The Best Outdoor Gifts for Less Than $50

A little goes a long way.

Updated November 6, 2023

40 reviews with an average rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars
Three people looking through their Nocs Provisions binoculars, with the Nocs Provisions Woven Tapestry Strap

It's not just the thought that counts, but the vision. Show your friends and family that you've been listening to all their talk about outdoor the adventures they want to take—without spending more than $50. We've got travel pillows, sunglasses, pocket knives, beanies, headlamps and so much more.


Whether camping, climbing, thru-hiking or sitting in the park, time outside can be as much about stillness and reflection as it is about movement and action. So why not give some enlivening reading material for the journey? Mountaineers Books has published the beautiful Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry, which highlights 13 bioregions from southeast Alaska to Northern California and from the Pacific Ocean to the Continental Divide. In the field guide, you'll find a delightful assembly of history, culture, science and art. One customer attests: "Every page is a treasure—every poem, every drawing, every description of plant, animal or place. I never thought I would be fascinated by the description of a slug."

A truly universal gift—whether your giftee is hydrating all the time or not enough, they could surely use a Stanley Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler. The vessel has 40 fl. oz. liquid capacity and double-wall vacuum insulation to keep your giftee's beverage hot or cold. A resuable straw makes it easy to sip on the go (or you can drink directly from the drink opening) and a narrow base assures a smooth fit into nearly any car cup holder.

Give the gift of warmth with the most essential cold-weather accessory. Smartwool has your head covered with this 100% Merino wool reversible beanie, which comes in several colors, plus a cool pattern: Charcoal Mtn Scape. Lightweight, with no itch and no sheepy smell, this is the perfect present for the always-on-the-go outdoorsy folks in your life.

What better gift can you bestow than a great hair day? The Beautifully Warm Satin-Lined Winter Beanie is designed to keep the moisture in and frizz away for those in the natural and curly hair community. A detachable pom offers versatility for those who like to take on the frigid temps in style.

Being on the road doesn't mean sacrificing a good night's sleep. Give the gift of comfort with the Nemo Fillo pillow. Easy to inflate and packs down to the size of a potato, this pillow is the perfect option for backpacking and travel. But don't let its compact size fool you. Soft, luxury foam ensures that even if you're sleeping on the ground, your head will feel like it's resting on cloud nine.

One tool to rule them all. You can't go wrong with the Swiss Army Classic knife, which weighs less than an ounce. With scissors, a nail file, a screwdriver and so much more, this 2.5-inch blade is the epitome of a can't-leave-home-without-it tool. The lanyard makes it easy to attach to keys or a travel pack, making sure your gift recipient will always have it when they need it.

Your gift-giving mojo is bound to be bright with these goodr Circle Gs. Grippy nose coating keep them on while a featherweight frame maximizes comfort even during strenuous activities. And you can be confident they'll never miss a step with the anti-glare, polarized lenses. Several color options to choose from, so you'll be sure to find one that pleases even the pickiest person on your gift list.

This Outside Inside chess and checkers set made for indoor and outdoor adventures keeps boredom at bay during camp downtime. With its small carry bag and magnetic board and pieces, there's no need to worry about transporting this set or restarting play if the board gets knocked. But make sure you're confident in your chess and checkers skills, because this gift might mean that a challenge is coming your way!

Friends don't let friends lose their binoculars. For the devoted birder in your life, the Nocs Provisions Woven Tapestry Strap offers a lively accessory to keep those 'nocs on hand and hard to lose. The strap has universal attachment points, so they'll work for any pair of binoculars and cameras, too.

There's nothing better than starting an adventure with a perfectly organized pack. Patagonia has wowed adventures with their Black Hole luggage collection for years. What better gift for your favorite duffel enthusiast than a matching packing cube? The 6 L Black Hole Cube offers plenty enough space and divided compartements to organize accessories, camera gear or toiletries. With an exterior daisy chain, your giftee can lash it onto a pack or clip it into a duffel for secure placement.

If your giftee doesn't like to travel with dirty laundry stinking up the pack, then here's an idea: Thule's Clean/Dirty Packing Cube. An internal TPU divider doesn't merely split the cube into two compartements, but keeps dirt and odor from passing between the sides and beyond the cube. It's sized to fit in most carry-on luggage, so you can stay organized even on those quick trips.

Don't worry, these are not your grandmother's house shoes. With a soft Berber fleece lining and Cloud Cushion insole, these slippers make lounging around the house as cozy as it gets. A slip-on mule design and thick rubber sole makes them the perfect indoor-outdoor slipper. Comfortable yet versatile, the Acorn slippers are the perfect practical gift.

