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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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-30,000 miles of backpacking


-15 trail speed records (FKTs)


Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like Florida and North Carolina, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors.

Madison Flager and Meaghan Kenny


As a veteran of the Iraq War, I found myself struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder from which greatly impacted my mental health. In 2016, I came across the film “Wild,” an adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir about healing by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

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Sawyer Permethrin Premium Insect Repellent is used on clothing, not skin, and it provides long-lasting protection against ticks.

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