27 Backpacker Gift Ideas Under $50

It’s time to start thinking about Gift Ideas. Yes, Christmas season is almost upon us. If you or someone you know is a backpacker, gifts are inevitably going to cause you some headaches. I imagine most people are like me. You’re always looking for a deal. Something to keep the costs of this expensive season down, but ensure smiles are still had by all. Here are some of the best gift ideas for backpackers under $50 that I was able to find this year!

Outdoors Lover Gift Ideas

Microfiber Travel Towel

A travel towel is a bit of a boring gift, unless you’re Douglas Adams. But everyone washes, or at least they should, and if they don’t, maybe this will be the subtle reminder that it’s time to hit the showers, ’cause you got some serious stank. Compression Towels are a great space saver for backpackers. The best compression towels are anti-microbial, fast drying, large enough to wear out of a shower or use on a beach, and don’t feel like you’re drying yourself with a piece of scratchy cardboard. While Compression Towels are never going to outshine a bouncy 100% cotton towel, if you’re a backpacker it’s a convenient sacrifice!

J.R.R Tolkien Compass

J.R.R Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, once famously wrote “Not all those who wander are lost“. But if you’ve ever been lost, you’ll know that wandering isn’t exactly the best way to be found. You need to be smart, tactful, and if you’re going to attempt a self-rescue, you’re going to need to make sure you’re heading in the right direction, which means you need a compass. Why not get a classy pewter compass that highlights this famous quote and inspires you to travel. Lord of the Rings fan or not, you can’t tell me that this gift isn’t the bee’s knees.

BlizeTec 5-in-1 Survival Knife

Whether you’re backpacking, camping, or trekking through jungles or woods, a knife can be the most convenient and valuable survival tool. This high tech 5-in-1 folding knife includes an LED Flashlight, Seatbelt Cutter, Glass Breaker, Magnesium Firestarter, and a nylon belt clip. Just be sure to remind the gift receive to stow this away in their luggage. Last thing you’d want is to forget this in your carry-on.

Zipka Retractable Headlamp

I still backpack with one of these, and have had it for over 5 years. It is hands down one of the most used items in my backpack. Whether you’re camping and digging for something in your tent, or you come back to your hostel late but need something from your backpack and all your dorm-mates are asleep. Pop this fellow on and be in and out, just be sure not to point this thing at anyone, as these little headlamps are surprisingly be bright. It’s a one size fits all retractable strap, so no matter how big your dome is, it’ll fit. Other headlamps have bulky elastic straps, which take up a lot of room in your pack.  There are brighter more heavy duty versions out there, but unless the receiver of this gift is a spelunker, this will do just fine.

Check out this other list of gift ideas for a boyfriends and loved ones.

Foam Camping Mat

Prevent loss of body heat and get your body off the cold hard ground with this easy to roll up foam camping matt. While there are a bunch of inflatable versions out there, some that even compress smaller than this, they can be a hit and a miss, and unless you get into the +$100 range they’re not worth the risk. Bang for buck, this mat should suit most.

Photography Gift Ideas

SD Cards

Not much to be said here. Every camera carrying traveller needs SD cards. The more the merrier. Just ensure you remind the gift receiver to backup often. Just because you have 32gb doesn’t mean you have to wait until its full to backup. Learn from me, I lost an entire trip to Fiji after some salt water wrecked an SD card with all of my images on it. Always make sure you buy class 10 SD cards if you’re using a DSLR or plan on recording video.

Shutter Trigger

Shutter Trigger’s are great for taking long exposure shots, or just snapping from a distance. They’re super small in size, and are very easy to sneak into the tiny pockets you never use in your backpack. Brush up on astral photography and long exposures for some amazon sky photos.

Camera Lens Cleaner

Keep those lens clean. There’s nothing more time consuming than trying to fix spots in Lightroom or Photoshop. This portable lens cleaner removes dust and spots from the lens. I use this one regularly before going out to do any extended amount of shooting.

Magnetic Viewfinder Magnifier

If you plan on shooting video with your DSLR, this magnetic viewfinder magnifier is the perfect way to really hone in on what you’re camera is seeing by monitoring the LCD. I used this exact model on my semi-viral video about Halifax, Nova Scotia. It really helps block out light, great for recording video during the day.


A lens hood can help immensely with glare, and on top of that, they make your camera look way cool. Make sure you get the right size for the lens most used by your photographer-gift-receiver. There’s countless types and variations on these fellows, and you can get them for very cheap.

Digital Light Meter

A good photographer knows that mastering light is the most important aspect of the art of photography. This digital light meter makes that science a big easier. Ensuring your white balance is set to capture the precise colours that your eye is seeing is something many people struggle with. These digital light meters make that process a heckuva lot easier.

Portable 2-in-1 Light Reflectors

For those who take a lot of portraits, light reflectors can be a great way to bounce light and fill in shadows, making for more clear and professional photos. They also make a terrific warning signal if you’re ever stranded on a tropical island.

