The Ultimate Adventure Travel Gift Guide

By Annual Adventure Travel Advice

Deciding what to get someone for the holidays can be way more stress than it should. There’s always that one person who is impossible to shop for, who doesn’t want anything or already has it all. Well, have no fear! Here’s a guide to a wide variety of adventure travel gifts to help spark the adventure in everyone and make those long travel days go a little more smoothly.

Adventure Travel Gifts For The Outdoorsy Type

Skaftafell Glacier hike

Does your friend or family member go camping at every opportunity? Perhaps every trip they take has them hiking miles on end every day and visiting off-the-beaten-path destinations. Here’s a few fantastic outdoor travel gifts to help your rugged adventurer along their way.

US National Parks Annual Pass

usnps-annual-passProbably the best gift you can get anyone who appreciates the outdoors and incredible scenery. For just $80, you’ll be giving access to your friend and their entire family to all 58 national parks for an entire year! A physical gift is nice, but the experiences and memories that the National Parks Pass will grant them are priceless!

I make sure to purchase one of these every year. Not only does it pay for itself in just one road trip around several parks, but the National Parks Pass also serves as a fantastic incentive for the owner to get their money’s worth and go see what the parks have to offer on a more regular basis.

Platypus Hydration Bladder

platypus-small

I don’t know what I would do without my hydration bladder. It fits seamlessly in most travel backpacks for easy and convenient hydration on the trail, and Platypus doesn’t have the plasticky taste that the Camelbaks have (trust me, I learned this the hard way!).

Most people consider hydration bladders as tools for hiking, but they’re great for walking around the city as well or any day out where you have your backpack in tow. Not only do they provide water at a convenient location right next to your mouth, but they also help distribute the weight of the water, making them less cumbersome than lugging around a water bottle.

LifeStraw Portable Water Filter

lifestraw-smallDo you know someone who spends days on end on the trail, hiking back-country paths in remote areas? Or just a camping enthusiast? The lifestraw is a perfect emergency water filter, and can save some space in the backpack be removing the need to carry as much water, too!

Even if you don’t find yourself out in the wilderness without water on a regular basis, the Lifestraw makes an excellent part of a home disaster preparedness kit. Who knows, it could save you when the big one hits!

Waterproof Dry Bag

leader-dry-bag-smallThese Dry Bags come in handy even if you don’t regularly participate in watersports. I used one when I traveled to Antarctica extensively to fend off the water splash from the Zodiacs. It’s also handy going through rain, waterfalls, when kayaking, or even just to fend off overnight condensation when camping.

These can be used as a day pack at any time, or if you’re not interested in converting to a full time dry bag like me, they fold up flat for easy packing when you’re on the road. It’s a great item to have around, because you never know if you suddenly feel the urge to hike The Narrows!

Kahtoola Microspikes Traction System

mini-spikes-smallWhy limit hiking to warm weather months? These micro spikes work like a mini-crampon to help improve traction over slippery and icy surfaces. They’re perfect for hiking a glacier or a snowy trail, and they install and remove easily.

I keep a pair of these in my closet and take them along any time I plan to visit a snowy destination. They fit just about any closed-toe shoe or boot, and keep a slim profile when they’re not in use. As a bonus, most conditions that require these will mean there are less crowds to deal with!

Collapsible Trekking Poles

trekking-poles-smallSave your friend or family member’s feet some effort with these lightweight, collapsible trekking poles. The idea of trekking poles might seem like something that would be limited to older or inexperienced hikers, but when you’re trekking for 20 miles a day you’ll be glad to have these with you. They are spring loaded for extra shock absorption and made of light weight aluminum.

These BAFX poles are built to withstand the rigors of long-term hiking and even have a built in compass and detachable snow-pods for winter hiking. It never hurts to have some relief standing by if you’re planning a hiking trip.

 

Helpful Travel Gear For Any Situation

Don't let yourself lug this much gear around. Check out this Adventure Travel Gift Guide for great ideas on how to travel smarter and lighter!

