Mar 14, 2013 at 7:49 am #1300446
I have three girls. They're awesome but they cost money. Dance money, bike money, lunch money, surfing money, rock t-shirt money, itunes money, and seriously the list just goes on and on. So as you can imagine, this leaves very little in the way of GEAR MONEY.
To solve this issue, I've decided to start selling crack cocaine online. However this is a tricky business. My website would need big time advertising while at the same time being undetectable. My distribution facility would have to be guarded by the A-Team and half my mail deliveries would likely be "Lost" in transit.
So in the meantime, plan B, Gear Hacking. Share with us your ideas for substituting expensive pieces of gear with creative gear hacking goodness. Now hopefully this wont become just another "heres how you shave 4 grams off your cook kit for free" threads. Instead, How can we avoid spending big bucks on gear by using cheap alternatives, or by modifying this to make that. I recently learned about Marshall's and Costco as sources for cheap gear, awesome! I also read in the forums the other days about using taped Tyvek to fashion mitts out of. Super awesome! I'll start with a few cool ones I've used recently. What else you guys got?? Love this stuff!
Waterproof socks out of subway bags
Warm sleeping hat out of cut-off jacket hood
Dri-ducks as snow shells
Wool socks as additional hand insulation
Thrift store Merino sweaters (second only to my Houdini in usefulness and just money-saving coolness!!!)
Thrift store wool slacks (better than you might think)Mar 14, 2013 at 8:14 am #1965488
You can make a tarp using 2mil plastic from home depot. It's like, $5 for a giant sheet, 7 for a grommet kit. You can find good MYOG posts on how to do it if a tarp is your kind of shelter. You can use the left over pieces to make pack liners and stuff sacks with an iron to seal the edges.Mar 14, 2013 at 9:35 am #1965503
@slammerLocale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
I just cut a footprint out of 2 Mil last night for my SMD scout and thought " This might make an awesome summer tarp".
Do you have pics of this or did you just use brass grommets?Mar 14, 2013 at 9:43 am #1965506
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Some ideas here, also in people's comments http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/myog_3mm_plastic_tarps.html
2 mil is not very strong. I've used it on a few trips. Mostly I think it's good for prototypes or maybe like a youth group where you want to equip a bunch of people cheaply and it doesn't have to last.
Duct tape slowly slips. Like after a windy trip, it will slip 1 inch. If you put staples also it's better. There are better tapes than duct tape.Mar 14, 2013 at 10:04 am #1965515
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
I keep a couple of dog-poo bags in my pack. They can be used as waterproof socks or mitts. I find they're much more durable than Subway bags.
I know you probably don't want to hear this, but a Foster's can makes a mighty light and cheap cook pot. Paired with a cat food can or tealight stove and an ovenliner windscreen makes for a very light set up.
Roasting bags/Crockpot liners are pretty tough if you need a larger waterproof sack than a 1 gallon ziploc.
Trash compactor/contractor bags work dandy as pack liners and are more durable than regular kitchen trash bags.
Wrap your sleeping bag/quilt around yourself in camp for extra insulation.
Cut off the bottom of a milk jug to make a light water scoop/sink. Probably not necessary most of the time, but if you're trying to fill a Platypus from shallow or slow-moving water a scoop is invaluable.
Of course, if you're using 1L soda/Gatorade bottles you can just dunk them right in the water.
I may think of some more later.
AdamMar 14, 2013 at 10:19 am #1965523
Using poly tarps is a great one. Although, tying the guylines on directly with sheet bends would probably be much stronger than grommets. using an iron to seal the edges is a great idea, do i need certain type of poly for this to work?
I'll soon be cutting up some old thrift store snow jackets to make warm booties and an old wp/b rain jacket for making snow gaiters and boot liners.
Foster can as pot? Actually, thats exactly how I saved a ton of money getting started. I prefer the 8$ grease pot now but again, these are cheap alternatives that show you do not need to spend $100 on titanium cooking stuff. I have yet to encounter any situation where titanium would have worked better for my pot.
Oven liner as windscreen? never heard that one! what is it? where do you get it?
polycro window sealer as ground sheet. awesome!!Mar 14, 2013 at 10:44 am #1965532
For the 2mil plastic tarp I made, I doubled over the corners and taped circles of clear Tenacious Tape larger than the grommet, then put grommets in. For grommets not at corners, I just reinforced the hole areas with Tenacious tape.
And for oven liners, it's any of those disposable aluminum cookie sheets or turkey roasting pans. Asian markets/stores also sell aluminum liners/folding "walls" for use with portable propane stoves as grease splatter guards. Those work well too.
As far as ironing goes, the 2mil sheets from home depot worked great. When sealing the edges, instead of holding the iron flat like ironing clothes, tilt the iron (with no water) at an angle, say 45*, that way you get a nice thin seal without air bubbles. Practice gliding the iron across the seam you want and find the heat/speed that works for you.Mar 14, 2013 at 10:51 am #1965535
I know some of you may have seen these Vapur bottles sold in Target or the like. Each bottle is sold for around $10 each. On a recent trip to my local 99 cent store, I found similar bottles…holds 16 oz. of water. For the price of one Vapur bottle, I was able to get 10 of the soft bottles.
Other things to find at 99 cent stores are…
– Ziploc containers to fit a Heine Pot of Fosters Pot.
– Plastic container that can fit a 10cm Imusa and 12cm Imusa pot…granted you have to cut of the handles off the pot but it works.
– Duct tape, multi tools, etc. not the greatest quality but it works.
– Light load towels, Shop towels, etc.
Quite a few things to get…Mar 14, 2013 at 11:18 am #1965544
$1 soft water bottles!! Awesome Angus, thanks!!Mar 14, 2013 at 11:34 am #1965550
Be careful of .99 store bottles…. There's a reason they're .99 probably full of BPA, formaldehyde, and lead and other harmful stuff in their plastics. Even if it says BPA free… It probably only applies to the BPA free sticker.
