Gifts for the Beginner Backpacker


The beauty of backpacking is that once you have the gear you need - you're set - all you need is a trail. Choosing the right gear can be overwhelming. As our backpacking community continues to grow, we field questions at our shop on a daily basis about what gear we'd recommend for the adventure at hand. We pride ourselves on using the gear we sell, and are happy to demo their features in our shop. For the beginner backpacker, here are our top nine gift recommendations.



#1. A durable camp stove that won't break the bank.

An incredible little stove for the price. Boiling 1 liter of water in just 3.5 minutes, combined with weighing only 2.6 ounces, you literally will not know this stove is in your pack until you need it.


#2. Make packing and organization easier.

Sleeping bags are bulky. Compression sacks take away the bulk, making room for the rest of your gear. Worth every penny. 


#3. Ultralight medical kit.

Always have the basic tools for an emergency when you're out there.


#4. Maps. Maps. And More Maps.

Maps are the most basic tool for inspiring a new adventure. Every time I get a new one, I'm sucked in for days, weeks, or even months. Complete with hiking, biking, ATV, snowmobile and equestrian trails; noting boat launches, campgrounds, trail shelters and a bunch of other points of interest; all on super durable weatherproof, tear-resistant paper. We have 500,000 acres of public land in our backyard, and winter is for planning.


#5. Navigation.

Even if you're carrying a GPS, you should always have a compass on hand. If your beginner backpacker doesn't have experience with map and compass, you may want to consider bundling this with a book on how to safely navigate.


#6. A cookset that'll take a beating.

Everything you need to cook for one or two, nested in one pot to save space.


#7. A trusted headlamp.

We offer several lighting options, but the remix is one of our bestsellers. Simple and lightweight design with a combination of a single Maxbright LED and 3 Ultrabright LEDs, meets durable and water resistant at a great price point.


#8. A good nights sleep.

Sleeping pads come in all shapes and sizes. Not only do they provide a cushion between you and the surface you're sleeping on, they also provide warmth between the two. The Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol is a great beginner sleeping pad, both in price, comfort and weight. We toured the Therm-A-Rest factory in late 2015 - an incredible company with a lot of research that goes into every product.


#9. The ability to try out multiple shelters and backpacks.

The beauty of backpacking is that once you have all the gear you need - you're set - you just need a trail. But finding the right shelter and pack can be tough... do you want a tent? Or are you thinking about a hammock setup? How big of a pack do you need? What are the features you want in your pack? What if it's not comfortable when you get out there? All great questions, and ones we hear often. An AO Gift Card gives the beginner backpacker the ability to rent equipment - tents, hammocks, packs, stoves, water filters - before they buy.

AO Gift Card
from 25.00