Teens have grown beyond their parents making all the choices for their outdoor gear and clothing. They have ideas of their own about what they wear and how to present themselves to the world. Often those ideas have more to do with fashion than function, am I right?!
Many times teens aren’t spending their own money on products (especially big ticket items) so we lovingly try to guide them towards what is a good investment while letting them put their own spin and style into use. It’s a season of life where at this minute they love skiing but next month it’s everything comic con and that’s normal and ok and will change again.
Here are some of our tried and true affordable gifts for outdoorsy teenager which still encourage a love of the outdoors as they continue to discover who they are.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Our Winter Teen Favorites
Base layers and boots might not be high on your teen’s wish list this year but we know they are essential for enjoying the activities of winter. Here are some favorites from brands we love.
Favorite Base Layers for Teens
Iksplor’s baselayers are 100% merino wool. They come in a range of colors, are durable, and stink free! The wide waist band of the leggings is comfortable. The material is thick enough to wear without a top layer. Important because you know your teens will just wear them as a stand alone legging anyway.
Iksplor’s baselayer long sleeve tops are awesome also. Smooth flatlock seams mean no itching while wearing. Thumbholes keep the sleeves in place and wrists warm.
Wool socks, an essential piece of your teen’s cozy wardrobe. Still insulating when wet, great around the house, and breathable for sweaty activities. Oh, and they resist stink because of wool’s antimicrobial properties!
Favorite Boots for Teenagers
Classic winter styling along with Helly Hansen’s commitment to quality. Waterproof suede upper with cozy faux fur lining. We love that they are lightweight and feature grippy tread for slippery conditions.
A refresh on the classic work boot featuring waterproof leather, the Bowstring Boots go from the school hallway to the woods with ease. They are well insulated with a rating to -22 degrees Fahrenheit. Reviews suggest sizing down a half size for a comfortable fit.
Favorite Outerwear for Teens
Teens (at least mine!) are notorious for underdressing in extreme conditions. Layering is a great option to make sure they have what they need when weather hits.
The Helly Hansen Odin Jacket is a stretchy breathable soft shell designed for wearing under a waterproof shell or on its own when they don’t need additional protection.
We love a simple add-on piece that extends the season for a teens go to outfit. Our family uses waterproof pants when we harvest maple syrup in the woods of Minnesota. They are easy to move in, take on and off, and lightweight.
Gifts for Camping Teens
Maybe teens are still camping exclusively with the family or maybe they are venturing out with friends. Outfitting them with their own gear encourages them to blaze new trails.
The Deuter Speed Lite 21 pack has Deuter’s high quality construction in a lightweight compact pack perfect for a weekender or day hike. It features an ergonomic design that hugs the spine, perfect for our growing adolescents. We like that the waist belt is removable for a more streamlined option. The Deuter Speed Lite 21 is also available at REI.
This is a great starter set up for your camping teen. Cookware and utensils for two people along with MSR’s classic lightweight PocketRocket Stove. The packed weight comes in under 2lb (minus fuel pod), and of course it all nests together compactly.
Opinel knives are made in France using the same design since the 1800s. They are sharp and lightweight, have a durable beechwood handle, and are inexpensive in case they get lost. We love the twistable locking ring that keeps the blade open or shut.
Music at the campsite may be a controversial topic but odds are your teen is listening on their headphones anyway. Bring the teen and the tunes out of the tent with a waterproof speaker. It’s totally up to you whether you bust out awkward parent dance moves for your kids but you probably should at least once.
Outdoor Art Supplies for Teens
Art and nature don’t need to be separate pursuits. More and more people are enjoying activities like painting en plein air (outside). Encourage your artistic teen to venture outdoors with supplies that are designed for the elements.
Granite Gear’s Undyed Packs are just asking to be decorated. Check out Wandering Pine’s tutorial on how she created her “Art Pack”! Not only a fun surface to express yourself, Granite Gear’s packs are solidly designed and a great long term investment into your teen’s trail life.
For your own Art Pack project your teen needs some permanent ink. These dual tip fabric markers have a range of colors and will help their designs last through sun and rain.
You may have a teen that just doesn’t value racking up mileage on the trail and would rather soak in the peace and quiet of a few hours in the woods. We’d all probably be a littler better off with that practice in our regular lives!
A lightweight watercolor kit is a wonderful tool to encourage your teen to sit down and spend time observing their surroundings. Check out our post on Nature Journaling for more ideas.
A pair of convertible mittens allows your teen to keep most of their hands warm while performing detailed tasks, such as watercolor painting in the woods!
Gifts for Athletic Teens
Sometimes it feels like teens are in and out of new activities every week. Having well made gear that transitions from the gym to the crag keeps clutter at bay (and our wallets a little less empty!).
More from one of our favorite brands! Iksplor has tons of great colors to choose from that are all Blue Sign approved. AND, once your merino clothes from Iksplor are worn out (it will take a long time) they can actually be composted in 6 months!
All that said, this unisex hoodie mid layer is great for climbing (see pic below) or just chilling. Same great construction as the base layer long sleeve but with slightly heavier wool fabric.
Iksplor’s Unisex Jogger mid layer fits a little more baggy than the base layer bottoms. They are great for your teen’s after practice or apres ski outfit. Lightweight, insulating, and breathable they are comfy and durable.
My daughter loves her Brooks running shoes. Light and supportive, we’ve shifted more towards trail running shoes for hiking and backpacking trips. I like to still have waterproof footwear so I’m not worried about wet feet on the trail.
Teens love these shoes for their great traction for all-around adventuring. They’re durable, comfortable, and work great for almost all conditions. Also available for teen boys.
Gifts for Adventure Teens
For the teen thats always on the go, these items will help them keep their gear organized and track their outdoor pursuits.
