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Rock climbing is a very gear centric sport, something you’ll learn very quickly when you start picking up your first bits of gear. It can be very overwhelming and difficult to navigate on a budget. For this reason I recommend prioritizing your purchases; build up your rack as you progress and need more of the essential rock climbing gear that’ll form your lifeline in the sport.

Luckily, I’ve already been through the turmoil of figuring this all out and now I’m here to pass my knowledge on to you. Consider me your relationship coach, here to guide you through the milestones of your new love affair.

The First Date — Staple Rock Climbing Gear to Get You Started

Foot of rock climber representing the essential rock climbing gear that is shoes
Socks?!?!? In your downturns?!?!?!??! Please don’t do this unless you want to be ridiculed.

Climbing Shoes

Climbing shoes come in all shapes and sizes and you’ll evidently experiment with the different shapes and sizes they come in. Your first upgrade, from smelly slippery rentals, should feel like they’ve changed the game. They truly are a gear essential for anyone who wants to go rock climbing regularly. Luckily near any shoe will feel better than those floppy clown shoes you’ve been renting, but I have got a few pointers for choosing your first pair.

Folks will tell you not to buy aggressive shoes when you’re starting, but don’t listen to them. Get shoes that will complement the style of climbing you like or want to get into. The closer to horizontal you like the climb the more downturned you might enjoy your shoes. This is not to say you can’t power through steep overhangs in the likes of the FiveTen’s Anasazis. If Chris Sharma can send V15 in them they probably won’t hold you back.

Go to stores and try shoes on, sometimes shoes just don’t suit your feet. For example there are brands that I avoid because the toe box never fits. Try lots of shoes on, and you might find the same thing. However, it can be tricky to know what to do once you’ve got a shoe on your foot, how do you know it’s right for you? Well, stores that stock climbing shoes usually have some small holds you can stand on, while gym stores are usually kind enough to let you climb a couple of routes in them.

You should check that 1) The heel is snug and not baggy 2) All your toes are at the end of the shoe 3) That the closure system is sufficiently tight. They should fit like a glove with no wiggle room. To test the shoes, I try to stand on a diverse range of holds in the route allowance. This will include inside and outside edging on a small hold, and volume smearing. This is usually achievable in one climb if you find the right slab set. I then take them over to an overhang to test the downturn as well as heel and toe hook abilities. The best routes for this will include moves that leave you quite stretched out and begging your shoes to help with the body tension. Try your best to avoid cutting loose — you’re here to test shoes not show off.

Chalking hands from chalk bag
Photo Credit: danwalker90 (Flickr CC)

Chalk

For most people chalk is an essential bit of rock climbing gear. Sweaty hands and slipping on crimps is a nightmare. Plus, you really don’t want to be that weirdo that’s constantly borrowing other people’s chalk and communal chalk is a little gross. You’re going to get overwhelmed by choice, so I’m here to cut through the nonsense and let you know what’s up.

Firstly, you’re going to need a bag to store your chalk in. This can be a boulder bucket or a small chalk bag, but either way it’s a fleece-lined way of keeping your chalk in more than a ziplock bag. If you’re a route climber and like the ropes then I recommend getting something small and light that you can wear while you climb, like Organic Climbing’s Chalk Bag, Metolius’s Wildlife Comp Bag, or this beauty from Static Climbing. However, you’ve probably noticed boulderers like to carry around ungodly amounts of chalk and blow their fingers constantly, all of which is made possible by big burly chalk buckets. Personally I like them with a little pocket for my phone, nail clippers, and maybe even a little snack. Which is why the ‘buckets’ from Black Diamond, Organic Climbing, Static Climbing and DMM are all great options.

Moving on to the good white powder we love so much: Chalk comes in a shocking number of varieties, and companies are eager to tell you all about their premium brand extra-drying-very-super-excellent-goodtime-chalk. I’ve used a whole host of brands and types and I’ll be 100% honest with you — they’re all exactly the same. There is, however, a personal preference you’ll have to work out for yourself regarding the coarseness of the chalk and the medium you wish you consume it from.

Loose chalk can be found in a range of grits and Friction Labs offers a good spread with Fine, Chunky, and Super Chunky options. However, you could buy a block and crunch it up in your bag yourself and cut out the middle man. I usually go for the Metolius Block, but I will admit their loose chalk is more convenient. Liquid chalk is currently all the rage since it has alcohol which acts as a gnarly disinfectant, but the alcohol will dry out your skin. There are too many choices in this department, Friction Labs, Metolius, Black Diamond, Petzl, and Mammut just to name a few. The last option is to buy a chalk sock/ball. This is a fabric cover which allows the chalk to escape and cover your hands as you squeeze it, but stops big spills. I’d recommend getting a refillable one as it’s way more eco.

So You’re Together — Getting Roped in Further

Woman wearing a rental harness holding multiple ropes
Top Tip: Rental harnesses have an oddly orientated belay loop which cuts out the tie in loops, this makes belaying feel really awkward. A good reason to buy yourself an upgrade.

At this point you’ve been bouldering or route climbing for a while and you’ve sorted your rock climbing gear basics in the form of shoes and chalk. But, those big tall walls you keep seeing were calling your name and after a couple of tasters you know you need to invest in your own rock climbing gear. Safety Advice: Anything that is designed to take weight must have an UIAA and EN certification, these are essential tasting bodies that ensure your equipment will keep you safe.

Harness

The Harness is possibly the most important and essential bit of gear you’re going to need to take your rock climbing to higher levels. Your first harness should be a do-all go-to; get it right and you won’t have to worry about a new one for years. Before we start we should clear up what a harness looks like and what everything is called, to avoid any confusion.

Harness with the various parts numbered
  1. Belay Loop: A strong load bearing attachment point. Used for belaying and attaching yourself to anchors and ropes.
  2. Tie-in Points: These loops are what you’ll tie into before your climb.
  3. Waist buckle: This tightens the harness to stop it slipping up and down, and can come with either 1 or 2.
  4. Waist belt: This is what will be catching you in a fall, it should be snug around your waist with no possibility of you sliding out of it in any direction of fall.
  5. Leg Loops: These make the harness way more comfortable allowing you to sit in your harness like a seat and not rise up to your chest and start suffocating you. They come in adjustable or one size fits all, but do not need to be too tight, if you can tuck your fingers between them and your leg that’s fine.
  6. Gear Loops: These are a big consideration, it’s where you’ll clip carabiners and gear to. You want them to be in comfortable easy to reach places and stiff so clipping stuff to them is easy to do single handed. Some harnesses will have stiff front loops and soft rear loops which is all personal preference.
  7. Risers: These adjust the way your leg loops hang and hold them in place. It’s best to move these around to find your most comfortable fit when you’re sitting in the harness.
  8. Haul Loop (not shown): Located on the back center of the waist loop. A haul line is attached as an extra rope to drag your bags up the climb.

In my opinion, the best all round beginner harnesses will have a padded waist belt, adjustable leg loops, 4 to 5 gear loops, 1 belay loop, adjustable risers, and a haul loop. This gives you a nice comfortable start that you can do nearly everything in. From simple single climb crags to big multi-pitch adventures, you can even use it for via ferrata and scrambling.

The fit: Harnesses have decent size allowances. Your wait size should be somewhere between the upper and lower limits. So you’ll be safe on those days where you’re all layered up or going tops off for power. When you’re trying on harnesses consider the symmetry of the gear loops, as single buckle harnesses can be lopsided once tight. If you can, try before you buy, sit in the harness and make sure nothing digs in or pinches. Finally, they come in Women’s and Men’s models, so watch out you don’t get them mixed up as it can get pretty uncomfortable.

For these reasons I went with a Petzl Adjama, which has since been updated and is even better now. Other options include Black Diamond’s Momentum which comes in upgraded 3S and 4S models, and DMM’s viper for men and vixen for women.

Belay Plate and Carabiner

Essential Rock Climbing Gear: An assortment of HMS pear shaped carabiners with slings a belay plate and prusik cord
An exquisite display of HMS carabiners on a bed of rope, garnished with slings and prusik cord

The belay device is another essential tool in your rock climbing gear quiver. Decisions need to be made, but it’s a hard one to make when you’re just starting out. However, there is one decision which is not as difficult to make, and that’s the carabiner you want to get. While there is a lot of choice there isn’t really that much to it.

You need a locking HMS carabiner which can be recognized by its distinct pear shape. Additionally you may want your belay ‘biner to have a keep on the narrow side. This traps your belay loop and prevents cross loading the carabiner. Strong, durable, and heavy should also be considered and as such I strongly recommend DMM’s Ceros which also comes in a Quicklock version for added safety. Other good options also include Edelrid’s Bulletproof HMS Screw-gate, Black Diamond’s Gridlock Screw-gate, and Wild Country’s Accent Light.

Before we talk belay devices it is probably worth mentioning the Munter Hitch; a knot that can replace your belay device in a pinch. Learn it: It just might save your life one day. Moving swiftly on to the belay device itself, this will be your go to rappelling and belaying tool, and your choices are straight forward:

Black Diamond Tubular ATC device with hand on the break side and the rock climbers side going up
Photo Credit: _T604 (Flickr CC)

Standard Tubular ATC

  • Description: These devices build off old school sticht plates to increase the friction and heat dissipation. I recommend always carrying one of these as an emergency backup. The ATC can be used for all climbing, but they excel in the gym and at single pitch crags.
  • Advantages: Can be used with a variety of rope diameters, light weight, and can accompany 2 ropes at a time for double stranded rappelling and half/twin rope belaying.
  • Disadvantages: Can be too slow and have too much friction for lighter climbers and very thick ropes and does not offer an assisted braking mode.
  • Recommendations: Petzl Verso, Black Diamond ATC, CAMP Shell, and Grivel Master.
Photo Credit: Patrick Lewis (Flickr CC)

Guide Mode ATC

  • Description: The guide mode ATC is often an essential in rock climbing gear, used in nearly every discipline for its versatility in belay stances, rappelling techniques, and incorporation in rescue and hauling rigs. I recommend getting one of these as your first device as it provides you with the tools to take your climbing further, without dishing out more cash.
  • Advantages: The additional versatility of assisted braking in guide mode for specific scenarios with the same additional flexibility of the regular ATC.
  • Disadvantages: Similar high friction problems for lighter climbers.
  • Recommendations: Petzl Reverso, Black Diamond ATC Guide, DMM Pivot, and Wild Country Pro Guide.
Photo Credit: Harald Kanins (Flickr CC)

Assisted Braking Device

  • Description: Though controversial for many years due to its use of moving parts it is now a widely accepted essential in any rock climbing gear bag. It makes for easily controllable descents often featuring an ergonomic handle.
  • Advantages: Provides a margin for error for beginners,
  • Disadvantages: Only takes one rope, moving parts are more likely to fail, and requires practice to feed rope out.
  • Recommendations: Petzl GriGri, Beal Birdy, and Madrock Lifeguard.

Rope

Finally, the life saving noodle – Rope. This essential bit of rock climbing gear will be your life line so make it a good one. You need a dynamic rope to prevent any shock loading which is not a good time. You also need a rope that is within the diameter recommendations for your specific belay device. It should also say it is a single rope, meaning it is rated to be used all alone. I recommend getting a burly gym rope and staying above 9.8mm. Petzl’s Mambo at 10.1mm, Black Diamond’s 9.9mm, or Mammut’s Gym Workhorse at 9.9mm are all good options. Minimum length will depend on the height of the walls at your gym. If you’re planning outdoor use 60m is a good do-all length.

Getting Outdoors

Woman Lead Climbing with her essential essential sport rock climbing gear
Great photo but it’s ill-advised to not wear a helmet

Transitioning from your plastic pulling to outdoor climbing is a big step. Just like when you first arrived at the climbing gym there’s a new list of essential rock climbing gear. Your move to the outdoors can seem scary, but it can be tamed by an experienced friend or instructor. You’ll naturally be borrowing most of your equipment to start off, but as you grow into a cool-headed, competent climber your rack will grow with you.

Why buy gear when you can just borrow your mates? Well it’s simple really – Knowing where your gear has been and how it’s been used is far more confidence inspiring. In fact knowing how to spot obviously worn-out gear is as important as saying ‘no’ to the old geezer at the crag that keeps offering to hip belay you.

