If you want to try multiday hiking or backpacking, but are on a budget, we have the perfect article for you. All these six pieces of gear cost together just under $600, and while they might not be the absolute best in their regard, they all hold up pretty well for the money and don’t max out your budget. The only thing missing on this list is cooking gear and tents, but we will have a review of budget-friendly options for them too in the future. Important: The items here are not necessarily suited for challenging expeditions or mountaineering in high altitude, but can be worn on light mountaineering trips as well.
What’s on this list
On this list you will find cheap but good pieces of gear for hiking and backpacking trips. If you are just starting out or want to keep within a budget when buying your gear, this is perfect for you. For less than $600 you will have a complete set of hiking and backpacking equipment – minus a tent and cooking wear. But for those, you can also get cheap options.
Fleece Shirt: Pinewood Micco Fleece Shirt – $40
Just $40 for the freshly launched Micco Fleece from the Swedish label Pinewood. Nevertheless, you do not have to accept any compromises: The cleanly processed, cuddly jacket nestles around the body, but does not constrict due to the slightly elastic material and is ideal for wearing underneath. The high collar fits comfortably around the neck and protects the sensitive neck from cold wind, the stretch cuffs seal cleanly and do not press. There are also two slip pockets for your hands and a chest pocket that can be used when wearing a backpack hip belt. Weight and pack size are 345 grams and 2.3 liters, respectively.
Review Score: 4.5/5
Functional Underwear: Helly Hansen HH Tech T Functional Shirt – $20
Cotton shirts have lost nothing on tour. They soak up sweat, do not transport it further and stay wet forever. This makes you shiver immediately in the first cool breeze or during breaks. You have more fun with functional shirts made of synthetic fibers. outdoor tip: the Helly Hansen HH Tech T for $20 with an unbeatable price-performance ratio. It is made of soft polyester, cools during exertion and thus keeps the body climate in balance. The short drying time reduces the unpleasant after-cooling phase in breaks. The only criticism: After a short time, the shirt begins to smell – but this also happens with many much more expensive synthetic fiber shirts. Therefore, necessarily – as stated in the label – wash at 40 degrees.
Review Score: 4/4
Sleeping Bag: High Peak MAXIM – $60
The High Peak Maxim 30 (volume: 29 l) for $60 shows that good, durable hiking backpacks don’t have to cost a fortune. It has an airy mesh back that fits smoothly and with control. The short hip wings transfer enough load to the rear iliac crest and are less sweaty than longer straps. However, the back and shoulder straps turn out too short for tall, stout people. Whether the fit is right, you can quickly notice when test carrying (load here: 5 kg). The equipment is lush: main and lid compartment (23/3 l volume), side pockets (1 l each), rain cover, holder for hydration system. Further praise is for the robust, cleanly processed materials and the low weight of 720 grams.
Review Score: 4.5/5
Hiking Boots: Lowa Taurus II GTX MID – $150
The search for permanently waterproof, not too expensive hiking boots often ended in vain in the past – until the outdoorAusrüstungsprofis discovered the Lowa Taurus II GTX Mid: In continuous use for over a year, it still inspires as on the first day and keeps feet permanently dry thanks to the waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex lining. In addition, he wears comfortably, the high shaft offers the ankle proper support and can be adjusted well by the smooth lacing. The rather high volume compensate if necessary an extra insole and thick socks. Then you feel comfortable even on root paths, the grippy, little torsion-resistant sole comes only in the steep, pathless terrain to limits.
Review Score: 4.5/5
Rain jacket: Marmot Precip Stretch – $170
No other affordable rain jacket combines light weight and pack size with durability and solid weather protection better than the Marmot Precip Stretch (270 g, packing size: 1.4 l). Equally top: the high breathability of the 2.5-layer precip material – even if a little more condensation condenses inside than in heavier models with lining. You can let off more steam via underarm zips. The body-hugging cut allows freedom of movement, the precisely adjustable hood follows head turns. In addition, the Precip Stretch can withstand downpours; only in days of rain does moisture move inside via the underarm zips. The deep-seated pockets are great for warming hands during breaks, but are covered by the backpack hip belt.
Review Score: 4/5
Hiking pants: Pinewood Caribou TC – $120
In the Caribou TC trekking pants, Pinewood combines the polyester-cotton blend fabric (65/35% polyester/cotton) so popular among North Country fans with stretch fabric at the knees and seat. As a result, the Caribou, which is cut close to the body, follows every movement even in steep terrain, and intermediate sizes guarantee an optimal fit. Both materials feel comfortable and absorb sweat well, ventilation zips (length: 23 cm) with mesh lining on the thighs provide additional air exchange. Also practical: the Velcro-adjustable leg cuff – which, compared to pants costing almost twice as much, lacks only a hook for shoe lacing. Small items can be stowed in two leg pockets.
Review Score: 5/5
Whether you want to keep the budget small or are just starting out, these good and inexpensive products are perfect. Combine them with a cheap stove and a tent and sleeping mat and you are ready to go on your first backpacking trip!
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