Recent Comments

Share money-saving tips

Think you have what it takes to Go Cheap? Take the Gear Guy Challenge!

Share some of your own money-saving tips and tricks in the comment section below. We’ve already started the conversation with some of our ideas, and we’ll print some of the best tips in a future issue of Boys’ Life.

Ask the Gear Guy

Not sure which gear to buy? Need tips for maintaining your equipment? Click here to send in your questions for the Gear Guy. Selected questions will be answered here and in the printed magazine.

60 Comments on Share money-saving tips

  1. Scoutkid66 // June 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm // Reply

    I got a 64 liter backpack at REI for $120

  2. Dicks Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shop usually have good coupons, but you may need to ask for them. Do so at the Customer Service counter of ask the department manager. Last year, when my sone bridged I was trying to buy his summer camp gear and Dicks gave me a whole packet of coupons specifically printed for Scouts and recreational atheletic teams! There were enough for everyone in his troop to get coupons.

  3. Research the gear you’re looking for online by cost, brand, and rating from other people. If you just look at you local sports store, you won’t be able to see what other brands of gear are like. Plus, buying online is usually cheaper, if you know where to look.

  4. Hey “dj11oo99”, you don’t have to buy freeze dried food, you can make your own at home! Ask your mom if she has a “Food-Saver” or something that dehydrates food. If she does, you can use that to dehydrate regular food to make it great for backpacking. If not, just buy the freeze dried stuff. It’s not that expensive!

  5. I want to go on a backpacking trip but i don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on freeze dried food what do i do

  6. iwishitwouldsnowhere // February 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm // Reply

    If you have a gift card to a shop that you’re buying an expensive thing, use it.
    Also, are there any recommended sleeping bags for camping out in the Georgetown area of Texas?

  7. do not buy axes that are dull to start with. that usuly means it can not hold a sharpen

  8. pocketbook full // January 31, 2010 at 7:21 pm // Reply

    don’t use credit save up!

  9. says DO your local thrift stores and goodwill–nothing like a “like new” pair of Vasque boots for $1.50 or $.50 day packs reputable brands!!

  10. Watch for sales at retail stores, they normally have a discount aisle where you can some great stuff cheap!

  11. Always a good idea to write in to the editorial spot in your local newspaper (where they put recipe questions) you would be amazed at how many people are paying attention to those columns and are willing to donate or get rid of things real cheap….

  12. Always browse discount sites like REI Outlet

  13. if you go to a yard sale buy the cheepist camping gear then go camping and live with it.

  14. CloneGunner47 // January 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm // Reply

    So I can be as thrifty as possible I separate my money into three envelopes. Spend, save, and give.

  15. Garage sales and craigs list for great deals on gear. I rescue cast Iron dutch ovens all the time.

  16. Along with the traditional outdoor recreational dealers like REI, the Sportsmans Guide catalog offers great prices on new and used camping and outdoor gear.

  17. I constantly shop the online outlet stores of the major gear stores.
    I have found huge deals on closeout and returned items.
    I found a very good pair of German leather big name hiking boots originally $180.00 marked down to $80., a $200. on 2 person three season backpacking tent for $43.00(used once and returned, and two internal frame backpacks each originally about $200. for near $100. ea. Ask the gear stores if the have any big clearance sales.

  18. Ranger Danger // January 25, 2010 at 8:46 pm // Reply

    go light by only what is needed and on occation go thrift shoping, its cheap, easy, and deffinetly affordable. I’ve found brand new hikeing bags with perfect frames for only 4.50 and tents for 3 dollars.

  19. Army surplus gear and clothing can usually be bought at reasonable prices, and is almost always high quality and very tough. unless you are REALLY hard on clothing, it will probably outlast your scouting career.

  20. you can just go to WalMart or Academy Sports for low-priced gear and a wide variety of tents,sleeping bags, backpacks, etc. or you can just buy used off of eBay or craig’s list. And always check the shipping cost if you buy off the internet, it might be a lot higher than you expected.

    • Be careful of the Walmart stuff. Some of it is really cheaply made and breaks easily. Sometimes its cheaper in the long run to buy better quality that’ll last.

  21. popingbubble // January 12, 2010 at 4:49 pm // Reply

    if your out camping and you want to save money stay near the campsite because if you went out from there you might get hurt and then you would have to pay all those medical bills :p

  22. old toothbrushes are great for cleaning bikes.

  23. GO PRIMITIVE // January 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm // Reply

    You don’t need all that fancy gear. Just bring a tarp and a blanket for your shelter. A tin cup and a fork are all you need for cooking. And a heavy sweatshirt and a cheap rain poncho will be enough clothing. I even skip the hiking boots and use a pair of old sneakers.

    • old sneakers are great shoes for camping because if they get wet or dirty, then no problem. they can serve as work shoes as well

  24. grilled cheseman // January 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm // Reply

    I got a brand new knife, probably worth $30, for $19.95 on eBay. Check there

  25. I always go to ski willis to get the used ski gear so i will look cool and have great stuff. AAAALWAYSSS get used gear it is much cheaper and often almost new.

  26. i spend 22$a year on camping stuff beacus i alwase go to sales and get stuff big on me to last me a while

  27. Billy bob joe // December 23, 2009 at 2:36 pm // Reply

    Look at local flee markets especially for knives. I got a swiss army knife knockoff that would have been $120 and I got it for $2

    • You can get a good deal at flea markets, but you’ll want to be careful. Some of the knives are really poor quality. Bring someone with you who knows about knifes.