Your Guide to Essential Outdoor Rock Climbing Gear

Full rack of trad climbing equipment including rocks, cams, quickdraws, slings and hexes
Photo Credit: Stephen Bentsen (Flickr CC)

The best way to confidently learn is to hire a guide. They’ll teach you the basics and make sure you have a great and safe day out. You’ll notice your guide probably looks well kitted out compared to you. His rack dangling around his waist and plenty of ropes strapped to the top of his pack. However, you too, can look just like him. Some of these you can pick up straight away, however, others it can be best to wait till you know how to use them.

Tying the Knot with Your Belay Partner — Exploring the Great Outdoors

Outdoor climbing comes in three varieties each with different gear requirements. Bouldering – the art of being too scared of heights to commit to the ropes. All the while, having an overwhelming urge to assert your dominance on some unsuspecting rock. Sport Climbing – Climbing hard without the faff, no silly fiddling with equipment, just pure rock and roll. Traditional Climbing (Trad) – The most poetic type of climbing where you place your own protection, naturally justifying the $239.95 you spent on a single number 8 Camelot.

You’ll need a lot of friends if you want to carry this many pads.

Crash Pads

  • Types of climbing: Bouldering and Traditional
  • Description: A foam filled mat, typically with backpack style carrying system. Essentially it’s a portable mattress
  • Purpose/Use: Used to cushion falling to the ground just like in the gym. This can help trad climbing when the first placement is further off the ground than is comfortable

Buying guide: There are a few things to consider when choosing a crash pad.

Size Do not pick a pad that doesn’t fit in your car. There is nothing worse than desperately tying it to the roof of your car. However, a bigger pad means more coverage and is easier to aim for when falling, so pick according to your needs.

Foam – The foam in most pads is going to be adequate, however I have found some more comfortable than others. Thicker pads typically have more cushioning and don’t wear out as fast. Whereas, thin pads are much firmer and less forgiving on bad landings.

Style – There are 2 distinct styles of crash pad. Tacos and Sandwiches: Which refer to the style that the pad folds. Sandwiches fold nicer as they are 2 mats sewn together on one edge. These usually slot nicely into the back of your car. However, the risk of stepping right in the middle and spraining an ankle is there. Tacos, on the other hand, are one big pad you’ve forced in half leaving this strange space inside the mat; great for shoving your chalk and shoes though, so it’s not all bad.

Recommendations:

Value Metolius Party Pit This budget pad is fine for most of your bouldering needs, although firm it makes a world of difference compared to falling into the ground.
BasicMad Rock Mad PadAlthough the same size as the party pit, an extra inch of padding offers some added confidence on those taller walls and longer falls.
LargeBlack Diamond MondoMoving onto large coverage for those uncertain landing zones, this big 44″ by 65″ mat will have you covered. Although, bigger pads are harder to carry.
FancyPetzl CirroRivaling the Mondo for size, this pad has a cover that protects the straps and carrying side from the mud and dirt, so you can stay clean carrying it.
WideMad Rock Triple Mad PadWhy go for a pad with one fold when you can have one with 2? Although not much bigger than the larger pads, it is more compact – Good for small cars.

Helmet

  • Types of climbing: Sport and Traditional
  • Description: These come in 2 types – Hard shell and impact absorbing foam. Rated for a top down impact, it’s no good on your bike, just as your bike helmet is too holey for falling rocks. But it goes without saying this is an essential piece of gear for your rock climbing endeavors
  • Purpose/Use: Protecting your skull from falling rocks and big knocks

Buying Guide:
Trying to find a helmet you look good in is near impossible, however there’s nothing cooler than safety. So bite the bullet and get one. I’ve heard too many stories of kids throwing rocks off cliffs onto unsuspecting climbers, and seen too many people invert and swing their heads into the wall to not wear one.

If you’re just starting out, get something with a hard shell. They are real do-all helmets and feel indestructible, so you can bash them about and still be fine. Unfortunately, the foam helmets aren’t built this way, they’re made to save you from one bed event and then they need replacing, which is rather pricey if you’re accident prone, or push it too hard into your pack. Top Tip: Get a light bright color, you don’t not want to be standing in the sun with a black helmet absorbing all the heat, trust me.

Recommendations:

HelmetType Comments
Black Diamond Half Dome plus Additional colors Hard shell A classic helmet choice which features adjustable sizing and straps. However, unlike the other options from black diamond this is not rated for side impacts.
Edelrid MadilloHard shellIt folds making it oddly packable. Honestly, this is revolutionary, I cannot express how much I hate trying to get my helmet into my bag only to have it waste valuable space.
Petzl BoreoHybridThis foam helmet has a decent hard shell cover making it super durable against all those little bumps.
Black Diamond VisionHybrid Similar to the Boreo this has a hard top to stop those pesky pebbles that your partner slipped on from ruining the structural integrity of your helmet.
Trango HaloFoamThis foam helmet will protect your noggin, but is unlikely to be as durable as the hybrids.
Black Diamond VapourFoamAs with all foam helmets this is a favorite for those trying to shed weight, without compromising on safety, it also comes in light colors and lots of vents to reduce head sweat.
It’s a good idea to keep the bottom carabiner gate facing away from the direction of your climb

Quickdraws

  • Types of climbing: Sport and Traditional
  • Description: Made up of 2 carabiners connected by thick webbing. This webbing is often called a dogbone
  • Purpose/Use: Connects the climbing rope to the protection on a rockface, which the climber then falls onto

Buying Guide:
Quickdraws can be broken down into 2 parts, the carabiners and the dogbone. The carabiners can be either solid gate or wire gates, which typically affects the weight and price. However, people have preferences and there is some consensus that wire gates are easier to handle, but solid gates are more robust and diverse. Honestly, I have not noticed any difference and can clip either just fine. Top Tip: Have different colors for your rock side and rope side carabiners.

The dogbone is a different story. Traditional climbing requires carrying lots of gear and fitting it on your rack can be tough, but not as tough as the climb will get if you don’t watch your weight. Dogbones come in skinnier-thinner sizes for traditional climbing. They’re still super strong and perfectly reasonable for sport climbing too, but they will wear out faster. Sport climbing dogbones are thick and burly, built to take fall after fall, and if you’ve got the guns there’s nothing stopping you from using them on your stoppers. So you’ve really got to ask yourself, what type of climbing am I more likely to do? and do I fall a lot?

Finally there’s the matter of size: Yes size matters. You’ll want a variety of lengths for traditional climbing, and you’ll want to avoid short and stubby draws. They just add to the rope drag and make for a bad time, unless equipped with those funny pulley carabiners. I never leave the ground with anything less than 18cm. Although, it is a pain that most multi-packs are shorter.

Recommendations:

QuickdrawIntended Climbing SizeCarabinerComment
Camp Dyon Express KS Quickdraw Sport 18cm Wire GateA decent length in a multibuy is difficult to come by, so these draws from camp are a good find. Plus they feature color coordinated carabiners to stop micro-abrasions hurting your ropes. Another solid feature is the key-nose component to reduce snagging on hangers and protection.
Camp Photon Express KS QuickdrawSport 18cm Solid GateSimilar to the Dyon, these are a solid gate alternative. This is reflected in the price.
Camp Photon Wire Express KS Quickdraw Trad18cmWire GateCAMP have somehow managed to win me over during this search, they’re well priced and well sized quickdraws seem to be perfect for first time buyers.
DMM Spectre 2 QuickdrawTrad18cmWire GateI use these draws and I honestly love them. DMM is my go to brand for most of my hardware and their 18cm trad dogbones are my personal favorite.
Black Diamond MiniWire Alpine Quickdraw Trad 60cm Wire GateThese extenders are super useful for those far off placements and I refuse to climb anything without them. Having these on a sport climb let me clip a good bolt on the next route over when mine was clearly too rusty to be trusted. You need to have at least 2 with you, and you don’t have to extend them if you need a short quickdraw.

Screw Gates

  • Types of climbing: Sport and Traditional
  • Description: A carabiner that locks so the gate cannot be opened
  • Purpose/Use: Prevents gates from accidentally opening such as against edges when loaded in a direction
  • Buying Guide:
    Carabiners come in different shapes and sizes which can be used for different purposes. When you’re starting out you’ll probably just want a few basic ‘D’ shaped and ‘HMS’ shaped carabiners. This will get you through most stances, top rope anchors, and sport climbing cleaning. You may also want to get one very very large HMS that’ll take 3 clove hitches for convenience, but it’s not a must. Further, getting big solid

    Additionally, the locking mechanism can either require manual screwing or snap into place automatically. I personally use the manual type, but if you’re someone who might forget to do them up then get the autolockers. It’s worth a mention that dust and dirt can cause your autolockers to jam up, so this is something to be aware of. All the added security of locking carabiners make them an essential bit of gear for keeping you safe while rock climbing.
CarabinerTypeComment
Black Diamond HotForge ScrewgateD ShapedThese basic ‘biners are great for your every climbing need. Strong, sturdy, and durable.
DMM Shadow ScrewgateD ShapedThe DMM shadow are again a personal favorite and the bright colors have always helped me organize my anchors.
Black Diamond RockLockHMSThis big beefy HMS will be a hard wearing but heavy. However, a great place to start.
Petzl Attache 3D ScrewlockHMSLight weight, thanks to the I beam construction. This HMS should squeeze out 2 clove hitches and has a great bit of paint that lets you know when it isn’t screwed up properly.
Petzl William ScrewlockBig HMSThis big boy is as easy to handle as it is easy to get on 2 clove hitches and have room left over.
DMM Big BoaBoa / HMSThis is the boa I use and I tend to squeeze on 3 clove hitches with a 9.8mm single rope for some bomber-anchor building.
If you take your shoes off to belay don’t forget to clip them somewhere secure.

Personal Tether

  • Types of climbing: Sport
  • Description: A sling make of dyneema or nylon, and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • Purpose/Use: Used to attach yourself to fixed gear and rig rappels with
  • Buying Guide:
    This comes down to personal preference as the various options come with their own pros and cons. I personally clove hitch the dynamic rope I’m tied into as often as possible. However when the moment calls for it I do have a 120cm sling, from Edelridge. I like this because it’s 12mm thick so it feels a bit more sturdy and is long enough that I can easily adjust the length with a knot. However, there are loads of other options, from dedicated quick adjust tethers to a couple of quickdraws linked together.
TetherProsCons
Black Diamond Link Personal Anchor Many fully rated loops allow for quick selection and attachment, plus the tail allows you to clip to a backup if you so desire.This can still be shock loaded. Many loops can be fiddly and are not fully adjustable.
Metolius Personal Anchor This chain features one more loop than Black Diamond’s, so it does offer the benefit of reaching just a bit further. Again still can be shock loaded, and perhaps is one loop more fiddly to use.
Edelrid 6mm Aramid Cord Sling Simple and straightforward. Tough and can be used like any other sling so is more versatile than purpose built systems. Plus there is more dynamic stretch, which will likely have more give in a shock load. Additionally, this sling is stiff and great for threads when you trad climb. It’s round profile makes it harder to rack comfortably. Can still break under shock load
Petzl Connect AdjustThis quickly adjustable connector is great for sport climbing. Single or multi-pitch climbs — this has you covered. It’s fully dynamic, so should hold you if you shock load it. Doesn’t have great versatility. The adjuster has slipped under 4.4kn testing by Black Diamond.

