Yes, it is great to shave weight off of your pack. But, we all also have those special little doodads that make our time on the trail a little more fun or comfortable. And these items happen to make perfect additions to any hiker’s stocking.

Below, we’ll introduce you to the different categories of doodads to consider as stocking stuffers for the hikers in your life. And we’ll also point you toward some of our favorites here at Gossamer Gear.

Your Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Hikers: The Categories

Not all doodads are the same. To create the perfect mix of hiker stocking stuffers, you need to make sure you’re hitting a variety of categories so your hiker’s gear is diverse and useful. For example, they probably don’t want to carry ten different hiking spoons (but, hey, also hike your own hike if that’s your thing!).

Here are some of the main categories to consider when amassing hiker stocking doodads:

  1. First Aid: Think individual servings of ibuprofen, mini tubes of antibiotic ointment, or moleskin. Check out our interview with Gossamer Gear founder Glen Van Peski for inspiration on how to make a lightweight first aid kit.
  2. Backcountry Kitchen: Eating utensils, pocket stoves, coffee cups. Think about the little pieces that can give your hiker pal a lovely meal on trail.
  3. Repair: Patch kits, sewing kits, multi-use tools, duct tape, motivational poems. Things break on trail. Gift your hiker some little items to help them put themselves back together again when they do.
  4. Potty Time: Everybody poops. Everybody pees. Consider items like the Kula Cloth that can become a hiker’s new best friend when taking care of business in the great outdoors.
  5. Sleepy Time: After a long day on the trail, there’s nothing quite like cozying up to catch some z’s. Lots of sleeping gear packs down small, making it perfect for hiker stocking stuffers. Think inflatable pillows or pads, tent stakes, headlamps for setting up after dark, or an eye mask to deal with your hiking partner who won’t turn off their headlamp.
  6. Comfort: Different things make different hikers more comfortable on trail. This category can range from a bug headnet to mini lip balm to a full on favorite hoodie (though you may have to wrap that one instead of stuffing it into the stocking).
  7. Usefulness: Some doodads are legitimately useful while on trail. Think carabiners and rope for hanging a bear bag. Or different bungee attachments for gear on your pack.
  8. Memories: Lightweight pens and notepads to capture stories and scenes from the trail or other ways to bring home the memories are doodads worth carrying.
  9. Flair: Whether a super sweet Buff or some colorful compression cords, it’s important to add a little pizzazz to your hiker’s trail life.
  10. Hydration: Consider lightweight water filters, ways to attach water to a pack, or fun items for creating your own lightweight water bottles.
  11. Navigation: Make sure your hiker makes it home by stuffing their stocking with maps and compasses.

So, You Know the Hiker Stocking Stuffer Categories—Now What?

Now it is time to map these categories to the various super fun, lightweight, and awesome doodads we carry on the Gossamer Gear site, of course! We partner with some other great brands that share our vision to allow our site to be a one-stop shop for all of your hiking and backpacking needs. 

So, below, you’ll find a quick cheat sheet for this year’s stocking for the hikers in your life!

1. Sierra Sage Green Goo First Aid & Outdoor Salve

Green Goo has a powerful blend of organic herbs that fight infection while reducing pain and inflammation. It is a perfect go-to salve for all your basic first-aid needs, from soothing and moisturizing dry, cracked hands and feet, to taking the sting and itch out of pesky insect bites.

2. Long-Handle Bamboo Spoon

Our customers rave about this lightweight, naturally odor-, stain-, and water-resistant bamboo spoon! Made out of sustainable, natural material, this spoon will let your loved ones enjoy their backcountry meal without that metallic taste of titanium. Make sure to let them know about our blog post on how to take care of the spoon, and you’ll have a perfect lightweight stocking stuffer for your hiker.

3. Tenacious Repair Tape

Tenacious Tape is ideal for fast, in-the-field repairs on backpacks, bug mesh, and more. Instantly seals leaking seams, tears, and pinholes, stops rips from spreading, and acts as an abrasion-resistant shield on high-wear areas.

4. Deuce Backpacking Trowel

Hey, everybody poops. And, at 0.45 ounces, this trowel weighs the same as 10 small blueberries. As we like to say, both are good for pooping in the woods! Compact enough to slip right into the side pocket of a backpack—or into a stocking.

5. Air Head Lite Ultralight Pillow

This pillow’s soft stretch knit fabric only weighs a couple ounces and packs down small enough to fit in your pocket. The non-slip fabric also keeps the pillow in place. Don’t let the minimal pack size fool you. This pillow provides the perfect amount of loft for comfy nights at camp.

6. Joshua Tree Mini Lip Balm

Adorably little and incredibly necessary, lightweight hikers will love finding this lip balm in their stocking. Ensure their lips don’t get burned out there in the elements and stuff a couple of these into their stockings this year.

7. Mini Carabiner

There are so many things you can do with carabiners, both on and off the trail! If you decided to fill a stocking with nothing but carabiners, we’d stand by you in that decision.

8. Rite in the Rain Waterproof Notebook

Once your hiker pals head out into the woods with the amazing lightweight stockings you created for them, they are bound to get overwhelmed by feelings of joy and gratitude. They will want to capture these into beautiful poems to share with you upon their return home. Help them out by adding one of these waterproof notebooks in their stockings.

9. Buff

We offer cool and custom Buffs...the only way to be. Your hiker will be on the trail in style with Buffs offered in blue, gold, and pink.

10. Evernew Water Carry

These collapsible water carriers come with a built-in shock cord for storage, three-layer polyethylene construction, antibacterial treatment, attached textured cap, and a tapered body allowing it to stand on a flat surface when full. All are compatible with Sawyer Water Filtration Systems.

11. Suunto Clipper Compact Compass

While much smaller than a typical compass, you do not lose any quality. This mini compass functions in extreme conditions and even underwater. This quick and reliable little guy also glows in low light. You can rotate the dial to indicate the exact rotational heading degree in reference to North. This mini compass also includes a clip that easily goes onto any clothing cuff, watch, map edge, etc.

Last, But Not Least—We Want to See Your Hiker Stockings!

If you create the world’s most amazing lightweight hiker stocking this holiday season, we want to see it! Share it with us by tagging @gossamergear and using the hashtag #takelessdomore. Happy trails!

December 15, 2021 — Korrin Bishop