Top 6 Guidelines For Cheap Backpacking Gear
When you’re brand new to backpacking, you’re maybe just curious about it, you think you would like it you’re not sure you’ve never done it before. You might not be wanting to drop hundreds of dollars on expensive gear, just to go try it for the first time beyond that even if you know you will like it or you’re interested in backpacking, you still might not have the means or the funds at the time to go do that and to drop those hundreds of dollars. I decided to sort of challenge myself to go research all over online and stores identify some gear, that’s at the lowest price points and then actually buy that gear and go test it out. Today we’re going to be looking at the gear that I chose I’m going to tell you why and how I did that and we’re going to just sort of talk about some first impressions as I get these things in so before we jump right in and talk about the gear itself let’s talk about.
The six guidelines that I set for choosing which gear to buy online:
- First things: Budget $200 that’s a pretty ambitious budget because you know you can go buy a pack for more than $200 if you want and nothing else we’re talking about $200 for just about everything you need.
- Number two: Must be three-season capable, I want this gear to be something that you can use in spring summer and fall obvious winter, that’s sort of a whole nother realm you need a lot of other gear for that. I don’t really recommend winter camping for beginners but three-season capable so that means it can deal with different types of weather it can go down to a temperature of you know something in the 30s at night those sorts of things.
- Number three: Must be from a non-sketchy retailer so that sort of excluded like eBay. I’m not gonna go on Craigslist I’m not gonna go to just some sort of random manufacturers site. I really wanted to stick to known retailers and as you’ll see Amazon really sort of won out in that battle against almost everybody else okay.
- Number four: Must be new and in-stock, I’m not gonna get into used gear that’s a whole nother thing we’re gonna just talk about buying it brand new and it has to be in stock because you need to buy it and get it right and rely on when you can have it.
- Number five: Must have some decent reviews I think buying something where you can actually read some reviews on it and there’s more than like one or two reviews right that’s a really good indicator of is this gonna be decent or not so you know decent reviews decent amount of reviews and the final criteria.
- Number six: If I could, I would try to do things like getting gear that has flexible sizing unisex if possible, obviously I’m a male but I want this to be relevant to females as well and then the other part of that is trying to prioritize pieces of gear that could be shared between two people so. For example, a two-person shelter or a cook system that can feed two people because I think that as a beginner you’re not really gonna want to be going out there alone. I don’t recommend going out there alone and also it’s kind of a good way to share the cost and the weight burden when you’re on the trail.
The first piece of gear, that we will talk about here is the pack this is made by a retailer called SUNVP from Amazon and this is the new Outlander. It’s a 45 plus 5-liter pack, so I guess that means the 50-liter pack, I have the first pack that I ever bought was an osprey Kestrel 48 so this should be pretty much the same volume as that pack it feels a little smaller than that though. I’m a little suspicious nonetheless I chose 50 liters as a volume because I think that’s a good middle ground between sort of a larger more multi-day pack and a day pack. If you’re a beginner, you’re probably going to only be doing an overnighter the first few times you go maybe two nights and so as a way to just get into the sport I think 50 liters is good. That’s kind of based on my experience and some of this cheaper gear that I’ve been getting in here, the form factor is a little bigger than like the gear that I typically use so the one caveat here is that I may need to get a larger pack than this now you can definitely tell that it feels a little bit just a little bit heavier it’s listed as three pounds that’s really not bad for a $51 pack.
Which is the price of this some of the features. I mean its kind of got all the bells and whistles and when it does have the whistle on the clip here which is a good feature yeah kind of works blow through really hard and somebody will hear you. I think so, that it’ll do the job, they’re kind of trying to do this trampoline thing on the back here like Osprey not quite as form-fitting to the back. I will say but I think it will do the job of keeping the pack sort of your back a little bit and letting some air back here and that’s the main thing these hip belts pretty decent padding here. I will say they are pretty stiff on the edges here they might dig into the hips a little bit. We’ll see some of those things though I’ll really just have to do at least one trip and be adjusting everything as I go it’s kind of hard because packs fit everybody a little differently.
However like I say I think this could be a good option and usually there’s a lot of adjustability and this pack is no exception. It’s got all the right adjustments again features it’s got hip pockets here that’s great to have the water bottle holders on the side here. These mesh pockets they’re a little smaller, a little tighter so you might have to get some kind of specific water bottles you can put in there. One of the other features that I actually like about this pack which is why I was able to justify the the $51 which is one of the more expensive pieces of gear on this list right is that it comes with a pack cover and I think that a vital thing to have like I said three season that includes seasons or it’s going to rain so you’ve got to be prepared for all those conditions so I think having a pack cover that’s fantastic is gonna keep your things dry. When it rains and it’s gonna allow you to go out and be prepared for any type of weather so really nice feature that it comes with that.
So next, is it just a basic knife you always want to have a knife with you, it’s just a good tool to have for various reasons, when you’re out there if you need to carve something caught something you name it right a knife is just a really good universal tool to have, so I picked this one because like I say decent reviews really low price stainless steel blade not necessarily the best material for a knife there are higher-grade steels out there. However stainless it’s not going to rust you don’t have to care for it, so definitely you can tell that this is a five-dollar blade, the blade itself it’s sharp seems like it’s probably going to work alright but just sort of like the handles here the grip of the knife it’s very plastic it’s got this kind of tacky fake carbon fiber look to it.
This next piece is more of an option, but I always like to sleep with a pillow of some sort something under my head, so I wanted to find a pillow, now this one is pretty big in terms of form factors you can see for comparison the pillow that I typically use is maybe this big or so it’s like three inches by two inches at most and at that you can even crush it down smaller so it seems pretty huge let’s take it out of the stuff sack here it’s just kind of rolled up so it’s basically got foam on the inside. You may be seen a sleeping pad like this where there’s this nozzle here right and I think it’s supposed to kind of be self-inflating and it doesn’t really do it. This material is a little tough you might want to like put a piece of clothing or something over it, maybe even just a pillowcase, if you want to bring that can probably pack pretty small, there’s some foam in there it should insulate decently well and if you’re looking to have a decent amount of comfort, this could be a good option so we’ll see how it works.