I don’t encourage people to buy more things, especially things they don’t need. But if you’re looking for the best gifts for adventure lovers or for things to give to your friends or family this year, you’re better off buying things that are meant to get them out there experiencing the world with things that they’ll enjoy for years to come and create memories that they will cherish even longer. That’s why I put together this gift guide of products I use and love from my adventures all over the world, so you know its quality gear.
I have spent a LOT of money on outdoor gear or travel stuff over the years, but I always make sure to buy the best thing I can afford, and, most importantly, I make sure to use it. None of it is going to do you much good sitting in the closet or garage…
To help you out (and me, if you decide to shop through my affiliate links), I’ve put together a few ideas for the best gifts for the adventurer in your life with items that are well suited for any outdoor lover or adventure travel, things that I myself would enjoy receiving (if I didn’t own them already).
Items in the gift guide range from super cheap to moderately expensive, so there’s something for pretty much all budgets.
So if you’re wondering what to get an adventurous person or just looking for some cool new ideas for things to gift yourself, read on…
- ENO DoubleNest Hammock
- SteriPen Ultra
- Osprey Packable Backpack
- Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack
- BioLite SolarPanel 5+
- Go Outside T-Shirt
- Rovking Sport Workout Headphones
- Bose QuietComfort Headphones
- Travel Laptop
- Buff Headband
- For Her – Travel Makeup Bag
- For Him – Hanging Toiletry Bag
- GoPro Hero10
- Night Ize Microlight
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
- Icebreaker T-Shirts
- BluffWorks Travel Clothes
- Aeropress Coffee Maker + Hario Grinder
- DJI Mavic
- Big Travel, Small Budget Book
- ENKNIGHT Money Belt for Travelers
- SPOT GPS Messenger
- Hofner Shorty Travel Guitar
- Yeti Cooler
- DOSS Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
- A Few More Gift Ideas for Specific Travelers
I absolutely love my ENO Hammock. It is great for backpacking, road tripping, or even just general travel. So long as you’re traveling in a place that has got a few nearby trees, you can strap this thing up and have an amazing place to relax for the evening. I can’t recommend this enough.
You don’t want to get sick from your water source, whether traveling in developing countries or just camping or backpacking. This little UV light will disinfect your water in no time flat and comes in handy from remote streams to a restaurant in Mexico.
It’s also one of my hotel essentials when traveling in the developing world. I drank tap water throughout all of Central and South America thanks to this little gadget and was able to save money and not have to buy bottled water (reduce your plastic use).
This is truly one of the best gifts for the adventurous person because it is ultra-portable, reliable, and useful in a wide variety of travel and adventure situations.
I love these backpacks that stuff down into their own pouch — they come in handy in so many different ways. I will take it along when we head out for a day in town and we unexpectedly visit the market or grocery store so I can reduce my plastic bag usage, or perfect for day trips or even while flying if you unexpectedly need to repack some things.
If you’re looking for the best travel backpack, then take a look at the Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack. This thing was designed for travelers and is a beautiful cross between luggage and a backpack.
It has lots of well-thought-out and designed storage compartments, including specialized storage for laptops or electronics and the easy ability to remove it for going through TSA security.
I have the 35L Outbreaker which is the maximum size for carry-on bags on many international flights. I feel that that size is more than big enough to pack for a few weeks of travel without having to check bags, but they also sell a 45L backpack which is the max for US carry-on bags.
Adventurous travelers also will NOT want luggage with wheels. This style of backpack luggage is much more conducive to traveling off the beaten path whether that means backpacking through South America, navigating cobblestone streets in Europe, or even hitting the trail for a hike abroad!
This thin and light solar panel will keep your USB electronics charged and ready to go while you are on the trail or off camping. I love the slim and light design. Check out the comprehensive review I put together here.
If you’re planning lots of backcountry adventures out of the treeline, then this will keep your cellphone/camera and other gadgets good to go. It beats having a portable power bank, in my opinion, because it has one within the unit and can be recharged on the go.
Brought to you by yours truly, this fun t-shirt is meant to inspire more adventures. “Go Outside: Life is too short to watch it pass by from a desk…”
There’s plenty more cool apparel, stickers, and odds and ends from yours truly in the D2D Store — check it out!