Ropes

  • Types of climbing: Sport and Traditional
  • Description: Dynamic ropes or outdoor climbing get a little more complex. They can be weather treated; single, half and twin rated; and static, semi-static, or dynamic.
  • Purpose/Use: Keep the climber safe during a fall. Hauling gear up a wall. Rappelling post climb. Rigging solid anchors.
  • Buying Guide:
    Half ropes are rated to take a full fall, however, they sacrifice weight for durability. There are benefits to having 2 fully rated ropes with you though. If something were to happen to one of the ropes you’d still have one fully functional one, and you can do big long rappels. Additionally, I recommend getting 2 colors for quick differentiation.
    Single ropes easier to handle and less risk of a tangle. However, the problem here is you only have one, which means (unless you’re packing a tagline) half length rappels.
    Lengthwise 60 or 70m is what I go for. This gives you the ability to climb long pitches with a little bit left over for the anchor.
Rope Type Length Comment
Edelrid Boa Eco 9.8mmSingle rope 70m Perfect rope for dry summer climbing
Mammut Crag Dry 9.8mmSingle rope60m-70mGreat treated rope for dry and wet days on rock, alpine, or ice climbing days
Edelweiss Performance 9.2mmSingle, Half, and Twin rated70m-90mThin triple rated rope great for durability and all weather conditions, but can be used as a half rope for more confidence
Black Diamond Dry Rope 8.5mm Half rope50m-70m On the thicker side for a half rope with durable dry treatment for unexpected showers

Prusik

  • Types of climbing: Rappelling, Sport, Traditional, and Rescue
  • Description: A loop of accessory cord either 5mm or 6mm thick, tied with a double fisherman’s knot.
  • Purpose/Use: Super versatile in its use, from protection, to an emergency sling, a good prusik can be used in a load of situations. However, it’s main use is as a third hand.
  • Buying Guide:
    Simply put you need about 1.5 to 2m worth tied into a loop. 5mm cord will grip the rope firmer while 6mm is more likely to slip. I typically carry 2 loops as a minimum and these stay doubled over and girth hitched to one of my rear gear loops.
OptionComment
Beal 5mm cordI personally prefer this thickness for my half ropes and it works great on singles too.
Beal 6mm cordThis will also work good with most ropes and I do prefer it for when I’m climbing on a single rope.
Beal 5.5mm prusikThis is down to preference. It comes with the benefit of a 22kn rating which is far more than your standard cord. However, this is reflected in the price.
Know your nuts; keep your rack organized.

Protection

  • Types of climbing: Traditional
  • Description: Passive or active metal work typically consisting of nuts, hexes and cams.
  • Purpose/Use: Placed into cracks and constrictions in the rock face to protect the climbing just as a bolt would on a sport climb.
  • Buying Guide:
    By the time you’re purchasing your first rack I highly doubt you need me to tell you what’s what. But, I do have some thoughts on the matter. Color coordination is a must, as you get familiar with your gear you can eyeball the right size and color before you’ve even got the rack in your hand. Rack on keynose carabiners, this will stop thin wires getting snagged on the nose as you’re taking them off.
ProtectionComment
DMM Wallnuts My personal favorite shape and size of nuts. I’ve found the wallnuts from DMM to fit in a range of placements, the colors are lasting, and the wires are strong and durable.
DMM Offset StoppersI tend to stick to one brand when it comes to passive protection. That way the colors all match up. I always find a spot for a good offset on all my climbs, so I never leave the ground without them.
Black Diamond’s Wired HexentricsI enjoy the smaller sizes of these on wires as hexes can be used as stoppers and for their camming action under the right circumstances. Plus, the wires make them easier to place.
DMM Torque Nuts I have these hexes from DMM on slings which give them another level of versatility for slinging spikes. So these will make up the larger sizes of passive protection on my rack.
Black Diamond Camalot C4The all American classics are an essential bit of gear for any rock climbing enthusiast. While I personally prefer the thumb stud and extendable sling of the DMM Dragons, others rave on about the Camalot’s thumb loop and durability.
Camp TricamsThese interesting looking pieces of gear can certainly supplement the experienced climbers rack. With great utility in horizontal cracks, these can be great if you know how to use them.
Smaller protection Smaller protection can be handy when you’re climbing a featureless slab with only a few tiny cracks. Just enough space to squeeze the smallest bits of gear like the DMM Peenuts, Wild Country Friend Zeros, or the Camalot Z4s.

Nut Tool

  • Types of climbing: Traditional
  • Description: A thin piece of metal with a small hook on the end.
  • Purpose/Use: Used to remove protection than is jammed in cracks. Resist the urge to use the hook to pull things out. Instead, rest the tool against the nut in the direction you’d like to hit it (typically up). Then using a stone, large hex, or your palm, hammer your nut tool like a chisel.
  • Buying Guide:
    The trick to a good nut tool is a combination of strength and slimness. If the nut tool is too fat to fit into thin cracks you’ll lose lots of gear. After you’ve ticked those boxes it’s all down to personal preference.
Nut Tool Comments
Wild Country, Metolius, and Black DiamondAll these nut tools are one in the same. They feature a built in clip to help you rack the tool without needing an extra carabiner, and they have cut outs to reduce the weight
DMM Nut BusterAlthough it lacks the built in carabiner, this tool from DMM features a large rubber handle so it can be hit with your palm. Further, hidden under that rubber is a 17mm spanner for tightening any bolts you come across. The cut out next to that will open a beer — Trust me.

Crag Pack

  • Types of climbing: All types of climbing
  • Description: A backpack, but with little details that make your life more enjoyable.
  • Purpose/Use: Hauling all your kit to the gym, or the crag.
  • Buying Guide:
    Unless you’re climbing at road side crags and like carrying everything if shopping bags, a pack is essential for getting you rock climbing gear from A to B. Buying a pack is always overwhelming due to the ungodly amount of choice. Just think about how much stuff you need to carry, then add an extra 5 liters for layers during the winter. I recommend personally getting a pack big enough to put the rope in your bag, keeping it dry and safe in unexpected weather is always nice. So you’ll probably want a city pack for heading to the gym (20-30L) and an outdoor pack for your big backcountry adventures (40-50L). I also try to make my city pack my multi-pitch pack, at the expense of looking a bit outdoorsy.
PackSizeComment
Patagonia Cragsmith Pack 32L or 45L This firm favorite amongst many climbers comes in different back lengths just to suit you. As the name suggests this is more of a cragging pack, but is at home on light weekend getaways.
Black Diamond Street Creek 24LThis pack is at home in the city with ample room for your shoes, chalk, and harness. Plus it has a laptop sleeve for all you business folk.
Black Diamond Pipedream45LWait a minute… This isn’t a pack, it’s a pad. NO. It’s BOTH! The perfect crag pack for when you’re not confident getting to the first clip.
Arc’teryx Alpha AR20L, 35L or 55LThis is a good pick leaning towards everyday and multi-pitch use. Plus it is a great alpine bag with ice axe storage.
Black Diamond Stone45LClassic do-all mountain bag. I use something to this effect and I have used it for everything imaginable. Airline travel, running to the shops, weekend cragging, trip to the gym, couch surfing, multi-day hiking, and even as my everyday bag for university (albeit whilst getting weird looks).

Knick Knacks to Pick Up — The Extras

Whilst you don’t need any of these things they can be nice additions in the right circumstances. To some they are essential bits of gear that they don’t go rock climbing without. Each with its own benefits, it is entirely up to you if you use these or not.

Crack climbing requires a lot of grit, but this guy is still in his approach shoes. Pure madness.

Gear Sling

  • Types of climbing: Traditional
  • Description: A piece of webbing with a thickened shoulder pad. Sometimes loops are sewn in to keep different gear separated.
  • Purpose/Use: Carrying your protection up a climb and allowing you to do quick exchanges with your partner.
  • Buying Guide:
    You’ve really just got to choose between single and double sided ones. The double sided will let you carry more gear in a more organized manner. However, if you’re only taking up an extra set of cams and you’re still racking on your harness gear loops then a single sided bandoleer will likely do. The gear sling, while not so essential to all climbers can quickly solve many rock climbing gear transport and storage problems.
SlingComment
Black Diamond Zodiac This is the gold standard with plenty of space and loops for all your gear.
Metolius MultiloopThe single sided sling does offer the opportunity to swing it out the way so it can be more convenient in tighter spaces.

Belay Glasses

  • Types of climbing: Anything that involves looking up
  • Description: Fun little prismatic lenses or mirrors that point upwards.
  • Purpose/Use: These help you see your climbing partner without straining your neck.
  • Buying Guide:
    A lot of these will set you back quite a bit, but I’ve never seen any reason that they really should. For this reason I think a pair of YY Vertical do the job just fine. However, if you did want to splash out a little bit the Metolius Upshots are the way to go.

Belay Gloves

  • Types of climbing: Anything with ropes
  • Description: Leather palmed gloves.
  • Purpose/Use: Protect your hands from rope burn and allow you top handle the rope better.
  • Buying Guide:
    Depending on what time of year you climb you’ll have different requirements for keeping your fingers safe and sound. If you climb year round indoors and outdoors then I would get a pair of fingerless gloves like Black Diamond’s Stone gloves and a pair of insulated gloves like OR’s StormTracker Gloves. This should give you year round coverage unless you’re going somewhere really really cold any wet in which case Rab’s Guide 2s are a great benchmark.

Crack Gloves

  • Types of climbing: …Crack…Climbing
  • Description: A rubber or leather backed glove that is lightweight and breathable.
  • Purpose/Use: Protects the back of your hands from abrasion when jamming.
  • Buying Guide:
    There aren’t too many options on the market, but if you’re doing lots of crack climbing the convenience of gloves become very obvious. These gloves are going to get put through some tough times as you grate them against rough stone. So, durability is important when picking the right gloves. Unfortunately, most gloves have issues in this department, with many reviews complaining of tearing at stitching or wearing through the backing. Yet, these can quickly become an essential go-to of your rock climbing gear get-up.
Gloves Comment
OR’s Splitter Gloves Having personally tried these I can safely say they work, and felt sturdy enough to tighten the wrist strap well.
Black Diamond’s Crack Gloves These gloves are reviewed as being great when you’re using them, but too flimsy to really tighten the wrist strap without breaking it.
Ocun’s Crack Gloves These gloves come with a bit of padding for your knuckles, however this will come with a bit of size increase to your hand jams. A solid choice that I often see at the crag.

Additional Resources for Going Climbing

What to Bring

Everyone’s checklist

  • Clothes – There’s no best outfit for climbing and figuring out what to wear is always a little tricky when you’re just starting. Shorts or trousers? Honestly, just dress for the temperature and any sportswear will do. Although protecting your knees is often a good idea, and going from climbing to casual without changing in a good pair of trousers can save you space in your gym bag. Honestly as long as it’s stretchy you’ll be fine, but if you can get a pair with a diamond gusset like Hippy Tree’s Sierra Pants or Patagonia’s Venga Rock Pants, you won’t regret it. Shorts wise, anything baggy or stretchy would also be fine, but I have noticed the cool kids do like to wear Prana’s Mojo Shorts. IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TIME – BRING SOCKS (those rentals aren’t getting any newer)
  • Water – Any respectable athlete will tell you that staying hydrated is really important, and any climber will tell you there are 3 options for bottles, all of which you must plaster in stickers. They are: The old reliable BPA free Nalgene, the elite Hydroflask, and finally the eco friendly Klean Kanteen.
  • Snacks – There is quite frankly nothing better than a little nibble when you’ve been trying hard, but a full meal will probably derail your journey on the send train. Personally, I always carry some sort of cereal bar to keep me going mid session such as Cliff Bars or RXBARs.
  • Tape – I’m talking good sticky zinc tape. Offered by a host of climbing brands and easily bought at your local gym, tape is used to save some skin or seal up that flapper. Metolius makes my favorite, but there’s plenty of options out there.
  • Hand Balm – There’s plenty on the market, but I’ve had the same nub of climb on for a couple of years and it’s doing me good. Although, I did recently get a tub of Joshua Tree and that stuff really works.
  • Nail clippers – Now this is super underrated and honestly the last thing you want is to be the one making horrible scratching noises every time you crimp. Additionally, long toenails can make squeezing your feet into already tight climbing shoes all the more painful, so be sure to pick up a pair and throw them in your bag.

