Outdoor recreation presents a good opportunity for some people to show off their latest camping gear. It gives them a sense of pride for own such an expensive equipment even if they don’t need it.
However, the majority of my friends have never even gone camping before. This is mostly because of their fear of not having enough gear or the right gear. They think that to have the complete set of gear they need to spend a lot of money and they are not willing to spend that much especially in the recession.
Good hiking boots cost around $ 200, clothing could cost you about $ 600, a reasonable down sleeping bag costs about $ 200, 4-season tents can cost $ 600, internal frame backpacks can cost up to $ 500 for a good one and $ 100 for trekking poles. This is just some of the equipment. You might need camp stoves, flashlight, crampons, gaiters, child carriers, lantern, hammock and more.
For a lot of people, this is a lot of money. Yet there are still a lot of people who don’t have that much money to spare that enjoy hiking and camping with little problems. Manufacturers like to make you think that you need all this stuff and all the expensive features.
The truth is camping is about going back to basics. You don’t need the state-of-the-art equipment. You can even find what you need in your own home or the local thrift store.
Check out the gear tips below that can really cut your costs:
– Down parkas are very expensive and they make you sweat when you hike. Using layers will keep you warm and you can adjust if it gets too hot by removing the layers. Avoid using cotton for layers as they absorb water and makes you wet. Use synthetics and wool. Synthetics wick away water and keeps you dry. Wool keeps you warm even when it’s wet.
– For the waterproof outer shell you can use a windbreaker and make it waterproof by applying a bottle of waterproofer that will set you back a few dollars.You only need expensive parkas when you’re going for an expedition under harsh conditions.
– Use a cheap camping tent or bivvy and treat them with a seam sealer. Do this before every camping trip. You can find cheap tents just about everywhere. Remember to check for tears. Unless you’re backpacking, you don’t really need an expensive tent.
– A lightweight down sleeping bag can cost you a lot of money. A zero degree synthetic sleeping bag should be good enough for the mountains in most cases. Use a chemical warmer and some layers of clothing to keep warm inside your sleeping bag. If you’re not backpacking and weight is not an issue, you can even be without the sleeping bag. Just use whatever suitable bedding you have at home but make sure you insulate yourself from the ground.
– Blisters are your worst enemy when you’re hiking so I don’t recommend cheap hiking boots. However if you’re just camping, you can wear just about any footwear as long as you’re comfortable.
– There are still quite a few places where you’re allowed to build campfires. This eliminates the need for camping stoves. If not, there are a lot of cheap and practical stoves out there. You can either buy it new or used or you even just borrow them.
– For trekking poles you can just use a strong enough stick. I’ve used it for a few years without any problems. Some people may argue that cutting out sticks from the forest is bad for the environment but the process making those expensive trekking poles takes an even bigger toll on the environment.
This list is pretty basic but covers the most common concerns people have told me about. Camping gear doesn’t have to be overly expensive. You can and should use what you already have as much as possible.