Outdoor adventures such as camping, backpacking, and hiking can be costly. Not only are you investing your time, purchasing camping and thru-hiking permits, and spending gas to get to the trailhead, you also need to invest (sometimes heavily) on outdoor gear, which is not always budget friendly. Therefore, you want your equipment to work, but you also want to get as much out of it as possible.
To save money and frustration, you need to keep your gear in its best possible condition. There’s no need to throw away your gear just because there’s a small rip in your tent or a hole in your sleeping bag, as maintenance and some DIY can work wonders. To keep your gear looking and performing like new, do the exact opposite of the following tips, which are guaranteed to destroy your equipment in no time.
Buy the least expensive brand (without warranty)
Purchasing your gear based solely on price (as in always going for the least expensive option) will mean that your gear will fail you at the most inopportune times, sometimes even less than a day after you’ve first started using it.
On second thought: Invest in a good brand. Quality gear is expensive, so if you’re on a budget, look for sales or browse the used section of outdoor stores. Look for value, quality and a good warranty when purchasing your outdoor items.
Be reckless with your stuff
Being outdoors means that at certain times, you will be doing reckless things like handling intense weather, summiting insane mountains or embarking on months-long thru-hikes. However, if you want to destroy your gear, you should be even more reckless.
For example, don’t watch your step. When hiking in rocky terrain, don’t look where you’re going and place your foot anywhere, not being careful to avoid roots, sharp rocks, etc.
On second thought: On uneven terrain, take mindful steps, and watch your foot placement. Doing this will mean your shoes will last longer and your feet won’t be as sore at the end of the day.
Don’t pamper your gear
Mindlessly throw your backpack around, don’t check the ground before setting up your tent and trudge on through thorny bushes wearing your down jacket.
On second thought: Do exactly the opposite and treat your gear with tender, love, and care–treating it like the significant investment than it was. Be mindful of where you set down your pack and tent, and avoid crossing through thorny bushes while wearing expensive jackets.
Say no to waterproofing
There’s no need to waterproof your stuff, as it’s already waterproofed, right? At least that’s what it says on the label.
On second thought: All waterproof gear loses its water repelling abilities over time, so you should treat your gear with a sealant or waterproof spray. Some items that will benefit from being waterproofed (and keep you dry and happy) are your tent, backpack, stuff bags, boots, shoes and rain jacket. Good ways to protect the waterproofing on your boots is to clean off any mud and debris after each trip. Caked on mud will dry onto the waterproof coating and damage their ability to keep water out. Keep your gear working as expected by cleaning and properly drying before returning to storage after trips.