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How To Buy Hiking Equipment:
Best Tips

How to buy hiking equipment is a subject worthy of discussion.

But who wants to beat around the bush?

Instead, let's get right to the best tips you need to buy hiking equipment that won't break the bank,

won't break your back,

and won't make you break out in a cold sweat when it fails on the trail.

Deal?

Deal!


How to buy hiking equipment as a newbie - without strife

Let's start out with the basics of acquiring the best hiking gear for your hiking plans.

You want to walk into a gear store, real or virtual, and know what you're doing, right?

You need a plan.

Here's your plan, in 4 easy steps

1. Read up on the piece of gear you're looking for. This website, for instance, is brimming with advice and ideas.

  • Start at the site map to locate the object of your desire: backpack, boots, tent.
  •  Be prepared for the "kid in a candy store" effect to kick in quickly.

2. Know your numbers.

Here's an example:

  • How many liters do you want in a backpack?
  • What is your torso length to fit the backpack?
  • How much money do you want to spend on the backpack?

By knowing your numbers, you will save time and keep the salesperson in good humor.

  • Or if you're on line, you can drill down quickly to the exact piece of gear you want to comparison shop. A good gear website will allow you to do a side-by-side comparison of gear, like REI does.

3. To buy hiking equipment, yet acknowledge the fact that you might not know what you're doing (yet), only use gear stores that carry equipment rated highly by hikers, not magazine editors.

  • The Clymb is one such place, offering almost too good to be true discounts.

4. Part Two of choosing great gear stores is their customer service and most importantly, their return policy. Be sure you like the way you're treated during - and after - your gear quest.

  • Be sure to return the favor: only return something when you have to. Why abuse a good neighbor?


But what do I need to hit the trail?

Short answer:

Something sturdy on your feet, and something to carry the ten essentials plus food and water for the hike, will get you going on well marked, reliable trails.

Long answer:

Read through this list of best hiking gear.

  • Pick somewhere to start, and get to work on Your Plan (above).

Newbie day hiking advice can be found here.

Beginner backpacking advice?


The most important thing
you need...

Buying hiking equipment is a never ending process, kind of like keeping your toenails trimmed (a hiking boot best practice for the trail, by the way).

It's a task that never goes away.

And that's a good thing, because it's a lot of fun.

The most important thing you need to buy the best hiking equipment and gear for your style of hiking is a mentor.

Attach yourself like a burr on a dog to a willing hiker who has plenty of years on the trail.

  • Ask questions.
  • Silently observe.
  • Take note of the hiking equipment s/he uses.
  • Watch how your mentor handles gear failures.

You can do this in the virtual world quite easily.

Here's the guy I recommend for detailed gear reviews, because he's very dedicated to taking the best hiking gear he receives from gear companies and trying to max it out.

While Hiking For Her doesn't have the impressive backlog of gear reviews that Section Hiker has, a woman's perspective on hiking equipment can be found in my own humble gear reviews.

And for even more gear reviews, you can't go wrong with Outdoor Gear Lab. They strive to provide you with the data you need to make serious hiking equipment buying decisions.


It's a process!

Buying hiking equipment and gear is a learning process, no way around it.

But if you look in the right places for advice AND gear, you will be less likely to make major hiking equipment mistakes.

Have specific questions about a piece of gear you're considering?

It's just one small way I like to pay forward all of the excellent hiking mentoring I received in my distant past.


Home page > Best Hiking Gear > How To Buy Hiking Equipment



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