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What are your best, dirt cheap camping gear finds?

My wife just found a Mountainsmith Morrison 2 Person tent for $4 dollars, brand new at the local Salvation Army and it got me thinking about all of the great gear I've found on a budget. What piece of gear have you found for dirt cheap that you would have paid good money for?

- I'm the best at being me when I'm outside
8 Replies

Army surplus bearpaw snowshoes in good condition for $7.  This was 1961, but a gonzo deal even then.  How about a mountain cook set for $4.00, also mil surp?

@Bonfire , this is such a fun question. A $4 Mountainsmith tent is impressive! Can't wait to hear about where y'all camp with it. High five to your wife for finding it!

This winter I bought a Mountain Hardware Sub-Zero Jacket on Facebook Marketplace for $30. Vermont has already given me sub-zero temperatures multiple times this winter, so I am definitely thrilled with the find. When I told @REI-JohnJ, he said it was "probably a world record for insulation value per dollars spent." It's a big win in my book.

Thanks again for asking. Looking forward to hearing from others with their fun answers. 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.


What a fun topic! I purchased a vintage Chouinard Equipment ice axe and ring of pitons, all stamped with the Diamond 'C' logo, at a pawn shop in Fairbanks, Alaska for $10. I would have paid significantly more than that (if I had the money at the time). Pawn shops in Alaska are troves of vintage outdoor gear! I'll post a pic once I find which moving box it is in...

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

As a Pawn Shop and Thrift Store addict, especially in places different than the midwest, I would LOVE to check out what Alaska's second hand stores have to offer. 

I bet there is some pretty great wool finds? Even up in the Pacific Northwest the offerings are so much different than what you find here. 


- I'm the best at being me when I'm outside

We were on vacation a few years ago and stopped in at a thrift store. Found a brand new Coleman full size inflatable mattress for $10. We've used that for car camping and Scouting overnights (where we have to hike a really long 100' from the parking lot to the campsite LOL - we may be Scouts but we are suburban scouts!!)

Recently I picked up a brand new Gregory Baltoro 65 for $68.

Then, of course, there are all the items that I've repurposed for camping and hiking. For example, I bought  my wife a Fireball Advent calendar this past season and it had a plastic mini bottle of Fireball for each day. Washed a few of them out and they now will carry a variety of items when I backpack - hot sauce, seasoning mix (salt, pepper, and garlic powder), and - of course - a couple will be refilled with proper whiskey  

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

First of all, as a Dad and former Suburban Scouter (Eagle Scout!), I can say that dads ARE hip and being a dad is punk as **bleep**! 

Secondly, I started off with my dad doing car camping, and it's what turned me in to the backpacker, snowshoer, car rambler I am today. Your kiddos are gonna be awesome!

I wish you could see them talk fondly about these 100' hikes with their friends when they are your age. 


- I'm the best at being me when I'm outside

I was told to my video would be appreciated here:

Van tour of a Honda Fit full camper, sleeps two with great gas mileage. Full tour of van kitchen, camping food, sleeping and storage. Instagram: @speakingqui...


On BassPro, there is a $20-$30 backpacking tent, A-Frame.

Kyle M |
Have a Great Day, and make your best adventure yet.