Backpacking gear can be incredibly expensive, especially for those just starting out. So, how can you get into backpacking without going over your budget?
Start planning early
Want to go on a trip next summer? You’ll find better deals if you start shopping in the fall. Many stores have sales on their leftover camping gear after summer is over. Planning early will also give you a chance to save up money or spread out your purchases.
Consider buying used
Not everyone wants to buy used backpacking gear, but if you’re open to the idea it’s a great way to stick to your budget. After a trip or two, many people decide backpacking isn’t for them and they decide to sell their gear. The opposite could also happen, they decide they love it so much that they want to upgrade and sell off what they previously had.
Places to try:
- Bearfoot’s Hiking Gear Flea Market – my personal favorite
- craigslist– this is great for big-ticket items since you can test them before buying
Also, try second-hand stores. While they probably won’t have tents and backpacks they’re a good place to find clothing. I just found a brand new synthetic puffy vest for $9.
If you want to try out backpacking without a large investment you might want to consider renting your equipment.
- rei– some rei locations rent backpacking gear
- online- places like outdoorsgeek rent gear as a set or individually. This is also a great option if you only need an item for a specific trip.
Buy cheap gear
There is a saying regarding backpacking gear; price, weight, durability… pick two. If you want gear that’s lightweight and durable it’s going to be more expensive. However, if you don’t mind carrying some extra weight, or buying things that might not last as long, you can save some money.