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SKILLS: Channel Your Inner Dirtbag: How to Save Money in the Outdoors

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The outdoors may be free, but all the incidentals soon mount up. Where best to trim a bit of that spend? Professional skinflint Fliss Freeborn offers some well-tested cost-cutting tips, from rocking the second hand gear to dossing in the car park. 

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8
 Ceiriog Chris 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Out of date pot noodles make a tasty cheap alternative to expensive fancy dehydrated meals 

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

It looks like that via Ferrata kit you borrowed is the old type that shouldn't really be used any more.

10
 Tigger 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Yea a lot of my kit is held together with Seam Grip and Stitching. For gear repairs, a 'Speedy Stitcher' equipped with a No.4 needle is excellent tbh, I've used it to repair everything from packs to shoes.

 Siward 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

As, predominately, a hillwalker I can assure you that showers, accommodation or precooked meals do not feature. Camping in a bog, yes  

In reply to pancakeandchips:

> It looks like that via Ferrata kit you borrowed is the old type that shouldn't really be used any more.

That’s the spirit!

 profitofdoom 26 May 2022
In reply to Siward:

> ..........Camping in a bog, yes  

Luxury. What's wrong bus stops, under boulders, disused quarries, caves (Avon Gorge)

 peterp 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

This is great...LoL'd several times whilst reading, especially the part about borrowing dogs (and returning them in good condition)  

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Cracking little article (and really well written) - nice one!

1
 Fergal 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Hitchhiking is not to be underestimated a true art form, more entertaining and more convenient than the bus, certainly was in the early nineties, actually hitched from Vancouver to the Bugaboos on the same day, saving grace was a lift in the back of a pickup (ski lodge employee) along the 50km of logging roads into the trailhead. Another epic hitch was from Auckland to Mount cook crossing from north to south island, we then climbed Cook over three days with the monster walk in, most people fly into the plateau these days.

We also used to make our own clothing, be that  fleece salopettes or a canvas waterproof, Garry famously made a cagoule out of a Vango force ten  fly sheet complete with force ten logo, looked really dapper in the horizontal rain of Fort bill.

In reply to Fergal:

I fear hitchhiking is all but dead now, covid being the final nail in the coffin.

This is a shame because I can no longer use my response to the standard question.

" Aren't you concerned that I might be a serial killer?"

"The probability of two serial killers unknowingly riding in the same car are really very small" 

3
 ChrisJD 26 May 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I did a lot of hitchhiking around the UK to go climbing in my 20s; some epic journeys; mostly good, but with some dodgy lifts, which now give me the cold sweats thinking back about.

.. and then I reciprocated for a while when I had a car, but stopped after a few bad experiences of picking people up, which was a real shame.

In reply to Tyler:

Had to be done.

 Rick Graham 26 May 2022
In reply to ChrisJD:

> I did a lot of hitchhiking around the UK to go climbing in my 20s; some epic journeys; mostly good, but with some dodgy lifts, which now give me the cold sweats thinking back about.

Hitching back from Scotland late one winter night, our driver suddenly turned off the main road.

Preparing  for the worst, me and my mate asked what was going on, to be told it would be OK.

Arriving at his home, a two up, one down, the family were waiting for us to arrive before starting a festive meal, kids were kicked out of their bedroom to put us up for the night

 subtle 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Oh dear, the articles are certainly going down hill.

42
 Tony Buckley 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Splendid to be reminded of those hill snack ideas; those raspberry crumble bars are in my near future (not sure I'll change my own tea loaf recipe for yours though).

Hitching lifts was good, back in my youth, and I'd happily give lifts to others if I saw them but I'm struggling to remember the last time I did.  Shame, that; understandable, but nevertheless.

