Dec 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm #1311286
I thought it would be fun to list BPLers' favorite cheap gear of 2013. Let's face it, with a little research and a lot of money, it's relatively easy nowadays to piece together a UL/SUL kit.
But for college students, high school students, scouts, broke chumps, vagabonds, parents of triplets, and those exploring becoming a UL hiker, the initial cost of gear can be downright daunting.
I know cheap will mean something different for many of us, so don't be afraid to list an item. AND please, I'm asking people NOT TO HIJACK this thread and make it a moral issue about where gear is sourced. I've seen too many threads lead to that lately, and that is not what this thread is about.
For the sake of consistency, please list the item, price, and where you obtained it.
I'll start the list off with several items:
1) Driducks Ultra-lite rain suit; $19.99; Amazon.com
There are plenty of reviews of this jacket and it has many detractors due to durability issues, but I have found the jacket to be a great cheap option. It breathes well and is light; the size large weighs 5.98 ounces on my scale.
2) C9 1/4 zip fleece; $17.99; Target
It's held up great for me on the trail. It's warm and light with the large weighing ~10 ounces on my scale.
3) Fox River Gripper glove; $10.99; FoxSox.com
I like these as a base glove and will layer over them with my MLD rain mitts in rain. They have proven to be warm and durable. The pair weighs 3.44 ounces on my scale.
4) UL Ground Cloth; 8$; Mountainlaureldesigns.com
I believe this is the polycryo frequently mentioned on BPL. I cut mine in half and use it for a groundsheet. It has proven plenty durable. Weighs 1.2 ounces as stated on the website.
5) Timex 1440 sports watch; $19.99; Amazon.com
This has lasted over 2 years for me and several thousand miles. Great cheap watch. Not much else to say.
6) Starter wind jacket; 15.99$; Wal-Mart
Cheap wind jacket. Full zip, two hand pockets. No hood. I use a Patagonia Houdini for my UL trips, but this jacket has served me well for trail runs. Yes, it's a bit heavy at 10.76 ounces, but it's 85$ cheaper than the Houdini.
7) Stoic Hadron Down Anorak; 90$ on sale; Backcountry.com
Maybe this is pushing cheap, but for an awesome minimalist UL 3-season down jacket, 90$ is a steal. There are plenty of reviews here on BPL, and the only negative I have read is the elastic cuffs, which don't bother me at all. In the size large it utilizes 2.5 ounces of 850fp down. Total weight in large is 8.33 ounces. It has a hood, kangaroo pockets, and a hem draw cord.
Edited for brevityDec 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm #2056606
Zelph's StarLyte stove and the Sawyer Mini have been good to me thus far. They've both been guilt free inexpensive purchases that have functioned simply and reliably.Dec 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm #2056613
Recently there was a $22 Koppen rain jacket from Dick's posted, that hardly got a yawn. I think it's an excellent deal.
I'll add: the Imusa aluminum mug with Zelph lid, can be had for, what, about $7? I forget the exact number. It'll compete with an MSR Titan Kettle costing $65. I own both, and plan to transition over to the Imusa mug, once I get a wind screen built.
Wait…another, kind of. TJ Maxx and Marshalls are currently remaindering lightweight Marmot Polartec 100 sweaters at $30, see previous thread on same.Dec 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm #2056616
The Faux Wolfskin wind jacket is the exact thread I am referencing in my initial post, where I'm begging people not to bring up the moral issue, so thanks for mentioning it.
I really want this thread to be entertaining and useful for people on a very tight budget who still want to head outdoors with light gear.
I respectfully ask BPLers to save the debates for other threads.Dec 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm #2056618
Oops, sorry about that, I skimmed your post and jumped to the deals, completely missing that paragraph! No need to get sarcastic, I just didn't read your post like I was studying a textbook, so I failed the quiz. Now edited and deleted. Carry on.Dec 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm #2056621
Sorry, the internet sometimes masks what we really mean. I am glad you mentioned the thread, because while it made for interesting reading with a few beers, I think it maybe wandered off topic a bit:)
I wasn't trying to be sarcastic, so no worries man.
Also, I have another product to mention.