Established climbers checklist

  • Climbing Shoes – The staple of all climbing, a great selection can be found online here. Picking the right shoe can be really tricky, but look out for our future advice article.
  • Chalk Bag – Sweaty hands are the bane of a climbers existence. We carry chalk to quickly deal with those sweaty tips and up the friction. Chalk comes in balls, loose, bricks, or liquid, whilst the bags come in all shapes and sizes. Boulderers might prefer ‘buckets‘ to avoid losing your chalk in a tumble.
  • Harness – These are much of the same, but some are particularly light to help you hit the higher grades, though they often end up losing a couple of features. Some of the best do-all harnesses include Petzl Adjama, Black Diamond Momentum, and Mammut Sender Fast Adjust which feature enough gear loops for getting into more complex climbing, as well as adjustable leg loops for when you need to layer up.
  • Belay Plate – There are really only 3 factors to consider when choosing one of these; what you learnt to use, where you want to take your climbing, and the cost. Standard ATC, Guide ATCs and Assisted Braking Devices all work, but it’s really all down to personal choice. The flexibility of guide plates make them a favorite amongst those looking transfer their knowledge outdoors, while assisted devices can feel more secure to beginners.
  • Brush – You only need a small personal brush for when the chalk has built up and make the holds smooth, a lot of gyms do provide them so you don’t need one. Saying that, why not accessorize your chalk bag with a colorful brush like these Lapis Boar hair brushes!
  • Rope – When you get to leading you’ll probably want your own rope, but if you’re climbing indoors avoid making the ‘I need a light skinny rope to send’ mistake. You’re going to be running loads of laps, so get a good thick dynamic rope like this 9.9mm aptly named Workhorse rope from Mammut or even a fat 10.2mm from Black Diamond that’ll stand up to heavy gym abuse. Also, since you’ll be indoors you can skip any dry treatments that push the price upwards.
  • Backpack – You’ll need a gym bag of sorts to help you lug all this around, and how big you go is totally up to you and what you’re going to be carrying. If you’re just hitting up the bouldering gym, or don’t mind wondering around with the rope on show, then a good 15-20L bag like the AR 20 from Arc’teryx is ideal. Plus it’ll suit all your future fast and light days. Going up to 20-35L, will let you start packing those extra layers and maybe get the rope inside your bag too. At this size Patagonia’s Crag Smith is full of features and makes a great all round day pack!

Post send and extras

  • Belay Gloves – By no means do you need belay gloves, but some people like to keep their hands a little safer just in case (some people do let go if the rope starts to burn their hands). The trick to these gloves is leather palms to achieve the right friction. Outdoor research make a great set called the Fossil Rock Gloves, and they’re fingerless for both breathability and style points.
  • Crack Climbing Gloves – If you’ve been inspired by the Wide Boyz, but are tired of ripping tape off the back of your hands then a pair of the new Black Diamond Crack Gloves or Outdoor Research’s Splitter Gloves could be for you.
  • Skin File – If your calluses are getting a bit dry and you’re starting to get the equivalent of a hangnail in the middle of your finger, this is a sure fire way to end up with one big flapper. You can file it down with one of Climbskin’s portable solutions and avoid that week of taping up an avoidable mistake.
  • Shoe deodorant – Climbing shoes get notoriously smelly, lucky I’ve got 2 great solutions for you – Boot Bananas and Disinfectant spray, I genuinely use these and they work a treat and when I run out the shoes stay out my bag.
  • Acupressure Ring – Who knows if these work or not, but I’ve been using one religiously on a pulley injury and I think it’s helped a lot. They’re pretty cheap, so why not?
  • Long Term Antiperspirant Treatments – Good skin care is important to keep you in top climbing shape. Rhino Skin Solutions are a great brand, endorsed and used by all the big names in climbing, with the big benefit of reducing sweating. I mean the less time you’re hanging around chalking up, the more energy you’ll have to send. The job lot Skin Abuse Pack and their Tip Juice might help you push your grades sooner.

Related Articles

kayaker paddling through mountains
Paddling with water shoes allows you to embrace the great outdoors. Photo Credit: Andre Furtedo

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Top Canoeing & Kayaking Shoes for Every Budget and Style

One of my favorite parts of going canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding is that you do not need to bring too much gear for your trip. However, this means that what you do bring matters, and a good pair of kayaking shoes acts as the foundation for every successful paddle trip.

Inside of a kayak or canoe, you are likely to stay relatively dry. However, we all know that paddle trips can end up involving unplanned portaging, swimming or heavy lifting. For these rather spontaneous moments in the water, having the right pair of water shoes is crucial. In this guide, we have researched multiple different materials, fits and styles to help you decide which kayaking shoes fit your needs as a paddler.

But first, why wear water shoes for kayaking at all?

Many outdoors people often question whether you need to wear shoes while paddle boarding and kayaking. Doesn’t barefoot paddling create a closer connection to nature? What can a pair of water shoes offer that my other athletic shoes can’t?

While these musings have good intentions, the consequences of wearing ill-fitting water shoes while paddling can be quite drastic. Wearing water shoes protects your feet from all of the types of terrain you may encounter on your trip (such as sharp rocks and roots). On both land and water, proper-fitting water shoes offer support, stability and traction needed to embrace the great outdoors.

That being said, take a look below to see the multiple styles of water shoes and how finding the right kayaking shoes doesn’t have to break your bank.

3 Types of Water Shoes for Kayaking & Paddling

Water Shoes

Water shoes will look like your typical athletic shoe, but are made out of waterproof and breathable material. Since they are built with more support, water shoes are an ideal choice if your trip includes hiking between paddling sites or includes diverse terrain.

If you are planning a backcountry paddle trip, have to portage, or want to explore trails while camping, water shoes offer the proper coverage and durability required for rugged adventures.

Water Booties

Water Booties are an excellent choice if you are paddling in a slim or compact kayak. They are usually made out of neoprene, a wetsuit-like material, that makes the booties a slim and lightweight option for outdoor adventuring.

While water booties are an awesome choice for paddling in small vessels and colder climates, they do not provide as much protection for your feet as water shoes and water sandals. So, if you are paddling in a rocky area or want to hike between paddle trips, water booties may not be the best option.

Water Sandals

Water Sandals are similar to water shoes, but usually have less material covering the foot. However, less material does not mean less support and structure. This type of shoe has open and closed-toe options which makes it ideal for any type of paddle trip.

Water Sandals are well-suited for all types of paddle trips, especially those in warm or mild climates. If you are new to kayaking or like to have your feet free, water sandals provide the perfect balance between breathability and durability.

What to Look for in Canoeing & Kayaking Shoes for Paddling

a women stretches to reach her shoes
The right pair of kayaking shoes makes all of the difference when paddling. Photo Credit: Ketut Subiyanto

Durability

Wearing durable water shoes becomes increasingly important as your paddle trips become more challenging. When canoeing or kayaking, simply wearing flip flops or crocs will not give you the proper support for activities both inside and outside the boat.

When purchasing water shoes for kayaking, it is best to look for a design that supports the entire foot and ankle. This can come in the form of an ankle or toe strap, a thick rubber sole and possible shoelaces or velcro. By having these components, your feet can move freely yet have enough structure to avoid injury.

  • Rubber Sole
  • Grip Texture
  • Textile and Synthetic Fabrics

Flexibility

Flexibility in water shoes compliments the need for durability described above. While sound structure is important, water shoes are meant to allow your feet to move freely. When you are out on the water, things can change pretty rapidly. You have to be able to easily adapt to changing tides, currents and water levels.

The best water shoes for kayaking understand the need for this versatility and use materials that allow your feet to stay grounded and moving. Materials such as neoprene and mesh are commonly used in water shoes because they are quick-drying and lightweight. As a result, you don’t have to worry about waterlogged kayaking shoes slowing you down.

  • Neoprene
  • Mesh
  • Textile and Synthetic Materials

Materials

Although water shoes may look similar to regular sandals, they are specifically designed to handle water and other natural elements. Whether you are a novice paddler or an expert, purchasing water shoes with proper weather-resistant materials is a must. Otherwise, your shoes will easily deteriorate, which can be even more dangerous than wearing no shoes at all.

Some kayaking shoes use rubber and leather to achieve a waterproof sandal. These types of water shoes are great for multi-day trips in moderate climates. If you are paddling in colder temperatures and want added insulation, look for water shoes made out of neoprene, a wetsuit-like material.

  • Rubber
  • Neoprene
  • Leather

Comfort, Fit and Style

Who says water shoes can’t be fashionable! In this market, there is a wide variety of fits and styles of water shoes. While looking through the various colors and patterns of water shoes is thrilling, it is important to look at the construction of the shoe to see if it fits your needs as a paddler.

Some water shoes cover your toes while others leave them exposed; both choices are fine, but take into consideration the type of terrain you may encounter on your trip. For backcountry paddling or trips with portages, having shoes that cover your toes may be a better option. Whereas kayakers exploring warm or tropical climates may want a lighter and more open shoe design.

Along with the open versus closed-toe design, kayaking shoes can have traditional shoelaces, bungee lacing or slip on and off. For quick and easy access, slip-on water shoes check all of the boxes and are usually made out of neoprene (an added bonus)! However, if your trip may involve portaging, hiking or climbing, it is best to choose a pair of water shoes with some type of laces or ankle strap.

  • Mesh or Synthetic Fabric
  • Velcro, Slip-On or Shoelaces
  • Open-Toe or Closed-Toe Options

Price

A good pair of water shoes does not have to be overly expensive. Most of the time, the difference in price comes from the type of materials used in shoe construction. For example, water shoes made with vegan leather tend to be pricer than shoes made from synthetic fabrics and textiles.

If you are an avid paddler, purchasing water shoes should be seen as an investment for all of your future trips. Once you decide on your desired style and fit, water shoes will last you a long period of time (and are usually the only shoes I bring on my own paddle trips).

However, if you are new to kayaking or don’t frequently go paddling, water shoes do not have to be a major investment. There are plenty of inexpensive options below to get you started on the right foot.

Pricing Guide

For the sake of convenience and clarity, the dollar sign symbols below will indicate the price of the kayaking shoes in this guide. Price should never be an obstacle for getting outside! Below, you will find a range of water shoes best for canoeing, kayaking and paddling that we have determined as the best buys in 2021.

  • $= $20.00-$49.00
  • $$= $50.00-$79.00
  • $$$=$80.00+

Our main goal with this guide is to help you make an informed decision on the best water shoes for your own activities, budget, and style. Here are our top picks:

Best Kayaking Shoes for Every Budget & Style

kayakers go paddling in the deep blue shoes
Canoeing and kayaking are great ways to enjoy spending time outside. Photo Credit: Benedikt Geyer

Chaco Z2 Classic Sport

Best Overall Water Shoe for Kayaking

  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Materials: Vegan-friendly leather construction
  • Notable Features: Rubber sole, adjustable ankle strap with polyester jacquard webbing for a customized fit
  • Pros: Lightweight, completely weatherproof and easily adjustable, great for a variety of paddle trips
  • Cons: Expensive, not much toe protection

If you are looking for a versatile water shoe, there is nothing that can beat the Chaco Z2 Classic Sport. Whether you are an avid paddler or are looking for the perfect beach-day shoe, Chacos are an excellent option.

These water shoes have a thick rubber sole which protects the bottom of your feet from rocks, sticks and anything else you may encounter on your trip. Besides this protection, these shoes have an open and airy top so your feet can move freely. The ankle and toe straps are easily adjustable (and give an awesome tan line if your’re under the sun).

The bottom line? The Chaco Z2 Classic Sport is the best water shoe for an all-around day on the water. Chacos has mastered the balance between stability and flexibility so your feet feel supported yet free throughout your entire outdoor adventure.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE CHACO ZX2 CLASSIC SPORT:

Merrill All Out Blaze Aero Sport

Best for Backcountry Trips

  • Price: $$$
  • Materials: Mesh, 100% fabric with a synthetic sole
  • Notable Features: Mesh lining with odor-preventing technology, cushioned with a protective UniFly midsole
  • Pros: Breathable mesh sides, high durability
  • Cons: Takes longer to dry, expensive

When you are up to your knees in mud portaging a canoe, you want a water shoe that can support your feet and help you maintain control. The Merrill All Out Blaze Aero Sport is an awesome water shoe designed to help you on the most rugged of paddle trips.

The best part of the Merrill All Out Blaze Aero Sport is the combination of mesh paneling and a synthetic sole. These elements allow for air and water to move through the shoe while still allowing for great traction on wet surfaces.

So if you have a backcountry adventure ahead of you, you may want to test out the Merrill All Out Blaze Aero Sport. From hiking along the shoreline to far-out paddling, these shoes offer the durability needed to enjoy some intense paddle trips.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE MERRILL ALL OUT BLAZE:

Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe

Best for Cold Climate Paddling

  • Price: $
  • Materials: 100% neoprene
  • Notable Features: No-slip grip, maximum breathability and quick-drying
  • Pros: Inexpensive, easy on-off design
  • Cons: Secure fit relies on neoprene (no laces or straps)

If you are new to paddling and do not want to spend too much money on a pair of water shoes, you need to look no further than the Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe. With easy on-off access, these neoprene water shoes will fit you like a glove.

Being made out of neoprene, you can expect great insulation from cold temperatures and a quick drying time once out of the water. With kayaking shoes like the Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe, you really get the best of both worlds. The tight-fitting neoprene provides a secure yet lightweight skin for your feet that allows for a full range of motion.

