You have to pay to play in Montana. Play outdoors, that is. The toys, the gear, the vehicles, the activities, the permits, and everything else you might need to pursue Montana's outdoor adventures can get VERY expensive. 

We all know you don't ACTUALLY have to spend a fortune on gear to have a good time enjoying sports in Montana, but looking around at how many decked-out SUVs are cruising around town, you have to wonder - how on earth do those people afford all that "stuff". We're going to break down just how much money it costs to be that person with all the latest and greatest toys.

(NOTE: It's no coincidence that companies such as Oboz footwear, SIMMS fishing gearSchnee's, Mystery Ranch packsKenetrek, and others make Montana their home base. Why NOT make your products in one of the best testing grounds in America?)

Let's take a look at the latest prices for fancy gear of all kinds. The car/truck, bike, fishing stuff, hiking boots, skis, snowboards, passes - a glimpse of all of it. Prices listed below are simply the normal retail prices found from online searches. (Sure, it's pretty easy to find most stuff on sale but we're not digging for the lowest price.)

  • 2023 Toyota Sequoia SUV: $60,000 - $80,000
  • 2023 Ford Explorer 4WD SUV: $46,000 - $55,000
  • 2023 Toyota Tacoma 4WD Truck: $42,000 - $50,000
  • 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV: $50,000 - $76,000
  • 2023 Ford Expedition Platinum: $87,000
  • 2023 Range Rover Sport Dynamic SE: $90,000
  • 2023 Subaru Solterra Touring: $55,000

Pricing of vehicles is pretty broad because it depends on what model (obviously) and how many bells and whistles you want. Also, at the time of this writing, availability of new and decent used late model cars and trucks is still very touch and go. We just picked a few brands and models that are prevalent in Montana. Now - on to some gear!

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash
Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash
  • Douglas DXF 5104 fly rod: $500
  • Sage Foundation fly rod outfit: $695
  • Orvis Recon fly rod outfit: $956
  • Douglas Sky G Fly Rod: $850
  • G. Loomis Asquith Fly Rod: $1,300
  • Abel TR fly reel: $1,075
  • Ross Evolution LTX fly reel: $475

Of course we need more stuff to fish properly, no? I can't just go waving that graphite stick around without being properly outfitted in more gear. Anyone who actually fishes will tell you that nice stuff is nice, but it's NOT necessary. People have been ripping lips for a very long time without $1,000 reels. But that's not the point of why we're doing all this math, so let's press on with more expensive items.

Photo by jack murrey on Unsplash
Photo by jack murrey on Unsplash

Since we can't possibly list every outdoor adventure toy and accessory, we'll wrap this up by checking out a variety of other stuff you're going to 'need' to really become the part. Not all sports may be your cup of tea so let's just touch on a few random price checks of likely items.

  • Ibis Ripmo V2 XT Mountain Bike: $6,000 to $8,000
  • Trek Fuel EX 9.8 GX AXS Mountain Bike: $6,000
  • Specialized Stumpjumper EVO: $5,000
  • Giant Trance Advanced Pro 29 0 Mountain Bike: $8,000 to $12,000
  • Völkl Katana V-Werks Skis: $1,250
  • Stockli Laser SX Skis with SRT 12 Bindings: $1,649
  • Rossignol BlackOps 98 Skis: $800
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  • YETI Tundra 75 Cooler: $450
  • Thule Motion XT XL Roof Box: $950
  • Thule T2 Pro XTR 2-Bike Hitch Rack: $800
  • Big Sky Resort Gold Season Pass: $2,400
  • Yellowstone Park Annual Pass: $80
  • Zamberlan Mamba Low GTX Boa Hiking Shoes: $240
  • La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX Approach Boots: $209
  • Osprey Transporter Waterproof Duffel Bag 100: $400
  • Mountain Hardwear Expedition Duffel Bag - 140L: $300
  • Arc'teryx Alpha SV Jacket: $900
  • Fjallraven Expedition Down Jacket: $750
Photo by Ashley Gear on Unsplash
Photo by Ashley Gear on Unsplash

Hopefully, this all comes across as intended - an exercise in curiosity, really. There's a lot of money rolling around these parts in recent years and for those of us who make do with whatever equipment we can afford - it's frankly fascinating. I have never faulted someone for having lots of money or fancier stuff than me, but I also never understood why a friend of mine who fished a hell of lot less than I did had top of the line waders. Why blow that much money? To each their own.

In the end, it's all about having fun in the outdoors with your buds. Rich, poor, or somewhere in between - the only mistake is not getting out there and enjoying all the fun stuff we have to do Montana. But hell - if your friend with the brand new, super swank Expedition offers to drive...let 'em.

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