This is my second tour. I took one with my Aunt and Uncle when I graduated high school, and now that I am getting ready to graduate college plan to take one with my best gurl friend Payton. We're planning on spending the bulk of my time in Whistler but would like to travel before or possibly after. We will be staying in hostels and doing the whole trip by bus which suites our price class the best. We really want to go hiking but not spend the night on a trail, just have the opportunity to enjoy the scenic views.
When I went with my aunt and uncle I actually didn't have the right gear. I got stocked at Mountain Warehouse. I've heard Mountain Warehouse called the Old Navy of the outdoors, which I think is about right!
It's fine for a few wears, but don't expect everything to hold up. Most of my gear got retired after the trip. I did keep a couple of pieces, but well, I have a rain shell that definitely isn't as waterproof as the tag suggests. I have a puffy that definitely isn't as warm as the tag suggests.
I think in general their gear is serviceable if you understand that you aren't quite getting a top-of-the-line product. It can feel a bit cheap...the sewing isn't great, the velcro is weird, there aren't a lot of nice little extra features, that sort of thing. However, their better pieces aren't that much cheaper than brands with better reputations. If you want something that is going to get you through a weekend, Mountain Warehouse is probably fine. If you want to hike/camp regularly, you might as well purchase stuff that will last longer, or else you're buying everything twice.
That said, Mountain Warehouse's merino layers aren't much cheaper than brands like Icebreaker, except Icebreaker has a good reputation and a good returns policy.
The actual savings are pretty negligible in the bigger picture.
The final word, look at what you can afford. You don't need quantity, you need quantity. Shop around and buy accordingly.