How to backpacking on the Appalachian Trail on a budget
Scott Janz October 27, 2016 0

Budget Backpacking

One of the quickest ways to say “the hell with it”, when you attempt a long hike is by buying into the notion you must have the best gear.

If leaving the comforts of home, your Starbucks Latte, and a warm bed means breaking the bank, stay in bed! It’s not worth it.

Let’s face it, gear can be expensive. Here is some ideas to get out there on the cheap. One caveat: don’t be foolish. The outdoors isn’t your living room. Don’t think that reading about a hiking adventure in a book equals actual experience.

“Hey my love, wanna hike up to Dante’s Peak and have a few craft beers?” That will cost you alot more than the price of the micro brew. Don’t go out and invest in a huge trip without getting a feel for the backcountry first. A day hike requires little, just water and a good pair of hiking shoes. (Comfort is more important than name brand) Start slow.

Once you make your adventure plans, check out some gear forums and see what other people bring. Then GO DIRECTLY TO E-BAY. Or, a Facebook Page I really love, Backpacking Gear Flea Market. Gear does not have to be new to be effective.

Some gear buying tips: Walmart!

Biodegradable soap
Mosquito repellent
2 liter Camelback water platy
waterproof matches
spare tent steaks (aluminum)
Water tablets to purify water.
First Aid Kit

AND FOOD. I could blog about all the small little food items that are already packaged for me at Walmart. Be creative. A little cheese, pepperoni, and pita bread and you have food you don’t have to cook. Snacks, and tuna also make great meals to eat without breaking the bank. If you have to cook, buy some Ramon Noodles for heavens sake and throw some chopped onion and green pepper in there.

TIP: Re-Purpose your Mountain House Freeze Dried Bags. YES! don’t throw them away. Bring them home, wash them out, and now you have a new bag you can pour hot water in and put some Knorr foods in. Knorr foods are $1.00 per bag.

You should also have a map of the area, a compass, a flashlight and a first-aid kit. These items, along with matches and a pocket knife, are like American Express – don’t leave home without them.

Can’t afford an expensive tent?

For less than $100.00 you can buy a Equinox Tarp Tent. Boom! Done! OR, head over to REI Garage Sales. Stalk Online Gear sites like  They have deals everyday.

A good sleeping bag I recommend for the Summer and early Fall is the Aspen 40 Ultralight by Marmot bag. It cost’s approximately $99.00 at Dicks Sporting Goods.

See YOU on the trail.