Whether you’re just getting started hiking or trying to take your outdoor skills to the next level, figuring out what gear you really need can be a challenge. Fortunately our team of experts have tried it all. Seriously, you should see our gear closets – they’re preeeetty ridiculous. Below the essentials that will make your next hike or backpacking trip epic. They also make great gifts for your favorite outdoorsperson.

A Lightweight Sleep System

If you’ve ever been caught off guard by cold weather, you know that an efficient sleep system is critical to a good night’s sleep. We love pairing an insulated inflatable pad with a down sleeping bag for a duo that’s lightweight, comfortable, and will hold up to years on the trail.
1- Klymit Static V Insulated Pad – $84.95
2- Klymit KSB 35 Down Sleeping Bag – $199.95

Safety Essentials

Being responsible in the outdoors means not only avoiding dangerous situations, but being prepared if things do go wrong. A compact filter and first aid kit are great item to keep in your pack just in case you or another hiker run into unexpected issues.
3- Sawyer Micro Squeeze Filter – $29.99
4- Hart Multiday First Aid Kit – $36.50

A Just Right Pack

If you want to enjoy your time outdoors, a pack that fits properly is vital. We love the 45 liter Stout and Amber packs from Gregory for their great fit and lifetime warranty. If you haven’t been fitted for a pack or could use a refresher course on proper fit, stop by. Our crew will be happy to fit you in a new pack or adjust your current one.
5- Gregory Stout 45 Pack – $159.95

Let There Be Light

A headlamp is an obvious choice for backpacking, but it’s a good idea to keep one on hand for day hikes too. If you run into an unexpected issue or sudden foul weather, you’ll be grateful for a light source.  The Petzl Actic headlamp is a crew favorite because of it’s seriously bright 350 lumen setting.
6- Petzl Actic 350 Headlamp – $49.95

A Lightweight Luxury

We’re in agreement, while you should work to purge your pack of unnecessary items, there’s room for one or two little luxuries that will make the backcountry feel like home. Since a love of the outdoors and appreciation for a good cuppa joe seem to go hand in hand, most of our crew opts for a lightweight filter for pour over.
7- GSI Ultralight Java Drip – $9.95

A Cozy Abode

A good backcountry shelter should be lightweight, easy to set up, and durable. The Kestrel 2 from Peregrine checks all of those boxes.
8- Peregrine Kestrel 2 Person Tent – $299.99

Self Care Must Haves

Your most important hiking equipment is your body, so taking care of it should be a priority. Supportive footwear that fits well will prevent injuries and blisters and make hiking a whole lot more fun. Stop by and our crew will be happy to fit you and answer all of your burning footwear questions. Trekking poles make uphills a lot easier and downhills much more low impact. We think everyone should use them, but if you tend to have joint pain they are essential.
9- Columbia Newton Ridge Plus – $90.00
10- Kelty Range 2.0 Trekking Poles – $59.95
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Finding the perfect gift for dad got you stumped? We asked our team to share what’s on their list for dad this year. Here’s 8 of our favorite gift ideas.

Columbia Mesh Ball Cap$25.00

This cap is perfect for offering a little extra sun protection during dad’s favorite outdoor activities.

– Mike, Frugal Backpacker Greenville

Tidal Watersports Coast Kayak$599.00

Go all in so dad can get on out! This affordable kayak is ready to go with four rod holders, dry storage, and a pouch attached to the seat.

– Jimmy, Frugal Backpacker Asheville

Silver Ridge Light L/S$60.00

This moisture wicking shirt is perfect for a day on the water or an afternoon at the brewery.

– Mike, Frugal Backpacker Greenville

ENO Doublenest Hammock$69.95

What dad couldn’t use a little relaxation, especially on their special day?

– Belinda, Frugal Backpacker Asheville

Stanley Vacuum Stein$20.00 Sale: 50% off with the purchase of a Stanley cooler

This insulated cup will keep your beer cold no matter how busy life gets. Pair it with a Stanley cooler for the perfect combo.

– Vickie, Frugal Backpacker Asheville

Freewaters Supreem Sport Sandals$60.00

Gift a pair to Dad at home and give back to clean water projects worldwide!

– Morgan, Frugal Backpacker Greenville

Grand Trunk Toiletry Bag$55.00 Sale: $27.50

These are great for dads who love to travel or for at home organization.

