When someone first try’s out backpacking for the first time, often they get a “sticker shock” when they start pricing out gear. Of course, the first thing they get is the 10 essential list that they run out and buy at REI or their local outfitter. That’s why we wanted to do a show on buying the 10 essentials on a budget. Let’s face it, gear can get a bit pricey, so there is no reason why you need to run out and spend a ton of money. Some are not even sure backpacking is going to be a regular thing for them, so the 10 essentials often sit in a box somewhere deep in your closet.
The first step to remember is the 10 essentials can be found in a lot of different places. For example: did you know that Walmart has a pretty big camping section and that most of your 10 essentials can be found there or on their online store.
First, let’s list the 10 essentials: We have linked all the items on this list with what can be found at Walmart for a LOT LESS money. AND it’s good quality gear.
Navigation (map and compass) *Always carry and emergency whistle
Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen) *Get this at CVS or Walgreen’s in the Travel Section.
Insulation (extra clothing) *Learn the 3 Layering system
Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles) *We use Firesticks that you can break up use
Repair kit and tools *Make sure Duct Tape is in your Pack
Nutrition (extra food) *Always a good idea to bring extra food that you don’t need to cook.
Hydration (extra water)
Hydration and Insulation are important features of the 10 essentials and would advise to do your research first.
The Emergency Shelter is a big one. I have always used the Space Blanket since I can make a shelter and use it to reflect heat.
TIP: Think about what if your Backpack goes missing. Or a Bear carries it away. Or you just get turned around and can’t find it. Where are your 10 essentials? I always carry my space blanket, first aid kit, and the ability to make fire in a small bag that fits into my Hiking Pants or a hanging on a Carabiner hooked on to my belt loop. That way I always have the ability to have shelter, fire, and first aid if I loose my backpack.