These days lots of folks are desperate for ways to save a few bucks, what with the cost of living rising exponentially all across the country. While it’s great to scrimp on only the essentials, it’s never a good idea to cut corners and DIY all of your outdoor gear, even if you’re on a budget. DIY gear is often dangerous and can lead to numerous problems out on the trail, some that might even be fatal.
Here are a few pieces of gear you should splurge on.
If you’re a rock or mountain climber, you know that carabiners, bolts, belay devices, and quickdraws are essential for safety. Some crazy people try to make them at home without ever testing how much weight they can actually hold, leading to a horrifying accident out on the crag. Absolutely buy your climbing hardware from a reputable manufacturer who knows what’s required for them to hold up against wear and tear.
Snowboarders and skiers are well aware of the need for effective goggles to keep them from taking debris to the face and blocking out blinding glares. Simply slipping on some sunglasses won’t be enough, no matter how many people try to make it cool. When you inevitably wipe out on the slopes poorly made DIY goggles can snap apart and become buried in your eye, probably after causing you to fall in the first place because they didn’t do their job reducing the glare of the snow.
The tent is possibly the single most important piece of equipment for any outdoor trek. Whether you need if for a couple of days or months, you don’t want to skimp on this important piece of gear. DIY tents are usually made up of a couple of pieces of tarp tossed together to keep out the rain, but what’s going to save you from the cold, wind and snow? Most professionally made tents are better insulated than anything you might make at home and provide better, necessary protection from the weather.
Having a working lighting apparatus, like a lantern, is useful for finding your way in the dark as well as keeping your camp lit up enough to keep you from stumbling around in the night. A DIY lantern, on the other hand, is great for setting the forest on fire. Find something professionally made and tested in order to prevent a forest fire or similar disaster at your campsite. You need light, but it needs to be something better than a mason jar filled with candles and lighter fluid.
While a simple, DIY hydration pack you managed to rig at home might work wonders during a short day hike, it’s not something you want to entrust your life with on a weekend getaway or thru-hike. If you slip up in the design and make a hole in the pack, or simply don’t create something that stands up to wear and tear, you might find yourself in the middle of the wilderness without water. That’s a recipe for disaster in the form of dehydration and possibly death. Buy a professionally made pack that you know will keep your water safe for the trip.