Backpacking: The Cheap Way


If you're anything like us, you don't want to spend a lot of money to go on your first overnight backpacking trip. Some of the gear we used and explanations of whether we would recommend or not are listed below.

1. Backpack (One of, if not the most, necessary piece of equipment for backpacking)

We chose the Ozark Trail 45L Montpelier Ad Pack from Walmart. The bag worked great and had enough space for all the gear necessary for an overnight trip. A few modifications were made to the pack; shortening the waist belt and securing the shoulder straps. The pack offers plenty of external straps and spots to clip carabiners. If you are backpacking on a budget, this bag will do the trick at the price of $50.

2. Sleeping Bag ( A good night's sleep is extremely important when on the trail)

This is where we made a mistake. The sleeping bags that we had were rated for 40˚ F and we didn't do our research on the weather during our trip. The temperature dropped to around 30˚ F when we were on our trip and we paid for it. The bag is the Ozark Trail Climatech 40˚ F Sleeping Bag. Although this bag did not work well for our scenario, I believe that it would work well for late spring, summer, or early fall. This bag comes in at a cost of $40.

3. Camp Stove (If you want to have a decent meal)

If you don't want to eat cold food and can't make a fire where you are at, then you will need a cook stove. This was super useful and didn't take up much space in the pack. Having a cook stove will give you the ability to make a warm meal and will give you energy for the day. Along with a cook stove you will need fuel and pots and pans. When purchasing pots and pans make sure that they fit well on your stove. The stove that we used was a Reehut Ultralight Camp Stove which cost $10, fuel costs $5, pots and pans will cost around $20(depending on which ones you get).

4. Water (You need water when backpacking)

If you are worried about weight use light plastic bottles. We use Nalgene 32oz wide mouth bottle because they are durable and don't weigh very much. Another great way to carry water is to use a water bladder. These fit great inside the backpack mentioned above and can carry a lot of water. We used the bladders from our CamelBak's so they came at no cost to us. The Nalgene Bottles are $10 each.

5. Tent(Need something to sleep in)

We used a lightweight 4 person tent that we already owned. It is not the ideal tent to backpack with but it is great for an overnight trip.  The tent we used was an Ozark Trail 4 person tent and worked great for our needs. A great way to save space is to put your tent in a compression sack. These do not cost much and can be used to compress other gear such as clothes. We used the REI Ditty Sacks for $15.

Total Cost: $195

Sleeping Bag:$40
Camp Stove and Etc.:$35
Water Bottles:$20
Compression Sacks:$15

These cost might seem like a lot, but all this gear will last awhile and be used on all of your future trips.

If you have any further questions, or advice please send us an email.