For easy paddle trips, especially in colder climates, the Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe is a great option. Although the sole of this shoe is not as robust as others on this guide, it is one of the best water shoes for kayaking, especially for kids.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE SPEEDO SURFWALKER 3.0 WATER SHOE:

Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe

Best for Paddle Boarding

  • Price: $
  • Materials: Quick-dry materials
  • Notable Features: Three toe design, ultra-grip outsole provides maximum traction, slip-on
  • Pros: Inexpensive, quick-drying
  • Cons: Is not the best fit for flat fleet, few color choices

Although you can wear the Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe for any outdoor occasion, these shoes really shine in the areas of paddle boarding, wake boarding and windsurfing. Since the Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe has awesome traction and individual toe grips, it is great for any water activity that involves a board.

This quick-drying water shoe is perfect for the adventurous outdoors person. The Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe is durable enough to handle some harsh conditions yet hugs the ankle in a comfortable way.

What does having secure support mean in a water shoe? It means that you have the freedom to own the ocean (or any waterway of your choice). The Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe is definitely the right choice for an adventurous spirit looking for an inexpensive pair of water shoes for kayaking and paddling.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE BODY GLOVE 3T BAREFOOT MAX:

NRS Freestyle Westshoe

Best for Stability

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Notable Features: High-traction rubber sole for support and traction, zipper on the back for easy on-off
  • Pros: Inexpensive, highly protective, great traction
  • Cons: High-rise fit restricts foot motion

While this neoprene masterpiece may look intimidating, it is one of the best water shoes for kayaking and other water sports. The NRS Freestyle Westshoe offers support in a stylish way so you can show off those killer paddle board moves while staying safe.

The NRS Freestyle Westshoe is a great choice for avid paddlers, especially if you are paddling in a colder climate. The dual action of neoprene and synthetic materials makes these kayaking shoes completely weatherproof while still having some give.

Reaching the mid-calf, these shoes could be difficult to take on and off. However, the NRS Freestyle Westshoe has a secret zipper in the back that creates easy on-off access. You can go from water play to relaxing on the beach in no time!

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE NRS FREESTYLE WETSHOE:

Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties

Best for Easy On-Off Access

  • Price: $-$$
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Notable Features: Stiffened sole for added protection and walking, velcro strap for easy on-off and fit
  • Pros: Inexpensive, flexible fit, many color choices
  • Cons: Not super supportive

Although this guide features many types of water shoes and water sandals, water booties are also a great option to wear kayaking and paddling. These Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties are super easy to throw on so you can spend as much time as possible on the water.

Offered in multiple colors, the Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties are great for customizing your look. Since paddling does not require too much gear, it is fun to get creative with your kayaking shoes! These water booties have an adjustable strap and are extremely flexible. Out on the water, you will have total control.

Whether you are in a boat or on the shore, the Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties are an awesome inexpensive choice for keeping your feet safe while exploring.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE SEA TO SUMMIT ULTRA FLEX WATER BOOTIES:

Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe

Best for Warm Weather Adventures

  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Materials: ChacoGrip rubber and fabric
  • Notable Features: Double-strapped polyester jacquard webbing for a customized fit, antimicrobial application for odor control
  • Pros: Stable rubber sole and shock absorbing heel
  • Cons: Expensive, little toe protection

Chacos kayaking shoes have nearly perfected the art of stylish activewear. The Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe is another great option for avid paddlers and novices alike. With an adjustable ankle and toe strap, the Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe is one of the most comfortable water shoes on the market.

This versatile water shoe is best for canoeing and kayaking, but can work in a multitude of terrains. Durable yet flexible, the Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe has all of the right elements for an epic pair of water shoes. Best of all, the two-toned straps come in a variety of colors and designs. Who says water shoes can’t be fashionable?

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE CHACO ZX2 CLASSIC ATHLETIC WATER SHOE:

NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot

Best for Rocky Shores

  • Price: $
  • Materials: Neoprene
  • Notable Features: Hardened sole for puncture-resistant protection, easy on-off, non-marking traction sole
  • Pros: Inexpensive, quick drying
  • Cons: Tight wetsuit fit, few color choices

If you are looking for an inexpensive water shoe for kayaking with great traction, than the NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot has got you covered. The shoe’s puncture-proof sole is great for more rugged trails.

Unlike other water shoes in this guide, the NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot is an easy on-off shoe that comes above the ankle line. This offers extra security from possible water leaking in.

You really can’t go wrong with purchasing a pair of water shoes like the NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot. The company’s attention to design is simplistic yet well thought-out and will do the trick for ay type of paddle excursion.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE NEOSPORT WETSUIT PULL-ON BOOT:

ALEADER Mesh Slip-On

Best for Paddling Trips with Portaging

  • Price: $
  • Materials: Mesh
  • Notable Features: Lightweight midsole with optimum cushioning, open mesh for breathability
  • Pros: Durable yet flexible fit, lace up
  • Cons: Does not dry very quickly

Lace up those shoes! The ALEADER Mesh Slip-On is a wonderful inexpensive option for paddlers who also want to explore other terrain. One of our favorite parts of kayaking is the possibility of discovering new environments and terrains. So, when you happen upon a hidden island you want to explore, the ALEADER Mesh Slip-On will help you stay safe and in control.

The mesh paneling on these kayaking shoes makes them breathable and light weight. This makes ALEADER Mesh Slip-On a great choice for longer paddle trips where your feet need to breathe. The added sock liner also helps create a cool and dry environment for you toes.

If you are looking for a water shoe that resembles an athletic shoe, the ALEADER Mesh Slip-On is defiantly one to check out. It has more structure and durability than water sandals and water booties, which makes it great for the unplanned- yet most memorable- paddle stops.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE ALEADER MESH SLIP=ON:

KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal

Best for Foot Support & Security

  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Materials: Rubber and fabric
  • Notable Features: Puncture-resistant rubber sole, adjustable fit tightening strap, easy slip-on
  • Pros: Great support, hard sole and breathable sides
  • Cons: Expensive, wearing wet can cause irritation

No need to worry about stubbing your toes in these trusty water shoes. The KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal is one of the best kayaking shoes for intermediate kayakers who are ready to make an investment in kayak gear.

The KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal has a great balance between durability and breathability. With open paneling along the sides, your feet have room to move and breathe, but the closed-toe protection is key for more challenging paddling.

With some mesh and the open paneling, the KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal won’t get waterlogged and has a moderate drying time.

It is an all-around good water sandal for kayakers and excels in the areas of support and security. If you have flat feet or weak foot muscles, the KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal has additional cushioning to keep your feet happy all journey long.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE KEEN EVOFIT ONE WATER SANDAL:

Teva Omnium Closed Toe Water Water Shoe

Best Closed-Toe Kayaking Shoe

  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Materials: Mesh and rubber
  • Notable Features: Closed-toe sandal with multiple drainage ports and quick-dry mesh lining, shock-absorbing heel
  • Pros: Bungee lacing, great toe protection, breathable sides
  • Cons: Expensive, little room water flow

Besides Chacos, Teva is one of the top companies to make water shoes for kayaking and paddling. While we love open-toe options, the Teva Omnium Closed Toe Water Shoe is another great choice for any type of paddle trip.

The Teva Omnium Closed-Toe Water Shoe’s bungee lacing creates easy on-off access and is adjustable. Secure around the ankle, these kayaking shoes will not come off in the water or on land. With open panels on the side, these shoes will not get weighed down with water and are extremely breathable.

With extra cushioning and special attention to a shock absorbing heel, these shoes are ready to be taken to the rugged outdoors. If you are interested in hiking or walking in addition to kayaking, the Teva Omnium Closed Toe Water Water Shoe is a great pair of shoes to through in your day pack!

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE TEVA OMNIUM CLOSED-TOE WATER SHOE:

Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe

Best for Beach Days

  • Price: $
  • Materials: Textile and neoprene
  • Notable Features: Features Speedo’s S-TRAC TPR outsole which streams water away from the shoe for incredible slip resistance, enhanced airflow
  • Pros: Lightweight, breathable mesh, inexpensive
  • Cons: Not too much support, best for a beach day

Light weight and inexpensive, the Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe is a new type of water shoe that has as much style as it does substance. Made of breathable mesh, there is nothing rigid about this pair of kayaking shoes. Since they are so comfy, the Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe doesn’t offer as much support as other shoes on this list, but still deserves a special shoutout.

For a low-key beach day or a walk by the water, the Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe checks all of the boxes. With easy bungee lacing and a rubber sole, these water shoes are made to be worn on the water.

The Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe is best for easy paddling or taking a spin in motorized boats. For more challenging paddling that involves portaging, we do not recommend these shoes. However, if you are in a pinch and are looking for a cheap solution, the Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe comes in a variety of colors to complete your seaside look.

CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR THE SPEEDO SEASIDE LACE 5 ATHLETIC WATER SHOE:

white water kayaking
No matter where your paddling adventures take you, make sure to bring a pair of water shoes! Photo Credit: Hendrick Morkel

Best Water Shoes to Wear for Kayaking and Paddling

If there is one thing you take away from this guide, it is that wearing the right water shoes for your body is one of the best ways to have a safe and rewarding paddle trip. Our feet come in all different shapes and sizes, so it is important to find a pair that fits your individual needs.

Hopefully, the guide above provided some clarity on what to look for when purchasing kayaking shoes, and makes you excited to get out on the water.

FAQ’s for Wearing Water Shoes While Kayaking

Will wearing wet water shoes cause chaffing and irritation?

Water shoes are designed to get wet and dry quickly. Because of this, your feet should not stay wet for very long after being submerged in water (yay!). If your kayaking shoes fit your feet correctly, chaffing and irritation should not be an issue. You can fit your water shoes correctly by adjusting the straps around your ankles, heel and toes to make sure they are snug and supportive.

Can I wash my water shoes?

Absolutely! While washing your water shoes between trips is not necessary, rinsing them with warm water will help get rid of unwanted smells, dirt and grime that you may have picked up along your epic journey.

Will my water shoes float if they come off in the water?

While different types of kayaking shoes are made up of different materials, most shoes are designed to float if they come loose in the water. Water booties and water shoes may fill up with water if they come loose from your feet, but there is plenty of time to snatch them from the water before they start sink.

How often should I replace my water shoes?

Like most shoes, water shoes do need to be replaced after being worn for long periods of time. One way to tell if it is time to get a new pair of kayaking shoes is if the tread on the bottom of the shoe is worn down so you can no longer see the pattern designed for gripping wet surfaces. If you are able to easily bend your water shoes in half, that is also a sign that it is time for a new pair of shoes (water booties are an exception here).

Are water shoes unisex?

No, most companies have separate water shoes to fit the proportions of men and women’s feet. Within men and women’s options, factors such as arch support, flexibility and comfort should be things that you are looking for when purchasing any type of water shoe.

Additional Resources

What to Pack for Kayaking and Paddling

  • Swimsuit: Wearing a swimsuit is essential for being out on the water! When canoeing and kayaking, chances are you are going to get wet, so best to be prepared! Click here to compare men’s and women’s styles and prices for our favorite swimsuits.
  • Sunglasses: Being out on the water is beautiful, but the water can really reflect light! Make sure to bring a pair of sunglasses and croakies to keep them from falling off.
  • Hat: It’s best to keep the sun off of your head to keep you cool. Whether you prefer a nice bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, keeping cool will ensure an awesome trip.
  • Water Bottle: Keeping hydrated is no joke! Paddling is a great way to exercise and relax, but that means it takes a lot of energy too! Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip with these cool water bottles.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don’t let the elements stop you from having an amazing paddle! I recommend bringing sunscreen and bug spray in the boat with you to ward off any pests and sunburns.

Now that you have the right pair of kayaking shoes, the possibilities for your outdoor adventures are limitless. Don’t know where to start? Check out our kayaking destinations page to explore some awesome paddling options.

Related Links to the Best Water Shoes for Kayaking & Paddling


For outdoor lovers, no gift is better than the opportunity to get outside. However, when it comes time to choose a present for your outdoorsy friends and family, the best gifts are those that make being outside for long stretches of time easier and more comfortable. To help you choose the absolutely perfect present for your adventurous loved one, we’ve created this complete guide to the 50+ best, most practical gifts for outdoor lovers that they’ll be sure to love and use for years to come.

