Apr 19, 2017 at 10:35 am #3463966
Hey all, I have my own kit that I put together with the help of this site several years back. Returning once again in hopes of getting more helpful advice!
I’m going on a Baxter State Park fastpacking trip with a couple friends this summer. They’ve got lots of camping and high-mileage under their belts, but they’re lacking in the lightweight gear that makes a trip like this possible. It looks like things have changed a lot since I was buying my own kit (Golite isn’t around anymore, for instance), so I’m wondering if you could help me zero in on some lightweight bang for buck options.
Used options are fine.
Need a 2-person shelter. Tarptent Double Rainbow seems to be the best option here (we won’t have trekking poles), but at $289 it’s steep. Any other ideas?
SLEEPING BAG / QUILT
Hoping to go under $100 here and a 40 degree bag should do the trick, though 30 would be great. What’s the best weight option in this range? I stumbled across some $70 quilts from mac-gear.com that are intended for hammock users, but look like they’d work just fine on the ground. Couldn’t find any reviews, though. Thoughts?
Hoping to go under $100 and 2.5 lbs here. Even lighter is even better. I use a Golite Jam2 and it’s always served me really well. Seems like I might be able to score one on Ebay if I’m lucky, but are there better options? Figure on 20# max weight. Won’t be bringing a lot of extras so volume doesn’t need to be huge.
Would be really interested to hear about any solid <$60 rain/insulation layer options as well, if you’ve got ’em.
Thanks in advance!Apr 19, 2017 at 11:19 am #3463975
matthew kingBPL Member
i really like my Hammockgear Burrow quilt and I’ve noticed they came out with an Econ line that looks like a great value. The 40° Econ Burrow $120, 800fp, under 18 ounces might be a nice choice. I just ordered an 20° Econ for my wife and I’m curious to see the materials in person soon.Apr 19, 2017 at 11:53 am #3463979
For quilts, I recently noticed that Hammock Gear has a line of economy quilts with duck down instead of goose. My son is facing an upcoming Boy Scout backpack and wanted to use my quilt, but no way – that’s mine! And I’m going on the same trip. I suggested he might use a Costco down throw. This might not get you to 30 without significant modification, but it will probably be fine for him this weekend, which is predicted to be a balmy 50F here in SoCal.
Used gear is best when you can find it. I’m seeing lot’s of ‘mids and tarps lately, but the good deals go fast. It’s hard to beat $289 for a lightweight quality tent at 41 oz. Tarp and/or bivy of course can be cheaper, but the good stuff is that and up.
I saw a Six Moon Designs Fusion pack for $65 this week on the forums. You can still get the 2014 50L version from their website for $100 in the bargain section. That’s a great 36oz pack with an adjustable torso length.
Rain gear? Frogg Toggs. Insulation? Fleece these are budget mainstays.Apr 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm #3463982
eric chanBPL Member
at those prices you listed BPL is probably the wrong place to ask those question (with one or two exceptions) … most of the folks here spend quite a bit more on the latest and greatest gear …
my suggestion is to post the question on reddit ultralight which seems to be inhabited by poor starving students where every penny spent on gear means they starve as they they cant afford instant noodles … so they got the “el cheapo” gear thing mastered
as for cheap gear …
tent … theres various chinese tents some are better than others …
bag/quilt … get someone to help you make your own synethetic quilt (but bulky) … theres various chinese made ones as well but i suggest buying from amazon so you have a free 30 day return if needed (same with tents)
pack … the one place not to skimp … a pack needs to fit … period … if you do insist on buying them cheap make sure you buy em somewhere with free return shipping (amazon again) so if they dun fit it doesnt cost you anything … most cottage makers you pay for return shipping
rain gear … various folks have tried costco rain gear thats fairly light and cheap (look for the threads here), perhaps they can chime in … poncho also works if its not too windy and the trails mild
insulation … department store down jacket (or synthetic) that should cost ~50 dollahz fur a 650 fill …. cheap 20 dollah fleece
;)Apr 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm #3463983
Ben CBPL Member
+1 on cheap fleece and dri-ducks. If a 40 degree quilt is enough, those should suit well for little money.Apr 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm #3463991
Link .BPL Member
Here are the bargain SIXMOON DESIGNS PACKS .Cheap fleece is always good but if they want down the UNIQLO DOWN JACKET for $69.90 or the PARKA for $79.90 are a good deal and they often have sales, for a windshirt if they are looking for one the POCKETABLE PARKA is $39.90, Frogg Toggs Ultra Lite Rain Suit is light and cheap. If they want trekking poles Cascade Mountain Tech Quick Lock Trekking Poles | Shockingly awesome performance for $30Apr 19, 2017 at 4:22 pm #3464026
Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
I would move more of your budget toward a sleeping bag and less toward pack/tent. A sleeping bag is where you are going to get bang for your buck. I would look for used (or rent) backpacks and buy a cheap Chinese shelter from Amazon. Careful with top quilts. They may be narrower than expected.Apr 19, 2017 at 5:16 pm #3464043
We have a Kelty Cosmic Down 20*f sleeping bag in our quiver and think it’s a great value. Current prices on Amazon are about $220. The Hammockgear.com economy quilts look awfully tempting at their price point.Apr 19, 2017 at 6:50 pm #3464079
James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
At the prices you are talking about:
MYOG, by cheap new gear and “fix” it, buy used gear and repair it.
