Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hiking on the Cheap

Myself, the SIL and the BIL hit the trail at 5am this morning.  They are very active hikers and wanted to hike around Las Vegas before my SIL leaves next week.  Did I mention it's around 110 degrees here everyday?  But it is possible to do short hikes here if you start at daybreak and come back by about 9am which means a five to ten mile hike (note the photo taken as the sun was rising).  For more photos check my other blog here.

Although my in-laws can well afford their travels (they both make over six figures each year) and they are positively dripping in top-shelf REI gear, we all enjoyed this outing equally even though I don't make anything close to six figures and don't own a single item from REI.  Here's a gear comparison:

  • Their hats cost $80 each at REI.  I got a similar Columbia hat from the Goodwill for $1.50.
  • Their sunglasses (Raybans) average around $100 a pair.  Mine were from the $1 store for, well, $1.
  • Sunscreen probably cost about the same from Walmart.
  • Their daypacks (Camelbacks) cost about $150 each.  My daypack, on sale at TJ Maxx, cost $7.95.  I needed to add two bottles of water while they filled up their water bags at home.
  • Their hiking clothes--REI brand--probably cost around $100 each per outfit; my favorite hiking jeans and thin, long-sleeved top came from the Goodwill for about $5 total.
  • They each had their hiking boots, liner socks, and heavy-duty hiking socks (around $150 each) while I wore my $40 New Balance walking shoes.
  • They brought snacks (organic dried fruit and nuts, beef jerky, etc) which costs around $10 each while I brought a few granola bars (6 for $1 at the $1 store).
And some hiking costs are the same for everyone:
  • Park entry fees (I chose a scenic hike in a location that was free to access)
  • Gas to get to the trail head (we could have gone further afield but chose a hike that was about a half hour away which saves money on gas).
The bottom line:  Don't let the lack of money keep you from enjoying your hobby.  Just because you can't afford the "right" gear (they looked like hikers, I looked like, well, an escapee from the Goodwill) doesn't mean you can't tweak the situation to allow you to participate--and enjoy--whatever hobby you choose.  Some people would look at "real hikers" and think, "I can't afford that so I'll just sit home on my couch" but if it is something you enjoy (I happen to love walking), then by all means, get out and do it.  You can always find cheap gear (example here), find cheaper ways to participate (they hiked Yosemite for two weeks recently, I can't afford that but I can certainly afford local day hikes), and, if it is a hobby you are going to stick with, you can always add improved gear as you go along (you don't need to drop $1000 in a shopping spree at REI when you can take advantage of REI's frequent 20% off one item sale and slowly add to your upscale gear collection).

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