It will soon dawn on you that camping equipment can cost you your first born, and this is especially true if you are a first timer to the activity. This is because you will be inexperienced when it comes to deciding on the equipment you need and the salesman at the store will take full advantage of this fact.
In the end you will end up buying things you never really needed for the trip. The first thing you need to consider is your very basic needs, such as; sleeping equipment (preferably a sleeping bag), tent, maps, perhaps a few cooking utensils and a backpack to carry it all in. All of these you can put together yourself without much difficulty.
As far as the sleeping bag is concerned a little practice and you can make one yourself out of material readily available at the local stores. Making a tent is possible with the help of a few do-it-yourself kits that will cost a fraction of the amount it will to get yourself a ready made camping kit. There are many online portals as well as books that can teach you all you need to know about camping, theoretically I mean.
The actual knowledge will come from practical experience. These online tutorials and books will guide you in a definite way about making your own home made camping gear. If you are a first-timer you will get first hand knowledge from experienced campers about the particular necessary items you need to include in your home made camping gear. Most of the items you will probably be able to find around the house. Using these items instead of purchasing them from the market will save you a huge amount of cash.
You should try to make your own tent or shelter, using easily available plastic material or lightweight canvas. A few poles, string and some pegs will complete the tent. A little indigenous work and effort and you will be able to put together collapsible poles that you can pack away in your backpack.
Then comes the cooking part of the gear, which includes some sort of fire power (to cook your grub, I mean), an old aluminum lined cardboard box will do just fine to keep the wind from blowing out the fire. Placing this around the fire will keep the flames going quite strong. A few metal coat hangers will suffice to roast some canned food and a small kettle to make a warm drink.
Whatever your preparations, you should try to camp somewhere near your home just in case you need to get back in a hurry. A couple of camping trips done and you will be experienced enough to rearrange your homemade camping gear in a way to go on overnight camping trips to places you have never been before.