Whether you’re shopping for a world explorer or a casual vacationer, adventure travel still has certain basic logistical needs. Everyone needs to go from point A to point B somehow, and all travel no matter how luxurious or basic involves some challenges. These travel gifts will help anyone hit the road with more ease and convenience.

Packing Cubes for Space Efficiency

packing-cubes-smallYou’ve probably seen these on countless other travel gift guides, but there’s a great reason that packing cubes are so ubiquitous in the travel world: they work!

I travel almost exclusively carry-on and it would be much more difficult if I had to resort to having my clothes strewn all over my luggage. With these cubes, I can separate my shirts, underwear and socks without having to dig through layers of clothes for one item. They also work very well at compacting bulky items like down jackets.

The Do-It-All Phone Case

lifeproof-smallDoes  your giftee want to record absolutely any activity without lugging around a camera or GoPro? Then they need a Lifeproof case for their phone!

Beyond the obvious advantages of having a waterproof case for wet activities, a Lifeproof case will also protect your precious phone from other hazards such as blowing dust in the desert or a tumble down a rocky hiking trail! Now there’s no need to worry about your phone’s safety while taking that selfie while you cliff dive!

Track Your Adventures & Stay Healthy

fitbit-smallEver since I got a Fitbit, I’ve become addicted to seeing how many steps, miles and flights of stairs I could traverse in a day. For me, it adds a new layer of fun to already enjoyable activities like hiking or bouldering. I found myself trying to beat my records each day of my last trip, and it also helps infuse a level of accomplishment to each day.

I have absolutely started to be more active as a result of owning one of these, even on lazy days. I’ve set a minimum amount of steps per day goal, and if I’m not close to meeting it by the end of the day I’ll make it a point to get out and be more active. It’s a great motivator and a fun tool to have!

Smart Luggage For The Smart Traveler

bluesmart-smallLast Christmas I received this Bluesmart Carry-On and I absolutely love it. It’s not the lightest weight luggage out there, but it’s well worth it for the features. It also conforms to the TSA approved carry-on size so you can still travel light with it.

The Bluesmart One includes an on-board scale inside the handle so you can be sure you meet weight requirements, on-board charging ports for your electronics, and remote locking and even gps tracking so you always know where your luggage is!

Make Great Coffee On The Go

aeropress-smallI admit it. I’m a total addict. I can’t go anywhere without coffee, and I’m enough of a coffee snob that I need good quality stuff. Although I love to sample coffee from all over the world, I still sometimes travel with me Aeropress for those times when good coffee just isn’t available.

It’s compact enough to fit in your luggage with ease, and makes a fantastic cup of coffee without making a huge mess. You can even use it on the plane if you bring your own coffee and get hot water from the flight attendant! The Aeropress, in my humble opinion, is a must have for any traveling coffee lover.

LED Headlamps to Light Your Path

headlamp-smallI always carry an LED Headlamp with me when I travel. Any active traveler has found themselves out in the dark and in need of light at some point in their journeys. Sure, your phone has a flashlight, but how many times have you set your phone down to use your hands, only to find yourself frustrated that you can’t get a good angle for the light?

Whether you’re caught on a mountain trail after dark or packing your bags before dawn in your tent, an LED Headlamp is one of the most useful adventure travel gifts out there. There have been so many situations where mine has come in useful, and I would feel a bit naked without it! Plus, it’s cheap and makes a great stocking stuffer!

Compact Battery Backup Phone Charger

battery-charger-smallIf you know anyone left on the planet that doesn’t have a battery phone charger yet, then here’s your chance to welcome them to the fold! It’s tough enough keeping your phone charged in day-to-day life, but when you’re on the road it becomes a whole new challenge!

With a backup charger, you’ll have a better chance of keeping charge so you can track your position on long hikes or call for that taxi at the end of a day out exploring. The Anker Mini is also compact for packing convenience.

Portable Solar Panel

solar-panel-smallAs a great compliment to your battery backup, a solar powered charger is perfect for extended time away from power. Not only can this charge your phone or other USB devices, but it also includes an adapter to charge AA and AAA batteries for your other accessories.

