I would not suggest paying real money for ingame gold. I'm against microtransactions in general (altho, how's a free to play game supposed to make money?). I just feel it's kind of for suckers.
If you feel like you're not doing too well with the starter equipment, just stay on the beach for longer until you're slightly higher level and have slightly better gear. Or, if you are in groups with higher level people, sometimes they'll just drop upgrades for you. The thing with microtransactions for items in this game is that there's permadeath, so once you die your items are gone for good. It's just really not worth it imo.
If you play enough you get fame, which is also used in the stores to buy other things. You can always work on living for a long time and killing a lot of things to get a lot of fame to spend. Then you can buy certain things without spending real money.