I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published February 3rd 2018
Find bargains in op shops
I recently read on a bushwalking blog site about how expensive it was to fit you out for bushwalking. I know good quality bushwalking clothing and equipment can be costly, but you can also buy some gear cheaply by looking around op shops.
Just in the last month, I have seen some great bargains. New good brand large overnight backpacks can cost up to $800 I saw a good New Zealand Wilderness Equipment (Expedition) one for $40 at the Salvos in Alderley in Brisbane.
Wilderness Equipment produces excellent quality equipment which is known worldwide. Their equipment is used extensively on expeditions in extreme climates.
I couldn't resist buying that pack, but when I got it home, I realised it was far too big for me, so I will probably sell it. I already have two other large packs and didn't really need another one. I still have one I bought new in the 1980's for a couple of hundred dollars. It is a Karrimor one and I have had lots of good use from it. I bought a great Brisbane Brand Mountain Designs one in Tasmania a year ago at a tip shop in Hagley, near Launceston for $8. I'm planning to use it on a four-day bushwalking trip on the Three Capes Track in Southern Tasmania in February.
I've seen some good quality rain jackets and waterproof trousers at op shops too. My friend recently got a brand new purple Katmandu lightweight rain jacket at the Companions Animal Welfare Inc shop in Brunswick Heads for $8. The jacket still had tags on it, and she found the same one for sale on the internet for $300. She also got a new Paddy Pallin silk sleeping bag liner at the same shop for $2. I know they cost around $65 new because I recently bought a new one at K2 in the Valley with a voucher I won in the bushwalking photography competition.
There are lots of good brand boots and sandals suitable for bushwalking available at op shops. I've seen Merrells, Salomon, Katmandu and Rossi boots with good Vibram soles as cheap as $2 to $5. I once bought a mud-covered pair of Rossi boots at an op shop for $2, scrubbed them, bought new laces and sold them on eBay for $50.
People can get clothing suitable for bushwalking from op shops. I've seen good quality zip off trousers, hats, thermal jackets and shirts for sale very cheaply. I recently saw a Katmandu polar fleece jacket for $11 in an op shop in Launceston, Tasmania and I went back to the tip shop in Hagley where I bought my bargain Mountain Designs pack. There was a Mountain Designs polar fleece jacket there which I got for $10. It's too big for me, but I will give it to a friend.
About the only things I couldn't find at op shops were good quality tents and good down sleeping bags, so if you are serious about getting into bushwalking, you would probably need to invest in these pieces of equipment. Good quality sleeping bags and tents last a very long time. I bought my first tent in the 1980's and still use it for base camps. It is a good Macpac Olympus one from New Zealand and I've used it in Queensland, Tasmania, Africa, Nepal, England and Scotland. I've only ever had to get the elastic replaced in the poles once. I sent them down from Brisbane to an outdoor equipment repair shop in Melbourne. I've also just patched up a couple of small holes in the tent using tenacious tape, which is wonderful stuff.
I did recently save up to buy a lightweight tent for overnight walks. I had tried out the same brand by hiring one from my bushwalking club. I bought mine from America, but it would have been better to buy one from a local outdoors shop during one of their regular sales. By the time I added in the exchange rate and postage costs, it turned out to be pretty expensive.
Once you have your gear, getting out into the bush is great exercise and shouldn't cost you a lot of money. Good quality equipment will last you a very long time, and you should get many years of enjoyment out of it.