Thursday, March 24, 2016

8 Ways to Save Some Bucks on Backpacking Essentials

We all know that backpacking gear can get fairly expensive. For many it’s not feasible to get the newest, lightest, greatest thing out there. So what are ways to save a little money here and there when it comes to gear without costing a bunch and carrying heavy gear?

Check your big box stores for clothing ideas. Many of them are carrying synthetic type garments just fine for backpacking. You don’t have to shell out $60 for a shirt but can get it for $15. Same with synthetic pullovers, hats, gloves, hiking socks (now is the time to stock up on winter clearance items too!).
Sitting on my 50 cent seat cushion.

Look for deals online and in your community. Browse thrift stores for gear. Many thrift stores like Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. will get gear in that can be used. Clothes, outerwear, sometimes even other gear like sleeping pads. I have also scoured ads for yard sales that might be carrying gear and took for several years a Thermarest seat cushion I got for fifty cents at a yard sale. You never know! If you have an REI near you, get on their email list for their garage sale events. Great way to get gear real cheap. Many outfitters want to unload returned merchandise. Especially if they loan it out for rent. Ask around and see what they can do for you. Scour store clearance areas online for great deals where they are unloading old models of gear. 

Browse used gear forums. There are many online and in social media. Most go under Backpacking Gear Flea Markets on Facebook (there's at least five of them if not more). has a used gear forum also. Negotiate where you can. 

Other ideas for gear:

Smartwater bottle for a Nalgene. $1 for $8-10 saved, and it weighs less too.

A grease pot for a titanium pot. Only $8 vs $20-30 for a small pot that works fine for cooking

A homemade alcohol stove. You can make your own soda can stove, but be sure you test it. Flair ups is what causes damage to shelters and picnic areas and can cause burns. There is also cheap canister stoves on Amazon that many have said works well too. A Lexan spoon for less than a buck is all you need for silverwear.

Make your own gear. If you are handy with a sewing machine or a family member is, there are patterns and materials available online to sew your own stuff sacks, quilts, vests and jackets, tarps, etc.. Check out or Ray Jardine for ideas

Dehydrate your own food rather than buying Mountain House meals or the like. Dehydrating and adding vegetables and meats to rice and other pastas (repackage in sandwich bags) with some beef or chicken base can make great meals for the fraction of the cost (watch the Knorr mixes which has hidden msg in it). Normally about $1-2 bucks per meal rather an $7-8. 

NEW - Just saw this - Walmart has an Ozark headlamp, weighs nothing, for ONE buck ($1). Saw it in a bin. No joke. I mean, only one setting, but hey, for a weekend jaunt. works great.  

With a little bit of searching and ingenuity, you can make your backpacking dream come true without breaking the bank.

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1 comment:

Fireflyinva said...

I have been a diy backpacker and for me it not only saves money, it leaves me more invested in having a good hike. Somehow knowing I made my own equipment leaves me feeling more in control of my hike--plus feeling I'm living a little bit lighter off the land. Love your blog and happy trails!