Black Diamond Spot 350 Headlamp

Help them kick their fear of the dark with this headlamp, an REI Editors' Choice Award winner for its sleek design and a variety of brightness modes. Not only does it offer an extraordinarily long battery life, the waterproof Black Diamond Spot 350 can also be used to illuminate adventures in the rain. And for your fashionable friends, match this product to one of their favorite outfits by picking from six different colors. $26.73

Whether it's used as an overnight bag, a gym tote, or a just-in-case carry-on, duffels are downright handy. This bluesign-approved hauler from REI Co-op features daisy chains on both sides (great for lashing down a spare puffy or your kid's stuffed animal), an easy-to-grab contoured end handle and a pack-awayable shoulder strap. It also comes with a packing cube that's capable of stowing the duffel itself or can be used as an interior (underwear?) organizer. Bonus: The recycled polyester construction is abrasion- and water-resistant.

AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Press

The only thing better than waking up at camp is having a hot mug of coffee ready before you hit the trail. Luckily, the AeroPress Go Travel Coffee Press makes hot coffee in minutes, so your gift recipient will enjoy both quick coffee and caffeine control. This REI Editors' Choice Award winner also comes with a mug that neatly doubles as the system's packing container. $39.95

NEMO Switchback Sleeping Pad

Nemo Switchback Sleeping Pad

Whoever says comfort can't come from closed-cell design hasn't tried this sleeping pad from NEMO. Thanks to its hexagonal nesting pattern, this pad also packs down smaller than other closed-cell foam pads. And with an abrasion-resistant foam and thermal reflective film, the Switchback Sleeping Pad will stick it out through hardy trips and cold nights. Pro tip: They can fold it smaller for a cushy sitting pad or bed for their pup. $44.95 (short)

With several detachable components that can save weight, including a back panel that doubles as a sitting pad, this pack from the REI Co-op is perfect for day hikes when lightweight storage is key. Top rated by customer reviewers, one purchaser says, "My teenage son, who is very hard to please, was beyond thrilled with this gift … His dad even went back and got himself one."

Buff Original Multifunctional Headwear

Is it a headband? A helmet liner? Face and neck protection? Yes—all of the above! Made of recycled materials and offering UPF 50 sun protection, the Buff Original Multifunctional Headwear has a large following of fans who love the product because, as one customer review put it, "it's fashionable, functional, comfortable, easy to wash and dry." Pick one up for a friend or relative who loves to spend time outside. $20-$24

Wet feet = blister-prone feet. So whether you're naturally sweaty or hiking in high temps, you owe it to your sole to check out a pair of socks with light cushioning like these. The Performance Hike Light Cushion—the brand's evolution of the venerable PhD Outdoor line—has less wool than a full-cushioned sock, reserving the padding in higher-impact zones like the heel and ball. On the top of the foot, Smartwool places thinner, mesh-like fabric that serves as a vent to keep moisture away. "It gives me the benefit of padding without suffocating me," one staffer says. "I get really sweaty feet when I'm hiking, but when I pair the Performance Hike Light Cushion with trail runners, I don't swamp out, even on 80°F days."

The Performance Hike Light Cushion features Smartwool's Indestructawool™ technology, which is basically the brand's way of zoning the merino, nylon and elastane where you need them most without introducing more seams that can chafe or feel annoying. That's all supposed to make the sock more durable—something we haven't tested in a lab but are into. One staffer has logged about 150 miles and a dozen washes on her trusty pair and the socks are no worse for wear. The Performance Hike Light Cushion also has recycled content, and it uses New Zealand merino wool that's ethically sourced—so you can feel good about your purchase.

Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Water Bottle with Flex Cap - 24 fl. oz.

By now we hope everyone on your list shirks single-use plastic, so this Hydro Flask bottle should be a hit for all. It up-levels standard reusable vessels with double-wall vacuum insulation that will keep bevvies hot or cold for hours, plus it has a supersized mouth for easy fill. We also appreciate the slim build that fits in most cup holders and, of course, the plethora of flavorful colors. $39.95

For folks who just want to boil some water in the backcountry, this is your rig. "It's almost everyone's first backpacking stove," says Tim Bird in REI Co-op's Framingham, Utah, store, who still has his original MSR PocketRocket, along with a few updated versions he's gotten over the years. The venerable stove is simple, reliable, lightweight and affordable—what's not to love?

The PocketRocket 2 is also a triumph of minimalist design: just a burner with a flip-out wire control key and fold-out pot supports. The time from popping open its micro case to full-throated burner roar is quick, as is the cooking speed: It has the fastest boil time of any stove on this list. One reviewer says: "I actually think it's far and away the best of its kind. Packs small and light, takes less than a minute to set up and turn on and boils a few cups of water within two to three minutes."

