How to build up your backpacking Gear stash, without breaking the bank
First, before you can even start shopping – you need a list! If you don’t have one already, download my complete Backpacking Gear checklist, for free, now.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, start with your ‘big 3.’ The big 3 gear items you need are your pack, tent/shelter, and sleeping bag & pad. These are the big items because they will make up the bulk of your base weight in your pack, take up the most space in your pack, and eat up the most of your budget.
But, that also leaves the most room for savings on these big ticket items. As long you don’t need your gear in a hurry, like for a trip next week or something, take your time and really shop around, compare prices and scope out gear sales.
I always start my gear search at REI. Be sure to check out their deals (sales), REI Garage, and if you have a REI near you, be sure to go to their annual garage sale. If you’re going to shop at REI at all, it’s totally worth it to become a member first.
Then I price compare to a few different sites, or move on to these if REI doesn’t have what I’m looking for.
- Backcountry.com – isn’t necessarily a discount site, but they usually have some pretty good finds, at really good discounts, in their sale section.
- Campsaver.com – it’s really easy to see at a glance on here what’s on sale, and what’s flagged as a killer deal, which is usually a hefty discount.
- Steepandcheap.com – is great for people who can stalk this site while working a desk job. They have one main item at a time that is steeply discounted, but only on sale for like 20 minutes, and then move on to a new item. So if you can check on it frequently through the day, with one or two items already in mind, then you just grab them when and if they come up. They also have more sales on their site as well, but vary day to day.
- Flea market/garage sale groups on Facebook, or Craigslist, will sometimes have camping gear pop up, so it’s worth checking.
Then once you have you’re gear, promise me you’ll take care of it! This save will you money in the long if you learn, or at least attempt to, care for and repair your gear rather than replacing it. Patch that burn hole in your down puffy jacket. Re-seam seal your tent if it starts to leak. Re-waterproof your rain jacket if it starts to soak through. And always make sure to read the cleaning and storage instructions on your gear to extend it’s life.
If you have any other go-to gear stores/websites, leave them in the comments below!
For more tips on backpacking gear, check out:
- Gear I wish I had with me on the AT
- Down or Synthetic – Which one is better for you?
- How to take care of your backpacking gear
Grab my complete Backpacking Gear Checklist, for free, so you can start shopping for your gear!
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