What it Cost: Backcountry Camping in the Grand Tetons

What it Cost: Backcountry Camping in the Grand Tetons

A few months ago a friend of mine from college asked me if I wanted to go backcountry camping over Labor Day in the Grand Tetons.  Though I’d never gone backcountry camping, I said yes.  One of my many flaws is that I’m not very good at saying no to adventure.

Now that the trip has come and passed I wanted to write my “What it cost” recap blog.  I started doing the financial rundown of my trips after I spent a month in Southeast Asia earlier in the year and received feedback about how helpful it was.  Below you’ll find a line by line list of what I spent to go backcountry camping in the Grand Tetons for five days.

A few quick notes:

  1. A lot of the gear I bought could have been borrowed from friends but I plan on hiking and camping more in the future so I decided to buy it.  I look at my tent, sleeping bag, backpack etc as investments that I’ll be able to reuse for years (plus REI 10% back for members is pretty neat).
  2. The prices below are what I paid.  For example the rental car was $197 total but there were 4 or us so I paid my share of $49.50.
  3. I didn’t love the price of my flight. Labor day is expensive time to travel and KC to SLC isn’t exactly a hot flight path.  In comparison my flight from KC to Costa Rica at the end of the month is about the same price.
  4. I did borrow some stuff from friends which means I didn’t have to buy.  Here is a list of things that if you can’t borrow you would have to purchase:
    1. Items Borrowed/already owned
      1. Inflatable sleeping pad
      2. Bear can
      3. Headlamp w/extra batteries
      4. Poop Trowel/shovel
      5. Bug Spray
      6. Hiking boots
      7. Sunhat

You can view my full packing list for backcountry camping in the Grand Tetons in a previous blog post.

Pre-Departure Purchases:

Kansas City to Salt Lake City (round trip)- $586
Airport Parking- $37.50
Subtotal- $623.5


Cotopaxi Tent (rainfly, footprint, and alcove)- $383
North Face Furnace Sleeping Bag– $180
Hydration Pack (2.5 L)- $34
Cooking Ware – $45
Stuff Sack (for tent, rainfly, footprint)- $6
65 L Backpack- $104
Compression Sack (for sleeping bag)- $25
Hood Pillow- $27
Food for the hike- $108
Bear Spray- $12.25
Adventure Mug- $10
Sawyer Water Filter System- $20
Fuel can- $5
Subtotal- $959.25

3 pairs hiking socks- $26
3 pairs of sock liners- $12
Subtotal- $38

On the road…
Car Rental from SLC- $49.25
Gas total- $15 (filled up twice)
Teton Lodge Hostel- $36.5
Grand Tetons Hiking Permit/Map- $20
Tetons Taxi-$18 (most expensive 6 mile taxi ride of my life)
Leigh Lake Parking- $7.5
Lift Pass- $42
SLC Ramada Inn- $23.75
Subtotal- $212

Subway dinner- $8.83
Post-camping gas station snack- $3
Me & Lous restaurant (Best restaurant in Malad City ID)- $25
Beers- $7.50
Beerhive Pub- $16.50
Subtotal- $60.83

Grand Total- $1,893.83


If I had already owned the gear I needed for this trip the price would easily have been closer to $1,000.  But I didn’t and I didn’t want to borrow it all either.  Now that I own most of the gear I need to go backcountry camping I’m all set for the next trip (hopefully going to BANFF next year) and it will be a lot less expensive.  Whenever you pick up a new hobby there is always a bit of financial investment and looking back on this trip only has me more excited for the next one.

The best way to keep up with my adventures is to follow me on Instagram- Todds_Tales.

Stay Gold.

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