For a tent, a simple “pup” tent will work for one or two. These are easy to make yourself. Wash it when you are done, then coat everything with 25%silicone calk/75% mineral spirits. A used tent will need repairs also, then recoating. Often, a cheap Chinese tent also needs coating and seam repair, too.
Packs? Build one. You can spend about 3 hours and $50 on materials. Anything decent to use will cost 150-200, today.
Sleeping bag is one place I would NOT risk more than $100 on, for a used one. You cannot tell how it has been laundered/treated. If you must spend $100, find a good synthetic one. A good bag will cost 300-500. You can also make one but this will take longer and potentially may not work as well. Consider a quilt for 20F and above. These are much cheaper, but get at least a wide if you sleep on your side or toss&turn.Apr 19, 2017 at 7:29 pm #3464090
Wow – tons of great responses. Thanks!
Lots of notes about my low pricepoint… it’s been a good 6-7 years since I really spent any serious time looking at gear and I guess things have changed. I bought our Golite packs new at $100, a Tarptent at around $200, and a gently-used Jacks R Better quilt at around $150 (more than my goal today, but also warmer/lighter) back then, so clearly times have changed.
Appreciate the tip on Reddit Ultralight — will definitely check that out. We are dads rather than students, but only get out for trips like this about once a year, so the el cheapo thing definitely applies.
The Hammockgear Econ quilt and Six Moon Designs Fusion are great options. Does anyone know off-hand how much Frogg Toggs weigh? It didn’t say on their site.
Thanks again!Apr 19, 2017 at 9:18 pm #3464102
Troy AmmonsBPL Member
There is a jam II on ebay right now.
If on the cheap, look around for someone here, or on whiteblaze selling a climashield 5.0 oz Apex quilt. Should weigh around 20 oz. Or you could buy one new from Tim Marshall at Enlightened Equipment.
For a tent, I would spend some $ and get a Big Sky freestanding tent. They have some on special.Apr 19, 2017 at 10:50 pm #3464116
Frogg Toggs jacket is 6 oz.
I never used the pants, but the set at Wal-Mart wss about $15. There’s a thread here or on Hammock Forums about budget finds at Wally World.Apr 20, 2017 at 4:17 pm #3464233
Thanks for the intel on the Jam on Ebay. Looked last night and didn’t see it! Also… Frogg Toggs are really only 6 oz for the jacket? That’s some unreal value.Apr 20, 2017 at 11:11 pm #3464284
Alex WillowsBPL Member
I’ve never used them, but Frogg Toggs are supposedly not very durable, which factors into the value equation. I’m sure plenty of people have had no trouble, but I’m sure lots of people have gone through more than one set. Not such a big deal if they only cost $20 I guess, but also nice to consider environmental impact of essentially buying disposable gear.Apr 20, 2017 at 11:33 pm #3464285
It’s a good point about “disposable” gear in general. Buy the best gear you can afford, but you can see from the healthy gear swap forum that lots of people buy high quality gear, but move on to something else. Resale = recycle so it’s all good.
I think Frogg Toggs are great as a light weight just-in-case item. We don’t need the same durability in rain gear in SoCal that North-Westerners need, or thru hikers that are going to spend longer periods without forecasts or replacement opportunities. I’ve wondered many a time if a 3 oz plastic poncho is all I should bring when we know rain is unlikely for the next 4-5 months.
Not many people are willing to go that minimal, including me, so I often take my lightweight Alpine Houdini jacket, which is 5x the cost on sale. However when I equip a friend on a short backpacking trip, I lend him the Frogg Toggs from my gear closet and tell him to leave his much heavier rain coat behind.
I should have mentioned this before. My son uses one of these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JFQRHP6/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1. it’s just as light and now cheaper than the Frogg Toggs. If you haven’t seen Frogg Toggs, this looks A LOT more stylish. I will admit, however, it’s still somewhat disposable.Apr 21, 2017 at 9:31 am #3464307
Sam CBPL Member
I’m going to offer a dissenting voice if you don’t care about brand name:
Coleman has a 1.9 pound sleeping bag rated at 40˚ F (realistically, 50˚F, most likely) for $40 or so. It packs down pretty small by comparison and is half the weight of other name-brand bags. Of course, it might be too small for you.
