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BEST CHEAP BACKPACKING GEAR OF 2020

When I first started this blog in 2014, backpacking was one of the ways that I became immersed in the outdoor world. Each backpacking trip I went on pushed me to grow beyond my comfort zone, and I always came back with a greater perspective. I believe that these experiences in the outdoors should be accessible for all people, regardless of who you are and where you come from. So, I’ve asked people over the years what obstacles stand in their way of getting outside more. And, many of the answers I received revolved around one thing: money. I get it, money is a real and necessary part of our society, but I don’t want it to stop you from exploring public lands and beautiful places.

So, in this blog post, I rounded up the best cheap backpacking gear for tight budgets to help you acquire the necessary gear you need to stay safe and feel comfortable without breaking the bank.

While there are certain items necessary to stay safe and comfortable on a backpacking trip, it’s not necessary to buy the newest, most high-tech outdoor gear on the market. Down below, I’ll share my top suggestions for inexpensive, quality backpacking gear, plus what to look for when shopping for the best cheap backpacking gear. If after going through this list of cheap backpacking gear, you want to shop around more, check out this blog post where we share a number of discount outdoor gear shops where you can score amazing deals.

Check out the full guide from Kristen Bor on Bearfoot Theory's website here.

LAST UPDATED

May 5, 2022

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Bearfoot Theory

Media Mentions from Bearfoot Theory

An outdoor travel blog on a mission to inspire and empower you to get outside with a strong skill set

Hi! I’m Kristen. Thanks for stopping by! If you love to travel and spend time outside, you’ve come to the right place. I am here to inspire you to get out there and to help you plan your next adventure.

I started Bearfoot Theory because I wanted to dispel the myths that prevent many people from getting outside. As a late outdoor bloomer myself, I’ve found it easy to be intimidated by adventure websites and magazines that feature people skiing off cliffs and kayaking class 5 rapids. You might think, “if that’s what being outdoorsy is, then that’s not me!”

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be a risk-taking, adrenaline junkie to have an awesome outdoor vacation. You also don’t need the most expensive gear, to plan for weeks on end, or do things that are beyond your comfort level.

My mission with Bearfoot Theory is to be a source of inspiration and information for everyday people looking to have an authentic outdoor experience. I’ll show you that an outdoor lifestyle is easy, inexpensive, accessible, and fun. I’ll share with you my favorite outdoor off-the-beaten-path destinations in the West (and occasionally elsewhere), tell you what gear you do and don’t need, and help you build more confidence in your outdoor abilities.

MEDIA MENTIONS

While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
Media Mentions from Halfway Anywhere

MEDIA MENTIONS

SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team