Here's a conundrum we've never been able to solve: If the fresh air, blue skies and green forests are free, why does it have to cost so much money to enjoy it?
It doesn't have to. It is entirely possible to camp and fish on a budget, and that's exactly why in the great outdoors have become more popular lately as budget-minded Americans find new ways to save money on leisure. If you buy wisely, you can even do all of your favorite outdoor activities in style.
Whether you want to fish, hunt, camp or just sit back and stare at the moon, you'll enjoy the great outdoors even more knowing you have a little extra cash in your pocket. Keep in mind that some of these deals will have expiration dates.
New to Camping?
What are you willing to shell out if you are new to camping and don't know if you'll like it?
For luxe leisure, try the $399.88 plus $19.95 shipping on The Family Outfitter Convertible Tent from Cabela's, and sleep in style.
You can't get started without a tent, so choose wisely if you're not sure you'll ever do it again. For beginners who aren't ready to commit, Walmart offers the Suisse Sport Sequoia Family Tent for $97.54 with 97 cents for shipping. It's a 14x9-foot tent that sleeps eight.
Bring out your inner MacGyver with a handy multitool. Not only will you use it on your outdoor trips, you'll look cool saving the day back at home and in the office.
You can easily spend more than $300 on a top-of-the-line Victorinox Swiss Army SwissChamp XAVT with all the bells and whistles — but you can get the basics for a lot less.
Home Depot, for one, offers the Leatherman Skeletool Mutil-tool, model no. 830846, for just under $60. This tool has a universal bit driver, pocket knife, needlenose and regular pliers, wire cutter, bottle opener and more.
A hydration pack is one of those handy items you'll never live without once you try it — so goodbye to water bottles and recycling issues.
On the high end, The North Face has a Enduro Boa Black Hydration Pack for $118.85 from Altrec. It touts an "anti-slosh reservoir compression combined with revolutionary ergonomics."
If you just want to wet your whistle without the revolutionary technology, Campmor has CamelBak hydration packs: like the CamelBak Mule 100-oz. Hydration Pack for $49.97.
You Are Here
Not ready to navigate by the stars? You'll need a handheld GPS system to get you where you're going and back again safely.
Bargain hunters will instead appreciate the Garmin eTrex Legend H Handheld GPS Navigator, which Office Depot has on sale for $95.95, plus free shipping. It has full maps of North and South America (in case you go on a really long hike), 24MB of memory and 18 hours of battery life.
Food tastes better when cooked outside — it's a known fact. So no matter where you go or what you are doing, you are going to need some food preparation devices.
If you want to eat outdoors Top Chef-style, you'll enjoy the Coleman 2 Burner Dual Fuel Compact Liquid Fuel Stove, which you can pick up from REI for $109.95 and $10.99 for shipping. It's compact and provides two hours' cooking time.
Chances are, your baked beans and pancakes will taste just as good on a cheaper model. BargainOutfitters.com is selling the Foldable Pocket Cooker for $12.97 with $2.99 shipping. This 2-lb. cooker uses natural fuel such as grass, sticks and straw to heat food, and does not require gas or batteries.
And if you're looking for outdoor cooking ideas, Coleman has a free cookout iPhone app.