The 10 Best Gifts for Ultralight Backpackers of 2021

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The 10 Best Gifts for Ultralight Backpackers of 2021

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They throw around words like “base weight” and track their gear in a spreadsheet. Most of your conversations with them are about things they’re leaving at home, not things they’re taking with them: Shopping for a dedicated ultralighter can be a challenge. The solution: Get them one of these lightweight gifts, which will help them in their quest to drop ounces (and maybe even sneak a little bit of comfort into their pack.)

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Grayl UltraPress Filter and Purifier
Grayl UltraPress Filter and Purifier (Photo: courtesy)

At 12.5 oz, Grayl’s new UltraPress filter is compact, easy to use, and perfect for a lightweight kit. Fill the outer vessel and press down on the internal tube with the filter to produce 16.9 ounces of clean water. It removes waterborne pathogens and filters sediment, pesticides, heavy metals, VOCs, flavors, and more. Buy Now

Janji Zephyr Trail Runner Cap
Janji Zephyr Trail Runner Cap (Photo: courtesy)

Protect your dome and face from the elements with Janji’s lightest-to-date hat, which weighs just 1 ounce. The nylon fabric with UPF 25+ sheds rain and blocks wind. An elastic bungee with a rubber toggle cinches tight so it doesn’t blow off during gusty runs, but also expands over ear warmers. Buy Now

Sea to Summit Alto Semi-Freestanding Ultralight Tent
Sea to Summit Alto Semi-Freestanding Ultralight Tent (Photo: courtesy)

Weighing just 2 pounds 9 ounces, this semi-freestanding Sea to Summit tent has room for two people to sleep comfortably. Double vestibules provide extra space in bad weather, and a light pocket at the tent’s apex provides a soft illumination using your headlamp. The Alto also comes in a one-person model that’s 2 pounds 1 ounce for $50 less. Buy Now

Nocs Provisions Monocular Telescope + Photo Rig
Nocs Provisions Monocular Telescope + Photo Rig (Photo: courtesy)

Get a closer look at everything from faraway mountains to under-your-nose bugs with Nocs Provisions’ Monocular Telescope, which weighs 9.5 ounces—much less than binoculars. The 4x zoom multiplier provides a clear view, and the scope is resistant to rain, fog, and snow. The optional Inspector Microscope ($35) refocuses the lenses to let you zoom in on flowers and other small details; attach a Photo Rig Smartphone Adapter ($27) to use it as a lens. Buy Now

Smartwool Women’s Zero Cushion Low Ankle Sock Trio
Smartwool Women’s Zero Cushion Low Ankle Sock Trio (Photo: courtesy)

Smartwool’s zero cushion low-cut socks are minimalist, but with all the wicking and odor management benefits of a substantial merino wool sock. The tab at the back stays up in ankle-height shoes, while the body-mapped mesh zones reduce pressure and increase air flow. Buy Now

Artilect Boulder 125 Tee
Artilect Boulder 125 Tee (Photo: courtesy)

From new merino baselayer brand, Artilect, the Boulder 125 Tee is a silky all-season option for hitting the trail. Unlike lesser merino, the brand drafts wool fibers around a performance filament rather than twisting them into ropes, adding durability and softness. Seams at the shoulders lay flat under pack straps, and the shirt doesn’t ride up thanks to a longer cut. Buy Now

Klymit V Seat
Klymit V Seat (Photo: courtesy)

When you don’t want to bring a full camp chair, but still want a cushioned seat, the Klymit V Seat makes for a comfy and lightweight option. When folded, it fits in the palm of your hand and weighs just 2.6 ounces. It only takes a few breaths to blow it up, too. Buy Now

Montbell Men’s Permafrost Light Down
Montbell Men’s Permafrost Light Down (Photo: courtesy)

This men’s parka offers a ton of warmth for only 12 ounces. The seam-sealed Gore-Tex Infinium exterior and 800-fill-power down keep you warm, while the hem, cuff, and hood adjusters prevent gusty wind from sneaking in. Buy Now

Nathan TrailMix 7 Liter Unisex Race Vest
Nathan TrailMix 7 Liter Unisex Race Vest (Photo: courtesy)

For fast and light ascents, Nathan’s TrailMix race vest is an excellent deal. Even with 7 liters of storage capacity and an included 2 liter bladder (weighing 11 ounces in total), this pack didn’t bounce on trail runs thanks to adjustable side straps. Mesh material wicks away sweat without chafing exposed skin. Buy Now

Snow Peak sporks
Snow Peak’s Titanium Sporks (Photo: courtesy)

If you’ve ever hiked in a group, it’s nearly guaranteed you’ve seen this spork around. Basically indestructible, good-looking, and highly functional, Snow Peak’s all-purpose utensil weighs a scant .6 ounces, making it an ideal stocking-stuffer. Buy Now

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