How I Saved Hundreds on My AT Thru-Hike Gear List

As a brand new blogger for The Trek, I was so excited to use the gear list feature. I know I’ve spent many hours this past year diving into any and all AT gear lists I could get my hands on. Now I love that I will finally be able to put mine out there, which you’ll see below. One thing that stuck out to me was that the gear list populated all of the original prices for the items I have and it made me realize.. I saved a LOT of money. Take a look at the top three ways I saved hundreds on my gear.

Buy Used Gear

Buying gently used gear was the number one way I saved a ton of money. While there are a few different ways to buy used, my favorite was through REI Co-op Good & Used. All of my used gear arrived in great condition at a highly discounted price. Some of the things I bought used include my sleeping pad, rain jacket, pillow, and down jacket. On these four items alone, I saved at least $400! The rest of my hiking team also bought some  items used as well and saved a ton.

Plan Ahead for Sales and Promotions

Being able to take my time buying gear and looking ahead for deals was definitely a huge financial benefit. I decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in late 2019, giving me over a year to collect my gear. This was crucial for me as I was starting from scratch and had to purchase all the necessary gear. The main sales I took advantage of was with the REI Co-op holiday promotions. They always send out a catalog prior to the sale so I was able to decide which items I needed and be prepared to make those purchases. I bought my tent and sleeping bag at 30% off along with a ton of other sale items for the 2020 4th of July Sale. I also utilized the Black Friday Amazon deals to get a lot of odds and ends up to half off. Just in sales and utilizing coupons, I saved at least $200 on gear.

Become an REI Co-op Member

I am sure that most reading this are already well aware of the REI membership, but I will go on for those who aren’t familiar. For only $20, you can become a lifetime member of REI Co-op. As a member, you get a dividend return of all full-priced items you purchase. This was a great incentive for me to buy an item there when I couldn’t find it on sale. I knew I would at least get my 10% back. Buying used and shopping sales are my preferred method, but being a member still has awesome benefits to save you money.

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Comments 14

  • Avatar
    pearwood : Jan 7th

    Good for you, Nadia!
    From a lot of the gear lists I see, I figure there must be a lot of well-to-do hikers out there — or gear-poor impoverished. I have all sorts of gear I have accumulated over the decades (I’m 70!). It’s a bit heavier than the fancy new stuff, but I can’t beat the price. We shall see.
    Blessings,
    Steve / blogging as pearwood

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nadia Fenay : Jan 8th

      I hope I also have tons of gear a few decades from now! Thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    M. 'Smokey' Davis : Jan 8th

    Congratulations and Great Job on all of the $aving$ !! Have a safe hike.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nadia Fenay : Jan 24th

      Thanks so much!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    JasonO. : Jan 8th

    I LOVE gear lists…and new adventures. All the best to you on your hike!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nadia Fenay : Jan 24th

      Thank you, I really appreciate it!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Shannon : Jan 12th

    Awesome post Nadia! I appreciate you outlining all the gear you’re bringing with links to it. I’m an REI Co-Op member and have never taken advantage of their used gear but I’m definitely thinking I should now. I have the Osprey Aura AG pack as well and love it but man I wish I got it for the price you did, that’s a steal! Best of luck to you on your adventure, I look forward to following it. I love how your bio says you’re just now starting to live the life you’ve always wanted, that’s what life is all about and I’m glad you’re truly living it!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nadia Fenay : Jan 24th

      Hi Shannon! Thanks so much for reading and for all the kind words!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    SA Brotherton : Jan 12th

    Excellent list and GL on your Trek ! Patience & planning helps as well, which is exactly what you did, Spot on…

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nadia Fenay : Jan 24th

      Thank you!!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Betsy : Jan 20th

    wondering if the prices listed are MSRP, or what you actually paid? and would it be possible to include the other price in another column? thanks for sharing your journey!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nadia Fenay : Jan 20th

      Hi Betsy! Yes, the list does automatically generate the MSRP. I do not believe there is a way to change it to the prices I actually paid, but I spent about $1500-$1600 after shopping sales and using coupons!

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Tdee aka Dandelion : Jan 24th

    Great write up! I love to see other Osprey fans out there. In the world of UL packs, those of us who still rock Ospreys and ‘heavy’ packs are becoming more of a rare commodity. Super excited for you and your hike. I will definitely be following along! Happy hiking! -Dandelion

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Nadia Fenay : Jan 24th

      Hey Dandelion! Thanks a bunch! I definitely LOVE my pack. Glad to hear you’ll be following along on my journey!

      Reply

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