How to Get Started with Outdoor Adventure Gear on the Cheap

I think we can all agree: a weekend spent outside is good for the soul. Whether the forest, desert, mountains, or beaches, spending a couple of days without walls restores a fellow. It can simultaneously energize and relax us. Just about everything John Muir ever said sums it up nicely. Here’s a few: 

  • Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
  • Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
  • Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. 

And in order to make it happen safely while staying warm and dry, you need a bit of gear. Outdoor recreation enthusiasts have as serious a case of gear lust as any hobby I know of, but getting started and staying comfortable doesn’t have to involve massive amounts of research or serious cash. Just focus on affordable essentials, and spend your energy using your gear, not researching it. 

IndefinitelyWild, a new column on Gizmodo, shares “A Basic Guide To Cheap Outdoors Gear For Broke Adventurers.” The gear here seems to be intended for a short 2-3 backpacking trip, or base camping with day hikes. They include basic suggestions for tents, sleeping bags and pads, stoves, a knife and flashlight, a base layer, and outerwear.

The idea is summed up nicely here: 

Let’s assemble a basic backpacking kit trying to combine high-value, lightweight items. The Boreas Buttermilks 55L (medium) pack weighs 2lbs 2oz, the Kelty Cosmic Down 20 bag (regular) weighs 2lbs 11oz, an Alps Mystique 1.0 tent weighs 3 lbs and the Nemo pad weighs 1lbs 3oz. Together, that’s a total spend of $500, which sounds like a lot of money, but it nets you a combined weight of just 9 lbs. Add a 1oz cat food can, 8oz of denatured alcohol, a couple of plastic water bottles from a gas station, a first aid kit, appropriate clothes and your food situation of choice and you’ll be as well equipped as anyone on the trail and be carrying nearly as light a weight as people spending big bucks on fancy ultralight stuff. You’ll be equipped to go anywhere and do anything. That’s good value.

To see their specific gear picks and the rationale for each, head to Gizmodo: A Basic Guide To Cheap Outdoors Gear For Broke Adventurers