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Ultra Budget Backpacking Gear List: The Cheapest Way to Thru-Hike

Much like most sites that post gear roundups and backpacking lists, I have not tested any of the gear I am going to mention below. But here is my attempt to sell the list to you: through a thorough aggregation of reviews, anecdotes, and customer experiences I have curated a gear list that keeps in mind both the meager budget of thru-hikers while also satisfying the most basic needs on the trail. How was that? Will you read on?

I thought it would be fun to see how cheaply I could assemble a kit for a potential thru-hike on a long distance trail. I tried to stay in the 3-season range because if I were only curating a list for a desert hike it would be too easy. So, if you happen to have a budget of $267.75 to completely outfit yourself for a thru-hike, here is the cheapest way you can put together a hiking gear list strictly from Amazon.

See the full list from Jeff Garmire on his website here.


May 6, 2022

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Free Outside

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-Content Creator



-Outdoor Industry Marketer

-30,000 miles of backpacking


-15 trail speed records (FKTs)


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


Ultra-compact and lightweight

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