  28. if you look in the sunday paper there are TONS of great deals on camping supplies. Also, if you go hunting at flea markets 1 out of every 10 booths will have really cheap and nice camping supplies. I got a brand new, name brand sleeping bag that would sell for over 100 dollars at the store for 2.50! Also, try t bargain with them, they will probably take it for cheaper. Finally have your Dad with you and ask your Parent if it is okay that you get the item and the will probably let you have it.

  29. if you think that you might spend a lot of money on something,REI has a sale at the end of every quarter of the year for gear and equipment that is used or has not meet the standard of the previous owner.Go to rei and see when the next sale is. start saving.

  30. Random person // December 21, 2009 at 11:06 am // Reply

    look for things on sale, you can get stuff really cheap

  31. Go to thrift stores.They sometimes sell tents,sleeping bags etc.Just remember to clean the items that you buy.I got a tent for three dollars and it is just like new!

    • I got my stove and lantern at a garage sale for $5. They were almost new. You can also check Craigslist for used items.

  32. REMEMBER always the 10 esssentials

  33. use things you have at your huoseyou do not need to buy anything but a sleping bag, foam pad, hiking boots, pocket knive, and flashlight.and also pass it downwhen it will not fit.

  34. when looking for Equipment look for a long time eventualy you’ll
    find really neat deals. alway’s think about how your going to use this stuff I know the 20 tool multytool look’s cool. but can you afford it? can you really use all the tules in the wilderness?

  35. SHARE. Not everyone in your troop needs to have his own tent, stove, water filter, etc. With a well-thought-out gear list and a quick meeting before your outing, it’s easy to mix and match all the gear your group will need.

    • When we went to Philmont, we made the mistake of packing too many pots. You can share pots and carry a lot less weight and save money.

  36. BEG AND BORROW. Though there are a few important pieces of gear you really should own (including quality boots, hiking shoes, socks and a sleeping bag), you should be able to borrow or rent the rest of the stuff.

  37. DIY. That stands for Do It Yourself. You’re a smart kid. So use your mind and your hands to save money by building your own first-aid kit or survival kit. Also, skip those fancy freeze-dried dinners and trendy energy bars and instead try making your own homemade gorp and camp meals—it’s always cheaper and often more tasty to cook your own stuff.

  38. BRING YOUR OWN. Take the time to plan and pack everything you need before leaving on an outing. Try to avoid renting gear on-site. Same goes for buying food—grocery stores in your hometown are likely to be much cheaper than smaller stores close to the trailhead.

  39. USE USED. Look for screaming deals on gently used outdoor gear at garage sales, from friends in your troop, or on Web sites like eBay or

    • Buying used gear is a great idea, and you don’t have the worry of possible losing or damaging gear you’ve borrowed from someone else. I have found some of my most reliable camping gear at garage/yard sales. It can be a good idea to take someone with you who has a knowledge of camping and the outdoors; they may help steer you away from a piece of equipment which is damaged or of poor quality.

  40. SHOP SMART. Look for end-of-season sales. Outdoor brands release new clothes for the spring (January to June) and fall (July to December) seasons. Shop at the beginning or end of these seasons for discounts on last season’s color, style, pattern, etc. Tent, backpack and sleeping-bag manufacturers release their new stuff each spring, so between December and February you can often buy last year’s tent, pack, whatever, at close-out prices.

  41. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY. When getting into a new sport, don’t go out and buy all the best gear right off. Borrow stuff or look for used beginner gear. Once you decide it’s something you’ll stick with, sell the starter stuff and invest in quality gear you’ll use for the long term.

  42. DOUBLE DUTY. You don’t need all those cool—and expensive—moisture-wicking shirts and tees. Check the tags on your old soccer or football uniforms. If they are made of nylon or polyester, they can serve double duty on the trail as quick-dry shirts and shorts.

  43. CHOOSE YOUR FUEL. Use a liquid-fuel stove instead of one of those canister stoves. Sure, canister stoves are easy to use and seem affordable, but over time you’ll spend less owning and operating a traditional liquid fuel stove.

  44. SAVE FUEL. When you’re boiling water, cover that pot! It will boil faster and reduce fuel consumption. Don’t have a lid? Use tin foil. And don’t forget to use that windscreen around your stove, too—even when it’s not windy. It’ll speed up your cook times (and save fuel).

  45. SLEEP CHEAP. Choose a foam sleeping pad instead of a self-inflating pad. Not only are they cheaper, but they are often lighter and have zero chance of popping. Camping with a tarp instead of a tent will also save you lots of money and pack weight.

  46. BETTER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER. If you’re just taking a three-day backpacking trip, there’s no need to gear up as if you’re headed to climb Mount Everest. Buy for the conditions you’ll be experiencing. Skip the minus-40-degree sleeping bag and buy one rated for 20 degrees. Forget about the four-season tent and go with a cheaper, lighter three-season tent. Instead of spendy Gore-Tex jackets, go for lightweight rain gear that’s urethane-coated, with taped seams, covered zippers and a decent hood. As for backpacks: zippers, pockets, bells and whistles are nice, but a lighter-weight, stripped-down pack will do the job while saving the strain on your wallet and your back.

Leave a Comment

Please don't use your real name.