THE CAMPING GEAR I SPEND ON AND THE GEAR I SCRIMP ON
Accumulating camping gear is an expensive endeavour. If you don’t do it right, you can end up with a collection of poor-quality gear, which only lets you down when conditions get tough. But there is a smart way to do it. Spend more and get high-quality gear when you should but save the pennies and scrimp where you can.
WHERE TO SPEND MORE:
You want a good-quality sleeping bag. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your camping arsenal and will mean the difference between a bad night’s sleep full of interruption and a good night of rest. Think about what temperature you will be using it in and get the right bag for your conditions. Go for higher-end materials like goose or duck down. These will also save you space as they usually compress better.
If you will be carrying your tent on your back most of the time, then investing in an expensive tent will provide a huge weight reduction. All the components will be lighter than their cheaper counterparts, and the sealed seams will make it built to last.
If you don’t need to carry your tent very often, you can get away with a cheaper tent. You will have to replace them more often, but the significant price reduction will mean you are probably still saving money in the long run.
The only clothing layer I really splurge on is the mid layer. For me, it is the most important layer. In the winter, it keeps you warm, and in the summer, it will wick away any moisture and sweat. A cheap cotton mid layer just won’t cut it. Go for a woollen or synthetic option, specifically designed for the task.
As an avid hiker, my socks are one of the most important investments I can make. Your socks are going to be what keeps blisters at bay and keep your feet happy. Happy feet make for a happy camper. They are definitely worth a splurge.
WHERE TO SAVE YOUR MONEY:
We all like nice food on the trails, but unless you are cooking a banquet for your extended friends and family, a cheap camping stove will do just the same job as an expensive one. It all tastes the same in the end.
I used to use a water filter system for all my thru-hikes. It wasn’t until I broke it that I had to use Iodine tablets. I haven’t been back to a filter since. Iodine tablets are cheaper and take up less space in my backpack. There is no way you’ll get me to spend more on expensive filter systems.
Rather than buying loads of lanterns to light up your tent, communal areas, and to carry with you on your midnight trips to the toilet, just buy one headlamp. It is always on your head and illuminating wherever you are looking, making all other lanterns redundant. A $10 headlamp does the same job as a $50 one.
There are certain investments you have to make to ensure you get the most out of your camping trip. But for these items feel free to scrimp where you can. There is no sense in paying more money for something which does the same job as a cheap model. Save your pennies and spend them on more trips.
What do you usually spend on? What do you scrimp on? Share your thoughts through the comments section below.