You’ve spent a lot of money to get to this amazing hiking trip, but now your feet are killing you; they’re covered in blisters, and you can hardly walk…At night, it rains heavily, and you wake up in a swimming pool that used to be your tent…Another night, you lie awake freezing because your sleeping bag isn’t warm enough…
Avoid these scenarios by spending money on good equipment for outdoor adventures. A cheap pair of hiking boots may last only one summer, but a more expensive pair can last a decade.
The same is true of just about any piece of equipment. If you spend all that money to get out into the wilderness, you may as well spend a bit more to be comfortable. You’ll have fewer stories to tell back home, but you’ll suffer less, and your mood will be much brighter.
Note: “Expensive” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the first consumer buying the item. You might be able to save money by buying second-hand, high-quality equipment.
Items to spend big bucks on
For outdoor trips and adventures, invest good money in the following items:
- Sleeping bag
- Waterproof camera case
- Light-weight cooking stove
- Hiking boots
- Wool or technical socks (not cotton!)
- Technical shorts, tops, and pants
- Good backpack for multi-day expeditions
- Fleece or technical-material long underwear for cold and wet trips
Items you can scrimp on, but the more expensive versions are still better:
- Thermarest: You can get a foam pad instead; however, the size is the problem. A thermarest will fold up very small, and weighs very little.
- Canoe pack: If you have a backpack, you can just put everything in it and waterproof it with large garbage bags. However, canoe packs are waterproof, and they’re also big enough to hold all your gear.
- Goretex rain gear: You can get the cheaper, non-breathable type of rain gear, but it really doesn’t breathe, and you will get a lot sweatier.
- Fleece sweater: Any sweater will do; wool is better than acrylic, of course.
- Water bottle: Yes, you can re-use bottled-water bottles. But the plastic is bad for you, and you can now buy steel or BPA-free plastic bottles.
- Map-bag: You can use a large Zip-loc bag instead.
Items you can definitely cheap out on:
- Tarp: High-tech tarps are nice, but a big blue tarp from Canadian Tire does the job just as well, as long as you have enough rope fitted through all the holes.
- Dishes, cutlery, and cups: You don’t need the fancy ones from the outfitting stores. Cheap plastic versions work fine.
- Sunhat: Expensive versions are not necessary.
- Sunglasses: Take cheaper sunglasses because it’s really easy to lose or wreck expensive ones on the trail or in a rapid. $15 should do it!
Check out Mountain Equipment Co op as your first stop for great equipment, trip partners, and gear swapping: www.mec.ca