This is a question that has been at the center of many conversations for me over the last eight years. I was never overtly drawn to being outdoors until I entered college. Having constant structure, deadlines, responsibilities, and never enough sleep, I turned to nature for respite. Being outside reminded me of summer camping trips with my family and being happy and stress free. Around this time, I found out about a major that was offered at my school called Outdoor Leadership.

When I entered the major, I fell in love with the healing qualities of being outside. I found peace in the adventure. I became enthralled with the culture of the program and the outdoors community. The program I was enrolled in had a very strong philosophy of experiential education. I was challenged to learn by doing, instead of learning by reading. Classes were centered around discussion and challenge.

One of my most memorable trips was the first trip of my senior year. I was enrolled in a course we called Immersion. It was a semester dedicated to trips- planning, packing, and participating. Our first trip of the semester we were presented with a challenge of writing our life stories down and sharing with our group. Some of the people in my class, I had only met that semester. It was uncomfortable, scary, and ultimately freeing. Sitting around a campfire every night one person would tell his or her story. It was the closest and most connected I’ve ever felt to a group of people. Being surrounded by the noises of the woods at night, feeling a cool breeze, and smelling the smoke of the fire brought me comfort and strength to share the deepest parts of myself with almost strangers.

After college, I took a job at a wilderness therapy program in Florida that worked with teenage girls. Many of my deeper conversations with my campers were about healing through being outdoors, hard work, and living simply. Despite spending all of my working hours outside, I still craved the outdoors on my days off. I would spend my free time hiking, exploring caves, and paddling natural springs. I simply couldn’t get enough of being outside.

I believe that being outdoors connects us to a deeper part of ourselves that is rooted in our DNA. I believe nature connects us to something bigger than ourselves.


Why do you adventure? Why is nature important to you?


Marie Cole is a full time employee at Frugal Backpacker in Greenville, SC.
She graduated with a degree in Outdoor Leadership from NGU in 2015.
Her favorite outdoor activities are hiking, camping, kayaking.
Her favorite book is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Loving the outdoors is about more than just enjoying our forests and waterways. It means being responsible stewards of the lands we love, and putting our money where our conscience is. We’re excited to be partnering with United by Blue – an awesome brand that cleans up a pound of trash from our waterways, for every item sold. The best part? Not only are their clothes well made and environmentally responsible – they’re also available at incredible prices. This week, you can snag them at 50% off. Check out our favorite styles below, and stop by either Frugal Backpacker location to shop these and many more stylish finds.

Martel Wool Vest

Was: $158  Now: $79

Garretson Relaxed Plaid

Was: $78 Now: $39

Nicholson Reversible Shirt Jack

Was: $138 Now: $69

Banff Colorblock Shirt

Was: $94 Now: $47

Spend less. Play more. Frugal Backpacker’s philosophy on outdoor gear sounds pretty appealing to price conscious shoppers, but there’s a lot more to this Asheville fixture than low prices. What makes Frugal so awesome? Here’s the deets as told by long time Frugal customer and staff member, Hannah.

Frugal finds – Yes, there’s more to Frugal Backpacker than the prices, but the truth is we all love to feel like we’re getting value for our money. From samples (more about those in a sec) to close outs, to really cool brands with accessible prices, we work really hard to make sure that our customers can find the product that they’re looking for at a reasonable price. Offering outdoor gear at good prices isn’t just about a bargain, it’s about working to make outdoor activities and high quality apparel accessible to everyone, regardless of age or income.

Seriously good customer service – My very first Frugal Backpacker experience was as a teenager, setting out for my first backpacking trip. I had a limited budget and zero idea what I was doing or what I was looking for, but a very helpful employee (thanks, Dan) set me up with a great fitting pack, boots, socks, and insoles for under $200. Everything performed well, and I’ve had serious love for backpacking and Frugal Backpacker ever since.

With the rise of discount websites, you can find a deal almost anywhere, but there’s no replacement for helpful advice from friendly outdoorspeople. Our staff includes thru-hikers, class V paddlers, and gear junkies who know and use our gear and can help you find exactly what you need for your next adventure.

High quality gear – Anyone who’s ever purchased outdoor gear from a big box retailer can tell you that there’s a lot of truth to the phrase “you get what you pay for”. At Frugal Backpacker, our goal isn’t just to get you “cheap” outdoor gear. We know that value comes from getting a great product at a price you can feel good about. We work with respected brands to get samples, closeouts, and items from previous seasons at discounted prices, and we pass the savings on to you. The result is high quality gear that we can stand behind, if you ever have a problem with your gear, let us know and we’ll work to make it right.

Cool stuff you can’t find anywhere else – Here’s where the gear head in me comes out – I love a cool piece of tech that no one else has. Want a sweet Arc’teryx jacket prototype that never made it into production? A Patagonia shell that has some really cool technology, but is only available online? A Mountain Hardwear suit for extreme mountaineering? A basecamp tent from The North Face? These are all examples of really cool items that I’ve seen come through Frugal over the years. At MSRP, they’re way too expensive for normal retailers to sell, so you’re not likely to find them in your local gear shop. Fortunately for you, when these pieces make it to us, they’re available at a discounted sample price, so you can snag an exceptional piece of gear for a song.

Lovin’ local – Did you know that 48% of every dollar spend at a locally owned business feeds back into the community, versus 14% of every dollar spent at a large national retailer? When you shop at Frugal Backpacker, you get to support your local community while snagging some sweet deals. What’s not to love?