It feels safe to assume that—after spending the better part of four years cooped up inside classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, and/or dorm rooms—any grad is ready for a change of scenery. For graduates who truly love not just going out but going into the actual outdoors, that feeling is probably tenfold. Now that all their schoolwork is done, grades have been entered, and degrees are in hand, these grads will surely feel it’s time for an adventure, and you can help by giving graduation gifts for outdoor lovers that travel well. Wherever their love for the outdoors lies, we have you covered with this graduation gift guide.
Things to consider when picking graduation gifts for folks who love the outdoors
From lite hiking gifts to entertaining accessories to full-on camping gifts, you can help recent graduates prepare for whatever their next exploration entails. Or, for graduates moving to a new city or starting a new job and unsure they’ll get out much in those early post-grad days, give graduation gifts that remind them of what they love, from naturally scented candles to beautiful nature prints.
Fun graduation gifts for campers: Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock
Relax Anytime Anywhere
Here’s a super-lightweight, easily foldable way to make a camping adventure fun and relaxing.. Wise Owl Outfitters
If your favorite grad is equipped with just about everything they need to make it through a backcountry trip, get them camping gifts to introduce even more relaxation and fun to their next outdoor escape. A camping hammock is a perfect way to sit back, take a nap, read a book, or drink a calming beverage outdoors. This is the best hammock from Wise Owl and weighs under 2 pounds, including the hanging straps, so it’s perfect for campers who prioritize portability. When packed down, it’s about the size of a grapefruit, so your grad should be able to easily carry it with them or keep it stashed away in their car. Each hammock comes with tree straps and carabiners for easy setup, no need for any additional equipment. It comes in over 10 colors, so you can choose their favorite. It’s 9-feet long and 4.5-feet wide, with a 400-pound weight limit, which should be suitable for just about any user. You can even grab a two-person hammock (weighing only 5 ounces more) if they tend to go camping with a partner or friend.
A great gift for grad parties in the backyard or the woods: Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2
Tiny But Mighty
An excellent way for grads to listen to their favorite songs on the go, from trekking trips to backyard BBQs. Ultimate Ears
No graduation gift guide would be complete with some great speakers. If your recent grad is always on the go—heading out for day hikes, camping trips, beach hangouts, long bike rides, and more—you can’t go wrong gifting them a portable Bluetooth speaker. No matter where they are or what they are doing, a smartphone and a compact speaker will provide the perfect soundtrack for any outdoor activity. The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is an excellent option, weighing under 1 pound and equipped with a flexible handle that can easily attach to a backpack, bike basket, or belt loop. It’s only 4-inches tall, but the small, compact design doesn’t mean you sacrifice anything when it comes to sound. The portable speaker can reach up to 87 decibels (equivalent to standing next to a loud blender or vacuum) and produces full 360-degree sound coverage. This powerful Bluetooth speaker can also withstand the elements; it has an IP67 rating, which means it can survive being dropped into a body of water up to a meter deep for half an hour, plus it’s dirt/dust-resistant. In addition, the battery lasts a full 13 hours, so your grad can jam outside all day long.
Graduation gift guide for hikers: Smartwool Hiking Crew Socks
Soft And Strong
Sturdy socks will stop blisters in their tracks and keep them hiking for miles. Smartwool
A hiker is only as good as their socks are strong, so give a grad who loves to ramble amongst the rocks a pair that will last. While socks may seem like a simple gift, a quality pair or two is one of those hiking gifts that can go a long way. You’ll be taking care of an essential need any avid hiker has and investing in their overall outdoor experiences. Take it from us: nothing ruins a hike faster than angry blisters and constant friction. Smartwool hiking socks come in various colors and sizes, both men’s and women’s. From a tried and true brand, these socks are designed for rugged day hikes and moderate backpacking. An elasticized arch brace provides extra support, medium cushioning absorbs impact, and a flat-toe seam keeps things comfortable. Made from Merino wool and nylon, these socks will keep their feet warm even during cold winter hikes. If your loved one likes to embark on a variety of adventures, you can check out Smartwool’s other socks specifically designed for activities like running, cycling, skiing, and more.
