With the giving season near, it’s time to make gear lists of a different sort—the kind that include gifts for the adventurous loved ones in your life. We’re here to help with the hard part of choosing that perfect present. In this story, we asked 12 REI Co-op Members (who are also REI partners) to share their favorite outdoorsy gifts for the bikers, hikers, campers and runners in their lives. Their suggestions run the gamut, from water-resistant blankets to velvety-soft joggers. Read on for some gifting inspo.
Gifts for the Hiker
“As a seasoned hiker of over a decade, I consider high-quality hiking socks just as important as comfortable hiking shoes. When it comes to hiking socks, my top pick is always Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks from Darn Tough. They’re not just my choice for hiking, but also my go-to gift for anyone who loves spending time outside.
My favorite Darn Tough socks are made from primarily merino wool, a game-changing fabric for adventurers. It’s sweat-wicking and naturally antimicrobial and helps regulate body temperature to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer! These socks aren’t just reserved for hiking either; I wear them year-round for various activities.
In addition to being durable, comfortable and available in lots of cute designs, Darn Tough socks come with a lifetime manufacturer warranty. Plus, it’s worth noting that all Darn Tough socks are proudly made in the USA.
– Jacey West, REI Co-op Member since 2017
“One of my favorite pieces of outdoor gear is the Hurricane XLT2 from Teva. I love these sandals because they are so versatile and stylish. They’re the ultimate gift for your adventurous friends.
I wear them for short and easy hikes in the warmer months, and they work really well for crossing creeks or jumping into swimming holes. They are great camping shoes—plus they double as shower shoes. Even if you are going into town, they are super comfortable and go with almost all of my casual outfits!
Not only are they perfect in so many scenarios, they’re also super easy to clean and they don’t take up much space when packing for a backpacking trip or in a suitcase.
– Tee George, REI Co-op Member since 2021
“A headlamp is, without a doubt, a must-have gear item when hitting the trail. That’s why they’re included in pretty much every essential hiking list! I love my Storm 500-R Headlamp from Black Diamond and always have it in my pack (or on my head), when heading out for a hiking or backpacking adventure. This headlamp is rechargeable and packed with 500 lumens so it’s perfect for getting out for sunrise and sunset hikes, doing essential duties during backcountry adventures and having around for basic car camping trips. The Storm 500-R is lightweight at only 3.5 ounces, dust-proof and fully submersible in water, which means you won’t lose your light if you’re caught in the rain. Additionally, headlamps can be used as makeshift lanterns when placed under or around clear water bottles like Nalgenes, creating colorful lighting in a tent. The Black Diamond Storm 500-R is a perfect combination of essential and fun, making it a perfect gift for any outdoor-lover on your list.” $74.95
– Angela Rodriguez, REI Co-op Member since 2021
Gifts for the Camper
“We are an adventure family that loves spending time outdoors and going on family camping trips. Our Rumpl Original Puffy Recycled blankets are always part of our travel gear and would make an excellent gift. We have been using our Rumpl blankets when camping for years now and love how cozy and warm they are, especially when you are all wrapped up in one around a campfire. Our 6-year-old twin boys each have their own Rumpl junior size, too. Their favorite is to wear them like a cape (using the built-in cape clip) as they explore the campground. We love having these blankets in the car, around the campfire, on a day hike and, of course, when sleeping. I love that the Rumpl Original Recycled Puffy comes in so many different print options, and my favorite is their National Parks Collection. Another family favorite is the Rumpl Artist Division collection that showcases different artists’ work. I definitely recommend putting Rumpl Original Puffy on your list of gear items to consider gifting.” Starts at $125
– Tyler Fontes, REI Co-op Member since 2009
“For the last eight years, there has been one piece of gear that has been my go-to for just about every adventure: the Atom Hoodie from Arc’teryx. This jacket has been along for countless climbing days, backpacking trips, days hanging around camp, international excursions and cold surf sessions. I love the Coreloft™ insulation because it retains warmth even if it gets wet and has incredible loft retention to maintain its shape even with lots of packing and unpacking—and trust me, I’ve put mine to the test. The Atom can be worn over lighter clothing or under a hard shell, making it an incredibly versatile mid-layer. I think the Atom Hoodie is a great gift because it is perfect for anyone on your list who likes spending time in the great outdoors, and you can guarantee that it will take care of them for years to come.” Available in men’s and women’s. $300
– Mary Ashley Krogh, REI Co-op Member since 2011
“I received my first pair of Teva ReEmbers in 2019 as a Christmas gift and they quickly became not only my favorite piece of ’luxury’ camping gear, but my go-to indoor/outdoor footwear. They are perfect for mulling around the home (or home office) on crisp mornings, taking my friends’ dogs for walks around the block and lounging around a campfire (or running from tent to bathroom at a campsite). Fold down the shoe’s collapsible heel to transform the warm slipper into an easy slip-on shoe. The grippy rubber sole has kept me upright when running on slick surfaces. And the fact that they are made with recycled materials is simply icing on the cake. I received my first pair as a gift, and they have become my default present for everyone from my outdoorsy backpacking friends to my *prefers to stay in the city with the dogs* best friend and even my parents. I have yet to find someone that they are not a thoughtful gift for.” Available in both men’s and women’s. $79.95
– Andrea Ference, REI Co-op Member since 2018
Gifts for the Runner