1) REI Stuff daypack; $29.50; REI
I used this pack for over a year before buying a Zpacks Zero. I had no issues with it and honestly miss and have considered buying another one. It weighs ~10 ounces and has plenty of volume for a dayhike. I also miss the outer mesh pockets for water bottles.Dec 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm #2056704
@florigenLocale: South East
Have wanted an Alpacks for a few years but was tough to justify the price for a piece of gear that would have a short window of time annually where it would actually be used and being new to this type of wilderness travel this seemed like a perfect entry level way to see if was something I would enjoy.
Totally worth it as I have taught myself to navigate calm waterways and coastal inlets, highly recommend if you are interested in starter boat that handles best in slower moving water at a decent priceDec 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm #2056706
@lopezLocale: San Gabriel Valley
Kirkland light down jacket. Costco $40
Synthetic insulated pants. Army surplus $9
Kirkland technical soft shell Costco $20Dec 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm #2056708
Great thread idea.
Bamboo spoon at the ¥100 store, light, strong, natural material (feels good when eating). ¥100, or roughly a dollar.
Went to a shop for people who work construction. Found all kinds of base and insulation layers that might not be the lightest, but very forgiving on the wallet to test out. I got a really thick synth base layer/thin fleece with a hood and thumbloops for ¥1200/＄12.Dec 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm #2056722
I have another cheap option:
Smart Water bottles 1 Liter; $1, maybe $2; Most grocery stores
These have been my go-to bottles for this past year.Dec 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm #2056723
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Outdoor Products' dry bag 3 pack at Wally Mart.
And also their trekking poles at the same store.Dec 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm #2056729
W I S N E R !Participant
****Fancee Feast cat can stove: $.79
****Duck brand Window treatment film (polycryo groundcloth material): most hardware stores, $10 for enough to make 4 large groundsheets.
****Wide mouth Gatorade bottles: under $2 each.
****Pabst Blue Ribbon: $8.50/12 pack at my local EZ Stop.
****Aqua Mira drops: online, <$12 will have you covered for many, many seasons
****Mora knives: online, less than $15 a piece. My favorite.Dec 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm #2056733
+1 on the 3 pack of Outdoor Products ditty bags from Wal-Mart. I've been using them this year with no problems thus far.Dec 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm #2056755
@pitsyLocale: Central Texas
The REI Flash 18 pack is an excellent daypack, on sale now for $24.
You can get a handmade knit beanie from Kat_P for around $30, Merino or Merino/Alpaca.
Gatorade bottles are cheap, last forever, and come filled with Gatorade!
Sewing machines are cheap and plentiful on Craigslist, and open the door to many cheap projects. I consider sewing machines to be a free item, as you can usually sell them for exactly what you paid for them when you're done with your project.
Being poor forces one to become very creative. Flexibility to look past an object's form and see the material and alternative uses… That's when you can start turning trash into treasure!Dec 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm #2056766
Enjoying this thread!
Reynolds nylon oven bags as inexpensive, watertight stuff sacks. I read a poster who reported he blew the bottom out of one, but mine have been tough and not done that (altho they are NOT mouse-proof! — lost one that way). Cinch them with a NiteIze Twist Tie available at Home Depot.
While at Home Depot, their mason's line makes decent guy line.
Also recommend: a Craig's List Dehydrator. They show up used all the time because it's something people try, then stop once the novelty is gone. Then they hit CL. Mine was a 5-year old model, originally $200, on CL for $20. Allows me to walk right past the food aisle at REI and eat what I want for little $; I make lots of quinoa and lentil dishes and dehydrate them — they don't even need heat to rehydrate. Also dehydrate fruit in season.Dec 21, 2013 at 11:28 pm #2056770
Sawyer filter is hard to beat at $25 and even cheaper in some cases.
Coat hanger pot stands.
I've yet to test it in adverse weather but the Hi Tec V Lite is a heck of a shelter for $50 with taped seems. Blue tarps even cheaper.
Since the white stuff is starting to fall from the sky, you can find military surplus snowshoes online for $30. Magnesium so you can use them to help with an emergency fire.
Grease Pot or coffee can as a pot.Dec 22, 2013 at 8:08 am #2056812
@evaneisLocale: western Mass
Ah, a subject dear to my heart. I get blue foam sleeping pads at Kmart for about $10, can't remember the brand name. A 20×72 size at about 3/8" thickness weighs 7 or 8 ounces. I got one that was 6 ounces and after trimming the edges I got it down to 5.3 ounces. These are durable and much more comfortable than the evazote pads from GG or Lawson Kline. I put a torso length Prolite pad (8 oz) on one of these and have a comfortable summer pad set-up for about 13 ounces. Sometimes I just take the short Prolite and a cut down half blue pad for my legs.
