Box with a Garmin inReach mini satellite communication device, good as a gift for fathers and men.
Father’s Day is looming, so it’s time to think about hiking gifts for fathers – or for any special man in your life. Various stores and consumer sites regularly come up with lists of what are supposedly the best hiking gear, clothing and equipment. But I prefer to ask my experienced male hiking friends what they’d never hit the trail without. So I did, and here’s what they said.

Paul Kautz (Hiking Dude)
Hiking Dude’s thru-hikes include the Arizona Trail, Ice Age Trail and Pacific Northwest Trail. He blogs at

Photon Micro-Light. It’s the only light I take, but it’s also a good back-up for people who use big lights. A Sawyer Squeeze filter. I’ve been using the same water filter on all my treks since the AZT in 2012 and it still works great. Coghlan’s bug jacket and pants. Better than using chemicals, and they only weigh around eight ounces (227 gms).

Ed Abell
Ed’s treks include a rim-to-rim hike of the Grand Canyon, Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp.

I always pack my small power pack for charging my phone/GPS and a LifeStraw water filter (for emergencies).

Bush WhackerPair of SmartWool socks, good as a gift for fathers and men.
Bush’s thru-hikes include the AT, PCT, Florida Trail, Wonderland Trail, Colorado Trail and Pinhoti Trail.

I usually bring a chrome dome-style umbrella. A ShamWow! type towel is very handy for drying dew on tents and for drying off after swimming or showering. A sit pad is essential. My sit pad is a cut-off Z-pad, but Thermarest sells them.

I love my BRS stove. It’s only about $15 and works as good any I’ve had – and that’s a lot. A long-handled titanium spoon or spork. A trowel.

More Ideas for Gifts for Fathers (or Any Men!)

Richard Hershberger (Tic Toc)
Tic Toc’s thru-hikes include the AT,  CDT, PCT, and Long Trail.

Tic Toc’s wife, Cookie, polled him on good hiking gifts for fathers. She reports, “His first answer was, ‘A woman.'” (Oh, Tic Toc!) “Then he said he wouldn’t want someone picking out any major piece of gear, but hiking socks like Darn Tough or a gift card would be okay.”

Matt Griffith (Long-Hauler)
Long-Hauler has been hiking for 20-plus years. He’s thru-hiked the Arizona and Benton MacKaye Trails and hopes to hit the Florida and Pacific Northwest Trails next.

One item I wouldn’t hike without is my pillow. I use a Sea to Summit Aeros Premium inflatable pillow. It may be considered a luxury item to some, but sleeping comfortably is important. Another item would be Injinji toe sock liners. After I started using them under my Darn Tough socks I stopped getting blisters.

Ryan Carpenter (Green Tortuga)Man with a wide-brimmed hat signing a trail register.
Green Tortuga’s numerous thru-hikes include the AT (twice), PCT, Kungsleden Trail, Jordan Trail and the Tour du Mont Blanc.

A buff is a good gift. I bought one because it had “Appalachian Trail” on it rather than any particular need for it, and I hiked half the Long Trail before figuring out how wonderful it was – especially in cold weather! I can wrap it around my neck, my face or the top of my head. I’ve used it to pick up hot pots. I’ve used it on hot days to soak up water and then wear when it’s wet. It’s remarkably useful for an item I didn’t think I needed. Now, I never go on a trail without a couple buffs.

Also, a wide-brimmed hat is essential. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, I can’t live on the trail without it! Leave those baseball caps at home.

Final Ideas

These last gift ideas come from male hikers who are members of a popular Facebook hiking group.

  • A 12-pack of bright green Mini Bic lighters. I always keep a few stashed throughout my gear.
  • Spot Device and ultralight (shorty) thermal rest, a luxury item that goes on top of my harmonica pad. 
  • Double Rainbow Li, which is a tarp tent.
  • A great present would be if my wife would agree to go on a multi-day backpacking trip with me. (Aww!)
  • I love all zpacks – pouches, tents, packs. Even their rain mitts and gaiters are great. Everything is super lightweight and pretty durable.
  • Bronner’s Magic Balm. A little bit on your shoulders after a hike goes a long way!
  • WrightSocks, CoolMesh, double layer. No blisters. I have been wearing them for 30 years.
  • My Filson packer trail hat in nine-ounce (255-gm) shelter cloth. Wool liner in cool weather, unlined in warmer climes.
  • Rescue beacon. They’re expensive, boring to buy for yourself (because hopefully you’ll never use it), but gifting one says you want that person to come home safe. My parents got me mine for my birthday, and I think about that last reason every time I go hiking.
  • Hip flask to carry some booze in.
  • NiteCore NU25 headlamp.
  • Garmin inReach Mini GPS satellite communicator. Pricey, but nothing says “I care” more, and you can get emails/texts with clickable links that show you where your loved ones are. 
  • A crushable hat. I like Wintergreen Designs most, but I’ve a collapsible hat by Buff that’s good, too.

Disclosure: This entry contains affiliate links (among regular links) to products I own and like, or which I think you might like. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.



©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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