Backpacking - Six Ways to Save You Money
By Steven Gillman
weights get lighter and going into the wilderness gets safer,
backpacking also is getting more and more expensive. How do you save
money without giving up the
ultralight equipment and safety gear? Let's look at a few
Backpacking in the most remote places has become
much safer now that there are personal locator beacons. One I
recently saw advertised lets you call for help to 911 and family or
friends at the touch of a button. It will even locate you on Google
maps so others can see exactly where you are. Of course, at almost
$200 for the device plus an annual fee of $100 per year for the
service, it isn't cheap.
My alternative? Just bring your cell phone and
GPS unit. If
you already own the phone you will only have to buy the GPS, and
using it is free. When in trouble you can call for help on your
phone and give the coordinates of where you are. They can type them
into an online service themselves to see where you are on a map.
Since your cell phone probably isn't satellite based, coverage won't
be quite as good as the expensive locator, but it is a reasonable
way to save money. Here are five more.
1. Buy used gear.
I would never buy an old sleeping bag, because the
filling gets destroyed with time. On the other hand, there is
nothing wrong with used aluminum pans or tent stakes. I have seen
both in thrift stores for a fraction of what they cost new. You can
also find some decent backpacking equipment online at either Ebay or
in outdoor forums which allow
users to sell their old gear.
2. Stay close to home.
A big part of the expense of backpacking can be
the travel expenses to get to the trailhead. But do you really have
to go 2,000 miles to backpack somewhere beautiful? If you intend to
eventually hike some of the trails closer to home, why not start
with them? Inevitably there will be destinations you never get to,
so why not have them be the more expensive ones?
3. Buy real foods.
Forget the expensive freeze-dried backpacker's
meals. Bring nuts, granola and other inexpensive real foods. For
cooked meals, bring instant brown rice and a fast-cooking legume
like red lentils. Noodles with olive oil, parmesan cheese and spices
can be more delicious than a freeze-dried dinner and cost only a
fourth as much. Many supermarket foods are better than specialty
"backpacking meals" in my opinion.
4. Buy regular clothing.
Contrary to the impression given by outdoor
clothing manufacturers, you don't need a new high-tech wardrobe to
get out into the wilderness. Instead of a $16 super-wicking t-shirt,
try a 50/50 cotton polyester blend t-shirt from Wal-Mart for $4. It
will probably be more comfortable, and dry almost as fast if it gets
wet. In a warm climate with brief summer showers you can forgo the
$120 waterproof/breathable rain jacket in favor of a $20 low-tech
one, or even a $2 emergency poncho. There are usually ways to save a
lot of money on clothing if you consider where you'll be going and
what is truly necessary.
5. Base camp.
If you just want to get out and hike, you might
consider camping in your car or in a cheap tent next to it. You can
hike all day with just water, food, and the few other things you
need in any cheap day pack (buy it used at a thrift store to save
money), and return to the car to sleep. You don't need a great
sleeping bag, backpack, tent or other expensive gear if you don't
plan to spend your nights out there in the woods. This technically
isn't backpacking, but perhaps the point for you is just to see and
hike in some beautiful places, and on a budget.
Copyright Steve Gillman. To get an ebook on
Lightweight Backpacking for FREE, as well as photos, gear
recommendations, and a new wilderness survival section, visit:
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Steven_Gillman
Like this article? You may also
Backpacking by Steve Gillman, Do Walking Sticks
Conserve Energy? by Steve Gillman,
Ultralight vs Traditional
Backpacking by Steve Gillman, and
Recipes by Steve Gillman