This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

NEED HELP? Contact us or call us at (415) 965-5130

Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $50 away from free shipping!

Cart 0

Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $50 away from free shipping.
No more products available for purchase

Subtotal Free
Shipping, taxes, and discount codes are calculated at checkout

10 Cheap Gear Alternatives Student Hikers Love

10 Cheap Gear Alternatives Student Hikers Love
The home lends itself to eating delicious food and keeping comfort, but for the thrill-seekers, the mountainsides are the chance to bring out the hiking gear. There are several suitable slopes around the world that wait to be explored. The biggest hurdle comes when you don’t have the proper gear to use in your adventure.   
If you’re a passionate hiker or camper, you have few options available and the only way out is to spend money. Unfortunately, getting outside has become more expensive than before.
So, how can you save your hard-earned money from purchasing these expensive hiking gear and still go for a life-changing experience? This article will reveal 10 cheap backpacking gear that student hikers love to use when they go out for hiking.

Our Top 10 Cheap Gear Alternatives

1. Sticks vs. Hiking Poles

Hiking in rugged and slippery parts of slopes can test your bravado. Some of the terrains have rocky areas which can be dangerous when it’s wet. Thankfully, mother nature is always present to provide you with hiking sticks.
Rather than part with your money on some fancy sticks, you can find your own hiking sticks which perform similar functions as the hiking poles. This can be part of your DIY backpacking gear that you can take along when you go hiking.
Student hikers love using hiking sticks as they don’t have to pay any fee for them. If you’re lucky, you can find the sticks which are strong and lightweight and are better than the hiking poles from the store.  

2. Empty Gatorade Bottles

Gatorade should be applauded for manufacturing strong and durable bottles that contain sugary water. The Gatorade bottle is a thick plastic bottle that is known to resist well to wear and tear.
Hiking sometimes takes place in places where there is no potable water, so students don’t need to purchase fancy metal water bottles on their hiking trips.   
Many people vouch that this plastic bottle is an ideal alternative if you are keen on saving some money. Whether it’s metal water bottles or hydration bladder, you will need to spend a reasonable amount of money to buy them. But a reusable Gatorade will not cost you a penny and it will keep your water safe.  

3. Regular Athletic Clothing

There is something to be said about regular athletic clothing, they are good enough for any type of hiking. Athletic or hiking clothing are designed to be used for any outdoor sporting activity and this includes hiking. The regular athletic clothing is well-designed and durable to last you the entire hiking.
The only difference between regular athletic clothing and hiking clothing is their prices. You can purchase cheap hiking gear such as regular athletic clothing at half the cost of hiking clothing in most retail shops.

4. Pair of Frog Toggs instead of rain pants

You have to prepare for anything when you go hiking, and the rainy conditions are the hallmark of most terrains. Frog Toggs are the rain gear of choice for most students who go hiking.
Few rain pants come any close to the wide range of functions that Frogg Toggs perform. They are comfortable, durable, and lightweight which is a huge benefit because they lighten your pack.
In addition, Frog Toggs are a good water-repellent and have adjustable straps which can be used to hold to your body to prevent the cold winds or snow from getting inside.  The students love this cheap hiking gear because you can get them without lightening their wallets.

5. Plastic bags instead of dry bags

If there is one thing that hikers need most, it’s the dry bag. They want to keep their gear dry at all cost, but a plastic bag does an equally good job. Plastic bags provide an only option if you’re looking for a budget backpacking gear.
College students who are going out for hiking as part of their school program should consider taking plastic bags which will keep their hiking gear dry from the wet conditions.
Whether it’s hiking in the US or a music festival in Europe, you need to be prepared to the hilt. The moment you plan hiking, make sure to buy plastic bags because they are cheaper than the dry bags.    

6. Running Shoes vs. Backpacking Boots

Trails are different and it’s not always necessary to purchase expensive backpacking boots. If you’re going on a flat trail that doesn’t need a lot of climbing, it’s not rugged, or slippery, you might need only your pair of running shoes which you can use.   
They might come short by not providing the proper traction or protection that the backpacking boots would.
Still, if you are serious about getting a budget backpacking gear, this is your only way out. They would also help you to take a long walk in easier trails, unlike the backpacking boots.     

7. Wal-Mart Woolies vs. Fancy Hiking Socks

Hiking is all about tackling challenging terrains and it can take a huge impact on your hiking gear. If you have the stamina to spend more hours on the terrain, chances are, your hiking socks will be affected.
The socks also get a big knock when you spend time walking through the mud and rivers. So, even the fancy hiking socks cannot withstand such a torrid treatment.
Purchasing cheaper socks that can be disposed of at the end of the hike is a better option. You can get more pairs of Wal-Mart Woolies for the same amount of the fancy hiking socks.   

8. Mug vs. Camping Specific Dinner Sets

Hiking involves spending time outdoors and you don’t expect to find luxurious things that are found in your home. All you need is one mug to cater to your needs while hiking and not a camping specific dinner sets. You might get a plastic mug or enamel mug that you got for free.
With this in mind, a mug is ideal when it comes to drinking tea or coffee. If it’s bowl-shaped, you can even put meals that you cook and eat from the same mug. Most outdoor stores keep this kind of mugs at affordable prices.
10 Cheap Gear Alternatives Student Hikers Love

9. Plastic Bags vs. Expensive Dry Sacs

Professional hikers have an opportunity to choose durable and expensive dry sacs because they go out hiking most of the times. They can’t afford to be purchasing a new dry sac every time they take these adventures. However, it’s not often that students who go for hiking buy expensive dry sacs.
Most of the students prefer taking plastic bags when they participate in the outdoor school activities to keep their hiking gear dry. They are cheaper and perform the same function as the dry sacs. After all, some students are not passionate hikers and might never go for hiking again.     

10. Aluminum Pot

One of the aims for hiking is to appreciate the unsentimental beauty of the landscape that reveals itself to the eye. For that reason, you want to avoid carrying hiking items that are heavy as they would overburden you.
Aluminum pots are lightweight compared to titanium and they are easy to carry. It’s even better if you have a homemade pot which performs as good as the expensive pots.
The biggest advantage is that aluminum pots are affordable and will not affect your budget. If you are planning to go hiking, you can get camping aluminum pots in most local camping stores.


Hiking can take you to extremes and chances are, you are bound to get tired legs and arms. This can force you to seek a place where you can take a rest. While most of the trails have camping sites, you still need to find out all the amenities that they provide.
Overall, if you are going out for hiking, proper preparation is the key to a successful outing.  All the hiking gear should be carried with you as they will play a major role in your success. Student hikers have to remember that there are cheaper gear alternatives that they can use on hikes.

Author Bio

Robert Everett’s life is about two things – writing travel and adventure blogs for essay writing service located in London and hiking. He has covered many trails across the US, in Europe, and in Canada. No surprise that he lives near Coastal Trail in Pukaskwa NP and he is familiar with every step of it. Other than that, he loves watching movies and documentaries and spending time with his two lovely daughters.