Just hang it off your backpack while you hike and let it charge whatever items you have that are low on power. This solar panel is also convenient to use on lunch breaks or any short stop you may make throughout your adventures.

Adventure Travel Gifts for the Undiscovered Photographer

gasadalur-picture-taking

Considering how many of us are inspired by beautiful photos of the world, it’s only natural that an adventure travel enthusiast would want to start documenting their own journeys as well. Here are a few travel photography gifts to get them started with all aspects of adventure travel photography, and maybe a few that even seasoned pros could use!

GoPro Hero 6 Black Edition

gopro-smallJust released earlier this year, the GoPro Hero 6 Black Edition is the best GoPro yet. Not only is it waterproof without the need for an external case, but it also includes voice command activation and video stabilization.

I haven’t picked one of these up yet, but it is definitely on my shopping list! If you do purchase one, I recommend a few accessories, extra batteries (GoPros eat through them like crazy!) and a large capacity microSD card or two to capture your memories onto.

Sony Alpha a6500 – For The Serious Shooter

sony-a6500-smallIf your gift recipient is getting serious about travel photography, the Sony a6500 is a great starter camera that can yield professional results. The body accepts Sony’s amazing Zeiss Lenses and is extremely light weight for easy packing.

Although I travel with Canon cameras because I’m stubborn, I often consider switching to Sony just to save my back from lugging around all of that weight! Not only are the sony bodies lighter, but their lenses are considerably smaller as well with excellent image quality.

Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription

adobe-cc-smallCapturing great images is one thing, but post processing is where they really come to life. Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan is everything anyone needs to fulfill every aspect of processing images.

There are a million different tutorials available online and there is no better tool for shaping someone’s photography skills than to use this software. I could not imagine going without it for my travel photos and would sooner downgrade my camera than do without my Adobe CC plan. It’s really that important and there isn’t a better gift some somebody interested in learning photography.

Joby GorillaPod

gorillapod-smallThe Joby GorillaPod is the ultimate travel tripod. I’ve taken it on every trip that I have been on since purchasing it. It’s small enough to fit in just about any type of luggage, especially if you remove the included ball head.

The real genius of the GorillaPod is that you can mount it just about anywhere. Not only can you place it on the ground or uneven terrain, but you can wrap its legs around railings, street signs or just about anything else you can imagine. I was reluctant to try this feature at first, but after successfully mounting my super heavy camera and 70-200 lens on a street post, I feel confident to use it this way more often. Of course, make sure to test the GorillaPod’s grip before you walk away too far!

Western Digital My Passport 1TB External Hard Drive

hard-drive-smallIf your giftee is planning to take a lot of photos on the road, it’s imperative that they have a place to store and back up their cherished travel memories. I always carry around a 1TB external hard drive for backing up photos away from home.

1 Terabyte has always been plenty of storage for me for one trip, even when I’ve been gone for a month with nearly 10,000 photos to show for it! Western Digital drives have never let me down, either, although it’s still a good idea to have multiple backup options for your data.

Clothes Make The Adventurer

If you're looking for adventure travel gifts for the explorer in your life, be sure to get them appropriate clothing for any condition!

While travel clothes aren’t necessarily the most exciting option, the right clothing can make a long trip much more comfortable and hassle free. Just a few good items can set somebody up to travel with ease and comfort to just about any climate in the world. Here are some of my favorites.

Exofficio Shirts

exofficio-smallThese are my favorite travel shirts. Not only do ExOfficio shirts look stylish enough that you won’t be laughed out of a restaurant, but they’re breathable and have built-in ventilation to prevent you from overheating in muggy climates.

I usually carry a few of these with me when I travel, no matter what the destination. They’re also light weight for easy packing so you don’t have to worry about over-stuffing your luggage. One note, though, is that some of them tend to fit slightly baggy, so be sure to get a slim fit if you’re a leaner person like me.

