Part of backpacking and hiking is about the swag, and getting deals on swag. An issue I find with cheap swag is that there is a lack of reviews on them. This section of the webpage is where I try to do my part in reviewing the swag we have.

If you want to support this page, use our amazon affiliate link, though amazon isn’t necessarily the cheapest when it comes to outdoors gear.

For the best deals and beginning hikers, used items are probably the best way to go. That’s why the REI garage sales are so great. Additionally, facebook marketplace groups seem like a good option as well, though I haven’t tried it myself.

Other useful websites for deals include (referral link – $10 for both) and theclymb (referral link – $10 for both). You want to look for promotions for the best deals with them. Former sites that use to be good were Sierra Trading Post (now owned by the TJMaxx group and just called and Steep & Cheap (click on current steals; now owned by backcountry).

There is also a community driven (referral link – $10 for both) that I’ve found decent prices on – they use to be called massdrop.

Lastly, Google Shopping is an useful tool to price compare.


equipment review (misc)


to be updated (last updated 2015-3)

  • Various Iphones – it does a decent job and the software gets the contrast better sometimes then my cameras, rather my camera skills.
  • Canon Powershot SX130 12.1 MegaPixels – owned since 2011 and retired, bought new for ~$120 at Best Buy
    • It was a good first camera with some manual options for me to play around with. Also ran out AA batteries, so never needed to pack specifically for it.
  • GoPro Hero3+ Silver – owned since 2014, bought new for $300 at REI
    • Underwater camera useful for rainy times and diving. I have not regretted this for a small compact device that takes decent pictures.
  • Sony Alpha a6000 24.3MP Silver InterCH.Lens Camera w/ 16-50mm Power Zoom – owned since 2015 and had to exchange because of malfunction in first 30 days, bought open boxed for $542.30 from
    • I have a love and hate relationship with this camera. I like that it is light and takes very good pictures. However after a year, the stock lens malfunctioned as I bumped it. Looking online, the stock Sony Alpha series lenses are very finicky. Not cool for a camera looking to be the best for low weight, high quality camera. It is a pretty common problem and I was able to fix it using youtube tutorials.
  • Lenses
    • Sony SEL-P1650 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 – kit lens purchased with camera body, breaks easily but manually fixed
    • Sony SEL35F18 35mm f/1.8 Prime Fixed Lens – owned since 2016, bought used for $335.00 on ebay
    • Samyang 12mm F2.0 NCS CS Ultra Wide Angle Lens Sony E-Mount – owned since 2016, bought new for $283.99 on ebay
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