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Lorena Smalley

We recently found a fun article by the Sierra club in the USA that outlined ways to go backpacking “on the cheap”.  With the arrival of covid-19, more and more people are heading outdoors and getting back into hiking, backpacking and camping

We thought we would share this article as it has some really good suggestions, especially for those who are just getting started!

Illustration by Greg Clarke

Illustration shows a man with hiking gear, including a cooking pot on his head, a backpack with a rolled-up mat, ski poles, and a paper map.

The saying “hike your own hike” is meant to be reassuring—you should be able to pack what works for you, sans judgment. As I learned over the course of three thru-hikes (the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest Trails), the backpacking market is saturated with pricey gear, but there are plenty of alternatives that won’t break the bank.


Your duds are in for a hard life on the trail; why spend a fortune on them? Thrift stores abound with sweat-wicking turkey trot tees, fleece pullovers, and items like the 100 percent merino wool sweater I bought for $2—my go-to for chilly nights in camp.


Forget the 18-piece camping cook sets and cuisine accoutrements (the accordion bowls, origami plates, and foldable spatulas). Packing a single pot like the $25 MSR Alpine Stowaway keeps your kit inexpensive and light. Pick up a stainless steel spoon from Goodwill for a nickel. Or, forgo cooking entirely—hikers who “go stoveless” eat raw foods or reconstitute instant or dehydrated meals by soaking them for a couple of hours in a peanut butter jar, saving the cost of buying a stove, fuel, and a pot. Then clean up by licking your spoon.

CLICK HERE to visit The National Magazine of the Sierra Club website to READ MORE!

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