The Best Underwear In The Word

exofficio-underwear-smallI know it seems silly. After all, who wants underwear for a gift? Well, your adventure traveling friends who regularly go hiking, bike riding, jogging, or any other activity do, they just don’t know it! I didn’t know what I was missing before I got my ExOfficio boxer briefs (can you tell I like the brand?).

Not only will these underwear last you for years to come, but they’re breathable and odor-resistant for comfort in any activity. One pair will last you years with regular abuse. Like I said, I know it seems silly to give underwear as a gift, but these are awesome.

Socks To Last A Lifetime

darn-tough-smallIf you thought the underwear was an exciting addition to the adventure travel gift guide, then here’s the perfect compliment! Darn Tough Socks have a lifetime warranty for those of you (like me) who go through socks like they’re disposable. I’ve actually utilized their warranty several times and it has always been a hassle-free and pleasant experience, and they even send you their newest model!

My favorite are the ultra lights pictured here, but I also have several pairs of their full cushion hiking socks for travel to colder climates. Since they’re made of Merino Wool, they’re odor resistant (I’ve rarely noticed any odor from them even after long hiking days) and breathable.

Stretch Shoelaces For Convenience & Laziness

stretch-laces-smallIt’s always been a conundrum for me: I don’t want to weigh down my luggage with heavy shoes, but wearing hiking shoes makes going through security at the airport a pain for those without TSA pre-check. It was far too recently that I discovered the perfect solution: these stretch shoelaces!

Not only do these shoelaces make life through security simpler, but you get so used to simply slipping your shoes on and off that it’s hard to go back to conventional laces afterwards. I’ve never had any problems with them coming loose while hiking or doing any other activity, and they make a perfect stocking-stuffer or accessory to another gift!

Experiences That Will Make Life-Long Memories

Leopard Mechanic

There’s no better gift to give than great travel memories, and there are even recent studies to confirm it! If can’t figure out anything to get that special someone, there’s always room for great life experiences no matter how much they already have! Consider some of these top-tier adventure travel gifts that will leave your friends with lifelong smiles any time they look back on these great experiences.

A Flight Outta Town

What better way to say you care than to fly someone far away from you? There is no better gift than life experience and memories, and no better way to kick your friend or family member in the butt to get out there and do it than buying them a ticket! Even if it means purchasing the ticket for them at a later time so you can work out nit-picky stuff like dates and destinations, it’s a great way to either help a regular adventure traveler or encourage someone who hasn’t traveled to go see the world!

FlightHub

 

A Warm Bed

Whether you’re looking for a complimentary gift to a flight or something to improve somebody’s already planned trip, a stay in a nice hotel is hard to go wrong with. Even if you know someone who isn’t as willing or able to travel, you can book them a nice staycation in a hotel either in town or a short drive from home to help them relieve some stress and get away from it all without any inconvenience.







An Experiencial Gift Card

Are flights and hotel stays too time or location sensitive for you? Tinggly offers gift cards that provide adventurous experiences that are available for redemption in over 100 countries. Just one card will provide accessibility to an enormous variety of exciting options, from bungy jumping in Australia to desert camping in Jordan!

The Utimate Adventure Travel Gift Guide! Know a traveler who's impossible to shop for? There's something sure to please them or anyone else in here!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will get a small commission if you purchase the products they link to. As always, I only recommend products I believe in and personally recommend.

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2 comments

  • Spectacular ideas and tips! Absolutely love it. Can you also recommend certain back packs for any age group? Or recommend the type of luggage when you have to pack light for a month long trip?

    1. Thanks and absolutely! For a month long trip, you’ll probably need a pretty sizeable backpack. Osprey is a good brand, and their 46 liter porter is the maximum allowable carry-on size for most airlines, although stricter ones could give you a hard time if you have it fully stuffed. For something less bulky, their Farpoint 40L is smaller and easier to carry around for long periods of time.

      Note that these backpacks are geared more for air travel and less for hiking for days on end. For something like that, you’d be best off getting a proper trekking backpack at REI.

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