– Maggie, Frugal Backpacker Asheville

Is there anything more elusive than a perfect Mother’s Day gift? Your mom is a pretty special lady, so you want something that celebrates her unique brand of awesomeness. But you also want a gift that’s practical enough that she’ll actually use it. Never fear, our team of gear experts has gotten pretty good at picking out gifts – and they have moms too. For your gifting inspiration,  here’s what we’re getting for mom this year.

ENO Doublenest Hammock – $69.95

Because what mom couldn’t use a peaceful spot to relax after a hectic day?

– Belinda, Frugal Backpacker Asheville


Marmot Precip Anorak – $90.00

If your mom loves the outdoors, like mine, a rainshell makes a practical, yet thoughtful gift.

Vickie, Frugal Backpacker Asheville


Socksmith Socks – $8.00 – 10.00 

I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t love these fun socks. They come in so many cute prints that there’s one to fit every mom.

Maggie, Frugal Backpacker Asheville


Unsinkable Sunglasses – $59.40 – $83.40 (MSRP: $99.00 – $139.00)

A pair of Unsinkables is perfect for my mom as she starts gearing up for summer days. Now she can finally have a pair of sunglasses that won’t end up at the bottom of the lake.

Morgan, Frugal Backpacker Greenville


UV Buff – $24.00

My mom is all about some UVA protection. She’s also got a lot of hair, which can be difficult to manage during outdoor activities – a buff is a fuss-free way to keep it in place.

– Isaac, Frugal Backpacker Greenville


Tilley Melanie Hemp Sun Hat$30.00 (MSRP: $105.00)

This sun hat protects mom’s skin while allowing her to look her best.

– Mike, Frugal Backpacker Greenville

Still need a little help? Stop by for personalized help in picking out the perfect gift for the superwoman in your life.


As outdoor lovers, we want products that both perform and take care of the earth. Here are nine of Frugal Crew Member, Mac’s favorite outdoor products with serious green credibility.

Sun Bum Sunscreen

Sun Bum Sunscreen

Sun Bum Sunscreen is one of the best natural sunscreens on the market. It is free of a lot of harmful chemicals that most other broad spectrum sunscreens will have, as well as being vegan and animal cruelty free. Because is does not contain any harmful chemicals, it is safe in the ocean, and is reef friendly.
Dr. Bronner’s Products
Dr. Bronner’s Product is a great company that only uses certified fair trade organic products for all of their soaps and oils.They have been a staple for households and camping adventures since the 1880’s! They use regenerative organic agriculture practices at all their farms throughout the world, which sequesters huge amounts of excess carbon from the air and bring it back into healthy soil. They also support fair wage bills, and countless environmental advocacy groups.
Squirrel’s Nut Butter
Squirrel’s Nut Butter makes amazing all natural anti-chafing and skin restorative salves. Their belief is that if a product is not natural, then you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin. Their products are fantastic for healing and preventing blisters and hot spots.
Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
This deet-free plant based insect repellent is just as effective as the regular stuff, but without all the harmful chemicals. This makes it safer to put on both your body and your clothes!
Luci Light Products
Luci Lights are solar powered lanterns and lights that can be used for everything from campsites, to outdoor parties, to emergencies. Most of them can either be charged by the sun or with a USB cable.
Patagonia Backstep Shirt
Hemp and Organic Cotton Apparel
We sell a variety of hemp and organic cotton made clothing that does not have synthetics in them. These products will have are less toxic and are more sustainable for the planet. They also have less of a carbon footprint in their production.
Goal Zero Flip 10
Goal Zero Products
Goal Zero has a wide selection of solar ready portable chargers for all your electronics. They also may be charged through a USB.
Recover Apparel
All of their apparel is made from recycled water bottles and recycled cotton. 8 bottles –> 1 shirt! Plus, it feels fantastically soft.
Patagonia Torrentshell
Patagonia Rain Jackets
Patty’s new line of wind and rain shells are made from 100% recycled materials.

Sunny days and late sunsets make for epic long runs. If your time outdoors has you ready to train for your next 5k or maybe bust into ultra territory, we’ve got the gear you need at frugal prices. Check out our top picks below, and stop by to shop our awesome selection of running shoes, hydration, and apparel.

