As anyone who’s shopped for outdoor gear can tell you, it can be expensive. Furthermore, if it’s your first trip to your local retailer and you’re making a few one-time purchases, you’ll be spending quite a bit more than normal. We all love saving money, and with sales, coupons, and membership discounts, it’s easier these days to do so. However, there are a few pieces of outdoor gear that you should never pinch pennies on, and I’ve outlined them for you today.

I know I sound like a broken record, but believe me when I say that boots are perhaps the most important piece of gear you’ll own for the outdoors. For this reason, you should never buy a cheap pair. Quality boots should be able to stand up to season after season of abuse, and you can expect to pay around $200 for a pair that will last and hold up to the weight of a full pack. To ensure your boots last a long time, avoid wearing them during everyday activities or on pavement, and be sure to untie the laces when putting them on or taking them off.

Next up is your sleeping bag, which you should expect to pay over $300 for is you want a reliable, lightweight three-season bag. Inadequate warmth at night can lead to miserable sleep and a ruined trip, which makes your sleeping bag a crucial piece of gear.

Along the same lines as a sleeping bag is a sleeping pad. $50 will buy you a basic one, but if you want the best comfort possible, you’ll be looking at closer to $200, and it can be worth it to upgrade a bit from basic. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one expensive pad, though. Layering is a good option, and starting with a foam pad and pairing it with an affordable cushion is a great way to increase comfort and ensure a restful sleep.

I cringe just as much as the next person when I see the cashier hit Total, but I also know the importance of quality gear when it comes to the outdoors. A higher cost generally means lasting durability, quality materials, and a great warrantee, but knowing which gear to buy cheaper and which ones to bite the bullet and splurge on is key. Hopefully the tips outlined above helped inform you of the importance of spending a bit more on the more crucial equipment you rely on while camping. 

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