Techie Traveller Gift Ideas

Detachable Magnetic iPhone Lens’

The travelling instagrammers out there will love these detachable magnetic iphone lens’. They include a fisheye lens, a macro lens, a wide angle lens, and a telephone lens. These suckers take some surprisingly unique and interesting photos. I used the wide angle lens quite a bit a year ago, but unfortunately after putting a case on my phone, I couldn’t use it anymore and managed to lose the lens amongst my clutter.

Phone / USB Solar Charger

A superb way of keeping your devices charged. Use the awesome power of the sun to charge your phone, mp3 player (do people still use mp3 players?), or any other USB powered device. Great for getting a bit of extra juice while you’re out camping or doing any extended amount of backpacking.

External Power Pack

Need something that can hold a little more juice and doesn’t rely on the power of the sun. This external power pack can provide you with a second charge for your phone or USB powered devices. Great for full day trips where you know you’re not going to be near an outlet for a while. There’s nothing worse than making the trek out to see something new and unique, only to have your battery die. #instafail

Wifi Detector Keychain

Quickly check if there’s a Wifi signal nearby with this handy little keychain that can easily strap onto a backpack. There’s a few apps out there that do something similar, and likely provide more details (such as whether the signal is open or locked). But in a pinch, something like this can be handy if you’re just walking about town and looking for internet access.

Portal Combination Computer Lock

There’s nothing worse than being at a busy cafe, catching up with family or friends online, when it hits you. Natures call. But your coffee is only half done, and you’re not done with being online. Don’t bother packing up only to unpack after you do your thang. Setup your computer lock, and strap it to the table. Of course you could always ask your cafe neighbour if they can watch something for you, but if you’re paranoid they might be the computer thief in the cafe, you better play it safe. Photos, personal information, and a lifeline to your family… best to just lock up.

Worldwide Travel Power Adapter

As you may know, power here isn’t always the same as power there. Take the confusion away with this simple to use and compact Worldwide Travel Power Adapter. When you’re dealing with expensive electronics, it makes sense to spend a bit extra on converters. The last thing you want is for this piece to short out and cause you grief on the road.

Hippie Traveller Gift Ideas

Yoga Mat Travel

Get your namaste’s on with this unique item any yoga practicer will love. Portable, lightweight, compact and very grippy travel yoga mat.

Baoding Chinese Stress Balls

Relax and calm your nerves with these unique baoding chinese stress balls. Are they useful to travel? Probably not. Are they good for stress? I like to think so.

Multi Purpose Buff / Scarf / Headband

Dusty desert? Freezing cold climate? Humid environment. These multi purpose buffs not only look cool, but are functional as well. I keep mine in my backpack at all times, and you’ll always see it on my face while I’m out snowboarding, or spending any extended amount of time outside in the -30 degree weather.

Laughing Buddhas Set

Whether you’re buddhist, or just like looking at the chubby little guy, this set of laughing buddhas are easy to pack, and a great set to place near your bed stand, on your fireplace, or to give as gifts on the road to remind your newfound friends to smile, be happy, and live & let live.

Wooden Incense Gift Box

Class up incense stick burning with this wooden incense gift box. Fill it up with some incense sticks for a cheap, yet cute gift. A compartment to hold your sticks slides out below. “You can also put your weed in there…”

Canadian Gift Ideas

2 Cans of North Hatley Maple Syrup

This gourmet pure Canadian maple syrup is the real deal. Not all maple syrups are created equal, but these cans are sure to delight just about anyone with a sweet tooth. Share these with Quebecois Expats and watch them melt into a puddle of “OMG’s”.

Canadian Junk Food

Dill pickle chips, all dressed chips, hawkins cheezies, kinder surprises, hickory sticks, big turks, coffee crisps, the list goes on. Surprise your loved ones with the gift of unhealthy eating. Check out my list of Canada’s Favourite Junk Food Items for more inspiration.

Bulk Box of KD

Nothing says I care about you like a bulk box of Kraft Dinner. Canada’s favourite budget friendly meal. I once read that Canadians consume the most KD per capita than any country in the world. Do I see that as a problem? Heck no!

Maple Syrup Candle

Relive the memories of your last batch of pancakes or waffles with this Maple Syrup scented Candle. While Candle’s aren’t exactly the most travel-friendly item to give to someone about to hit the road. It can be the perfect gift to share to someone leaving Canada to live and work outside of the country.

Suggest an idea for a Gift Below

I’m sure that some of these gifts are out there. But what-the-hey! They all seem like things I wouldn’t be upset to receive. If you have suggestions for other gifts under $50 please leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: Just a heads up! The links found within this Gift Ideas post are affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase an item within 24 hours of clicking one of these links, Amazon will share 4% of the purchase price with me, which will immediately go into paying back my Federal Student Loans. Not the most exciting place to spend my money, I know, but you do what you gotta do.

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