T.

 george sewell 26 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

All good stuff, though its a shame that so many good van camping spots have been ruined by the masses... including Glencoe mountain carpark (where you are not technically meant to van camp anymore but if you do pleas spend money in the café etc )  Van life facebook groups and apps have a lot to answer for ... why do people feel the need to share these locations with the world even over the last 5 years its gone from Glencoe or other similar places being occupied by a few regulars, to being rammed with people , not spending money abusing the facility's and leading to the potential loss of these locations to everyone (remeber you have a right to wild camp but that means in a tent over night parking is at the descression of the land owner even in Scotland) ... rant over haha  

Post edited at 14:26
1
 Mick Ward 26 May 2022
In reply to subtle:

> Oh dear, the articles are certainly going down hill.

You havin a larffff? (To quote from your profile.)

Superb, informative article. 

Mick 

4
 PaulJepson 27 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

It baffles me the amount of money people will pay for a fleece these days. For something that does almost the exact same job as the thing you get free with a national geographic subscription. 

I'm not sure #vanlife belongs here. Yes, if you are a fulltime van-dweller then it might be more economical but you could wild camp or stay at campsites for the rest of your life for the cost of buying a van.

6
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Believe me, hitch hiking is alive and kicking!

1
In reply to Tom Chamberlain:

Evidence suggests otherwise:

Slip roads are empty

Road signs devoid of notes to friends

I do still occasionally see the unmistakable Dego stood on a slip road but that is about it.

The last time I picked up a hitcher was 10 years ago through no other reason than lack of opportunity. 

3
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Another way to save on outdoor clothing is to pick up what others have lost. I usually do this to remove the offending item from becoming an eyesore in the countryside however having washed what's in good condition have been rewarded with excellent gloves, hats, buffs, sunglasses a new rope protector and an as-new under armour t-shirt picked up off the Kungsladen trail in Sweden. This money saving tip obviously doesn't apply however if it possible to return the item (particularly climbing hardware) to it's original owner via the excellent UKC lost and found forum.

In reply to Tom Chamberlain:

> Believe me, hitch hiking is alive and kicking!

I hope so, I've hitched a lot in the past - never had a bad experience, and mainly had great to amazing experiences, the sort of thing that makes you think that the world is basically stuffed full of kind, caring and trusting people. But as I drive around these days it's incredibly rare to see people hitching, even in hill areas I don't remember the last time I saw someone trying to thumb a lift.

 PaulJepson 27 May 2022
In reply to TobyA:

I think in a lot of National Park areas it's still done. I've hitched a few times in Scotland and Wales and you're usually picked up by a nice local. Motorway on-ramps have a bit more of a 'vagrant' vibe than a 'could you give us a lift 5 miles down the road back to our car please' vibe. 

 grectangle 27 May 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

> I'm not sure #vanlife belongs here. Yes, if you are a fulltime van-dweller then it might be more economical but you could wild camp or stay at campsites for the rest of your life for the cost of buying a van.

Given the state of vans these days, I 100% agree.  There are less sophisticated lunar modules, which would probably run cheaper 2nd hand.

 Doug 27 May 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

Used to hitch a lot when I was a student many years & still do from time to time, usually to get back to my car if a walk ends up somewhere different to its start. Last time was to get to the garage after some repair work needed for an MOT, I'd normally walk as its only 4 km but it was starting to drizzle so put my thumb out for the first car to pass & it stopped ! Turned out to be my ex next door neighbour.

1
In reply to grectangle:

Agreed, I have been saying this for many years and been maligned for it.

A fairly typical (perhaps cheap currently) £15k van equates to every Saturday night for 3 years in a £100 per night hotel.

I am a van owner, I enjoy using my van but I don't deny that it is an indulgence. 

2
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Charity shop deals: £3.99 for a 4-pole geodesic tent (YHA quasar clone); £1.99 for ME self inflating mat.

