Hiking on a Budget: Finding Nemo in the Clearance Aisle


This word alone is enough to start a conversation that easily snowballs into avalanche proportions when brought up between hikers. Personally, I’m great at the conversation part. Weighing the pros and cons of different pieces, debating if I’m actually going to want to carry my journal all the way to Maine: that’s my jam! The tough part is buckling down and actually deciding the gear I’m getting. My budget jumps into the conversation at this point.

Consider the Following

One of my biggest considerations as I prepare for my hike is probably similar to many out there: cost. Quality gear often doesn’t come cheap, and when talking about life-threatening risks like exposure and hypothermia, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That being said, it can be daunting committing to any one item knowing that you might dump it a few weeks or even days into your hike.

Ballin’ on a Budget

I’ll be honest, REI has come in clutch as I accumulate gear. Their garage sales are lifesaving balms to my bank account: I managed to scoop my tent (Nemo 2P Hornet) at a really reduced price, and even when I don’t find what I’m looking for, I still get to talk all the gear I want with other people who love it as much as I do. There are also a lot of Facebook groups for buying/selling gear that I’ve checked out and scored a few deals on. I encourage anyone who’s feeling daunted by the projected cost of a thru-hike to scratch the surface and see there are a lot of options for saving some moolah before you hit the trail.

What Did I Learn?

As I gear up, literally and figuratively, to start my hike in March, I’ve finally figured out the best way to get your gear list together is that there is no best way. Just kidding. Kind of. Talk to people who’ve been on trail, scour the clearance section at your local outfitter, and ultimately go with your gut.

For your enjoyment: actual footage of me asking why I can’t have all the cool things.

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