I've hauled quite a few newbies into the sport.

They always ask me what they need. I tell them "comfortable shoes with grip". I make them buy good socks, and then a set of nylon baselayer and clothing - usually I go through what they have and they may have a couple of nylong running shirts or pants, works fine. My last newbie bought socks, and two pairs of nylon underwear at wal-mart. he had workable stuff in his dresser for most other things. (For the record he went with two pairs of liners/woolies, poly longjohns (borrowed from me) nylon underwear, two running shirts, a light sweater and fleece, and a rain/wind shell. No they weren't trendy brands but they were functional and not obnoxiously heavy.

Everything else, well, he borrowed from me. I'm enough of a gearhead I just have extra stuff. So he ended up with my backup set of trekking poles, a spare backpack (GG virga) spare sleeping pad (Thermarest prolite plus 3/4), spare pot, spare stove (snow peak), spare silponcho, old sleeping bag, and SMD lunar solo tent. Pop bottles for water. spoon from MacDonalds. He started with a base weight of about 10 pounds. Yes, I could have shared gear with him. I don't believe in doing that with newbs. they learn more if they have to be self contained, and that's not very much of a weight penalty these days.

He's since been on a number of longer hikes, and now has all his own stuff.

Did another one this summer -- big guy like me, modified it slightly and gave him a BA sleeping pad because I knew he would need the comfort. He's hooked too. then went and bought his own gear..

Best cheap gear for beginners is what you upgraded from, or have around for spares. Other bits can be rented or thrift stored. Heck I make sure I keep spare sets of stuff around for my kids and for exactly this purpose!

And notwithstanding that, you can do pretty good cheap lightweight with thrift store/walmart/old navy clothing, runners, and a couple of key items off of the net. cheap sleeping bags even work fine, although I've said it before and will say it again, if you handed 400 dollars to me buck naked and told me I needed to go out, 300 of it would be spent on the sleeping bag, and 100 on everything else including my clothing.

Edited by phat (10/27/11 12:27 AM)
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