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The best inexpensive camping and hiking gear for your next backcountry adventure

Here’s a wallet-friendly list to launch your first backpacking adventure.

All humans, rich or poor, benefit from the outdoors. But let’s face it: quality outdoor equipment isn’t cheap, and assembling all the gear you need to go on an overnight backpacking trip can cost thousands of dollars if you purchase only top-end gear. So when my editor and I were discussing these issues, we decided to take on the challenge of assembling a list of the cheapest, minimally viable equipment needed for an overnight backpacking trip, and when it comes to low-cost value, Walmart comes to mind.


One of the reasons outdoor equipment can be so expensive is that a lot of research and development has gone into making gear lighter, more capable, and more compact. Essentially, better, more expensive equipment enables you to carry less weight on your back (and have a more enjoyable time), do more tasks with fewer items, and put more things in less space in your pack. So we had the idea to see what we could find at our local Walmart to drive down economic barriers to entry so the cost-conscious could also enjoy the outdoors.

Explore the rest of Joe Plenxler's list of inexpensive camping and hiking gear for your next backcountry adventure here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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Task & Purpose

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Of all the creepy crawlers, ticks keep me on high alert. They can be very tiny in the nymph stage and difficult to see. They love to hang out in tall grasses along the trail and hitch a ride on hikers passing by. I plan on treating most of my clothes and gear with Sawyer Permethrin.

Joanne Gigliotti

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Ultra-compact and lightweight

House Grail
Media Mentions from House Grail

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I would often just drink directly from the sawyer squeeze if I was feeling lazy- which by the way works wonderfully.

Rachel McVittie