You can use a top-quilt (you know, those hammock quilts) on the ground. For the most part, they are the same type of product.
I strongly suggest that $100 2014 Fusion 50. It’s an awesome pack that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. A lot of people complain that the side pockets do not hold 1L Smart Water bottles very well. This is true, but hey, you don’t have to use those bottles! If you do you can just pin them underneath the bottom compression straps. Those pockets will hold two pint-sized bottles each well or one 32oz. Gatorade bottle each. About the color; in my opinion it looks way better in real life than it does in pictures. To be frank, I think most are just afraid the white will get dirty and oh my gosh! Imagine that, something that is meant to used out-of-doors in dirt and mud and grime and “nature” actually gets… dirty. About the front pocket; too small? I don’t know why ULers love to shove anything and everything into these pockets but it will hold a rain jacket and rain pants, or a 9′ x 9′ tarp and ground sheet, to give you an example. Joking aside, the color scheme is not that bad.
I know everyone and their uncle around here will claim that a 12 – 16oz. pack will carry 20 lbs. just fine, and I’ll disagree with that. The Fusion 50 will carry that weight like a champ.
Frogg Toggs will eventually tear but how long that will take, who knows? It really depends on usage. If you are wearing them while scrambling, bushwhacking, hiking an overgrown trail, etc., probably not very long. They are very easy to repair, though (duct tape, repair tape, etc.). I am not sure about you, but 90% of my hiking is not in rain. They are not breathable, have no vents, and will trap body heat. if you can find one, I’d suggest a used Marmot Precip; which is my favorite piece of gear that I own.
As for shelters:
If you want an actual tent, and want one cheap, I’d look at Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, etc. Would likely be far from lightweight, though. If you don’t mind a tarp tent, the SMD Haven Tarp might be a good fit. You can also check Amazon; plenty of offerings with companies you’ve never heard of and some going for decent prices but even the one’s labeled as UL are too heavy and you might as well get something from one of the outdoor sportsman outfitters I mentioned above.
Or you could make your own gear. As long as you are not going Cuben/DCF, you could make those big three items for between $150 or so and $200 depending on design, features, fabric[s], etc.Apr 21, 2017 at 10:38 am #3464328
Mina LoomisBPL Member
@elmvineLocale: Central Texas
Kelty Cosmic Down 20 Men’s is $169.95 at REI.
That was easy for me to pick up on because I sell them every day I am at work at REI.Apr 21, 2017 at 1:40 pm #3464354
David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I’m waiting on a few of these to arrive, but my hope is that at 35 liters and 9 ounces, it’s capable of holding enough for a weekend trip. $8.57 + $2.90 shipping ain’t bad for a pack.
I’ve got nicer stuff for everyone in the family, but we often let our kids invite friends along and they show up with traditional gear. 5-pound packs, that sort of thing.
Hardly anyone else does it, but I’ve long used a daypack, worn on my chest, to carry more volume than my primary pack alone. Either for a day or two after a resupply or to take weight off someone else. Two of these packs would give 70 liters of volume for $23 and 18 ounces.
***Update*** They arrived. 8.9 ounces, 254 grams measured weight. 0.4 ounces could easily be trimmed from the straps. Unpadded but comfortable shoulder straps consisting of 3 layers of material. No padding on the back (duh), so your sleeping pad goes there. I loaded it up and it was fine with 15 pounds in it. I wouldn’t want much more weight than that, though. The side pockets would hold a pint or tall liter water bottle, but not a Gatorade bottle so you’d need a different, skinnier wide-mouth bottle if you use a Steripen. Two smaller compartments on the back. Great for small stuff (DEET, sunscreen, Powerbar, maybe a wind shirt), but not for bigger items. I wouldn’t bush-whack with it. So as a VERY low-cost option for a 3-day/2-night summer trip, it works if, obviously, you keep your volume down. Also, for a pre-growth-spurt child, you invest very little money and they carry very little pack weight to take 35 liters of volume which is a big help when packing for a family.Apr 21, 2017 at 5:58 pm #3464372
Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
Good find, David, and thanks for the update.
This could work for my imminent weekend trip where total pack weight with Zpacks Zero is 10.7lb and I have room to spare. I prefer a hip belt even with small day packs, but it looks as if it wouldn’t be too difficult to add one to this pack.
We’ve had the “$300 Challenge” and the “$200 Challenge”, and it seems a “$150 Challenge” might be in order! ;^)
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