Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
It depends. It depends on what kind of pack and tent you want and as far as the tent goes, for what kind of weather. It also depends on whether you mean $200 total or $200 each.
My suggestion is start looking at gear online at retailers such as our site sponsors. Click on the Portal (above or to the left), then start looking at what they offer. For example, REI's Outlet site has a lot of tents and packs around $100. Some it may be last year's models, but who cares? It won't be the lightest or latest, but unless you doing something like a long distance hike, having the lightest gear possible doesnt need to be your first priority.
Also look at manufacturers' websites so you can see what else is available. If you have a good retailer like REI near you, go there and look at packs and other gear.
If you don't see what you want new at a decent price, think about looking for used gear. Once you have an idea what you want, then start looking on eBay,Craigslist or on sites like this one that have buy/sell listings. If you shop carefully and are patient, you can get deals.
I have bought and sold a few things online including packs, a tent, ski bindings, stove, winter clothes and boots, and a few other things. If you haven't done it before, the trick is to know what you are looking at-brand, model, etc. and then don't get so excited about something that you pay too much for it. I buy things I know are quality products; I stay away from lesser known brands and am very suspicious of cheap gear. This isn't to say there aren't some bargains out there, but there is also a lot of poorly made camping gear.
Edited by TomD (03/26/0810:55 PM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
A quick check of the REI Outlet site showed a Mountainsmith AT55 pack for $100, a Sierra Designs Sirius 2 tent for $100, and a Mountain Hardwear Meridian 1 tent for $115. I didn't check the specs, but the brands are pretty good and the prices reflect about 1/3 to 1/2 off the original retail.
I didn't look, but REI's house brand is usually good quality at a lower price - you might find something there. Also, Eureka and Kelty are two good, less expensive brands; they won't fit your criteria, probably, but they may come closer than others. They are a little on the heavy side, though.
Light, cheap, and well-made. You can have any two.
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
I agree with jaiden about the tarp. Tents are pretty expensive and don't do much that a tarp won't do (there are cheap tents but they tend to be heavy). However it depends a bit on where you are going. If there are lots of trees then do the tarp because you'll be able to pitch it using trees. If trees are fewer or farther between then the tarp is a little problematic unless you have trekking poles (you didn't mention whether you were planning on using those). If you add the price of the trekking poles then the tarp/poles combination is right up there with a good tent again.
Packs can be expensive also but they needn't be if you can go lightweight on what you put in them. The expensive packs are built to carry heavy loads and have all kinds of features for distributing this weight in the best way. If you learn to go lightweight with your gear then a good lightweight pack needn't cost much. Take a look at Gossamer Gear. Their packs are all less than $150 and and weigh very little. They are really nice IMHO. Get one of those and a basic 8x10 tarp from campmor with some tent stakes and guylines and some plastic dropcloth for a groundcover and you are set for about $200.
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