A cool gift for your grad’s new apartment: Fuzzy Ink Wilderness Print
Creative And Inspiring
A stylish piece of art to adorn the walls of a brand new apartment, reminding them daily of the outdoors they love. Fuzzy Ink
The perfect grad gifts for outdoor lovers aren’t always the ones they’ll bring with them on their adventures. A woodsy print or poster is a great present for a graduate who needs a little help decorating their new apartment. At this point, they might have all the gear they need, but what they probably don’t have are elegant pieces that express their personality but also provide a sense of maturity for an adult abode. This print from Fuzzy Ink is an artistic way for your grad to stay inspired. It measures 18 inches by 24 inches and is printed on coated paper with a matte finish, so they won’t have any trouble finding a great spot to display it. This print quietly depicts the beauty and awe that many outdoor enthusiasts find so mesmerizing about being in nature. From the crackling campfire to the expansive display of fir trees, this particular piece is sure to bring joy to a grad who longs to roam around the forest.
Best graduation gifts for outdoor athletes: CamelBak Octane Dart Hydration Pack
Keep Them Hydrated
Your grad will stay healthy and happy with 50 ounces of water to keep them going. CamelBak
Any outdoor lover knows how important it is to stay hydrated. Whether hiking, cycling or running, drinking water is key to preventing heat stroke, dehydration, fatigue, and other issues. Of course, a water bottle is the first thing we think of when it comes to H2O on the go; however, bottles can be bulky and cumbersome. So, if you want to get your grad a great outdoor gift that prioritizes function and efficiency, we recommend a CamelBak Hydration Pack. This multisport hydration backpack can hold 50 ounces of water and easily straps to your back with a long drinking tube and trap management to make hydrating hands-free. All they need to do is bite down and suck to get as much water as necessary—no need to stop during a long run or bike ride to grab a water bottle. The 3D vent mesh provides lightweight comfort and airflow, while front harness pockets can hold snacks, sunscreen, and other essentials. Reflectivity strips are added for extra safety during early morning or nighttime exercise. Your grad will be able to get a run in anytime, anywhere, and stay hydrated all the while.
Best personalized graduation gifts: Engraved Compass
A Sentimental Gift for Explorers
A thoughtful way to give them something practical and pretty to guide them on their next adventure. Etsy
A personalized gift is always a good idea, especially when you’re celebrating a significant achievement. Giving a gift designed specifically for them, something special that only they will have, will let your grad know how much you care for and support them. If you want to give a personalized gift that’s suited for the outdoors, check out these engraved compasses. You can choose from existing mountainscapes or upload your own favorite photos and illustrations to be perfectly recreated on the compass’s cover. Practically any part of the compass can include an etching, so you won’t have to choose between a picture or message. You can even ask for your own handwriting to be impressed on the metal so your graduate can take a piece of you with them no matter where they travel.
A useful graduation gifts for the outdoors: Victorinox Swiss Army One-Hand Trekker Knife
Classic And Cool
With 12 functions, including a screwdriver, bottle opener, and scissors, they’ll be prepared for anything nature can throw at them. Victorinox
Outdoor enthusiasts know that it’s essential to prioritize gear that is lightweight, portable, and multipurpose. You will rarely find a seasoned camper lugging around a toolbox, though the need for various utensils and instruments is frequent. From quick repairs to food preparation, a survival tool or multipurpose knife is a helpful gift for anyone who spends a lot of time outside (they can also be pretty practical for indoor use). A Swiss Army knife is not only practical, but classic and cool. A household name when it comes to compact knives, the Trekker lives up to the hype. Its attached tools include a wood saw, large blade, 3-millimeter and 5-millimeter screwdrivers, wire stripper, can opener, tweezers, toothpick, and more. It’s one of those camping gifts that offer pretty much everything you need to make it through trek without any issues. A knife like this is a thoughtful graduation gift that they are guaranteed to use for years to come.
