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#225862 - 06/13/11 03:37 PM Overall Camping Gear Costs?
Frisket Offline

Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 640
What would you say the overall end cost of a full set of camp gear cost per range of quality? Lets Say A one person set of base items that are used in all weathers such as Canteens mess kits and knives and such. Not including Food or clothing since food is perishable and clothing well just to make it easier.

For overall Gear I would have to say I could purchase,

The Low end Spectrum of basic camp gear for 100-150$

The mid Range for 3-400$

Aaaaaand the high end for around 1-1500$

Personally i have seen prices double and sometimes triple per upgrade in range of quality.

For example I can purchase a Alum mess kit for 10$ for the low end. A Stainless steel Pot and plate for 30$ For the mid range. And a Titanium Cup and Bowl for 60$ for the high end.

Edited by Frisket (06/13/11 03:38 PM)

#225868 - 06/13/11 04:19 PM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Frisket]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1409
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Here is the current price breakdown for my mess kit that gets a lot of use whether it is a one day or multi-day hike. Note that I have no need to spend money on "high end" TI gear etc. If I really wanted to save the minimal weight advantage of TI gear, it is much easier (and healthier) to lose a lb or 2 of body weight...

The GSI utensils are representative as the brand I have are no longer available at the store I originally purchased them from.

MSR Pocket Rocket Stove: $40.00 (Any outdoors/hiking/camping store.)

Primus LITECH Trek Kettle Pot $28.00 (Any outdoors/hiking/camping store.)

GSI Acetal Fork $.60
GSI Acetal spoon $.60
GSI Acetal knife $.60

Aluminum 1 liter pot: $4.00 (hiking equipment swap meet)

SS 16 oz cup $9.00 (most hardware/outdoors store.)

Small plastic bowl $1.00- 2.50 (can purchased at a dollar/department store or gleaned from home cupboard.)

Small plastic plate: $1.00 to $2.50 (can purchased at a dollar/department store or gleaned from home cupboard.)

Total: $87.50
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#225870 - 06/13/11 04:25 PM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Frisket]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Originally Posted By: Frisket
What would you say the overall end cost of a full set of camp gear cost per range of quality?

The kickers are "end cost" and "full set."

I believe the answers will radically differ if the definition of "end cost" goes beyond just money. If end cost includes useful life, the energy required by carry weight, convenience of more compact design, reliability in rough weather, reliability in all seasons, ability to be repaired / sharpened to like-new condition, servicability / ease-of-use, safety features, etcetera, over a lifetime, then the math might include in "end cost" many things more than initial cost.

So, to oversimplify things, I think you need to decide on your acquisition approach based on your best guess of how much camping you are going to do. For those thinking lifetime, slowly accumulating gear toward the high end may represent the best long-term cost strategy. For those reluctantly going on what they hope is a once-in-a-lifetime good weather campout in a local park, borrow / improvise what you can, check out rentals, and then head to the thrift / dollar stores for the rest. If you are in-between or undecided, I suggest keeping things minimal and do the improvise / borrow / rent thing.

In the same vein, one person's "full set" may be overkill or foolish lack of preparedness for: another geographical / ecological location; to support purposes beyond mere camping [hunting, mountain climbing, winter exploration of backwoods, mountain bike touring, trail running, family outdoor weekends, etcetera; and that does not include the propensity for the market to create / reveal camping demands we did not know we had!

Trying to figure out and assemble the "full set" is a great exercise in preparedness planning. Consider letting survival functionality give you at least a start. Look at what you need to avoid violating the Rule of Threes [3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food, and, some say, 3 months without human contact]. Devise your own list of what-I-do-not-want-to-be-without categories [maybe: First Aid, Shelter, Fire, Water, Food, Navigation, Light, Signaling, Self-protection, Hygiene, and Morale].

For this thread, I think first specifying a list of gear would bring everyone onto the same page.

#225877 - 06/13/11 05:46 PM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Frisket]
Dagny Offline

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1916
Loc: Washington, DC

Car camping? Or backpacking?

#225879 - 06/13/11 06:22 PM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Dagny]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7308
Loc: southern Cal
Basically, the sky is the limit, depending upon what you consider adequate and appropriate, which in turn depends on just which mode of "camping" you are contemplating.

Even within my preferred mode of camping - backpacking, costs can vary enormously. You can obtain a canteen for essentially nothing (recycled one liter pop bottle) or spend up to $82 for a titanium bottle of somewhat less capacity. An alcohol stove is also essentially free, with a trifling amount of labor, or you can spend up to about $250 for a stove which will also boil water.

Some items are key, and worth spending mucho dinero upon. For backpacking, you want to get a serviceable sleeping bag (as light as possible), a good pack, and good boots. With careful shopping, about $600 will get you all three items. Just about everything else can be accomplished on the cheap.

