The Thru-Hiker Gift Guide: Under $50
It’s that time of year again. If you’re looking for the perfect budget-friendly gift for the thru-hiker in your life, never fear: we’re here to help. From the hiker just starting out to the one who already seems to own everything, there’s something fun and useful in this guide for every type of thru-hiker. And the best part? Everything on this list is under $50.
Socks and Underwear
In backpacking, as in life, you can never have too many spare socks ‘n’ undies. It’s the practical, un-sexy gift we all secretly want and need. On-trail, avid hikers can wear through a pair of socks in no time flat, and underwear can quickly get… well… you know.
Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Socks
- MSRP: $24
- Materials: 61% merino wool/36% nylon/3% Lycra spandex
Darn Tough socks are made in the USA (and in an Appalachian Trail state: Vermont!) and are pretty much the gold standard for wool hiking socks. They’re super soft, comfy, and durable, plus they come with a lifetime guarantee. All hikers covet Darn Toughs, and an extra pair or two definitely won’t go amiss.
For an extra-luxurious gift, check out Darn Tough’s deliciously plush, ultra-cozy Mountaineering Socks.
Injinji Liner Crew Socks
- MSRP: $11
- Materials: 71% CoolMax polyester/25% nylon/4% Lycra spandex
Injinji’s skin-hugging toe sock liners provide an extra layer of sweat-wicking and protection between your sock and the skin of your foot. Many hikers swear by sock liners as a means of blister prevention. They’re also available in wool if you want to make this gift extra-fancy for two bucks more.
ExOfficio Give-n-Go Underwear
- MSRP: $18-$32
ExOfficio is the industry standard for odor-resistant clothing. The Give-N-Go line is popular among hikers because of its lightweight, breathable comfort and modest stank-reduction properties. (It’s pretty impossible to eliminate thru-hiker odors, but many people claim these undies are still a significant improvement).
You can continue reading the complete list of best gifts for hikers, all under $50 here.
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Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like Florida and North Carolina, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors.
As a veteran of the Iraq War, I found myself struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder from which greatly impacted my mental health. In 2016, I came across the film “Wild,” an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about healing by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
Sawyer Permethrin Premium Insect Repellent is used on clothing, not skin, and it provides long-lasting protection against ticks.