Budget gear – The popular picks

On our recent trip to the La  Sal Mountains, the SCAs (park interns) borrowed some camping gear with a cold weather focus. Both SCAs marveled when I discussed the price of these warm and practical pieces of equipment/

One of the SCAs kiddingly (??) said that a list with links to all these nifty, warm, and inexpensive items they borrowed for the weekend would be beneficial.

And of this discussion came this more curated list. Though this site contains many articles about practical budget gear items, I do not have one list of the more popular picks.

Here’s the list of the many items from trips where people borrowed and enjoyed gear that works effectively without costing much money.


People’s hands seem cold on the trips we bring them on. The items below work well and seem to get added to people’s pack lists or borrowed on our tips.


Items Cost Notes Where to purchase?
Frogwear 8490MT mitts $19 These mittens make for extremely warm handwear that is easy to slip on and off. I used them for deep cold weather camping this past year. And they seem to warm up people’s hands when loaned out! eBay
Surplus liner gloves $6 A long-time, every-season mainstay for me. The gloves pair well with any hand system and work well by themselves for quick camp chores. Surplus stores
Fox River double ragg mitts $25 Fuzzy lined and thick, these mittens I’ve owned forever often make a popular favorite for people whose hands get cold. Amazon
Kitchen gloves $7 Sized up for a liner above, they make for inexpensive and effective cold and wet protection. Amazon

Warm Legs and Feet

I found over the years that many people new to the outdoors have their upper layers dialed in but neglect their lower body, especially in camp.

A few simple items add some much-needed warmth when stationary.

Items Cost Notes Where to purchase?
ECWCS Gen I “liner pants,” aka Puffy Pants $17 Excellent and versatile “bang-for-buck” that EVERYONE we introduce them to seems to like. Get the “long” version since the regular version gets sized for combat boots. Amazon
ECWCS Gen III Layer 7 pants, aka “Mega Puffy Pants!” $45 More durable, warmer, and thicker, if heavier, than the above, these pants make for an excellent and warm deep winter layer. eBay
Camp booties $18 These warm booties make some warm camp wear with a thick rubber sole and fleece lining. Amazon
Inexpensive base layers Under $25 The Coldpruf basic layers (for men or women) make effective and warm thermal bottoms.

I’ve had good luck with the TSLA zipper top layers for active use during cool weather or with warmer clothing for autumn, too. I like the zippers for ventilation.

Amazon –

Coldpruf bottoms  –  MenWomen

TSLA top layers – MenWomen

Wind Pants $18 Ripstop wind pants add a surprising amount of warmth worn over other layers and make for useful hiking pants in light drizzle conditions. Amazon


Most of the borrowed items tend towards warm clothing. But a few of the hard goods grab people’s interest when they realize these comfortable and useful items don’t have to cause the credit card to melt.

Items Cost Notes Where to purchase?
Nemesis safety glasses $16 / 3 Light, durable, effective, and inexpensive. Amazon
Poncho liner $30 An item that works for many different purposes, including keeping people warm in camp when needing some additional layers. eBay
Lightspeed pads $61 The Lightspeed Ultramarine 2.0 pads provide much cushion, comfort,  and warmth well into later fall temperatures. Amazon
Discount store pots, pans, and utensils Varies Friends often comment on our “fancy” cooking pots and pans.

Our secret? We just buy inexpensive skillets or non-stick pots and pans from Walmart or similar. Ditto for utensils such as spatula or tongs.

They cost less than “real” camping stores such as REI or similar and are often better quality.

Wally World or similar.
Foam for camp chairs Free or $17 for two chairs worth Foam adds insulation to camp chairs and increases the warmth. Cut up an inexpensive foam pad or repurpose old pads. Amazon
Bene Casa Grease Pot $11 An inexpensive and light pot with a handle perfect for backpacking. Amazon
Five Gallon bucket $5 Keeps garbage and recycling from leaking over the vehicle and the rodents out of the trash. Any hardware store. You can purchase a $70 hipster one as well!
Flyers kit (parachute) bag $35 My favorite duffel bag that swallows up all your gear, you can beat the heck out of, and allows easy access vs. a traditional style duffle. Amazon
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