Then consider specialties - are you going to do any mountaineering or climbing? Good ropes run at least $150, and that is just the start. Caving? - you will need really good lights, which will not be cheap, as well as some other specialized gear.

If you are really into the outdoor scene, you will be buying, tweaking, and perfecting your gear, and you will always be spending money and/or time to make things just a little bit better. It is a lifetime pursuit.

A higher initial cost often turns out to be very cheap in the long run. That expensive down bag that keeps you warm and toasty on some grim nights and lasts for fifteen to twenty years returns its initial investment many times over. Same thing with boots and clothing, especially.

Conversely, if you don't get out and really use your gear, any money invested will be horrendously expensive.

Some excellent gear is quite cheap, and costs can be shaved considerably by judicious shopping.
Geezer in Chief

#225884 - 06/13/11 08:21 PM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Frisket]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I agree that the price variation of different options can be huge. Most people have many things around the house that can be used, you can find stuff at second-hand and dollar stores, you can hit a Walmart/Can Tire type store or you can go high-end.

Depending on what mode of camping, and where you'll be doing it, I'd suggest that you can make-do with lots of other gear but a decent tent is a key purchase. Again, there's a huge range in price, quality and features. Getting a tent with a bathtub floor, fly cover fly and durable seams is crucial for "all weather" camping. Our Walmart has one fitting this criteria on sale for $37 this week but there are LOTS of other options.
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#225888 - 06/13/11 11:27 PM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Frisket]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Todays commercially available camping and trekking gear is light years ahead of what I essentially started out with, and I certainly didn't have any problems. In fact using retro gear is actually quite fun to use, with the kit being mostly old ex military surplus.

Here is basically what I started out with back in the early 1980s.

58 Pattern Down and Feather Sleeping bag - currently around 40 for a unissued one. - Still competitive with its build in waterproof groundsheet

British GS Bergen. - around 20 on ebay.

British Army Pup tent - around 20 - Rubbish tent, look elsewhere. i.e. A British issue Basha tarp - around 30.

24Hr Operational Ration Packs - 10-15.

Hexamine Stove and Fuel - 3. British Army Mess Tins - 5. (I would go for a Swedish Army Trangia Cookset 12 instead)

Oh and a enameled tin cup - 3 and Stainless steel cutlery from the kitchen and a 58 Pattern Water Bottle 10.

So the total cost would be around 110-120 or about $160.

This kit was also quite robust if a little heavy.

Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (06/13/11 11:36 PM)

#225890 - 06/13/11 11:44 PM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Frisket Offline

Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 640
Originally Posted By: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor

I want that cup

#225895 - 06/14/11 12:41 AM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Frisket]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
I want that cup

Its a little pricey at $13...For an enameled mug!!

I guess you'll want the enameled tea pot tea pot as well.. grin



Even quite good tents are reasonably priced nowadays.. wink

And sitting next to good roaring fire in the peace and quiet costs nothing...


Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (06/14/11 12:51 AM)

#225906 - 06/14/11 05:14 AM Re: Overall Camping Gear Costs? [Re: Frisket]
Denis Offline

Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 631
Loc: Calgary, AB
Assuming we're talking about core backpacking gear, my experience has put me at just under the $1,000 mark for what I think is a fairly decent set-up.

I don't think any of my gear would be considered ultralight or top end stuff, but it is all quality gear ranging from entry to mid level.

When I say core gear, I'm thinking about the stuff from this list that falls under either "The Essentials" or "Camping Gear" section; in otherwords it omits things under either the "Clothing" or "Extra Items" sections as well as some other things not on that list at all.

Pricing what I have based on that list, the following is the approximate break down:
  • compass $50
  • headlamp $20
  • first-aid kit $20
  • water bottle $10
  • firestarter $10
  • knife $40
  • gear repair items $15
  • whistle $5
  • 70L backpack $110
  • 2 man tent $300
  • -7C sleeping bag $130
  • sleeping pad $60
  • canister stove $40
  • small pot & eating kit $40
  • water purifier $100

Looking at this list, going to the high end I'd say its the backpack, tent, sleeping bag & pad that would drive your total cost much higher. For the backpack you could easily go $300, the tent $500, the bag $360, the pad $190. That said a different knife, stove and cookset could easily add several hundred dollars as well. Based on that I'd say the high end could easily break the $2,000 mark.

To go cheaper the couple items that stand out are the tent and the water purifier. Substituting a less expensive (but still quality) tent and water treatment chemicals could easily drop $200 - $300 dollars off the total.

Edited by Denis (06/14/11 05:29 AM)
Victory awaits him who has everything in order luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck. Roald Amundsen

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