Jun 13, 2012 at 8:17 am #1290994
Greetings all – here is the scoop:
I good friend and outdoor lover has recently graduated from Nursing school and is looking to start backpacking. Since she came to me for advice, this Of course means as light as possible while still being within an extremely tight budget — AND not just doing the tarp / cat food stove route. She has a great love of the outdoors but very limited experience (which is way I will also be gifting her some good UL books on backpacking skills and techniques).
STATS: TOTAL BUDGET FOR ALL ITEMS = $300 (I know its a bit low but here goes)
Approx. 5'6" young women with wider hips (I'd guess 36" or so) and an approximate torso of 17"-18". Looking for the ability for her gear to do the following:
– tent for two (5"10 boyfriend may join her at times) but she will also use it for solo camping. Not comfortable with the idea of just a little tarp – and price wise not able to afford something like a Double Rainbow or Fly Creek 2.
– backpack very comfortable at 30lbs or less, for a average trip of 3 days max. Starting in New England and will be moving to Colorado late this year so need to be able to handle a variety of conditions. For Comfort purposes NOT really looking at frameless , more interested in Deuter and other 3lb or sub 3 lb framed packs that are readily available on sale or others like a women's specific ULA pack or a Granite Gear. Needs to be at least 50L and at most 60L and be able to carry a tent strapped to the outside.
What I already have accumulated for her from my spare gear and the REI garage sale: ITEMS Needed say NEED after them
1) REI Half Dome 2 (5.5 lbs) at the Garage Sale for $70 ( though I'd love to find her a lighter option)
2) REI Sub Kilo 25* Down bag (2.5 lbs) for $80
3) GSI Pinnacle Dualist Cookset for $40.
4) BD Gizmo Headlamp (free)
5) CCF Mat (Free)
6) Walmart Trekking Poles (free)
GEAR NEEDED : (Money available $110)
Water Treatment (NEED)
Air Mat ? don't know if a CCF will be enough for her (NEED)
Rain Set (anything more durable than DriDucks for cheap ? (NEED)
ITEMS I'M looking for thoughts on : Cheap Air Mat , Good Backpack , Good Water filter / gravity filter / steripen / Aqua Mira ? what would be best for a total novice who will mostly camp solo on regular trails (not into bushwacking or off grid stuff – just the basics)Jun 13, 2012 at 9:04 am #1886524
@buffaloskipperLocale: Gulf Coast
A good backpack option right now is the GoLite.
The Jam 50 is priced at $80 and weighs under 2 lbs. Also the Jam 70 and 35 are similar weight for $10 more or less. Great lightweight pack for a budget.
If you are looking for a budget/lightweight pad, a straight foam pad is perfect. Even the expensive Thermarest foam pads are $30, but weigh only 11-12 oz. Cut it down smaller if it is too large for your friend to save weight. If you are looking for more comfort, you will pay for it in both weight and $$$.
AquaMira is light and very inexpensive. I use this and am very happy with the arrangement.Jun 13, 2012 at 9:09 am #1886525
The Jam is a great price but he said he didn't want a frameless pack.Jun 13, 2012 at 9:15 am #1886526
Not to mention the 2012 versions of the Jam are not very good (the padding on the shoulder straps is really, really bad compared to previous years).Jun 13, 2012 at 9:18 am #1886527
This will be slightly going over your budget but you can check out the REI Flash 65 Women's on REI outlet. I think that's running for around $100. You just missed a 20% off one-item at outlet coupon that expired yesterday, but if you can be patient, another coupon may show up in a few months. Also on outlet, I see some Big Agnes air pads for $50.Jun 13, 2012 at 9:37 am #1886532
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
Building off Michelle's post above:
REI.outlet also has the older-style women's Flash 50 for $99.93. The 50 is probably a better volume than the 65, limiting "extras" that might be thrown in the pack at the last minute.Jun 13, 2012 at 9:39 am #1886534
@cohikerLocale: San Isabel NF
"Not to mention the 2012 versions of the Jam are not very good (the padding on the shoulder straps is really, really bad compared to previous years)."
