The Cheapest Hiking Clothes

Hiking clothes and backpacking clothes need to function to a higher standard than everyday clothes. That's why they're often more expensive. Shop all the sales you want, and you will save money, but that extremely expensive waterproof/breathable coat will only be marked down to "very expensive." Time for some more radical ways to find cheap hiking clothes.

Consider what you really need for the trips you have planned. If you'll be scaling peaks in Patagonia for a month, you may have to stick with the best sales you can find on the high-quality stuff. If, on the other hand, your trips are fair-weather overnighters, a two-ounce, two-dollar plastic poncho isn't out of the question.

Even on the more extreme trips you can often find cheaper alternatives. Did I take a $400 waterproof/breathable rain suit to the top of 20,600-foot Mount Chimborazo? No, I took my papery Frogg-Toggs rain suit. You'll find these at golf shops, and yes it's waterproof and breaths well too. It cost me $49 for the set, and I have used it for years, on many rainy trips, with only one duct-tape repair.

Do you like to hike in running shoes, as I do? Start watching the sales on out-of-style shoes. I've bought brand-name $90 shoes for just $25. With savings like that, I'll gladly be out of style.

I stopped getting blisters when I gave up on expensive, high-tech, too-hot hiking socks. I hike thirty miles now without a blister in comfortable, lightweight, white nylon dress socks. They're less than an ounce and about a dollar per pair.

Buy Used Hiking Clothes

The only hiking clothes I won't buy used is footwear. Other potential backpacking clothes are worth checking out whenever I find them at a rummage sale or thrift store. I've found a Gore-Tex rain jacket and North Face vest at a thrift store for a few dollars each. My thrifty used wool sweater weighs just 11 ounces, and is almost as warm as the newest models.

One of my favorite thrift store discoveries was silk shirts. I learned that they weigh just tree ounces, and show up on the racks regularly for $3. They are comfortable too, though on the trail some of the styles make me look like I'm searching for a wilderness disco.

Making Hiking Clothes

I can't recommend sewing your own hiking and backpacking clothes, but I have made a few simple things. The sleeve from an old thermal shirt became a one-ounce ski mask with scissors and three minutes of sewing. Socks with finger-holes make nifty hand warmers. As an insulating layer, I wore a four-ounce piece of poly batting like a tunic under my Frogg Toggs, to the top of Chimborazo and other mountains. Finally, without too much sewing, you can often modify clothes to make cheap hiking clothes.

Hiking - Much More Than Just Exercise

Many people think that hiking is just another form of exercise. While this is technically true, hiking is also much more. The first thing that makes hiking more than just exercise is the fact that hiking takes place in nature. There is something very powerful about nature and being in nature. I'm one of those people who believe that if more people spent more time in nature, we would have many fewer problems in this world. Many of our greatest thinkers believed in the power of nature as well. Albert Einstein said of nature, "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

Hiking affords a person the opportunity to be in nature, which in and of itself makes it much more than just exercise. Hiking can be done in any outdoor setting, but I personally love hiking in mountains. Hiking to the top of a mountain is incredibly rewarding. Not only because you hiked to the top, but once there you are usually rewarded with a view that isn't possible anywhere else. Even from an airplane, views are different that from standing on top of a mountain that you just climbed. This seems to be one of those laws of nature that can't be fooled with. The bottom line is that the view is never as good as it is when you hike to the top of the mountain.

Not only does hiking involve you receiving unequalled access to views of nature, it also affords you incredible emotional feeling. For me, there is no drug that you can take (and I've tried a lot of them) that will give you the incredible feeling of accomplishment that finishing a good hike gives you. And this feeling costs nothing. Nothing, other than your time and effort. What could be a better deal than that?

So the next time that you get the opportunity, go for a hike. Spend some time hiking in nature and let her help you with anything that you may need. I think William Blake put it beautifully, when he said, "The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself." Amen.

The Many Benefits of Hiking

Not only is hiking a fun way to pass your time, it also has numerous benefits. Hiking is a cheap, fun, and natural way to, at the very least, improve your physical, mental, and emotional states.

Hiking is a fantastic workout. It consistently keeps your heart rate up and gives you an aerobic workout that will prevent the your chance of developing of heart disease, decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, slow your aging process, increase your bone density, prevent you from catching a cold or flu, combat the threat of arthritis, relieve possible back pain, and provide you with a longer, better life, among other things. Regular hour-long hikes also increase your stamina, better equipping you to handle whatever situations you might encounter in your everyday life. Also, if you want to be more attractive to members of the opposite sex, hiking a trail on an incline is a great way to build up your leg and butt muscles.

Hiking also provides great mental benefits. Enjoying the abundant nature of the outdoors and clearing your mind of everything for the short time you are enjoying the physical exertion of a nice hike can provide important benefits to your psychological health. Hiking is also a relaxing way to get away from everyone and spend some time with yourself. A break from the emails and phone calls of the day can do you a great deal of good. Direct sunlight and fresh air has been shown to have an affect on the psychological states of human beings. After your hike, you are sure to have gained a new perspective and feel refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Do yourself a favor and take a hike!

Scott Amundson is an expert in hiking and biology who consistently writes compelling articles for Outdoor-Hiking.com. Scott's new book HIKE TO HEALTH offers readers a way to get more out of their lives with minimal effort. This plan is more effective at helping people to get healthy and feel better than any extreme diet of the moment, and the people who choose to use it can still eat everything and do everything that they want while having more energy and more focus!