We love the included backpack straps for an alternate carry option on the Marmot Duffel. It’s durable, not too large for a teen to tote around, and brightly colored so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
These bluetooth ear buds stay put whether you’re running trails or practicing your vinyasa. One of our favorite features is the charging case so the headphones don’t rattle around your teen’s backpack getting dirty or squished. They are also water resistant, you can use one or both, and easily take calls.
Teens love the sophisticated activity tracking of Garmin. We love the GPS and satellite tracking options. The watch face is large but the watch is lightweight overall.
Gifts for Hygge Loving Teens
Danish for coziness and contentment “hygge” has become a buzzword lately. And why not!? Winter is the perfect time to snuggle in and watch snow fall. But you can do that while winter camping also right? Here is some gear to keep your teen cozy inside or outside this winter.
Made from 100% recycled materials and vegan friendly this blanket ticks all the eco conscious boxes. It’s a great addition to your teen’s gear stash for this winter’s activities, from the slopes to the fireside. And it’s got a great National Parks motif!
Luci solar powered lights are durable, have a great battery life, and are easy to charge. The Luci Candle is a charming inflatable light that mimics a candles warm flickering light. It’s a perfect touch for your teens bedroom, at home or in a cabin this winter!
Cozy and lightweight, these slippers are perfect for the campsite or cabin. Primaloft insulation continues to insulate if it gets damp. Make a note that the version on the REI website seems to run more towards women’s sizing and not men’s.
What’s a chilly evening without a warm drink? A standard in insulated drinkware and coolers you know this mug will keep the heat in for hours. My teen daughter mentioned a Yeti with a handle specifically when I asked for cozy gift ideas so there you have it.
Survival Gifts for Teenagers
Do you have a teen in Scouts? Or one that you could see happily living out the storyline of My Side of the Mountain? It seems like a fair number of kids go through a survivalist phase (maybe some of us never came out of it…) Here are some gifts for your resident Bear Grylls.
A camp stove, but it’s a camp stove that burns twigs! It burns efficiently so doesn’t take a lot of wood for cooking, though it will take longer to boil water than a gas stove.
The TOAKS titanium stove is lightweight and sturdy. Grab the TOAKS 750ml pot to go with. The stove nests inside.
If you’ve got a kid doing Scouting or SAR (Search And Rescue) training this is a great gift. Also a perfect emergency kit to throw in a pack for any kind of adventure. Kit contains a survival blanket, signaling mirror, rescue whistle, fire striker, waterproof tinder, compass, duct tape and a survival fishing and sewing kit. It’s contained in a lightweight waterproof bag.
This sturdy deck of recycled plastic cards takes the Leave No Trace principles and expands on them in detail. We love that each card highlights how to responsibly recreate during a specific activity, a great resource for our teens to learn from! Cards have a hanger hole so they can be clipped to the outside of pack.
Fixed blade knives are stronger and more durable than a folding knife. If you’ve got a kid who’s serious about their bushcraft then a fixed blade knife is an essential piece. Gerber is a mainstay in the knife and multitool world. This knife comes with a sheath for safe storage and carrying.
Card Games for Teens
Games aren’t just for fun, as great as that is! As our teens grow we sometimes need an excuse to connect, when a simple “How are you?” is consistently met with “Fine”. Here are a few of our favorites.
A fast paced card game for up to four. There is also an expansion pack for up to eight players. Things can get pretty competitive and endless rounds inevitably ensue. This is one of our favorite card games to take camping.
What more to say!? We love that UNO is a game our littles and bigs can play together. For as long as the goodwill lasts that is.
Not as creepy as it sounds, if you’ve played “Mafia” or “Among Us” you get the gist. Played with a group of people, one “Werewolf” secretly tags others trying not to be caught. My kids are constantly trying to rustle up enough people to play, in the house and outside too.
A perfect way to spark conversation and stories around the dinner table or the campfire. Cards include a question or prompt to get the ideas flowing.
Gifts for Collector Teens
Do all teens go through collecting phases? Just mine? It’s kind of delightful to see what items our kids hold onto as they get older, which things are imbued with memories they treasure.
My kids love to commemorate a trip with something from the State Park ranger station or National Park gift shop. For the littles it’s a stuffed animal (every. single. time.) but the bigs are reaching for stickers and patches to highlight their adventures.
Stickers! Our teens get excited about stickers as a simple way to represent a special destination or journey we’ve taken. Of course, enough of them and they’ll need another one of the next product.
Why does your collection loving teen need an even larger Nalgene water bottle? More room for stickers! Or so my collection loving teen tells me.
A wearable record of National Parks they’ve visited, the Parks Project Tee has a list with checkboxes for each of our national treasures. Nothing like a visible reminder that your family needs to visit more of them!
The Simple Book Pack was recently featured in an iconic Hollywood franchise about a famous archeologist. We’ll let you guess…
Minnesota homegrown company Frost River still makes all their products, including these packs, at their storefront in Duluth, Minnesota. Solidly built vintage style and plenty of room for patches (see below).
One of my teens has quite a stash of patches going, just waiting to be affixed to the perfect pack. I guess maybe that’s the next gift!
Gifts for Outdoor Teens
I think most of us would agree that we hope our kids leave the nest just bursting with wonderful memories of being in the great outdoors as a family. From those early days carrying them down every path to finding them waiting for us by the sign at the turnoff to getting updates about their own adventures via text we are there for it all.
Sure, gifts can sometimes be a major investment on a financial level, but we’re there for that too. At Tales of a Mountain Mama we believe the biggest gift to your teen is your intentional involvement in their life. If that looks like time together outdoors then all the better. Enjoy this season of celebrating who they are becoming on and off the trail.
Looking for More Gift Ideas for Outdoor Families?
Gifts for Outdoorsy Teenagers 2023
© 2023, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.