I need a bike for hauling climbing gear up trails into the mountains (Gold Mint Trail, etc). If you were a student and trying to do this as economically as possible, would you:
1) Buy a rigid 29er off craigslist
2) keep your lightweight 26er hardtail and put some wider tires on it?
My hardtail needs a new fork, so I'm worried that by the time I spend $50 on something like a Surly 1x1 fork, and say $40 on a big front tire, it might be more cost effective to start putting that money toward a cheap used 29er. I know a fatbike is going to do better than either of these, but I'm trying to keep this around $400, and the less the better.