Beginning backpackers should not always go out and buy the most expensive equipment for backpacking, since they do not yet know if the sport will be one that they will continue throughout their life or if they will be done with it after their first real excursion. Plus, even experienced backpackers do not necessarily buy the most expensive supplies, knowing that the medium or even cheap backpacking gear suffices in most situations.
How Cheap is Cheap?
There are some items that a consumer can not get around paying close to one hundred dollars for, such as the tent. A solid tent is essential, so even when looking for cheap backpacking gear, a buyer should not go too cheap. One solid tent is the Granite Gear Vigra that runs at close to one hundred dollars.
A couple of other choices are the Osprey Ather 45 or the GoLite Jam. All of these tents are also light, at about thirty ounces. Check backpacking gear reviews for other tents that have the same features as these do and look for sales. Another essential item that is on the more expensive side is the tarp, which runs at about fifty dollars. Beyond this, a ground cloth and stakes will run about twenty dollars, putting the total amount for shelter just under two hundred dollars.
Another essential item when looking for cheap backpacking gear is the sleeping bag. This is another item on which a buyer does not want to go too cheap. A solid sleeping bag that is rated at 20F will cost right around one hundred dollars as well, although sale priced it may be found for a little less than that. However, with a sleeping bag, weight can also be an issue, so look for bags that are right at thirty ounces.
Kitchen supplies and other small items are the least expensive of all the cheap backpacking gear. A Pepsi stove and pot can be found for about twelve dollars. Additional cooking pot, ‘silverware’ and water containers will run about thirty dollars total. Flashlights, maps and other small items will probably run another ten dollars or so, and hopefully most of the clothing is already owned or can be borrowed, depending on the weather conditions.
All in all, the total cost to outfit a beginner backpacker with gear for a basic backpacking camping trip is right at four hundred dollars. Even at four hundred dollars, this is a significant expense for a hobby that may only be done once. Beginners would be even better off borrowing supplies from friends or renting from an outdoor supply company to go on a couple of trips before making the investment on their own.