I absolutely love these headphones. They are cheap and awesome, and will never slip out of your ear or have a dead battery! I bought them primarily for running (here’s my favorite running gear), but the slim profile also means you can sleep with these things, and put on some white noise if you are in a loud environment.
I know the wireless headphones are all the rage, but I much prefer not having to charge yet another device, and these are excellent.
Alright, this is a whole new class of headphones… But they are so incredible for travelers. They block out so much background noise which makes them ideal for plane travel or anyone who needs to work remotely, whether in a coffee shop or a noisy apartment.
I use these all the time for working or watching movies on the plane… If you want one of the best travel gifts out there that will change how you travel, then look no further.
Speaking of working and traveling, I can’t stress the importance of having a small, lightweight, and portable laptop (with a super long battery life). I used the ASUS Transformer for a few years (which my girlfriend now uses as her main laptop) and it’s one of the most affordable and portable options out there at less than $300 or $400 depending on the configuration.
But more recently I bought myself the ASUS ZenBook to serve as my main travel and work laptop for just $700 and it has been an awesome investment! My previous laptop was more than five years old so I’ve been way past due for an upgrade.
The ASUS ZenBook laptop had a great combination of tech specs, portable and battery life, and the features I look for (like an SSD hard drive, backlit keyboard, and matte screen). Read more about choosing the best travel laptop, which is a must-have for long-term travelers.
This little piece of tubular fabric has so many different uses. I use it as a sweatband, a hat, a neckwarmer, and even an eye mask for sleeping. This thing is surprisingly versatile and very useful! It is such a simple idea but is one of the best gifts for adventurers…
I’ve used it to filter water with debris floating in it (then used the SteriPen), protect my face from brutal winds on a high mountain peak, keep the sun off my neck in the Atacama Desert, and in so many other situations.
Andrea has one of these drawstring travel toiletry/makeup bags and absolutely loves it. No need to dig around or organize anything, you can simply open it up on the counter or any table to see everything, then you just cinch it back up and toss it into your backpack or suitcase. Super easy, fast, and portable.
Meanwhile, I’ve got one of these simple hanging toiletry bags that I prefer. It’s got plenty of space for what I need, I can hang it up in the bathroom, or in the canopy of the truck, and it keeps my stuff organized, which is about all I ask.
GoPro makes the best cameras for adventure travel, action sports, and straight-up portability. I’ve used my GoPro for snorkeling, mounted to the top of my truck, or just hiking down the trail. These things are tough too because mine has taken a few falls, bumps, and bruises.
You can always go for the previous year’s model as well if you want to save a little money. Upgrades between models are usually incremental and if you’re just getting your first one, you don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest. I’m more than happy buying a slightly older version if it means saving big bucks.
Such a simple little thing to have a mini flashlight on your keychain, but I use this so much! Not just for camping or truck camping, but for day-to-day life. It’s surprising how handy it is. The batteries last forever, and the slim profile is almost unnoticeable in your pocket.
Perhaps one of my most treasured items. It’s an incredible feeling to have virtually any book available at your fingertips, no matter where you are in the world. You can store literally hundreds of books on the device or on the cloud. I love this thing. Plus the soft backlight makes it easy to read at night.
Nobody likes to be stinky, but it can be tough to do laundry as often as we should while either traveling or hiking. The Icebreaker Merino wool t-shirts are super odor resistant and can be worn for many days longer than their synthetic counterparts. Check out my more detailed overview of the pros and cons.
If you’re thinking that a wool t-shirt sounds terrible, believe me, I thought the same. But merino wool is a totally different beast. It is super soft and doesn’t have that scratchy feeling that old-school wool sweaters had.
BluffWorks Travel Clothes
Speaking of travel clothes, there are some truly stellar travel clothes out there for those who may need to dress up a little more, whether for work or just because they enjoy the occasional splurge in fancy restaurants or things like that.
I used to wear a suit EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for work. And while I’m glad those days are behind me, I still don a suit occasionally for fancy nights out with Andrea or while hitting up travel conferences. The best I’ve used for travel clothes are those from BluffWorks.
