Hiking is an excellent way to enjoy life through both physical and mental stimulation. As an activity that might require a lot of gear, however, the cost of hiking equipment can quickly add up, especially if you want reliable gear. Thus, it can be difficult to budget perfectly for several hiking trips. So, how do you get free hiking gear?
Keep reading to learn various ways to get free hiking gear. While most of the examples below can help you get gear for free, additional tips can also get you gear at a bargain price. Hiking is an adventurous escape into nature, and you should not have to stress about paying too much for hiking gear to get you there.
To preserve the quality of your hiking gear, packing, cleaning, and storing is the process you should follow every time you go on a trip. To learn how to do this properly, check out our article on packing, cleaning, and storing hiking gear.
Tips to Get Free Hiking Gear
Before diving into the different ways to get free hiking gear, you should consider what it is that you need. All of the tips below are great ways to get small items for free, although you might have to approach the situation differently if you are looking to get major hiking gear gratis.
It is not always as simple as picking the hiking gear you want and figuring out how to get it for free. In some cases, you might have to settle for used or less-than-high-quality materials. Other times, you might only benefit from high-quality gear temporarily, for example, if you are sharing gear with someone else in your hiking group.
Either way, here are tips that should help you find free hiking gear in almost any situation.
Borrow Hiking Gear from Friends or Family
One of the easiest ways to score some free hiking gear is by borrowing gear from friends and family. Assuming that they are willing to do so, asking a loved one to borrow a few items can be a great way to get your hands on some top-shelf hiking gear without having to pay for it.
Of course, you are expected to return the gear in as good of a condition as it was when it was loaned to you, so you must make sure to take great care of it.
Borrowing hiking gear from close friends or family is also one of the more comfortable ways to get free hiking gear. In some circumstances, you might not feel comfortable asking a distant friend to borrow their gear or try to get a deal from someone online. By starting with the ones you love, you will probably find it easier to ask for a favor in the same way that they may be more inclined to trust you with their hiking gear.
Share Hiking Gear with Other People in Your Group
One of the most popular ways to get free hiking gear is by participating in a kind of potluck with your hiking group. Whether you are very close to the people you go hiking with or not, if you all agree to share your hiking gear, you can benefit from all of the gear in your group.
This is a great way to try out different items for free. If you are looking to test out different brands, getting to experience using whatever is at your disposal while hiking in real-time is one of the best ways to find out which gear works best for you.
Not to mention, you can make some new connections within your group by testing out different people’s gear. In this way, you score some temporarily free gear while making new hiking buddies along the way.
Find Old or Used Hiking Gear
A useful technique to get free hiking gear is to find old or used hiking gear on places like:
- Facebook Marketplace,
- and more.
Some people post things for free if they are simply trying to get rid of them.
Check out places like these, and keep your eyes peeled for free hiking gear. The options for what you can post on sites like these are theoretically endless, so you should not have trouble finding reliable hiking gear.
It is not uncommon to find things like expensive furniture or artwork online for free. Surely, even more people would be willing to offer things like a hiking backpack. If you search enough, you should find a great selection of hiking gear for a small price or for free.
Plus, you will typically be able to read reviews from the previous owner to help you decide if the hiking gear meets your standards. Assuming that most people are telling the truth, personal testimonies are a great way to influence your opinion.
Join a Hiking Club
A more interactive way to get free hiking gear is by joining a hiking club. If hiking is a popular activity in the region you live in, the chances are that there are several hiking clubs you can become a part of.
Hiking clubs are a fantastic way to:
- Meet new people
- Continue your hiking adventures
- Possibly score some free gear along the way
At some hiking clubs, you might have to pay an upfront fee or some type of regular membership fee. But bear in mind that there are more benefits than free hiking gear alone; these costs can be well worth it. There are numerous ways to get free or bargained hiking gear by joining a hiking club:
- The hiking club is sponsored by a hiking company
- People you meet at the club give their old gear away
- You get discounts on certain brands affiliated with the hiking club
Experience the Generosity of Sponsors or Other Club Members
If the hiking club you join is popular or large, you might have the pleasure of being sponsored by a certain hiking company. While the specifics behind hiking sponsorships are discussed below, being sponsored in a hiking group can get you free hiking gear fast. Hiking companies might offer free or discounted prices on:
- Gear that is out of season,
- Gear that they want to test to see if it is worth selling,
- And more.
Another way to score free hiking gear at a hiking club is through other members of the club. If you develop a solid enough relationship with them, they might offer you some of their gear. Suppose one of the members has recently upgraded their boots, and you happen to be the same foot size as them, they might feel inclined to give you their old boots. As long as materials like these remain in good condition, getting free hiking gear from other members can be awesome.
Aside from being sponsored as a hiking group, the group might be affiliated with an outdoor store. Thus, if you become a member of the group, you might benefit from member discounts at the store.
While offers like these might not regularly end up in you getting free gear, you could get materials at a fraction of the retail price.
Become Sponsored by a Hiking Gear Company
Perhaps one of the coolest ways to get free hiking gear is by being sponsored by a hiking gear company. While there may not be as many opportunities out there for you to do so, those lucky enough to get a sponsorship definitely reap the benefits of some solid gear.