A thoughtful gift to bring the outdoors indoors: Paddywax Candles Parks Collection
Subtle Scents For Serenity
Sweet smells can remind them of travels to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and more. Paddywax Candles
A candle is a fantastic gift for any graduate, signifying new beginnings and ordaining their adult apartment, or childhood bedroom, with sophisticated, balanced scents to keep them calm as they figure out their next steps. If your recent grad pines for the outdoors but doesn’t have time to travel just yet, we recommend gifting a candle that brings nature to them. Paddywax has created a National Park Service-inspired collection that features the complex aromas of our country’s natural wonders. “Yellowstone” has hints of sagebrush and fir, the “Great Smoky Mountains” features Maplewood and moss, “Acadia” has seagrass and driftwood, while the “Grand Canyon” smells like cactus flower and fern. Each candle is 11 ounces and has a burn time between 50 and 60 hours. When they’ve used up every drop of wax the candle has to offer, grads can upcycle the jars and repurpose them as plant pots, beauty tool holders, catch-alls, and more. Best of all, Paddywax donates a minimum of $25,000 per year to the National Parks Foundation, so your gift will not only go to your graduate but support the beautiful natural landmarks they love so much.
Best gift for day trips: YETI Packable Lunch Bag
Practical Use Practically Anywhere
An easy way to keep meals cold, this bag is great whether they are going into the office or setting off on their next hike. YETI
There is only one thing better than a day outdoors, and that is a day outdoors with snacks. Whether they plan on packing a lunch for a mountaintop picnic or bringing a few celebratory drinks to a grad party on the beach, beverages and munchies are a must-have for your graduate’s next outside hang. A cooler is the best way to keep their tasty treats fresh all day long, so they never have to worry about their food heating up in the sun while they hike or swim. A YETI lunch bag is the perfect gift for grads to take food outside or pack a tasty lunch for their new job. Available in two sizes, a standard box or larger bag, and a variety of colorways, this pack uses “coldcell flex insulation” technology and a “thermosnap” closure to keep food at the correct temperature, hot or cold. The adjustable grid means you can set the size by simply closing the top hook into any one of the available hoops. That way, the lunch bag can easily fit under a desk or be stuffed with snacks and drinks using all of its available 15.75 inches. This bag will pair well with just about any outdoor excursion, so your grad will be able to pack all the necessities and then some.
A unique gift for your grad to wear: Outdoor Life Tee
Comfortable And Cozy
An easy way for a grad to wear their love for the outdoors on their sleeves, literally. 540Brands
If you want to get sweet, versatile graduation gifts that are guaranteed to make them smile, go with cute graphic tees like this one from Outdoor Life. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, the “Go Play Outside” slogan is a fun way for you to tell everyone you see where your priorities lie. Made from 100-percent cotton and available in five colorways, this T-shirt will complement any hunter, angler, hiker, camper, surfer, sailor—just about any outdoor enthusiast you could think of. The soft material makes these tees particularly great for lounging around a campfire, though we recommend sizing up for maximum coziness—your grad will thank you.
Looking in at the best graduation gifts for outdoors
We hope these graduation gifts for grads who love the outdoors has filled you with ideas and inspiration for the perfect present. Whether you’re celebrating a trekking champion, kayaking aficionado, or dedicated camper, you’re sure to find grad gifts for outdoor lovers that fit their specific interests. After all, a graduation gift, whether it’s hiking gifts or camping gifts or apartment decor, is about celebrating their accomplishments and encouraging them to follow their dreams while holding onto their passions.
Here’s another graduation guide, in case you need help: Best Graduation Gifts for Travelers.
PopSci wants to help you find the most useful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Searching for more unique gifts? Check out more gift guides here: Gifts & Toys for Kids, Gifts for Outdoorsy People, Best Gifts for Travelers.