The suit jacket and pants can just be rolled up into your luggage and they don’t wrinkle! Plus you can just machine wash them when needed. The clothes look super sharp (better than some of my more expensive suits back in the day, to be honest) and they get rid of all those headaches about wrinkling and dry-cleaning. So worth it.
Not only that, but their clothes have all sorts of hidden pockets and places to stash travel documents, extra cash, or other important items. The BluffWorks jeans I use have two hidden pockets in the seam of the jeans that you can’t even tell are there. So cool!
They’ve got blazers, suits, chinos, jeans, tees, dress shirts and more. Check them out.
If you know somebody who loves great coffee, this will be the best gift you can give! Incredible coffee no matter where you are in the world, high mountain tops, hotel rooms, wherever. Combine it with a handheld grinder and some freshly roasted beans to go with it. Read my more detailed overview of why this is the best travel coffee maker.
I’ve been using the same one now for about ten years (!!!) now and still can’t recommend it enough to people who love good coffee and don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning up.
This one is on my wishlist… An ultra-portable drone that is built for travel or stuffing in a backpack and is definitely one of the best gifts for adventure lovers. Get those killer aerial shots and a whole new world of photography.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my book, Big Travel, Small Budget: How to Travel More, Spend Less, and See the World. It’s available in paperback or Kindle and will certainly inspire and inform any future adventurer or globetrotter. It has more than 145+ reviews on Amazon now.
I have the ENKNIGHT Money Belt which I grabbed on Amazon. It’s a pretty comfortable, nice-fitting money belt with three big pockets where you can stash, money, passports, or even use it for running since it will fit a cell phone and has a hole to pass the earphone cable.
While I don’t love money belts, you can’t really deny their importance, especially if you are traveling in more developing countries, or even in Europe where pick-pocketing is so common.
Stay worry-free while your loved one is deep in the woods or in some remote part of the world. This device sends check-in messages from anywhere to a set of email addresses, to let them know you are safe and sound, and to share your exact location so they can follow along.
One time, in the middle of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, I left the SPOT on the bumper of my truck and drove off, losing it in the middle of nowhere. I was super bummed and started backtracking, figuring it was a lost cause and resigned to the fact that it would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
We circled back along the same route (thanks to my dashboard GPS) more or less and had all but given up, but then spotted it by chance as we were heading back to town! Whew!
Know someone who loves to play or has always wanted to teach themselves to play guitar? I picked up the Hofner Travel Guitar which is ultra-portable, plays great, and is affordable. Read more about my travel guitar setup here.
This is also one on my wish list, but perfect for car camping or road trippers like me. Its burly design allows it to retain the cold much longer than a traditional cooler, meaning you can keep ice on hand for a week or more. That means fewer runs to the store and less sloshing around all that melted ice. Alternatively, there’s also the RTIC cooler for a slightly more economical price.
I love this portable speaker for days when we are hanging out in a hotel room, an awesome Airbnb, or sometimes even camping (if there is no one else around, of course). Turn on some music from Spotify, turn up the volume on a movie on the laptop, or just listen to a podcast. It’s a cheap and awesome speaker. The battery lasts a surprisingly long time too.
A Few More Gift Ideas for Specific Travelers
Looking for a few more ideas for gifts for adventure seekers, adventurous friends, or your boyfriend or girlfriend? I’ve included a few more gift or product guides for specific niches that might better apply to them…
For the hiker in your life, check out my favorite gear for trekking and hiking.
For the road tripper, check out these awesome products that made my life easier while living out of my truck for the better part of a year. From an awesome food thermos to multi-functional chargers, to a super comfortable portable bed–it’s nice to have a few creature comforts on the road. Or pick them up one of these must-read road trip books.
For the vehicle-dwelling road tripper, check out the truck camping gear essentials for a full run-down on the gear I use and love… This gear has taken me all over the USA (a few times) and all the way through Central American and South America.
For the book lover in your life, or for that person just itching for a big change in the New Year, check out my list of life-changing travel books which set me down my current path of perpetual travel in the pursuit of adventure and location independence.
Please take a minute to share these best gifts for adventure lovers on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!
What’s on your wish list? Sound off in the comments below and maybe someone will be good to you this year! 🙂
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