I'm finding this is a matter of personal opinion. I am much more pleased than I expected to be with my 2012 Jam after 6 days in the Sangre De Christos last week, much of them with big miles and off-trail. (Humboldt-Crestone-Challenger complex)
I won't argue that they may not work for you, but they aren't unequivocally a step backwards.
OP: Don't write off frameless packs just yet. I doubt I'll ever go back to framed unless for some reason I need to carry 50+ lbs. I find them much more comfortable.Jun 13, 2012 at 9:44 am #1886536
Appreciate all your input so far — and a big thanks to Mike for the PIF offer (I'll PM you) !Jun 13, 2012 at 9:45 am #1886537
Check your PM'sJun 13, 2012 at 10:11 am #1886547
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
Recoat a Wenzle hiker tent with waterseal or silicone, and have fun for $30.
Ask around, lots of people scored BPL packs during the fire-sale. Odds are most are sitting around unused. $60.
Kelty LightYear bag $100Jun 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm #1886626
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Lots of low-budget gear lists around–check these lists and articles for ideas:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00034.html (go to the last chapter)Jun 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm #1886639
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
Another vote for the Wenzel hiker tent (for one person). It needs a little work but can be made very light and is very cheap…Jun 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm #1886640
How did you mod your tent? And what weight did you end up at?Jun 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm #1886682
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
I don't have a scale so I can't give you a measured weight. At a guess the tent body minus guylines might be around 1 pound or so. One review for the old version claims the whole thing really only weighs 2.6 pounds. Multiple sources agree the published weight of 3.4 pounds is very pessimistic.
The mods are easy:
1. replace steel stakes with anything else.
2. Probably replace guylines and plastic adjusters with lightweight guyline.
3. Lose 2 front poles (fiberglass) and use grip clip or pebble to raise the front peak with trekking pole or tree. I keep the back pole because it's very short but you could do the same there.
4. leave the stuff sack at home
5. Seam seal.
Things that might annoy you over time:
1. entry/exit is awkward through the small door. Basically you have to crawl in and out.
2. it's a small single wall with limited ventilation (but is flow through). Probably uncomfortable in hot/humid conditions. (it's dry and cool at night where I hike.)
But you get a very light single wall tent for little money!Jun 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm #1886735
@tonymullLocale: Western Washington
My wife just picked up a steri-pen for me at costco for $50.
I'm using a CCF pad and a short thermarest, I think it's a scout, that I got for $39 at Cabela's or Cabela's makes a similar model of their own that's a little heavier.
The dryducks poncho at Walmart is $10. Hard to beat for the price.
Cat stove is pretty much free.Jun 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm #1886755
@soundmanLocale: sierra nevadas
i like the frogg toggs rain gear, its more durable than whats been mentioned, light at about
one pound for top and bottom and the price is right.Jun 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm #1886768
@lopezLocale: San Gabriel Valley
I see good stoves on the forums for under $45 alot. MSR, Snowpeak, etc. I think the REI Flash is a good choice, used one myself for a couple years. Cheap Walmart poncho tarps too. Those are all good ideas. Clothing can be expensive if you give into the marketing crap. Stick to plain old synthetic athletic clothing from Walmart, etc and you'll save a ton of money. For an air mattress, consider find an old used Thermarest or something like that. I bought one on this forum for $10 with a couple big blue patches on it and the letters all worn off, works perfect! Cohlan's for small items like mosquito head nets, cook ware, etc. Skip the titanium, aluminum Grease pot works fine. Good luck!Jun 14, 2012 at 12:57 am #1886789
Re inflatable pad, Backcountry Gear has Thermarest NeoAir pads on sale (small only — 20" x 47" x 2.5"), reduced from $129.95 down to $79.97, with free shipping for orders over $49 —
I purchased one from Backcountry Gear but don't have personal experience with it yet. Believe that it has favorable reviews (search on BPL and Google), and the $50 price reduction appears to be a good deal if the small size is OK.Jun 14, 2012 at 3:32 am #1886797
Phil from sectionhiker.com spoke highly of this stove. For $11.25 how can you go wrong?
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