“Have you ever found a piece of clothing that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it? The Performance Joggers from Vuori are IT for me. I thought I just wanted something comfortable to wear at home. I didn’t realize I’d eventually go to race expos, travel, run and hike in these joggers, too! Yes, they are that versatile! I wear them all year long paired with anything from a tank or tee to an ultra-comfy sweatshirt. The joggers are made with a soft, stretchy fabric and have a slim but relaxed fit. The leg is slightly cropped so it lands just above my ankle, which I love. There’s a drawstring to adjust at the waist, and pockets. Because they are crafted with performance material, I can transition from taking my kiddos to school in the morning straight into a run. They stretch and move with me, wicking away sweat. The Vuori Performance Joggers would make a great gift for your active and outdoorsy family and friends. Just be prepared to turn them into Performance Jogger collectors—I’m currently up to 4 pairs!” $94
– Alysha Flynn, REI Co-op Member since 2021
“While we usually opt for secondhand goodies as presents, I’m so excited to surprise my partner with a new pair of the Altra Torin 7 Road-Running Shoes. He has already covered over 400 miles in his previous pair and is desperately in need of some fresh ones! In fact, choosing running shoes is like searching for the perfect partner, and after countless runs with various brands, he has undeniably fallen in love with these Altras. Their distinctive toe-box shape provides space for your feet to rest naturally, and the zero-drop profile makes sure that your heels and forefeet are positioned at an equal distance from the ground, which can help with form. I’ve always believed that the best gifts are the ones that are used often, making them both practical and thoughtful. I know my partner’s going to love them!!” Available in men’s and women’s. $150
– Lauren Bash, REI Co-op Member since 2014
“When it comes to trail running or hiking, my favorite go-to is the HOKA Challenger 7! *Inserts happy dance* I remember the days I wore regular trainers on the trails and would have absolutely ZERO grip. So many hiking days and trail runs spent slipping and sliding. But when I was gifted the HOKA Challenger 7’s, it was immediately love at first step! Not only are the colors poppin’, they are super comfy, durable, lightweight and have great responsiveness… so an extra little speed added in there. The outer mesh is light, airy and breathable and can take a little water and mud. The bottom grip on these shoes is insanely efficient and was designed for improved traction on uneven terrain. So no slipping and sliding! I use them for all of my trail runs and hikes, and we will be taking these babies for a spin at my first trail race later this month! I’m so stoked! These are perfect for anyone who is looking to experience high-quality and high-comfort all-terrain shoes! Happy feet, happy life!” Available in men’s and women’s. $145
– Cam Stith, REI Co-op Member since 2021
Gifts for the Biker
“I was absolutely thrilled when I got my first bike this March, especially since it was fitted for me at REI! So, now that I have a bike, I need to take good care of it and keep it secure while riding around Los Angeles. I must admit, I’m not an expert when it comes to bikes, but the first thing I had to get (aside from a helmet for safety, of course) was a lock. Having trouble figuring out what to give someone? This would make a fantastic gift for loved ones who have a bike!
To find the best lock, I paid a visit to the REI bike shop in Santa Monica, where a wonderfully helpful employee provided me with information on a few different locks. That’s when I decided to go with the Kryptonite New-U KryptoLok Standard U-Lock. It even comes with a cable for the front wheel for added security and as a theft deterrent. Plus, the FlexFrame-U bracket makes it super easy to transport the lock on my bike. After the U-bracket was installed, the employees made sure I tested the bike to ensure the lock didn’t interfere with its functionality. Now, I feel completely at ease taking my bike on exciting adventures and making pit stops around LA!” $70.95
– Cindy Villaseñor, REI Co-op Member since 2014
“I’ve had my Bike Peddler Take A Look Mirror for a few years now and it has been a game-changer. For the bicycle traveler, safety is paramount. I can keep an eye on cars or other bicycles coming up behind me without having to turn around, which keeps me looking forward. It’s like having eyes in the back of your head.
One of the most appealing aspects for me of the Take A Look Cycling Mirror is its ability to be mounted on either your glasses or your helmet (using the optional helmet mount adapter—sold separately). The mirror is designed with a three-point attachment system that clips securely onto your eyeglasses or sunglasses. It is lightweight and I like that it doesn’t weigh down the glasses or become a hindrance. This mirror remains vibration-resistant even on the most challenging terrains. It not only helps heighten the cyclist’s awareness of their surroundings, but also empowers them with confidence during their rides. The result is a safer and more enjoyable riding experience.
Whether navigating the hustle and bustle of city streets or enjoying a bikepacking journey, this mirror is an indispensable accessory for every cyclist. I highly recommend it to all bicycle travelers, regardless of their skill level.” $18.95
– Erick Cedeño, REI Co-op Member since 2011
“As your average everyday cyclist, I am always looking to be comfortable and be able to carry all the things I need for a fun ride in the city. The giving season is the ideal time to both introduce friends to cycling and give gifts that enhance the cycling experience. Among my current favorites is the Po Campo Domino Handlebar Bag. One of the things I love the most: It attaches to any bike, old or new, so you don’t have to modify your bike to make it fit. It’s also made from recycled plastic and has waterproof capabilities, multiple pocket compartments inside and a sling strap that allows you to take it with you wherever you go. It’s the kind of gift any cyclist would truly appreciate.” $65
– Sally Garcia, REI Co-op Member since 2015