camping, and emergency use.

The BioLite HeadLamp 200 is the most comfortable and lightweight headlamp that we’ve ever owned. Settings included dimmable white and red lights, plus a strobe feature. This light is rechargeable via a micro USB and lasts up to 40 hours on the lowest setting before it needs to be recharged.

Good lighting is also one of the 10 essentials that every hiker should carry while hiking, even on day trips. Remind your teen to keep this in their pack for emergencies!

Photo credit: BioLite

2020 BioLite Holiday Deal Alert: BioLite is currently offering 25% off everything in their online store! No code necessary.

A Portable First Aid Kit

Adventure Medical Kits - First aid kit. Photo credit:
Photo credit:

A portable first aid kit is definitely a practical gift, but your teens will appreciate not having to think ahead! They may throw this first aid kit from Adventure Medical Kits into their daypack just to please you, but at least they’ll have it when they need it! A hiking first aid kit is one of the 10 essentials that everyone should have in their pack during a hike.

The smallest kit available from Adventure Medical Kits includes just the basics (wound care, basic illness, and injuries) in a waterproof container that can hang off a daypack with an included carabiner. Family-size first aid kits are also available.

Classic Pocket Knife

We got our kids their first Opinel knives when they were just little tykes. They would wear them around their necks on a lanyard and pull them out to make marshmallow sticks or whittle by the campfire. Those original knives are long gone, but there have been a lot of replacements over the years, and a good knife is still one of our top choices when choosing a camping gift for teens.

We’ve tried other brands, and keep coming back to these knives made by Opinel. We usually get the knives with the plain wooden handles, but we recently switched to the ones with red handles because they don’t hide when they’re dropped on the ground. Our current favorite is the 3.25-inch red folding knife with a stainless steel blade.

Red Opinel Knife. Photo credit: Amazon
The original Opinel knife. Photo credit: Amazon

Cairn Outdoor Subscription Box

The Cairn box for November 2018, featuring oatmeal, a granola bar, instant coffee, and a water bottle. They are all arranged in a cardboard box.
The Cairn box for November 2018

We did a full review of the Cairn subscription box a few years, and our bottom line is that it may not be the best choice for stocking up on gear for yourself, but it makes an awesome gift for outdoor teens and tweens! A Cairn subscription box is perfect for the teens that have everything. A single box is only $29.95, but you can gift your teen as many months as you want.

We have given Cairn boxes as gifts multiple times throughout the year. They are thoughtful gifts that you don’t have to think about!

Emergency Fire Starter

This tiny little gadget is another one of the 10 essentials for hikers. For the most part, it can be stored in your teen’s day pack and forgotten, but I recommend playing around with it and practicing before you actually need it.

When my kids were younger, they made it a personal goal to start every campfire without matches or lighters. Despite its name, this emergency fire starter doesn’t create a blazing fire for you so that you can keep warm in a pinch. All it does is create a spark. It’s up to you to find tinder and turn that spark into a fire, but it’s a skill that is well worth learning.

This gadget makes a great stocking stuffer for teens and it will keep you kids busy outdoors for hours. Best $10 ever spent!

Photo credit: Amazon

Breathable Face Masks

Cotopaxi Face Mask. Photo credit: Cotopaxi
Photo credit: Cotopaxi

Welcome to 2020! Face masks may seem like a strange addition to an outdoor gift guide, but the truth is that our trails are busier than ever. Having a mask handy can be useful when your teens can’t easily step of the trail or maintain a safe distance from fellow hikers.

We love these cotton face masks from Cotopaxi. They come in several cool color combinations, are reversible, and include the words – ‘DO GOOD’. Two-layer masks are light and breathable. Cotopaxi is a Certified B Corporation, committed to supporting nonprofit partners around the world.

2020 Cotopaxi Holiday Deals: Earn awesome free gifts for every $50 you spend at Cotopaxi.

 Pocket Disc

Just for fun, this handmade pocket disc is perfect for lunch breaks, afternoons at the park, or just goofing off between classes. At 7.25 inches in diameter, this is a soft, packable disc that will fit in your teen’s pocket or daypack. These fair-trade discs are 100% cotton, made in Guatemala, and come in lots of different designs. They can even be used inside on rainy days!

A foldable pocket disk for throwing. Makes a great gift for outdoor teens.
Photo credit: Amazon

Solar-Powered Lantern

luci lantern - a perfect gift for teens
These solar powered lanterns make great gifts!

2020 Holiday Deals from MPOWERED: 40% off site wide!

Our teens use these awesome solar-powered lanterns from Luci all the time. They pack down small and can easily hang off the back of a backpack or sit on a dashboard for recharging. At night, teens simply blow them up and use them for ambiance or hanging inside the tent.

As an addd bonus, the inflatable lanterns are waterproof and they float, so they’re great for canoeing and kayaking too!

MPOWERED (maker of Luci lanterns) is a certified B Corporation, dedicated to providing clean energy to people who need it most, as well as reducing pollution around the world.

Gifts for Teens who Love Winter

Do the teens in your life love winter? Whether they’re into winter hiking, skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing, we’ve got gift ideas that will keep them warm when the temperatures drop.

Darn Tough Vermont Socks

If you know me in person, you’ve probably heard me wax on about my all-time favorite socks. They are made here in Vermont, come with a lifetime warranty, they’re incredibly warm, and they’re beautiful as well.

I’ll admit that socks don’t often make it onto the teen wishlist, but the truth is, there is no better gift for outdoor lovers, and my teens wear Darn Tough socks all through the winter. The older they get, the more they appreciate socks as gifts! Comfortable feet any time of year is important, so everyone in our family gets at least one pair of Darn Tough socks per year.

We’ve been wearing Darn Tough socks for decades. I have nothing bad to say about them. Honestly and truly, they are the best I’ve ever worn. Darn Tough offers free shipping if you order two or more pairs.

Darn Tough Vermont Socks
Photo credit: Darn Tough Vermont

An Insulated Water Bottle

A teenager drinks from a turquoise water bottle while skiing in the woods.
Rowan taking a break from skiing to chug some water.

Our kids use Hydro Flask water bottles every single day. They are especially useful in the winter because they’re insulated, which means your water won’t freeze up on the slopes, and if you want to pack some hot tea for the trail, it will still be steaming when you’re ready for a break.

These Hydro Flask bottles come in every color of the rainbow, and will last forever if your teens don’t lose them. Unlike wooly socks, the Hydro Flask water bottles do make it onto our kids’ wish list. They’re as perfect for long school days as they are for outdoor adventures. 

2020 Holiday Deals from Hydro Flask: 25% off site wide!

Cool Puffy Patches

NOSO Patches are based in Jackson, Wyoming and proudly made in the USA. Use them to make a statement while repairing rips on jackets, snow pants, and other gear. No sewing required!

The Hook & Lasso Packet (pictured) includes three patches: bull skull, ‘X’ logo, and a fish. They withstand extreme weather conditions and multiple washings – perfect for teens who are hard on their gear!

These cool patches are available at Garage Grown Gear, a curated online store that features small start-up outdoor companies and cottage brands.

NOSO puffy patches
Photo credit: Garage Grown Gear

2020 Holiday Deals at Garage Grown Gear: Up to 40% off your favorite small outdoor brands.

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

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A collage of gift ideas for outdoor teens and tweens.
A tent with brightly colored packages in front of it. Caption reads: Best outdoor gifts for teens.

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