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Backpacker Magazine – March 2012

Travel Like a Pro: Choose What to Pack & How to Find Gear Deals

Pick and choose what to pack for long or multi-activity trips. Plus, three ways to avoid overspending when outfitting your next trip.

by: Abbey Smith

Travel Like a Pro
More adventure travel tips for Backpackers
Prioritize Right
Pick and choose what to pack for long or multi-activity trips.

» Leave some gear behind. If your trip is multisport or splits backcountry- and city-based time evenly, consider leaving behind heavy or bulky gear that’s easy to rent overseas. “Definitely bring your own safety equipment,” says travel writer and climber Majka Burhardt, who spends a third of her time abroad, “but if you can rent big nonessentials like skis, paddling equipment, or a comfortable group tent, it’ll be easier to get around without them.”

» Dress to impress. Bring one decent outfit for good restaurants and shows, and trail attire that also looks smart in cities. “Khaki looks dirty quickly and vests or pants with a lot of pockets will make you a target for pickpockets when you’re in towns,” says Burhardt.

» Eliminate duplicates. Pack your carry-on and checked bag at the same time, so you don’t double up on the little stuff: warm layers for transit, toiletries, and reading material. Burhardt suggests pre-sorting gear and apparel into activity-specific piles several days before your departure so that you don’t forget essentials.

Get Gear Deals
3 ways to avoid overspending when outfitting your next trip.

» Shop early so you can watch for deep discounts on adventure-travel gear and clothing. and offer limited-time sales of up to 70-percent-off on major outdoor brands.

» If your trip requires special gear, rent tents, packs, or a GPS from LowerGear ( or Outdoors Geek (

» Buy inexpensive items in-country: Toiletries are readily available and often come in travel-friendly sizes, and many local snacks and delicacies serve as both trail food and a cultural-immersion experience.

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Daniel Philp
Aug 10, 2012

Abbey, I own a service in Seattle, WA that rents outdoor gear by mail, We're pre-beta right now, but rent outdoor gear by phone while we're building out the website. You can see all the gear available at Could we get a mention in your article alongside REI and LowerGear?



Feb 22, 2012

Call your local REI and find out when their next "used gear sale" or "garage sale" or whatever they call it locally is. Get there early (depends on the local popularity but this may mean a few hours before store opening). You will find all their returns at huge markdown. Don't think that returned means damaged or unusable. Some of the returns are because it was a wrong size, the wrong color, or the previous owner bough a bunch of stuff only to decide the outdoors life is not for them. Sometimes you can get an $100 garment with a small snag or other easily repairable flaw for $15. Also, some manufacturers have excellent warranties (i.e. MSR, Black Diamond, etc.) and will fix or replace the item for a new one.

Good luck.

Feb 20, 2012


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