©istockphoto/EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHERThese 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.

Climb­ing Hardware
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.

Hydra­tion Pack
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.