1- Columbia Cullman Crest S/SFrugal: $25.00
This crew feels like cotton, but wicks like synthetic.
2- Camelbak Nano Handheld – MSRP: $30.00 Frugal: $24.00
For those light and fast runs, this handheld is just right for holding water, keys, and your phone.
3- Camelbak Ultra Pro Vest – MSRP: $120.00 Frugal: $96.00
When you’re going a little further this vest will keep you well hydrated while balancing that extra weight. It comes in both a men’s and women’s specific version for a perfect fit.
4- Patagonia Duckbill Trucker – MSRP: $35.00 Frugal: $28.00
Wish your beloved trucker hats were a little lighter? This synthetic trucker packs down small, but doesn’t skimp on style.
5- Body Glide Anti-Chafe StickFrugal: $8.95
If you run in summer, buy this. Trust us, your thighs will thank you.
6- Salomon Sense Ride – MSRP: $120.00 Frugal: $72.00
Plenty of traction and generous cushioning make this shoe a go-to for long trail runs.

When Fisher isn’t studying or helping customers at our Asheville store, you’ll find him out in the woods or on top of a mountain, relishing all of Western North Carolina’s opportunities for outdoor recreation. As an avid backpacker on a student budget, he digs gear that’s functional and built to last, but still offers great value. Below are his picks for fellow weekend warriors.


Katadyn BeFree Water Microfilter$39.95 

No hoses or backflushing required!  This water filtration system is lightweight, easy-to-use, and will last 1000 liters before needing to change the filter.  The filter is integrated into the lid, so you can drink straight from the bottle. Comes in 0.6-liter, 1.0-liter, and 3.0-liter sizes.


Kelty Gunnison 1 Tent$159.95

Kelty makes backpacking more affordable with the Gunnison tent line.  These three-season backpacking tents set up in a snap and come with a footprint to prolong the life of the tent.  Tight on space? Use your trekking poles to convert the vestibule to an awning. 


Peregrine Altai Evo Sleeping Bag$139.95

This is the bag that our staff have been drooling over!  At 1 lb 12 oz, this 35 degree bag blends synthetic Primaloft and down. You get the best of both worlds – the lightweight and compression of down along with the moisture management and affordability of synthetic. A DWR finish offers some added protection from condensation, and the drawstring at the foot makes it usable for hammock camping!


Kelty Cosmic Mummy Sleeping Pad$49.95

Kelty again makes backpacking more affordable with this cushy self-inflating sleeping pad. It’s just over 2 lbs and under $50.


Pisgah Map Company Maps$14.00

The best maps are made by those who know the area well. This local map company out of Brevard, NC, makes maps that feature more detail than National Geographic Trail Maps and more accurate trails than a USGS quad.  


Suunto A10 Compass $19.99

I (try to) never venture into the woods without a map and compass.  Even a day hike can turn nasty quickly without these essentials. The Suunto A10 compass gets the job done.  (Need brushing up on your navigation skills? Keep an eye on our events calendar for upcoming clinics!)


Black Diamond Spot Headlamp – $39.95

I love the features of this headlamp.  It’s waterproof, has a red light (great for bugs!), multiple white light settings, and a lock function to keep it from turning on inside your pack.


AlpineAire Sierra Chicken Pasta – $7.43

I usually steer clear of freeze-dried meals because they are so expensive.  Not so with AlpineAire, these 2-serving meals are just $4-$9!

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that it’s supposed to snow this weekend – a lot. The right clothing is the difference between making snow day memories and enduring a grumpy day of being wet and cold. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back with quality cold weather gear at prices so frugal that you’ll be saying “snowpocalypse, shmopocalypse” in no time. Below are a few of our favorite frugal finds for men, women, and kids.


Kids’ Snow Day Essentials:

  1. Arts of Ecuador Grey Wolf CapFrugal Price: $24.95
  2. Columbia Powder Lite Jacket Frugal Price: $59.99
  3. Northside Frosty Boots – MSRP: $35.00 Frugal Price: $28.00
  4. Buff Original Junior – MSRP: $19.00 Frugal Price: $18.99
  5. Patagonia Baby Puff Mitts – MSRP: $39.00 Frugal Price: $31.00


Men’s Toasty Layers:

  1. Patagonia Recycled Wool Earflap Cap – MSRP: $49.00 Frugal Price: $39.00
  2. Columbia Lake 22 Down Jacket – MSRP: $120.00 Frugal Price: $99.00
  3. Adidas Outdoor Knit Fleece JacketFrugal Price: $89.00
  4. Northside Braedon Boot – MSRP: $80.00 Frugal Price: $64.00
  5. Seirus Eclipse Glove – MSRP: $34.99 Frugal Price: $29.99
  6. Terramar Thermolater BottomsFrugal Price: $35.00


