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Well the time has come again. The lurkers are here looking for information on gear. Their goal? To start backpacking for the first time. What should you buy to get started? Thats simple, a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear including stove. I know that I'm just scratching the surface, but thats where the gear list starts.
You, being new to backpacking, I find your enthusiam is an insperation to me. Youre always wide eyed. Talking about major hikes, and looking at all the greatest gear. Heres where I say slow down grasshoper. #1 youre not ready for that big hike or climb. Theres alot to learn bfore you even attempt anything like that. And all that high priced gear, forget about it for now. Though we all love buying the stuff from you for pennies on the dollar after you find out that backpacking is not your cup of tea.
Now lets take a real look at what you are going to do, and what you will need to get started. Your hikes should be on the easy to moderate variety. Dont push yourself to hard. Pushing yourself will only make you tired and sore. And well, thats just not much fun.
So now we have you on an easier trail you are in need of a backpack. It has always been my experance that most new packpackers carry to much stuff, forgeting some of the most importaint things. I would start of with a fairly large pack. And seeing that you are going to stay on the trail , I would juggest an external frame. Why? They are cheaper than inner frames. Thy allow more flexablity. And they will keep your back cooler. My picks for you would be a Kelty or a Jansport. They are both well made and cheap around $50 will get you a good one off Ebay.
Tents. Do you realy think you need that 200-300 dollar tent? Nope, you will be a fair weather hiker starting out. Once again, dont push yourself. You are not ready to handle the worse that mother nature can throw at you. Freestanding or nonfreestanding that is the question. Only you will know the answer. But remember if you choose freestanding you should always stake it out. Tents make great kites (look it up on youtube). Me, for the most part, I'm a nonfreestanding tent guy. I would also stear away from single skin tent, and opt for a full rainfly. Most inexpencive single skin tents will have condensation problems. My juggestions would be the Alpine Designs Hiker, Biker tent (the on with the rainfly. The Gander Mountian Blaze Solo. Both are nonfreestanding. For a freestanding, Eureka and Coleman both make inexpencive and doable tents. Try to keep the weight down under 6 pounds. You can get these tent for less than 75 bucks.
Cooking gear. All I got to say is get an Alcohol stove. Fuel is everywhere. They burn clean, no parts to wear out. Pots and pans a BSA set will work and are very cheap. But I liked the Texsport stainless steal set that I started with, around $24.
Sleeping bags. Go ahead and buy one of those real cheap ones. Get it rated for at least 10 degrees cooler that the weather you are going to be sleeping in. After your first year backpacking you will upgrade. But for just beginning it will work. Around $20 should work.
There you go. All for just over 100 bucks. It need not cost a arm and a leg to get out there and start backpacking. There is other gear, you might want, but not nessary to start with. As you gt out there more you will figure those things out. Your needs may not be the same as others. I'm sure that others might have other juggestions.