Overall Best Gifts for Outdoor Lovers

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while outdoors, as hours in the sun and can really dehydrate you. To keep water ice cold, a Hydro Flask water bottle is the perfect adventure companion. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough for a cold morning or a full day out on the trails.

SteriPen Adventurer

Having access to clean water while outside is a must, so a water purification system is one of the most helpful gifts for outdoor lovers that you can give. We recommend the USB-rechargeable SteriPen Ultra, which is must lighter than the other products in the SteriPen line, and purifies water using UV light.

Merino Wool Baselayers

Many people who go outside often, especially at higher altitudes, need warm baselayers, and they make for some of the most practical outdoor gifts out there. Smartwool’s Merino 250 baselayer line offers extra-warm, cozy layers that wick sweat and moisture seamlessly on the trails and slopes.

Buff

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and it’s touted as 4 times warmer than microfiber. A Buff is great to wear as a scarf, to tie hair back, or to protect your face from dust and wind.

Black Diamond Head Lamp

Sometimes, the best times to be outdoors are in the early morning and late in the afternoon. However, if your loved one plans adventures in non-optimal daylight, it’s critical to bring a lighting source. Needless to say, a head lamp is one of the best gifts for hikers because it’s truly an essential item. Our favorite head lamp is the Black Diamond Spot – it’s lightweight, durable, and isn’t too expensive.

Keen Hiking Boots

Truly the only item that someone needs to get out on the trails is a good set of shoes, and a waterproof set of hiking boots is the perfect companion for an intrepid hiker that loves to be outdoors, rain or shine. Keen waterproof hiking boots are durable and waterproof, with thick treads and fabrics that will keep your feet safe and dry, no matter the conditions. They also come in styles for both men and women.

Sunglasses

Don’t underestimate how powerful sun exposure can be on a long day outdoors. One of the most useful gifts for hikers is a pair of high-quality, polarized sunglasses to keep their eyes safe and protected while exposed to the sun. There are tons of polarized sunglasses ranging in style and price available, so you’ll have to choose based on your favorite hiker’s preferences.

The North Face Venture Rain Jacket

Every hiker knows that conditions in the mountains can change in an instant. That’s why a rain jacket is one of the smartest and most practical gifts for hikers. The North Face Venture Jacket (for women and men) is a versatile, waterproof jacket for rainy and wet hiking conditions.

Patagonia Down Sweater

While outdoors in colder temperatures, it can be important to bring some extra layers, especially if you’re going to be at altitude. The Patagonia Down Sweater is our favorite compressible puffer because it’s a sustainably-made, warm, and cozy thermal layer for cold conditions. When paired with a rain jacket, it can keep your adventurer warm even in light snow!

Osprey Day Pack

Often for outdoor adventures, people need to carry gear, water, snacks, and extra clothing. Having a day pack that feels comfortable and distributes weight evenly is absolutely critical. Osprey day packs are hands down the best and more durable option for day packs – we recommend a size between 18 and 30 liters for daytime adventures.

Waterproof Day Pack Cover

In addition to a day pack, another great outdoor gift is a weatherproof, waterproof day pack cover. This will not only keep your loved one’s backpack dry, but will protect all of the contents inside in case of bad weather out in the trails or on the mountain.

Quick Dry Towel

A towel can come in handy on any hiking trip. From humid, sweaty trails to impromptu swimming sessions, outdoorsy people can always use a towel that’s small and thin enough to carry around in a day pack. Youphoria Outdoors makes an affordable quick-dry microfiber towel that comes in a lot of fun colors and is perfect for shoving in your bag on the way out to the trails.

Cheap Gifts for Outdoor Lovers on a Budget (Under $25)

Smartwool Wool Socks

It might seem obvious, but think, durable socks are a must-have item in any intrepid person’s wardrobe. Smartwool’s hiking socks are great companions out on the trails! They’re warm, quick drying, and are super cushioned and comfortable. Give one pair or a few for an extra special outdoor gift!

Darn Tough Yeti Mountain-Themed Socks

What’s better than regular wool socks? Wool socks with mountains on them, duh. Outdoorsy people love to show off their love for the mountains, and these Darn Tough Yeti wool socks will surely come in handy on the slopes and trails, and is one of the most relevant gifts for outdoor lovers.

Snacks

Snacks are a gift that keeps on giving, especially out on the trails where you’re expending energy and burning calories left and right.

From our own experience, some snacks that hikers like include:

  • Clif bars
  • Kind bars
  • Gu gels (caffeinated and uncaffeinated)
  • Trail mix
  • Jerky (vegan and meat varieties)

Sawyer Products Permethrin Spray

Often, regular bug spray can be oily, greasy, or uncomfortable. That’s why we’d recommend Sawyer Products Permethrin Spray to bug-proof your clothing and bags, instead! This spray is light and fabric-friendly, meaning you can spray it on any clothing to make it bus-resistant.

Sun Bum Sunscreen

Sunscreen is another must-have for any outdoor lover to protect your skin from the harsh UV rays of the sun. We use and recommend Sun Bum sunscreen because it’s a) PABA-free and b) reef safe. Generally, this means that it’s free of harsh chemicals and is safe for marine life, including coral reefs.

Carabiners

Carabiners are literally the most useful and versatile item for hikers. Use them to strap things on your bags, to your pants, or onto trees. Hook your bags to your tent while you’re sleeping, or hang dry wet clothes. You can buy a set of 10 colorful carabiners for cheap, and they’ll last your loved ones for a long time.

Hiking Trowel

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go…and a trowel can help you cover up when you’re doing your business in the woods. The best, most useful trowels are lightweight and have a small loop to hook to the outside of your backpack (with a carabiner!). This hiking trowel is a great, inexpensive gift option for the serious hiker.

Beanie

In colder or windy conditions, a beanie is one of the most practical gifts for outdoor lovers because it can help keep them safe and warm. For outdoor adventures, you don’t need anything fancy, so something like this affordable beanie from Neff is a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite hiker, biker, or runner.

The North Face e-Tip Gloves

While only really relevant for colder climates, a good pair of gloves can help hikers stay outdoors later in the season, and in higher altitudes where the air tends to be chillier and windier. The North Face e-Tip Gloves are a great hiking companion because they work with touch screens like phones and tablets…meaning you don’t have to take them off for anything, really.

Sneaker Balls/Boot Fresheners

Nothing says “I love you” more than giving someone a gift to freshen their stinky shoes, right? Well, for people who spend a lot of time outside, a gift like this is totally welcome, because those shoes get muddy, damp, sweaty and downright disgusting somethings. Scented Sneaker Balls are an inexpensive, kind of hilarious option for a stocking stuffer or gift for your favorite outdoor lover.

Waterproof Phone Case

For people who spend lots of time in the water, a waterproof phone case is an easy and affordable gift that will go a long way. This case can protect a phone in the event of immersion in the water, and has a strap that users can clip onto a life jacket or a kayak for easy access.

Dark Skies by Valerie Stimac

Many people don’t think of night-time as the best time to be outdoors, but Dark Skies by Valerie Stimac will show you otherwise. This vibrant book of beautiful spots for stargazing will definitely pique your interest about the night sky, and inspire you to get out more when it’s dark and clear out. (Plus, Valerie is a friend of ours and is an expert on the space tourism world over on her blog, Space Tourism Guide!)

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

There’s no story more famous (or infamous) than that of Christopher (Alexander “Supertramp”) McCandless. Jon Krakauer documents this bittersweet tale about a suburban young man who hitchhikes across country and travels to Alaska to embark into the wilderness alone. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is one of the most famous outdoor books out there, and is a stark reminder of the sheer force and power of nature vs. humanity.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

For a great fireside book or a read for the hammock after a long day on the trails, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is a quintessential read. As an intimate, detailed, entertaining journey into the backwoods of the Appalachian Trail, it’s a fantastic and memorable read for anyone who is passionate about exploration, hiking, or seeing the world and nature from a different lens.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

There are few novels in the hiking genre than Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This popular hiking novel is a classic, especially for adventurous female hikers who are looking for an emotional and physical journey through the Pacific Crest Trail with renowned author Cheryl Strayed.

Practical Gifts for Outdoor Lovers

Swimsuit

A swimsuit is a must for anyone who loves the water and especially the outdoors, and is one of the best gifts for outdoor lovers. Here are our recommendations for swimsuits:

  • Women’s Swimwear: While there are tons of women’s swimsuit companies out there, our favorite for kayaking (and other water sports) is Summersalt. They’ve got tons of cute, colorful styles that stay put if you’re fighting rapids or taking a dip in the water. Click here to browse Summersalt swimsuits.
  • Men’s Swimwear: Original Penguin has some fantastic options for men’s swimwear – our readers love them because they’re comfortable and durable, and they have tons of different styles to choose from. Click here to browse Original Penguin swim styles.

Dry Bag

Water sports lovers will need a bag to put them in. Instead of a traditional canvas backpack, we recommend packing stuff into a dry bag, which will keep valuables dry and safe in the water. Dry bags come in lots of shapes and sizes, but the best ones have a top that rolls up and buckles to keep water out. We strongly recommend a waterproof dry bag as a gift for kayakers, canoers, paddle boarders, and swimmers!

Helmet

A helmet can come in handy for a lot of outdoor activities, from rock climbing to biking to skiing and snowboarding. While the helmets for each of these activities are slightly different, you may want to consider doing some research into sport helmets for your loved ones’ favorite outdoor activities.

Trekking Poles

Hikers often face trails and conditions where extra support is extremely helpful. That’s why one of the most useful gifts for hikers is a set of durable, portable trekking poles. Leki Foldable Trekking Poles are perfect for traveling hikers, as they’ll fit into a standard suitcase and are extremely light weight.

Binoculars

For wildlife watching just about anywhere in the world, a good pair of binoculars is essential, and makes a great gift for outdoor lovers. These affordable, lightweight binoculars are a great starting point for hikers or bird watchers who enjoy getting a closer look at wildlife, but there are several types of binoculars that come in a variety of zoom lengths and quality.

Sweat-Wicking Cap

When you’re outside for hours in the hot, direct sun, it’s really easy to get a sunburn, and a hat can help prevent that. Any hat will make a great gift, but this one by TrailHeads comes in a bunch of colors and is super lightweight and breathable.

ENO DoubleNest Hammock

When you’ve been outside for hours and are ready for a rest, there’s no better feeling than setting up your hammock between two tall trees and relaxing with someone you love. An ENO DoubleNest Hammock is one of coolest gifts for outdoor lovers that you can give to a person or couple…especially hikers and campers. It’s super portable, lightweight, and easy to set up basically anywhere with trees.

Helinox Ultralight Chair

Most outdoorsy people find pleasure in simply hanging out in the woods, and one great way to do that in comfort is with a Helinox Ultralight Chair. This foldable chair is super light and easy to carry, making it a perfect hiking or camping companion so you can sit and savor the best views along the way.

YETI Hopper Backflip Cooler

Before you freak out about the price of a YETI cooler, we’ll say one thing: these things last FOREVER. They’re heavy-duty and durable, made to be your cooler companion for life. If your loved one enjoys toting food and drinks to their favorite trails and parks, the YETI Hopper Backflip Cooler is a backpack-style cooler that’s perfect for adventures.

Big Agnes Tiger Wall Ultralight Tent

This is obvious, but outdoor lovers will need something to protect them from the elements while camping. The Big Agnes Tiger Wall tent is lightweight and easy to set up, perfect for backpacking trips or walk-up campsites. While they’re not cheap, think of this as a big splurge that will (hopefully) enable you and your loved ones to make great outdoor memories for years.

Kelty Cosmic Down Sleeping Bag

Even in hotter climates, campers will usually want something to cover their body while sleeping. A good, versatile sleeping bag and inflatable mat will come in handy for any outdoor lover. For use in different climates, you’ll want to give your loved ones a thermal, zippered sleeping bag like the Kelty Cosmic Down.

Jetboil Sumo Camping Stove

While hiking or camping, it is a LOT easier to cook things on a stove than on an open fire. The Jetboil Sumo camping stove system is small, lightweight, and compressible, perfect for backpacking or road trips for your favorite outdoor lover.

Complete Mess Kit

Not going to lie, we think this is one of the coolest gadgets on our list: a camping mess kit that folds out into a 10-piece dining set! Your loved one can use it to cook and clean while hiking or camping, and it all collapses into one easy-to-carry piece they can use again and again.