Course, the factories that sell quality water bags/bottles could be just selling directly to the dollar stores, on which case that's an awesome buy.Mar 14, 2013 at 11:50 am #1965557
They look like this minus the designs.
Comes with a cheap carabiner to hang from a bag…Mar 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm #1965580
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Tyvek painter's pants make a cheap wind barrier over those thrift-store wool slacks. In summer conditions, that combo can also be your sleeping bag, saving lots of money, bulk, and $$.
Edited: Tyvek, not the auto-corrected tubeless.Mar 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm #1965590
like lots of other members mentioned I suggest you start using Tyvek to
make stuff. It's super easy to work with and super cheap and you can get it in most
and even fashioned hooded rain jacket from Tyvek coveralls according to
Others have used it to make bivy bags, tarps, groundcloths and even tents
out of it. Super cheap and it works wonders:)
To bond tyvek I've used 3M 77 super glue. Using paint brush to apply it
will save you lots of it.
Cheers!Mar 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm #1965616
Great links, Tyvek mitts and Tyvek booties are on my project list. I could cut an old snow jacket and make warm booties, then make Tyvek booties to go over them. Not pretty, but serviceable for an unexpected night out.
What would be a good hack for making waterproof breathable boot liners? Is silnylon breathable? I can't think of anything that would have some stretch excepth neoprene but that's too thick.Mar 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm #1965857
@davidmilesLocale: Eastern Sierra
I have found Tyvek tape to be excellent on plastics. My wife had a good laugh the other day when I used a small piece and a hole punch to replace the torn out ring hole in the shower curtain liner. I makes a strong simple tie out point for a plastic tarp.Mar 15, 2013 at 3:11 am #1965861
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
If you are upgrading from cotton clothing, thrift store wool sweaters are a great first step.Mar 15, 2013 at 4:40 am #1965864
@gregpehrsonLocale: playa del caballo blanco
You can make a lot of Tyvek gear by just purchasing one item–
I got a soft (1443R) Tyvek coverall suit with booties on Amazon for $12 including shipping. From this, you can make:
1) a pretty water-resistant jacket, especially if you seam-seal or seam-tape (see above thread)
2) rain/ wind mitts from the upper legs (see above thread)
3) Cut off the Tyvek booties and cover the bottoms with duct tape for durability to make overbooties for the insulated booties you're going to make (check Will Reitveld's article on BPL: Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel)
That's a lot of gear for $12.
Also, check Target's clearance rack. I got a pair of the synthetic "C9 golf pants" for $8. They are amazing for hiking, and I've worn them to weddings, too. Just plain synthetic pants with good stretch and no cargo pockets or extra zippers.
There's a guy called "Intense Angler" on YouTube with a bunch of videos of very cheap gear and stuff he's made/ modified for hiking.
P'alante-onward!Mar 15, 2013 at 5:59 am #1965878Mar 15, 2013 at 6:01 am #1965880
Edit: guess I can't post ONLY a link.
I also use my DriDucks jacket as a half bivy to protect the bottom of my bag.Mar 15, 2013 at 8:08 am #1965912
"If you are upgrading from cotton clothing, thrift store wool sweaters are a great first step."
For me they're not a first step but a preferred top layer. So far, I havent found any situation where a $40-$100 technical fleece would have made more sense for me.
Great tips, I'll be starting on these for my winter running pack…
polycro emergency bivy shelter
polycro emergency tarp shelter (for multi-day cowboy camping in the sierras)
Keeping my driducks as emergency snow pants (jacket as emergency rain jacket)
tyvek 1433r suit for booties, emergency snow mitts, snow boot liners
Would love to see more stuff regarding actual clothing. Does anyone have links to making hats, balaclava, warm mitts, warm booties out of old snow gear? It's probably not too complicated but Im really terrible at sewing. I guess I'll just use MYOG articles and modify them a bit to work with old snow clothes. This is just for unexpected overnights in snow so they dont have to be pretty.Mar 15, 2013 at 8:17 am #1965916
Oh and also on the list….
neoprene overboots out of old wetsuits. (hehe, this should be interesting)Mar 15, 2013 at 2:08 pm #1966036
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
"For me they're not a first step but a preferred top layer. So far, I havent found any situation where a $40-$100 technical fleece would have made more sense for me."
Yeah, same here. For whatever reason I really prefer a light wool sweater over a fleece. They are a little heavier though.Mar 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm #1966161
@rustybLocale: Rocky Mountains
Was going to mention my Tyvek project but see that it was already in the thread. Can't say enough good things about that. $10 well spent! No sewing experience required for the jacket.
Another item that's free are the plastic gas mitts found at certain gas stations. I think they'd make a good/great VBL!
Lets see…..I echo other comments about thrift store finds. I've found some amazingly nice big-name items for a little of nothing. But I frequent thrift stores as I find it fun/exciting. Anyhoo….the more confident you are with a sewing machine, the less important it is the garment fit you just right. Modify it to your liking! And how about old carbon fiber ski poles for trekking poles. I routinely see'em for around ~$5.
Or, how about bamboo utensils. Paid $1.49 for an Island Bamboo spoon at the local kitchen store. Weighs 1/4oz.
Tin foil for lids and windscreens.
Back to VBLs: 72" garment bag from the dry cleaners for .25 cents and a shower cap free from your favorite motel.Mar 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm #1966411
I made a couple of balaclavas out of pant legs from hand-me-down fleece pants. Works better than a store bought one that was given to me.Mar 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm #1966412
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I made some booties from the sleeves of a jacket that I made. I removed the sleeves and made it into a vest.
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