OK, I'll get off the gift kick after this, but here's another travel gear gift guide that's highly practical and doesn't tell you to go out and buy the coolest new gadgets. Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding, offers Five Gifts for the Independent Traveler.
This is geared to long-term travelers, so it stresses the importance of considering bulk and weight in the equation. Yes, hiking boots look really enticing when you're browsing in the store, but they're kind of a pain when you're on the road for months on end. A lot of people end up tying them on the outside of their pack, which looks pretty silly and can end up bopping someone in the head at the most inopportune time.
Those nice digital SLR cameras also may seem ideal for a world traveler, but once again, not very practical. "First, a digital camera that is small enough to fit into a pants-pocket is ideal for most travelers, since it requires less storage space, and is convenient to bring and use in most any situation. Second, the rigors of travel mean that a digital camera is more likely to be lost, stolen, or knocked into the mud than one being used at home. Thus, don't spent exorbitant amounts on a travel camera; just get a quality, inexpensive digital model that is (comparatively) painless to replace in the event of a mishap."