 Murcantile 29 May 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I use my van as my only vehicle, so really the additional cost is the premium from owning the van over another vehicle

commercial vehicle tax is cheaper I think than cars these days I pay £200 or so might be £250

Can get 40mpg average motorway but 28 round town so a car would undoubtably be cheaper but depends on car, euro size engine so have to pay £10 for adblue every 5000 miles or so

service cost for van are more expensive I think, but been so long since I had a car, about 350-400 for a service 

tyres about the same! If you have 20 inch alloys

Mine is not a full camper conversion it is an insulated van with a double mattress, heater and electrics, inverter, Think in total have spent 5 grand premium to kit it out to how I wanted

But my girlfriend or I go out nearly every other weekend I use it all the time and after 5 years I think I probably have at least broken even. Yes I am one of the people parked up in lay-bys etc overnight

I have however spent a significant amount more in the local economy, I eat out all the time and shop in the local community. And have taken way more trips as a result of buying my van 

There is plenty of scope to encourage in a positive manner the use of vans, most car parks are empty overnight, and composting toilets etc could be made available and waste disposal. Like in manny many places in Europe

We are a small country and with increasingly more people trying to access the countryside and hills. We should be looking at more ways to encourage access not restricting them. Sorry turned into a rant


 

3
In reply to PaulJepson:

> I'm not sure #vanlife belongs here. Yes, if you are a fulltime van-dweller then it might be more economical but you could wild camp or stay at campsites for the rest of your life for the cost of buying a van.

That obviously depends on the van - you can get a very decent small van for £3000 and convert it yourself for very little, and it can also double as your day to day vehicle. Which is exactly what I've done. I know some people spend £40000 on professionally converted sprinters but that's not everyone. Since my van works for climbing trips, work trips, carting stuff around for friends, generally getting around, and occasional brew station for my old MRT I'd say it's been excellent value.

Post edited at 09:32
3
 Nick_Merriman 29 May 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Woop! That's me in the Bivvy in Ben Nevis Car Park, back in my student days!

Tips for bivvying:

Put the bottom of your sleeping bag in your hardshell to keep your feet that little bit warmer.

Wear all of your big socks.

Have a ground sheet big enough to fold over you in case it rains - this came in handy when it did rain heavily int he night once. 

Make sure you pee before you get in, getting out of a bivvy in the night is way worse than getting out of a tent!

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Good article. Only thing I would quibble with is "drive at 50 mph in the inside lane".

Please don't, that forces all the HGVs into lane 2, with all the cars going into lane 3, leading to congestion, and other people doing stupid things out of frustration. It also might get you squashed by an inattentive trucker.

 john arran 29 May 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> The last time I picked up a hitcher was 10 years ago through no other reason than lack of opportunity. 

Covid put a big dampener on it in recent years but it's become very common again around here in Ariège. Last chap I picked up was on his way to Andorra to smuggle fags back into France!

I even hitched myself recently, when my car was in the garage. Got picked up within 5 minutes by a guy who asked: "I'm not really a climber but friends are - are you the British guy who's been equipping routes around [my village] Ornolac?" 😉

In reply to Ridge:

Yes, much better for fuel consumption to tuck in behind a big hgv anyway. 

 Wainers44 29 May 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> I hope so, I've hitched a lot in the past - never had a bad experience, and mainly had great to amazing experiences, the sort of thing that makes you think that the world is basically stuffed full of kind, caring and trusting people. But as I drive around these days it's incredibly rare to see people hitching, even in hill areas I don't remember the last time I saw someone trying to thumb a lift.

Two weeks ago, heading up the slip onto the A30, saw a chap wearing a high viz with Bodmin on a sign, hitching.  I thought "hah no chance ". As I actually passed him I realised he was at least late 70s, maybe in his 80s. No choice, had to stop.

He had a battered old external Ali frame rucksack and I helped him on board. Turned out he was trying to get to Boscastle to record seabird songs to play at meditation and mindfulness sessions he runs.

This was clearly something he had done many times before and when I asked him if he ever came unstuck and failed to get a lift? He said only once, and that was then a cold lonely night spent on the A30 slip at Launceston.

Amazingly interesting guy.


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