No matter what hiking company you might be sponsored by, there is a very large likelihood that they will send you a good amount of free gear to test and promote.
Keep in mind that it is a good idea to accept sponsorship from a reliable hiking gear company. You are going to be promoting their brands and deserve to use gear that meets your standards. Similarly, the hiking company deserves the highest levels of enthusiasm from someone advertising their products.
This can be a more difficult way to get free hiking gear. While the benefits are huge, you might not have as much luck finding a sponsorship, particularly if you are not in an area in which hiking is extremely popular.
While you might be the perfect person to be sponsored by a hiking company, they may not invest in you if you are not in an area heavily populated by hikers. Of course, it all depends on the company, so it is never a concrete sign that you will not be sponsored.
Whether you’re going on a quick day hike or a multi-day backpacking trip, you’ll need a reliable hiking backpack to help you carry and store your hiking gear. If you’re not sure about which pack you should get, check out our article about the best hiking backpacks to see which ones are our favorites.
How to Get Sponsored for Hiking?
If you do want to try getting sponsored for hiking, it can be an exciting adventure. If you accomplish your goal, being sponsored can:
- Lend you free gear,
- Act as a great conversation piece,
- Motivate you to get out and hike,
- And more.
Sponsorships for hiking can also be extremely beneficial if you are going hiking for an extended period. You will need much more gear than for a typical weekend trip, and having a sponsorship can make your financial situation easier.
To get sponsored for hiking, there are a few guidelines you should follow. Potential sponsors are going to want to know at least a little bit about you, including:
- Who you are
- Why you are going on a hiking journey
- What you have to offer
- Where you are going
- How many of these trips you’ve taken in the past
- If you have any other sponsorship
Without a plan, you might not find the success you are looking for.
Why Do You Want/Need a Sponsor?
First, you need to figure out your plan. Do you want sponsorships to finance your excursion, for exposure on your social media presence, for free gear, or something else?
For the purpose of this article, your interest might be in free gear. Regardless, that is not the only aspect in which you will find some benefits.
Find Potential Sponsors with Similar Interests to Yours
After figuring out what your intent is for finding one or more sponsors, you should get on your research early.
Find companies and brands that you think might be interested in sponsoring you or that are actively looking for hikers to sponsor. The latter option might be an easier path to take, but finding sponsors that you personally want is also a rewarding process.
What Are Hiking Sponsors Looking For?
Another thing to keep in mind is what you can offer your sponsor. Yes, they might be giving you the necessary equipment to complete your hikes, but they won’t want to sponsor someone for no reason.
Consider your talents and how a sponsorship on your part can benefit the brand sponsoring you. For instance:
- Are you going to go out of your way to promote the brand?
- Do you already have a large enough social media presence to make your efforts even more effective?
- Are you willing to put all your efforts into advertising the brand, as you would your favorite company?
Sponsors want you to be as enthusiastic about your journey as they are about you publicizing their products. Keep in mind that sponsorship is both a personal and professional relationship.
The company is willing to give you the time of day to promote their brand, but they would also like to see who you are as a person.
Whether you find a handful or just one company that will potentially sponsor you, make sure to keep in touch with them until an agreement is reached. Keep showing your initial enthusiasm throughout the entire process, letting the company know that you look forward to working with them and that their sponsorship means as much to you as it does to them.
Choosing the right footwear for your hike is very important since you’ll be on your feet a majority of the time. Choosing the wrong footwear could lead to sore feet and blisters which will prevent you from enjoying your hike to the fullest. Lucky for you, we have a list of the best hiking shoes for men, women, and children all in one article.
Do You Need Expensive Hiking Gear?
It is no secret that hiking gear can cause a large dent in your wallet, especially if you are set on having top-of-the-line gear. Your financial situation, however, might be a problem. Realistically, you do not need the most expensive hiking gear available out there, but it is essential to find reliable items.
If you follow one or more of the tips listed above, you are well on your way to getting affordable – often free – hiking gear. Of course, these outlets might not always be available to you, so you might have to approach the situation differently. Experimenting with different products to find the most reliable hiking equipment can also be a monetary hassle.
One of the easiest ways to find the most reliable hiking gear is by researching customer reviews. For die-hard hikers, reviews are used for the benefit of other customers. Make sure to look at product reviews if you want to learn more about a specific piece of hiking gear or need further reassurance that the popular item is trustworthy and useful.
Where Can You Buy Inexpensive Hiking Gear?
Because hiking gear can be expensive, you might opt for more affordable gear. While less expensive gear is not always of lesser quality than more expensive hiking gear, it is still important to do your research and decide whether or not the equipment meets your standards.
There are several places where you can find affordable hiking gear like Cabela’s, Ebay.com or Amazon.com. These can be great outlets if you prefer to own your own gear instead of borrowing some from friends and family or sharing it with others in your hiking group.
The cost of hiking gear can add up quickly. Thus, it is important to find affordable, reliable gear that will hold up in even the most intense long-term hikes. By taking note of the tips mentioned in this article, you should have no problem finding free or cheap gear for your coming adventures.