At just 2.6 ounces, the PocketRocket 2 is a shade lighter than its predecessor. It's also slightly more compact. Even the cookware support is improved. A few users of past PocketRockets had complained that its pot supports were a little rickety, but the ones on this model are more secure thanks to an updated support bolt that provides better tension. Serrated pot-support edges also contribute to creating a secure cookware perch atop the stove. Buy here.

Related MSR models: The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe ($69.95) gives you a push-button piezo igniter and a pressure regulator that maintains a consistent cooking performance in cold temperatures and when the canister is getting low on fuel. With those upgrades, the Deluxe costs $20 more and weighs 0.3 ounces more (2.9 oz.) than the PocketRocket 2.

REI Co-op Farlands Scarf

This scarf from REI Co-op may be the closest you can get to actually hugging your giftee this year. The wool blend is cozy and warm without any scratchiness, which adds up to a most snuggly hug in scarf form. And at 6 feet long, there's plenty of squeeze to go around. $49.95

Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks (Women's & Men's)

Darn Tough Micro Crew Cushion Hiking Socks

You know you've hit adulthood when socks actually make the top of your wish list. And with these, you won't have to add them year after year. Darn Tough socks live up to their name with an unconditional lifetime guarantee and a reputation for accompanying thru-hikers from Mexico to Canada. These options use a merino, nylon and elastane blend for Goldilocks-like comfort, moisture management and durability. $25

YETI Rambler Tumbler with MagSlider Lid - 20 fl. oz.

YETI Rambler Tumbler MagSlider Lid

Some might say you'd be unoriginal for choosing a gift based on its number of five-star ratings. We know of at least 23,000 people who'd disagree. One of the highest-rated products on REI.com, this 20-ounce YETI tumbler features double-wall vacuum insulation that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold to the last sip. A large mouth lets you dump in ice cubes aplenty on scorching summer days (or fill straight from the source), and its BPA-free stainless steel doesn't retain flavors from last week's rum and Coke. Will your giftee be the next five-star reviewer? $35

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Mini Hip Pack

"I never thought I'd fall in love with a fanny pack, but it happened," writes REI customer Hollybee. Give the gift of love this season. When the Patagonia Black Hole Mini Hip Pack isn't in use, it packs into its own pocket. When it is, the hip pack fits oodles into its lightweight yet durable pouch (one person on our staff uses it like a purse, while another stuffs it with pick-up bags and treats for her dog's morning constitutional). There's no wrong way to use a hip pack—love is love. $35

Part hot-yoga sweat catcher, part wrap-ready beach towel, part national-park study guide—what can't this Nomadix do? Its recycled fabric is quick-drying, slip-resistant and absorbent, making it ready for anything. So, if your master plan is to help your loved ones do more with less, you can't go wrong with this gift.

National Parks Maps Original Towel

Lodge Mini Cast Iron Skillet - 3.5 in.

"Just the right size to bake a deep-dish chocolate chip cookie for two after dinner or melt butter for popcorn," writes REI customer Erasmus. (Take a second to wipe up the drool before we move on.) Built brutally tough for a lifetime of unparalleled, even heat retention, this miniature skillet from Lodge is just as great as its more standard-size brethren, but a bit more portable. And cuter. $9.95

LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Power Lantern

LuminAID PackLite Max Phone Charger Lantern

Turn any campsite into an Instagram-worthy set with this lantern from LuminAID. It charges via solar or USB, then spits out up to 150 lumens at five brightness settings. You can also use it to juice up your other gadgets. Even if your loved one isn't a digital influencer or device enthusiast, the PackLite Max is a no-brainer for any first-aid kit, car emergency supply pack or bug-out bag. $49.95

Hello, sunshine! This beauty slips under the $50 mark. Any friend would be lucky to receive this 325-lumen BioLite lamp, but backpackers will especially appreciate it. A sleek rechargable power source sits at the front of the head so you can kick back and relax, and it's a scant 1.8 ounces. It also comes in a handful of fun colors.

MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights

HeadLamp 325

Add a twinkle to your pal's backyard or backcountry adventure with this string light from MPOWERD. Ten LED nodes decorate the 18-foot-long cord, which you can charge via USB or the sun. What's even cooler: Your giftee can use that same port to power up their mobile devices while enjoying the dreamy glow. An easy-to-parse LED indicator shows when it's time to plug back in, so your friend is never caught in the dark. $49.95

This vacuum-insulated mug from YETI will keep your friend's joe hot for up to six hours, making it as appropriate for morning commutes and alpine starts as evening camp warmers. It comes with a removable sipping lid and is dishwasher-safe too. And most importantly, at 14 ounces, it fits enough coffee to actually make a dent in drowsiness.