Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


2-Person Tent Reviews

The Best Bargain Backpacking Gear

Get maximum value for minimum cash with these 14 standout products.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Let’s face it: Backpacking gear can be expensive. Just ask reader Keith Hepworth, who wrote in to tell us that the prices in one of our Fall Gear Guides left him feeling cold. “Based on your reviews, one could be led to think backpacking is only for the wealthy,” he said. “The $101 average price for the gloves in your review is out of reach for the vast majority [of people].”

We feel your pain, Keith, Most of our coverage focuses on new gear, and the latest and greatest isn’t always cheap. But that doesn’t mean you need a trust fund to upgrade your kit. Read on for 13 of our favorite bargain tents, packs, sleeping bags, and more, all for $160 or less.

At BACKPACKER, we take our responsibility to provide readers with fair and accurate gear advice seriously. When you make a purchase through our site, we may earn a commission.

Osprey Rook / Renn 50 Pack


You usually have to wait for close-out sales to get a pack like this at such an affordable price. How does Osprey keep the cost so low? Designers made cuts in key areas: no front stash pocket, a fixed lid instead of a floating one, static mesh instead of stretch side pockets, and one-way zippers. Verdict: small concessions for the price. $155 Buy Osprey Rook 50 Pack Now / Buy Osprey Renn 50 Pack Now / Read the Full Review

Kelty Late Start


It wasn’t too long ago that 4 pounds for a two-person tent was considered light, which means you can now pick up yesterday’s ultralights—like this one—for a song. $160 Buy Kelty Late Start Now / Read the Full Review

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol

gg12_Therm-a-Rest_Z Lite Sol_445x260

You might already know the Z Lite (formerly known as the Z Rest) from one of your first camping trips. The foam pad is cheap, light, and nearly indestructible, making it an easy choice when you’re just starting out. $40 Read the Full Review / Buy Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Now

Adidas Swift Parley Jacket


Happy coincidence: This eco-friendly, two-layer shell was also the most affordable model in the test. $139 Read the Full Review / Buy Adidas Swift Parley Jacket Now

Marmot Lightweight Kestrel/Lana Crew


Dollar for dollar, this is the best top we used this winter. A versatile, no-frills synthetic number, the Kestrel kept us happy through the skiing months and well into hiking season with its quick-wicking and -drying properties and comfortably flexy fit. $40 Read the Full Review / Buy Marmot Lightweight Kestrel/Lana Crew Now

Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack


An ultralight pack like this brings versatility to a new level. It can serve as your food bag, stuffsack, pillow, daypack, laundry bag, and carry-on all in one. $35 Read the Full Review / Buy Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack Now

Flylow Ridge Gloves


These all-leather, work-style gloves will last season after season, whether you’re shredding the slopes or chopping wood—and we’d still buy them at twice the price. $50 Buy Flylow Ridge Gloves Now

Sunski Navarros

best sunglasses of 2018 sunski sunglasses

Protect your peepers, look good, and save a Benjamin to spend on other gear in this issue. We’ve tested other bargain shades—but none with polarized lenses, wrapped frames, and throw-’em-in-your-pack durability like the Navarros. $58 Read the Full Review / Buy Sunski Navarros Now

Decathlon Trek 100


When we first saw the price of this lightweight puffy, we thought it was a typo. A warm, packable jacket for under $50? Believe it. $45 Read the Full Review / Buy Decathlon Trek 100 Now 

Paria Outdoor Products Bryce 2P

Gear Guide 2018 Paria tent

Usually, as a tent’s weight goes down, its price goes up. Not so with the Bryce. It’s a tent stake under 3 and a half pounds, has legit space for two, and costs a fraction of what similar models do. $160 Read the Full Review / Buy Paria Outdoor Products Bryce 2P Now

Decathlon Forclaz Trek 900 Bag


The only thing cheap about this bag is its price tag. It doesn’t perform like a budget pick and excels in shoulder-season temps. $100 Buy Decathlon Forclaz Trek 900 Bag Now / Read the Full Review

Nemo Forte 35


If you prefer synthetic to down, this low-price, high-performance bag is what you’re looking for. The relaxed shape fits even the most fitful sleepers. $160 Buy Nemo Forte 35 Now / Read the Full Review

Paria Outdoor Products Recharge UL

Gear Guide Paria sleeping pad

As sleeping pads have gotten lighter and thicker over the years, prices have gone up commensurately. But if you just want a pad that’s comfortable enough (2.5 inches of cushion) and light enough (1 lb. 4 oz.), this pad delivers. $70 Read the Full Review / Buy Paria Outdoor Products Recharge UL Now

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.