Reusable Snack Bags

Leave No Trace is a big movement in the outdoor industry right now, and that includes trash from snacks and drinks. One of the best ways to support this great movement and the people who believe in it is by enabling good behaviors, and reusable silicone snack bags are a super simple and impactful gift that does so.

Hiking Dog Harness

If your adventurous loved one has a dog (or IS a dog…), a hiking harness is a perfect gift for adventurous pups. This hiking dog harness has two small pouches for things like treats and toys, and is a comfortable alternative to a collar for long hours on the trails.

Foam Roller

Outdoor sports and activities can cause all kinds of muscle aches and pains. A foam roller is often a runner’s favorite tool for post-run stretching, massage, and relieving tension after hours of racing through the streets and trails. If you’re looking for something that will get used by your favorite runner all the time, a good, solid foam roller like this one is one of the best gifts for runners.

Outside Magazine Subscription

Outside Magazine is the go-to magazine for outdoor sports and adventures, and it’s an industry favorite for inspiring and moving stories about nature and outdoor feats. An Outside Magazine annual subscription is a fantastic gift for anyone who loves the outdoors and spends a lot of time outside on adventures.

National Geographic Magazine Subscription

National Geographic is THE magazine for adventure lovers, with a history of exploration that dates back to the 1880s. Your loved ones can find some of the best, most inspiring landscape photography and adventure stories in every issue of National Geographic, making an annual subscription a fantastic gift that keeps on giving.

REI Co-Op Membership or Gift Card

REI is any outdoor lover’s paradise, with awesome, durable gear and clothing for any adventure outside. They’re a co-op, meaning that you can pay to be a member and get discounts and dividends based on the purchases you make in-store. You can buy your loved one a lifetime co-op membership or a gift card to let them choose their own adventures.

Technology Outdoor Gifts

Garmin Watch

Garmin watches are basically the smartphones for outdoor people. Garmin’s GPS capabilities are some of the best out there, and their Forerunner watches help thousands of runners, hikers, and skiers track mileage around the world. Their newest version, the Garmin Forerunner 245, comes in a music and non-music version, and has a screen that shows you your stats for each run or hike.

Apple Watch Series 5

For those wanting a more integrated running watch that syncs with an iPhone, an Apple Watch can definitely do the trick. It can track your distance and speed through apps like Runkeeper, and can also sync with the music, messaging, and calls on your phone. It’s definitely a more expensive option, but it’s a great all-in-one splurge for your favorite runner that they’ll definitely wear all the time.

GoPro Hero Black

A GoPro Hero Black is an excellent gift for the avid adventure lover who wants to document their time on the trails and in the water. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite outdoor lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the trails again and again.

Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera

If your loved one is into photography or video and wants something that takes higher-quality images than a phone, a Sony a6400 mirrorless camera is a perfect companion for outdoor lovers. It’s light, compact, and durable, making it great for windy or dusty conditions. The Sony mirrorless line is the best in class for compact, professional-grade cameras, and the a6400 is the newest, most robust iteration of their a6000 line.

Additional Resources


When you’ve got someone close to you who’s constantly longing to strap on skis and hit the slopes, it might be difficult to think of an appropriate gift. A LOT of snowboarding and skiing gear is a) expensive, b) size-dependent, and c) not intuitive for people who don’t do those sports, so buying a present for these folks can be tricky. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back – this massive guide has 30 incredible gifts for skiers and snowboarders that they’ll use on the slopes and remember for years to come.

Most Practical Gifts for Skiers & Snowboarders

Smith Ski Goggles

Order on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Goggles are a snowboarder or skier’s best friend: they keep snow, water, and wind out of your eyes, plus they make you look pretty freaking awesome. Smith ski goggles are very durable and come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes.

One of the best things about Smith goggles is that they also come in a budget-friendly version that won’t break the bank – the Smith Drift for women and the Smith Range for men. There are also higher-end models that Smith makes that have all the bells and whistles you could possibly want.

Wildhorn Ski Helmet

A solid ski helmet is one of the best gifts for skiers and snowboarders because it will come in handy every time they’re on the slopes. While prices for these range substantially, we’ve found that Wildhorn helmets are well-respected as their ski helmets are comfortable, practical, and come with a built-in goggle strap.

Smartwool Base Layers

Buy on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

All snowboarders and skiers need warm baselayers, and they make for one of the most practical snowboarding and skiing gifts. Smartwool’s Merino 250 baselayer line (for both men and women offers extra-warm, cozy layers that wick sweat and moisture seamlessly on the slopes.

Burton Ski & Snowboard Jacket

A warm, waterproof ski jacket is essential to a fun day on the slopes. While there are tons of brands that make outerwear, Burton ski jackets are designed especially for winter sports, making them perfect gifts for snowboarders and skiers. Plus, they come in all kinds of fun patterns and colors!

The North Face Ski Pants

Order on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Like a good, durable coat, waterproof ski pants are essential because, as everyone knows, skiers and snowboarders spent plenty of time sitting in the snow. The North Face Freedom Pants (for men & women) are some of the warmest and most durable ski pants that are perfect for a full day of shredding the slopes.

Hestra Heli Ski Gloves

Buy on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Insulated gloves are a skier or snowboarder’s best friends, and the Hestra Heli Ski Gloves are excellent additions to any skier’s or snowboarder’s gear set. They come with cuffs so you won’t lose them, and they have e-tip functionality so you can use your touch screens while wearing them! (By the way, we have two complete guides on the best ski gloves and ski mittens – check those out for more options!)

Epic Pass

While neither cheap nor durable, an Epic Pass is the ultimate gift for the travel-loving skier. Usable at over 60 ski resorts all around the United States, the Epic Pass is one of the best gifts for skiers and snowboarders that money can buy.

Cheap Snowboarding & Skiing Gifts ($30 or Less)

Darn Tough Ski Socks

Order on REI | Backcountry | Amazon

Darn Tough ski socks make great companions out on the slopes because they’re comfortable, durable, and warm! We love them because of the extra cushioning they give our feet on cold, snowy days. Give one pair or a few for an extra special skiing or snowboarding gift this year.

What’s better than regular wool socks? Wool socks with mountains on them, duh. Skiers and snowboarders love to show off their love for the mountains, and these mountain-themed Darn Tough Yeti wool socks will surely come in handy on the slopes and for apres-ski.

HotHands Hand/Foot Warmers

When you’re out on the slopes on especially cold days, it’s so easy to get cold in your extremities. That’s why we recommend HotHands hand and foot warmers as one of the best gifts for skiers and snowboarders. They’re inexpensive and are perfect to tuck into gloves or boots for a blast of warmth in otherwise arctic conditions.

Packable Clothesline

You know what happens if ski/snowboard gear doesn’t dry properly? It starts to STINK. Luckily, for ski trips and winter getaways, a packable clothesline is a great tool to hang damp clothes after long days on the slopes. It is a cheap and practical gift for snowboarders and skiers that they’ll use every time they’re at a ski resort.

Snacks for the Slopes

Snacks are a gift that keeps on giving, especially out on the slopes where you’re expending energy and burning calories left and right.

From our own experience, some snacks that skiers and snowboarders like include:

  • Clif bars
  • Kind bars
  • Gu gels (caffeinated and uncaffeinated)
  • Trail mix
  • Jerky (vegan and meat varieties)

Hertel Super Hot Sauce Ski/Snowboard Wax

Once you’re a more advanced skier or snowboarder, you’ll most likely want to wax your gear to optimize your speed on the slopes. Hertel Super Hot Sauce Ski & Snowboard Wax is an all-temperature wax that lasts for three days and doesn’t require an iron (though you can use it that way if you’d like). It’s one of the most useful and budget friendly gifts for skiers and snowboarders that they can use every time they hit the slopes.

Fifty Places to Ski and Snowboard Before You Die by Chris Santella

If your loved one is a person who prefers books with photos and gorgeous visuals, Fifty Places to Ski and Snowboard Before You Die by Chris Santella is a fantastic book to leaf through and get inspired. You’ll learn about the most incredible, jaw-dropping, and challenging trails in the entire world, with some stunning photos to boot.

The Art of Fear by Kristen Ulmer

There’s nothing better than retreating back to your cabin after a day on the slopes and spending the evening reading a good book…about hitting the slopes! The Art of Fear was written by professional skier Kristen Ulmer about embracing fear and how that applies to snow sports and life in general. This easy, inspiring read is fantastic for those who love snow sports as well as people wanting to understand how to handle fear better.

Under an Arctic Sky by Chris Burkard

Chris Burkard’s Under an Arctic Sky is an epic film about surfing under the northern lights. It isn’t exactly about skiing or snowboarding, but it’s a really spectacular story about chasing waves and winter sports in some of Iceland’s most gorgeous landscapes. It’s a great gift to give your winter-loving friends and family…then watch it with them.

Freeskier Magazine Subscription

What’s more inspiring or entertaining than leafing through an award-winning magazine on your favorite topic? (Answer: nothing.) Freeskier Magazine is all about skiing and snowboarding, and a subscription is one of the most unique skiing and snowboarding gifts you can give to your favorite winter sports lover.

Useful & Clever Skiing & Snowboarding Gifts

Turtle Fur Neck Warmer

Order on Turtle Fur | Amazon

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and it’s touted as 4 times warmer than microfiber. A Turtle Fur Neck Warmer is great for skiers and snowboarders to wear under a thick coat, to use as a scarf, or to hold their hair back under their helmets.

(By the way, we’ve also got a complete guide to the best neck gaiters/neck warmers for skiers and snowboarders!)

PHOOZY Thermal Phone Case

If you’ve ever been out in the cold for an extended amount of time with your phone, you’ll know that the batteries tend to die much more quickly. A PHOOZY Thermal Phone Case can keep your phone warm when you’re not using it, maintaining the battery for longer and ensuring it doesn’t get soaked in the snow.

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while participating in winter sports, as the action can definitely still dehydrate you. Whether your skier/snowboarder likes their water hot or cold, a Hydro Flask water bottle can keep it that way. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough for a full day out skiing or snowboarding.

Foam Roller

Spending a day (or several) out on the slopes can be fun, but can also cause all kinds of muscle aches and pains. A foam roller is a great tool for stretching and relieving tension after hours of active winter sports, and is one of the best gifts for snowboarders and skiers.

Ski or Snowboard Boots

One of the things that’s most uncomfortable about rental gear is the footwear. You can partially solve this problem for your favorite winter sports lover by purchasing them a pair of their own ski or snowboard boots. You can find tons of great ski and snowboard boots on REI or Backcountry.

Note: ski boots and snowboard boots are different, so make sure you buy the correct kind for your loved one’s preferences!

Athletico Boot Backpack

Once your beloved skier or snowboarder is more seasoned, they’re going to need a place to put all their awesome gear (like the stuff in this list!). The Athletico Boot Backpack is the perfect all-in-one bag for skiers and snowboarders. There’s space for a helmet, boots, goggles, and extra gear, all in a lightweight and breathable fabric.

Black Diamond Ski Poles

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While lots of ski resorts do offer pole rentals, if you’d prefer some that are more lightweight and better customized to your size, these Black Diamond Razor Carbon ski poles are a fantastic companion for skiers anywhere. Unfortunately, these aren’t relevant for snowboarders, but they work well as a gift for mid-level to advanced skiers looking for a gear upgrade!

Technology Gifts for Skiers & Snowboarders

Jomst Rechargeable Hand Warmer

While we mentioned some disposable hand warmers earlier in this guide, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer a zero-waste solution as well. Like we said earlier, keeping extremities warm while out on the slopes is a real challenges for skiers and snowboarders, and a Jomst rechargeable hand warmer can be the perfect solution for long days out in the snow.

Waterproof Battery Pack

It gets harder to keep your phone charged the longer you’re out in the cold, so you can probably imagine this being a big challenge for skiers and snowboarders. If you give the gift of a waterproof solar battery pack, however, your skier or snowboarder can recharge while they’re in the sun/snow, and plug in while they’re on the lifts. Pretty nifty, eh?

DryGuy DX Forced Air Boot Dryer

Full disclosure: this is a totally unnecessary item, but a really cool and useful one for skiers and snowboarders, especially if they’re planning to hit the slopes several days in a row or throughout the course of a season. The more someone skis or boards, the more damp their boots end up – this DryGuy DX Boot Dryer ensures that they’re fully dry before the next use. It’s one of our favorite ski gadgets and one we’d recommend for any avid skier or snowboarder!