Dirty Girl gaiters are also not a bad deal for $20.Dec 22, 2013 at 8:58 am #2056821
Well, I dont see how much of this has anything to do with 2013 per se, but cheap gear is good gear IMO. Really, the best cheap gear deserves a "sticky" topic somewhere.
Good cheap and light items I have used :
Stainless Steel 10cm mug, 2.03 oz, $1 from chinese crap flea market
Derma safe knife, 0.27 oz, ~$2 incl shipping on ebay
Walmart space blanket groundsheet – $3
polycryo groundsheet ~ $5
AMK space blanket groundsheet – $5
mini-bic -0.4 oz, $1
Walmart blue foam pad, $12
fleece gloves 1.2 oz, $1 @ dollar store
# 64 rubber bands
tealight cup stove, wire mesh pot stand
bamboo spoons – 0.3 oz $3 for 12 @ party store,( but need sanding to shape up)
Light fleece pullover 1/4 zip – 10oz- $7 walmart
Synthetic Starter shirts – 4.5 oz $10 Walmart
Photon light-~$12 0.35 oz with hat clip
DIY tyvek rain mitts – free (get tyvek envelopes from P.O.)
Driducks rain gear – $20- order direct, all sizes, all colors $20 delivered.
Cheap synthetic Starter socks – walmart $10 for 3 pr
Old 70's thin light nylon running shorts-~2oz w/o liner -$3 at thrift shopsDec 22, 2013 at 10:09 am #2056833
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I've been using cheap polycotton button up shirts from thrift stores. They are fantastic, they are cooler than pure synthetics in warm weather but still dry reasonably quickly. I've been using them for hikes this winter too and they have worked alright.Dec 22, 2013 at 11:20 am #2056847
@b14Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
+1 on the fancy feast stove
…bought w/ underthecarseat loose change!
[and used by one hiker i know of for a quaint lil 8k mile hike].
an item I use daily,
the Costco down vest @ $25.Dec 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm #2056855
So I have not personally used these items, but a dirtbag friend of mine I trust has highly recommended using the military modular sleep system. He bought 2 sleeping bags and a Gore-Tex bivy bag in perfect condition for 130$ plus shipping. You can also buy each piece of gear individually.
1) The patrol bag temps are stated at 30-50 degrees for comfort and weigh between 2.2 to 2.5 pounds. They are mummy bags with ample room. $34.77
2) The cold weather bag is rated down to -10 and weighs ~4 pounds. I'm not sure how accurate these ratings are, as so many variables factor into a temp rating. Same style of mummy-type bag. $49.83
3) The Gore-Tex bivy is wind and waterproof. It weighs 2.3 pounds. $39.15
I'm curious if anybody from BPL has tried these particular items. They may not be the lightest options, but are certainly a great price for quality gear. I'm very tempted to order the system and store in my truck for winter emergencies, or use the system for when I'm car camping.Dec 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm #2056877
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The surplus Power Dry tops and bottoms are a great bargain.Dec 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm #2056893
For car camping the military surplus system is a great setup for the money. For backpacking, no thank you. It is heavy and extremely bulky.
For the weight and bulk it isn't very warm. The summer bag will keep you warm down to 50 degrees or so, not much past that. The 3-season bag will keep you warm into the low 30s at best. The -10 rating is for both bags together and the bivy.
The bivy is waterproof and durable but fairly heavy.Dec 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm #2056898
I may pull the trigger on one of those goretex bivys. For $20-30 from various online resources, it's just stupid cheap. I've been looking at winter bivys the last couple of days to experiment with this winter as my sole shelter, and yeah I could save a pound over the military version but I'd also be spending $200-350 for an event or goretex one. Would be a cheap way for me to try this out, at the expense of carrying an extra pound. Not bad!Dec 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm #2056906
Thanks for the heads up. I didn't even consider the bulk when looking at the gear initially. And I thought those temp ratings were too optimistic, though maybe I misinterpreted the data on the website.
I'll definitely be experimenting with many of the suggestions posted here thus far.
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