Expensive Hiking Gear. Cheap Hiking Gear. What is the Difference?

One of the first questions I get when i start talking to someone who wants to get into hiking is,  “What gear do I need?”

Well, you don’t need much. Lots of people hike with nothing more than runners or whatever they happen to have on their feet at the time. It’s always a good idea to have some water with you as well. Shoes and some water are probably the minimum required to go for a little hike.

As you may know from wandering around an outdoor gear shop, there are many many other things you can buy for hiking as well.

Another thing you might have also noticed is that there is a large difference in price between some of the pieces of gear even though they appear to do the same thing. Take waterproof jackets for instance. You can buy a waterproof jackets for about $70. You can also buy a waterproof jacket for $700. That’s a huge difference!

With pretty much every type of gear, there are cheaper versions and more expensive version. You can get hiking poles for $40 and hiking poles for $300. You can tents for $100 and tents for $2000. And as with above you can get jackets for $70 and $700. If you stay dry in a waterproof jacket, why spend $700 instead of $70?

The difference for most price differences is quality. For the most part as you go up in price, you go up in quality. It’s the same as with cars, appliances and websites. The higher the quality the more expensive.

For the jacket example, the cheaper end is made out of cheaper materials, has less time spent on it and will probably not last as long as the more expensive jacket. The expensive jacket has more expensive materials like eVent or Gore-Tex in it, has better stitching, thinner seam tape and has more features like a helmet compatible hood, ergonomic velcro straps and a waterproof zipper.

Next time you’re looking at two different pieces of gear think about what you want. Are you looking for a something that’s just going to last the weekend or is going to get you out of a pinch? Or are you really looking for something that’s going to take a beating, be really comfortable and last a long time?

The higher the quality of your gear, the more you’re going to like it in the long run.

Comments: What kind of gear do you like? Do you go with the expensive stuff or not? Why?