Building Your List of Outdoor Gear The Right Way

outdoor gear

In my experience, the first thing most hikers and campers do when they get into either is they go crazy over buying all sorts of hiking gear in Melbourne.

Now, you would think that would be the right thing to do. However, in my opinion, it’s not.

If you are a first-time hiker or camper, my advice to you is to either buy bits of gear at a time or borrow from friends or family.

While it might not be the greatest hiking gear or perform as well as some of the top-line items, it will give you an idea of what you like and what you don’t like.

hiking gear

Needless to say, hiking gear and equipment are expensive and can burn a hole through your back pocket fairly quickly.

There would be nothing worse than going out and blowing $1,000 on a backpack, clothes and other assorted hiking gear only to find that it doesn’t suit your needs.

Aside from borrowing from family and friends, you could always scout around for cheap items.

The obvious place to start would be at a sale at one of the chain stores or their respective clearance stores.

Here in Melbourne, Smith Street is home to several clearance stores such as Mountain Designs and Paddy Pallin.

hiking gear

However, some other great places to look are the Market Square section of, Gumtree (search for hiking gear in Melbourne), Facebook Marketplace and eBay.

I’ve managed to pick up some awesome bargains on both and Gumtree.

And while you are doing this, you can research other items for future purchases and see what others are saying about them as well.

The point of this article is to ensure that you don’t go out and make the same mistakes that I know countless others have made when they have first entered the outdoor world.


14 Responses
  1. Ken

    Some bushwalking clubs will rent gear at a cheap price. More expensive are some bushwalking shops.

    One of the hardest decisions is the choice of sleeping bag warmth. While it is possible to get extra down added it is much cheaper to get the warmth right first time. Only problem is that people vary. Someone will be cold in a -10 bag at the same time someone else is roasting in a 0 bag.

    While camping equipment isn’t cheap, it is less than what someone would pay for a 2 week cruise, so excellent value after a few trips to the alps, Wilsons Promotory, Hinchinbrook Island.

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Ken, thanks so much for reading my article and taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it.

      I take your point about the sleeping bag warmth. Similar to lots of pieces of gear, particularly hiking boots, it’s not a one size fits all type scenario. As you mentioned, some people prefer -10 bags over 0 bags.

      And you’re right that camping is a much cheaper exercise than for a 2-week cruise. However, as someone once said to me: the definition of camping is spending like a millionaire to live like a poor man. Clearly a bit of fun but it’s kind of true.

      Thanks again for the comment 🙂

  2. Stuart battley

    Looking for a club to join i live in yarragon gippsland and im doing kiliminjara next september so need to get some walks under the belt before then . To many hobbies and not enough time but what the hell only live once .

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Stuart, thanks for reading and commenting on the article. I really appreciate it. Assuming you’re the same Stuart Battley on Instagram as well?

      If you’re keen to do some more walks for your trek next September, I’d love to have you in The Hiking Society’s MeetUp group:

      Myself and about 10 others run regular hikes almost every weekend. I’d love to have you in our little group 🙂

  3. Mia

    Thank you for the advice, John.
    I’m going to join a group of people for base camp in January. I can hire equipment from the organisation.
    I thought this is a good way to know what I need and which equipment are suitable for me.
    I’m really looking forward to it as well as bushwalking on the weekend.

    1. John Feeney

      You’re most welcome, Mia. Thank you for reading and responding to the article. I really hope you got some value out of it.

      As mentioned in the article, there is nothing worse than seeing someone get into hiking and camping, and then blow hundreds of dollars on gear that they might not end up liking or using.

      If this article plays some small part in preventing people from doing that, then I have done my job 🙂

  4. Cassie

    Hi John, great little blog. Thank you. I’m just starting out at the age of 45 after realising I’m heading into the second half of my life. The half where I should be fit and enjoying life. Starting walking back in Feb and have fallen in love with hiking. Have done a few shorter walks (9-17ks) and will be doing the OLT in Jan 2019. Love that hiking is getting me fitter- kind of haven’t noticed the exercise part of it!
    I’ve just joined your meet ups and hope that I’ll be able to experience a few shorter ones soon.
    I have started buying bits and pieces (boots, tent, pack – all on sale of course ) and will take on your advice- have never heard of bushwalk .com so it will be my next stop to shop.
    Keep up the great work and good luck in NZ ?

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Cassie! Welcome to your new obsession! I promise you will never look back and you will wonder what you were ever doing without it.

      When you’re starting out, places like, eBay, Costco, Aldi, Gumtree etc. can be absolute goldmines. Especially, the buy, swap and sell ones. Renting gear is also a good idea too. That way you get a good feel for what you do and don’t like.

      When you are ready to buy some more clothing or a sleeping bag, feel free to check out my online outdoor clothing store – Globewalker ( All of our gear is from Poland and we stock merino wear, hiking tops and tanks, socks, thermal glove liners and down sleeping bags. All lightweight gear too 🙂

      If you have any other questions, or if I can help you in any other way, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read my article. Appreciate it.


  5. Julia Romaneix

    Hey John, thanks for the article. I’m slowly compiling my own collection of equipment and was wondering if you knew of any stores in Melbourne that specialise in second hand outdoor gear. I know there’s online avenues to explore, but sometimes it’s a little less daunting just heading into somewhere and seeing what they’ve got (also getting the added bonus of trying things on). It’s something that I’m finding is more common overseas, but not so much in Aus, unless I’ve missed something..?

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Julia! Thank you for reading my article and taking the time to respond. I genuinely appreciate it. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any stores that sell second-hand gear. The only thing that comes close to that would be rentals. Stores like Bogong Equipment in Melbourne are one such store that I know of that does rentals.

      You’d find second-hand gear on a forum such as Bushwalk Australia. I’ve managed to pick up several items from their Buy/Swap/Sell section and all for a great price too.

      Sorry that I can’t be of more help. Good luck with the compiling of your gear list and if there’s ever anything else I can do to help, please let me know.


  6. Gaylene

    Started hiking at 59! I made the classic mistakes with clothing. I now just buy merino, but did get sleeping bag and back pack right! Boots have been the hardest to find… seemed okay in store – not good for my feet on the trail! Have great wet weather gear – Now trying to lighten everything up! Thank you for your

    1. John Feeney

      Hey Gaylene! Thanks for your comments. It’s funny that you mentioned that you started hiking at 59. I did a post today on Instagram talking about the fact that you can basically start hiking at any age as it is one of those recreation activities that doesn’t require you to begin/finish at a certain age.

      If there’s ever anything I can help you with, please let me know.


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