Two duck hunters shooting out of a blind.
Getty Images: Viktor Drachev

10 Things You Can Make Yourself to Save Money on Outdoor Gear


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With a little effort and some ingenuity, you too can save money on outdoor gear.

Who amongst us hasn't thought long and hard about saving a few bucks on some of the outdoor items we know and love? From hiking gear and camping gear to backpacking gear and hunting gear, we've all had the urge to try it for ourselves whether or not it saves some money. Whether you're a real penny pincher or you're simply on a real limited budget.

Outdoor ingenuity is one of the things that drives us to learn, create, and build something with our own hands to prove to ourselves that we can do it. Honestly, we're not saying that we don't want to pay full price for some of the excellent name brand items on our wish list, (for example hiking boots) just that it's extremely satisfying to save money and create an original piece of gear that we made with our own two hands.

It's probably true we can't make everything we use in our outdoor adventures. Sporting goods for outdoor enthusiasts such as sleeping bags should honestly be purchased from a reputable dealer like Patagonia or REI for example. It's not that we can't take a few blankets with us camping, it's just that properly designed and built gear such as this comes from the background of a professionally marketed outdoor company. However, there are plenty of things we can make ourselves that may be better than anything you can get in a store. For example, let's look at the ten items on this list.

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Fire Starters

There are several good options for fueling your next campfire. The above video shows just one option. Though you might also consider including dryer lint, cotton balls, and dry pine needles.

Boat Anchor

There are so many ways to do this that it stands to reason that you've probably already tried it. For smaller boats or kayaks a paint can filled with concrete mix and attached to a rope works. If you really want something heavy, use a five-gallon pail, but that will be seriously heavy so maybe think about only filling it halfway. 

Duck Blind

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Between camo netting, natural materials, and some ingenuity a duck hunter can put together a simple yet effective duck blind without dragging heavy construction materials all the way to the swamp or corn field.

Mini Camp Stove

With just a few simple tools and materials you can have an easy to carry, easy to pack mini stove that will cook or provide a small amount of heat.

Hand Washing Station

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Not everyone needs their own hand washing station, but for serious camping enthusiasts that have the room and want to save some water, this model works well.

Rod Holders

Between fishing rod holders, kayak rod holders, river bank rod holders, seashore rod holders, and plain old rod racks no one on earth has been so happy about the invention of PCV than anglers.

Fishing Rod Carrier

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This is another invention we've all probably tried by now, but this version is a good example.

Game Calls

We've seen turkey calls made from wing bones, coffee cups, turtle shells, and even pill bottles, but this one is interesting and perfect for the turkey hunter on a budget.

Emergency Candles

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Cheese wax and tuna cans? It may sound weird, but these actually work!

Camp Lantern

There are some great ideas out there for this adaptation of the camping lantern and this one seems to work just fine.

The Bottom Line

There are more ways than one to try each of these, and these are just a few of the possibilities. Aside from these homemade items, keep a close eye out for secondhand things and flash sales that are held by many outdoor retailers. There are sometimes Facebook groups out there that will help you find unannounced sales. For beginners or first time DIY enthusiasts gear shops may be a good place to start.

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With new gear being as pricy as it is at times and without stopping at every garage sale, we have to rely on our own brand of intuitive outdoor specialty to get what we want for that upcoming camping trip.

Retailers have been doing their level best to give us products that work and last and we see them trying. When you find yourself making plans for a backpacking trip to the backcountry you may want to have the latest gear available. We also like Black Friday. Everything from Cabela's to Amazon has sales these days. Keep an eye on those end of the season sales of hunting gear at places like Walmart for some of those high-dollar items on your list too. You can often get treestands, ground blinds, and even muzzleloaders and crossbows for cheap there.

For those who love to try their hand at new things the dividend can be great. While you may not be making your own version of a sleeping pad or hiker's socks, you can still be happy that you tried something new.

Please check out my book "The Hunter's Way" from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage, or on Facebook and YouTube. Go to Rack Hub and use the coupon code Craiger for a new way to display those antler sheds!

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NEXT: WHAT THE LUMBER PRICE SURGE MEANS FOR DIY OUTDOORSMEN (AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT)

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