Garmin Instinct Tundra Watch

Order on Amazon | REI

Like many other athletes, skiers and snowboarders are often obsessed with tracking stats and logging their trails. The Garmin Tundra watch does exactly that and was designed specifically for winter sports, and is one of the more useful gifts for skiers and snowboarders out there.

GoPro Hero9 Black

Order on Amazon | REI

A GoPro Hero9 Black is an excellent gift for the avid skier/snowboarder who wants to document their adventures. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite winter sports lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the slopes again and again.

Pro tip: if you decide to get a GoPro as a skiing/snowboarding gift, don’t forget a helmet mount so they can use it hands-free!

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Hikers are a funny breed: they’re always outdoors, they love weird obstacles like chains and scrambles, and they are OBSESSED with their favorite gear. Ask any hiker what their favorite hiking gear is and they’ll probably spit out a recommendation that has at least 4 words in it. Needless to say, choosing the best gifts for hikers can be challenging, because whatever you give needs to be able to withstand many, many miles of adventures.

Luckily, as avid hikers ourselves, we’ve compiled this guide to the best hiking gifts that your loved ones will actually use out on the trails. Trust us – we’ve used every single one of them ourselves!

Overall Best Gifts for Hikers

Waterproof Hiking Boots

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The only item that a hiker really needs to get out on the trails is a good set of shoes, and a set of waterproof boots is one of the best hiking gifts for an adventurer that loves to be outdoors, rain or shine. The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof boots (for men and women) are lightweight, durable, and waterproof, with thick treads and Gore-Tex that will keep your feet safe and dry, no matter the conditions. For more hiking boot recommendations, check out our favorite women’s hiking boots and men’s hiking boots.

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

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Hikers often face trails and conditions where extra support is extremely helpful. That’s why one of the most useful gifts for hikers is a set of durable, portable trekking poles. Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles are perfect for traveling hikers, as they’ll fit into a standard suitcase and are extremely light weight. (You can also check out our guide to the best trekking poles to see our recommendations at every price point!)

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydration is a very important part of staying healthy while hiking, as hours in the sun and on the trails can dehydrate you. To keep water ice cold (or steaming hot during cold weather), a Hydro Flask water bottle is the perfect hiking companion. Hydro Flask boasts that its bottles keep water cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours…definitely enough insulation capacity for a full day out on the trails in any conditions.

Osprey Day Pack

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Hikers need to carry gear, water, snacks, and extra clothing for longer hikes, and having a day pack that feels good and distributes weight evenly is absolutely critical. Plus, they definitely don’t want to carry all their stuff in your hands while they’re scrambling up rocks, right? Osprey day packs are hands down the best and most durable option for day packs – we recommend a size between 18 and 30 liters for day hikes.

The North Face Venture Rain Jacket

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Every hiker knows that conditions in the mountains can change in an instant. That’s why we recommend a rain jacket as one of the smartest and most practical gifts for hikers. We love The North Face Venture 2 Jacket (for women and men) – it is a versatile, lightweight, waterproof jacket for rainy and wet hiking conditions. Ours have lasted for years and keep moisture out in rainy or adverse weather.

PrAna Hiking Pants

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Comfy clothing is an important piece of gear for any hiker, and pants are no exception. The best hiking pants are sweat-wicking, breathable, and flexible. PrAna’s Brion pants for men and Halle pants for women are the best hiking pants we’ve found – they’re lightweight, stretchy, and durable for day hikes and multi-day treks.

Merino Wool Base Layers

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Many hikers, especially those who hike at higher altitudes, need warm base layers, and they make for some of the most practical hiking gifts out there. Smartwool’s Merino 250 baselayer line offers extra-warm, cozy layers that wick sweat and moisture seamlessly on the trails.

Patagonia Compressible Puffer

Order on Patagonia | Backcountry | REI

When hiking in colder temperatures, it can be important to bring some extra layers, especially if you’re going to be at altitude. The Patagonia Down Sweater is our favorite compressible puffer because it’s a sustainably-made, warm, and cozy thermal layer for cold conditions. When paired with a rain jacket, it can keep hikers warm even in light snow!

Merrell Trail Runners

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Not all trails warrant wearing big, bulky waterproof hiking shoes. In some cases, lightweight, breathable trail runners can be a much better option, especially in hot climates. Merrell Trail Runners are some of the best trail running shoes on the market, and they make styles for men and women in a variety of different colors.

Cheap Gifts for Hikers on a Budget ($25 and Under)

Smartwool Hiking Socks

It might seem obvious, but think, durable socks are a must-have item in any hiker’s wardrobe. Smartwool’s hiking socks are great companions out on the trails! They’re warm, quick drying, and are super cushioned and comfortable. Give one pair or a few as extra special gifts for hikers in your life.

Quick Dry Towel

A towel can come in handy on any hiking trip. From humid, sweaty trails to impromptu swimming sessions, hikers can always use a towel that’s small and thin enough to carry around in a day pack. Youphoria Outdoors makes an affordable quick-dry microfiber towel that comes in a lot of fun colors and is perfect for shoving in your bag on the way out to the trails.

Neff Beanie

In colder or windy conditions, a beanie is one of the most practical gifts for hikers because it can help keep them safe and warm. For hiking, you don’t need anything fancy, so something like this affordable beanie from Neff is a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite hiker.

The North Face e-Tip Hiking Gloves

While only really relevant for colder climates, a good pair of gloves can help hikers stay outdoors later in the season, and in higher altitudes where the air tends to be chillier and windier. The North Face e-Tip Gloves are a great hiking companion because they work with touch screens like phones and tablets…meaning you don’t have to take them off for anything, really.

Hiking Snacks

Snacks are a gift that keeps on giving, especially out on the trails where you’re expending energy and burning calories left and right.

From our own experience, some snacks that hikers like include:

  • Clif bars
  • Kind bars
  • Gu gels (caffeinated and uncaffeinated)
  • Trail mix
  • Jerky (vegan and meat varieties)

Carabiners

Carabiners are literally the most useful and versatile item for hikers. Use them to strap things on your bags, to your pants, or onto trees. Hook your bags to your tent while you’re sleeping, or hang dry wet clothes. You can buy a set of 10 colorful carabiners for cheap, and they’ll last your hiker forever.

Hiking Trowel

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go…and a trowel can help you cover up when you’re doing your business in the woods. The best, most useful trowels are lightweight and have a small loop to hook to the outside of your backpack (with a carabiner!). This hiking trowel is a great, inexpensive gift option for the serious hiker.

Emergency Blanket

What better way to show your loved one you care than by buying them something that will keep them safe? An emergency blanket is a must for hikers, and while its one of the more ‘boring’ gifts for hikers on our list, we truly believe every hiker should bring an emergency blanket with them on hikes, every time. In the event of a natural disaster, or if hikers get lost or injured, an emergency blanket as a thermal insulation tool can mean the different between life and death.

Duct Tape

Duct tape is a hiker’s best friend. Hikers are notorious for destroying their stuff (myself included, no shame!), and duct tape is something we always bring to help mend tears, holes, and animal bites in our stuff until we can get it properly fixed (or, sometimes, forever). If you’re looking for one of the cheapest and most useful gifts for hikers, why not grab a roll or two of Duck Tape duct tape? They come in all kinds of fun colors and will definitely be used at some point or another on the trails by your favorite hiker.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

There are few novels in the hiking genre than Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This popular hiking novel is a classic, especially for adventurous female hikers who are looking for an emotional and physical journey through the Pacific Crest Trail with renowned author Cheryl Strayed.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

For a great fireside book or a read for the hammock after a long day on the trails, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is a quintessential read. As an intimate, detailed, entertaining journey into the backwoods of the Appalachian Trail, it’s a fantastic and memorable read for anyone who is passionate about exploration, hiking, or seeing the world and nature from a different lens.

Epic Hikes of the World by Lonely Planet

For a more visual read, Lonely Planet’s Epic Hikes of the World is an inspiring book to have around any hiker’s home. While it’s a hardcover book and not really suitable for taking on the trails, this book is one of the most memorable and fun gifts for hikers in their homes. Leafing through this book is like taking a hiking adventure around the world, with some of the most fun, beautiful, and treacherous treks all over the globe (and world-class photos, too!).

Super Practical Gifts for Hikers

Buff

For outdoor lovers, there are few things as versatile as a Buff. They advertise that it can be worn in 12+ different ways, and it’s touted as 4 times warmer than microfiber. A Buff is great for hikers to wear as a scarf, to tie hair back, or to protect their faces from dust and wind.

ENO DoubleNest Hammock

When you’ve been hiking for hours and are ready for a rest, there’s no better feeling than setting up your hammock between two tall trees and relaxing with someone you love. An ENO DoubleNest Hammock is one of coolest gifts for hikers that you can give to a person or couple who loves being outdoors…especially out on the trails. It’s super portable, lightweight, and easy to set up basically anywhere.

Black Diamond Head Lamp

Sometimes, the best times to hike are in the early morning and late in the afternoon. However, if your favorite hiker plans to hike in non-optimal daylight, it’s critical to bring a head lamp. Needless to say, a head lamp is one of the best gifts for hikers because it’s truly an essential item. Our favorite head lamp is the Black Diamond Spot – it’s lightweight, durable, and isn’t too expensive.

Polarized Sunglasses

Don’t underestimate how powerful the sun can be on a long day of hiking. One of the most useful gifts for hikers is a pair of high-quality, polarized sunglasses to keep their eyes safe and protected while exposed to the sun. There are tons of polarized sunglasses ranging in style and price available, so you’ll have to choose based on your favorite hiker’s preferences.

Foldable Wide-Brimmed Hat

For hotter or sun-exposed hiking, a brimmed hat is a must to protect hikers’ eyes and faces. As one of the cheaper and more practical gifts for hikers, this wide-brimmed hat is a packable companion for any hiker, especially in places like Zion or Joshua Tree where shady spots can be few and far between.

Platypus Water Reservoir

The only thing better than a sturdy water bottle is not having to bring a water bottle at all! With a water reservoir, a hiker can simply stuff the water bag into their day pack and sip from it as needed from the nozzle throughout the day. The Platypus water reservoir is generally well-liked and durable, and it comes at a reasonable price point, too.

First Aid Kit

While it’s not glamorous, a first aid kit can be one of the best gifts for hikers because it’s a must-have for safety on the trails. A small, portable pre-assembled first aid kit, which includes a small bag to hold everything, is a great starting point for a hike. This one is small and light enough to carry anywhere, including a day pack on the trails.

SteriPen Adventurer UV Water Purification System

For hikers, having access to clean water is a must, so a water purification system is one of the most critical gifts for hikers that you can give. We recommend the USB-rechargeable SteriPen Ultra, which is must lighter than the other products in the SteriPen line, and purifies water using UV light.

Solar Rechargeable Battery Pack

It gets harder to keep your phone charged the longer you’re out on the trails, so you can probably imagine this being a big challenge for hikers. If you give the gift of a waterproof solar battery pack, your favorite hiker can recharge the battery as they’re hiking. Pretty nifty, eh?

Technology Gifts and Gadgets for Hikers

Garmin Instinct Hiking Watch

Like many other athletes, hikers are often obsessed with tracking steps and logging their trails. The Garmin Instinct watch does exactly that and was designed specifically for outdoor adventures. If you want to splurge on a useful and totally awesome gift for an adventurous person in your life, is one of the more innovative gifts for hikers out there.

Garmin Foretrex Hiking GPS

For passionate backcountry hikers, a GPS is a must. While mostly used by adventurous hikers and backpackers, a GPS can come in handy for navigation for any hiker out in the wild. This Garmin Foretrex GPS is wearable and works anywhere, so you don’t need to worry about having “service” of any kind.

Rechargeable Hand Warmers

Keeping extremities warm while out on the trails during cold weather is a real challenges for hikers, and a rechargeable hand warmer can be the perfect solution for long days out in snow or sub-freezing temperatures.

GoPro HERO9 Black

A GoPro Hero Black is an excellent gift for the avid hiker who wants to document their adventures. Portable, weatherproof, and high-quality, a GoPro will help your favorite outdoor lover capture and relive their favorite moments on the trails again and again.

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