Women’s Cozy Adventure Finds:

  1. Columbia Fireside Full ZipFrugal Price: $59.99
  2. Sherpa Rimjhin HatFrugal Price: $34.95
  3. United By Blue Martel Wool Vest – MSRP: $158.00 Frugal Price: $63.20
  4. Northside Bishop Boot – MSRP: $65.00 Frugal Price: $52.00
  5. Purnell Nordic Snow LeggingsFrugal Price: $45.00
  6. Columbia Thermarator GlovesFrugal Price: $30.00

Frugal Backpacker Asheville crew member, Maggie loves backpacking and spends her free time exploring the mountains of WNC with her dog, Sprout. She’s known for being the sort of awesome coworker who brings chocolate bars to work (thanks, Maggie). And is easy to spot around Frugal, as she’s usually rocking her signature combo of mary janes and funky Socksmith socks.

Her favorite stocking stuffers combine practicality with a whole lot of fun, and match her personality perfectly. These pint sized presents are sure to delight all the outdoor lovers on your list.


Lucy Outdoor 2.0 Solar Lantern – $19.95

These solar powered inflatable lanterns are so versatile.  Use it as outdoor lighting in the backyard, an emergency light in a power outage, backpacking, etc.  The Luci Pro Outdoor 2.0 ($35.00) takes it a step further with a two-way USB charger, so you can use it as a power bank or solar charger for your phone!

Socksmith Socks – $8.00

Add a kick to your day with these fun casual socks! You can often see me sporting these around the store (my favorites are the unicorn and significant otter prints).  Available in Men’s, Women’s, and Kid’s, you can check everyone off your list with these stocking stuffers!

Adventure Med Kits 0.5 – $15.00

You can never have too many first aid kits. I’ve got the 0.3 in my car, the 0.5 in my day pack, and the 0.7 for backpacking trips.

Gear Aid Tenacious Patches – $2.99

It’s always a bummer to get a rip or a hole in a beloved and well-used piece of gear, but with these patches pre-cut into various themed shapes, you get to add a little flair to your repair!

Eno Echo Speaker – $34.95

This waterproof speaker can go anywhere!  Connect via bluetooth and listen in the shower, on the river, on a camping trip (it only weighs 4 oz), or around the house!

Ultralight Java Drip – $9.95

For those who can’t live without their morning cup o’ joe, the Ultralight Java Drip is a life saver.  Avoid the grounds at the bottom of your cowboy coffee with this super portable drip brewer.

Southern Swag Handle-It Cup Handle – $16.00

This bungee and paracord handle slides on to give your water bottle or tumbler an easy handle.

Funky Flames – $5.99

Campfires are always fun, but turn it up a notch with Funky Flames and turn that campfire blue, green, or purple!











Frugal Backpacker Asheville Crew Member, Julie is a true winter lover. For her, cold weather is an opportunity to get outdoors and put her many winter jackets to the test. She loves skiing, hot chocolate, and mountain biking. As a long time outdoor adventurer, her favorite items make great gifts for the experienced camper on your list. Check them out below. 

ENO Technest – $94.95

This new hammock from ENO is amazing! It is very lightweight and has many new features like lighter weight carabiners and a different style of pack up that is much more efficient.

Grayl Ultralight Filter Bottle – $47.95

This super easy to use filter is great for travelers and backpackers alike. It not only protects from bacteria and protozoa but also viruses! Amazing to have for traveling abroad or backpacking.

YakTracks – $16.95

Want to go hiking in the winter or know someone who does? This is the perfect gift for the outdoor person who won’t let the ice and snow keep them from playing outside.

Pelican 1010 Case – $18.49

Need a place to keep your gear dry while you kayak, paddle board, or play in the river? We have multiple sizes of these boxes that can keep your gear clean and dry.

Dr. Bronners Soap 8oz – $6.69

This is the soap that does it all. Wash your laundry, clean your face, brush your teeth- with over 12 uses this soap is an outdoor lovers best friend.

Kelty Essential Chair – $49.95

We have both the classic essential chair as well as the awesome love seat! The loveseat basically goes wherever I go and I use it all the time. It is great for camping, hanging out with friends outside, concerts, the list goes on.

Kelty Cache Box Medium – $19.95

These little boxes can do so much. There are multiple sizes that all fit inside each other and are great for storage.