Budget Ultralight Hiking

A place to chat about gear and the philosphy of ultralight. Ultralight bushwalking or backpacking focuses on carrying the lightest and simplest kit. There is still a good focus on safety and skill.
Forum rules
Ultralight Bushwalking/backpacking is about more than just gear lists. Ultralight walkers carefully consider gear based on the environment they are entering, the weather forecast, their own skill, other people in the group. Gear and systems are tested and tweaked.
If you are new to this area then welcome - Please remember that although the same ultralight philosophy can be used in all environments that the specific gear and skill required will vary greatly. It is very dangerous to assume that you can just copy someone else's gear list, but you are encouraged to ask questions, learn and start reducing the pack weight and enjoying the freedom that comes.

Common words
Base pack backpacking the mass of the backpack and the gear inside - not including consumables such as food, water and fuel
light backpacking base weight less than 9.1kg
ultralight backpacking base weight less than 4.5kg
super-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 2.3kg
extreme-ultralight backpacking base weight less than 1.4kg

Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Will305 » Sat 22 Nov, 2014 12:32 pm

I've been hiking for quit some time now and have started to get into ultralight gear, I'm Currently in uni and very broke. Im looking for a basic ultralight setup for a low cost. Im open to any suggestions or recommendations in terms of gear, food, clothing?
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Ellobuddha » Mon 24 Nov, 2014 8:01 pm

Hi,

Theres plenty of good info on here already. You probably need to search the forum topics a little more. Any specific questions will be certainly keenly answered by the many gurus on this site.

As a relative newby myself, welcome to a world of information from some very experienced people.

Its a bit hard for someone to give you the Holy Grail in a paragraph or two :)

EB
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Scottyk » Mon 24 Nov, 2014 8:25 pm

Make a list of all the gear you take and then record the weight of each peace of gear.
Then look at the list and start to be critical of the weight of each item and see if their are lighter alternatives that don't blow the budget.
The real skill lies in being able to cut weight on a required piece of gear without compromising safety.
It takes a lot of experience so don't rush to replace all your heavy gear right away
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Bubbalouie » Mon 24 Nov, 2014 8:50 pm

I am swinging with ScottyK on this one. Save weight but not at the expense of safety.

One good way to save money is MYOG, things like:
- Cat can stoves (super light & cheap/free alcohol stove)
- Home made wind shields (aluminium sheet)
- Home made stuff sacks are an option
- Remove unneeded tags & labels, shorten straps (leave a little extra though) on existing gear
- Re-package things

Being cheap:
- Using regular drink bottles (think Powerade style bottles instead of a bladder, I am a fan of the platypus bladder though)
- Buying used gear on the forums (I've just sold a lot of my unused gear so no personal gain for me on this front)
- You can get cheap titanium gear from aliexpress (think pots, of which you need only one)
- ONLY buy things on sale

Basic principles:
- Everything has many purposes: your pot is your bowl is your coffee cup etc
- Use layering with clothing to save weight
- If you don't need it don't carry it

All of the above said, be careful with trying to go Ultralight, I've seen some very irresponsible advice on the internet, thing that come to mind are (some people will perhaps tell me off for this, it is opinion that I am sharing here):
- One ounce med kits for 5 days, these kits don't even have a basic bandage
- Only carrying a litre of water, many places in Aus this is not viable
- No water treatment options (this one you might be OK with though, I don't think it's worth the risk)
- No navigation aids (again, if you're sticking to basic trails you might be OK, but is it worth the risk)
- Insufficient clothing (going places that are known to get cold and not taking insulating layers)
- Lack of wet weather gear for long hikes (again there is a chance you _might_ be OK, but well, you get the idea)
- 6000kj a day diets for 3+ days at a time, this depends on the person in a big way, but that isn't much food if you're a *typical* grown man

The point of the above is start heavy & slowly tweak little bit of your kit & learn what does doesn't work. I keep a spread sheet and for each hike I go on I have the gear list, this lets me tweak & work out where things fail or wor well together.

That all said, I'm not technically an ultralighter, my base weight is 4.9kg (though I guess if I replace my tent it would be ultralight), if I know it won't be cold or rain then I can ditch some stuff & comfortably be in the ultralight range, however 10lb (4.56kg) is just a number and not worth taking unnecessary risks for IMHO. My better half does go ultralight but she's 5'8" and doesn't need to carry the extra long + extra wide version of everything (also I carry the PLB & GPS).

In short, when going ultralight pare back your gear slowly, ideally no more than one or two pieces of kit at a time.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby whitefang » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 2:16 am

Andrew Skurka's fancy feast stove is a great little stove that is extremely easy and cheap to make. It cost me $3 ($1 for the fancy feast and $2 for a hole punch) and only weighs about 5g. Coupled with a windshield made from a foil baking tray you get a pretty good stove.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Will305 » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 8:12 am

Thanks this is really help full
Im am looking to replace my tent though has anyone got any recommendations on a two man tent that can fit two tall (6'4") blokes that is inexpensive and light or is it worth just buying a 3 man tent.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Bubbalouie » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 9:05 am

Tarptent seem to be a forum favourite. My experience is that a 2 man tent is a 1 man + gear unless you are super comfortable with the other person.

Personally I'd get a 3 man tent, probably something form tarptent. That is if a shared tent was an absolute requirement.

What I usually do is have my partner and I each carry a one man tent (mine is technically a 2 man tent though). If one gets injured or we get separated for any reason we can both have shelter that way.

At 6'4" you will have some troubles due to the slope of walls and the length of your feet so good luck.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby icefest » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 9:23 am

Ultralight cheaply shouldn't be too hard in summer, for a weekend trip.

Blue foam mat (cut it down to your size + width)
Cat tin stove
Homemade pack - frameless is easier.
Cheap "ultralight" aldi sleeping bag. 30$, up to 9 deg c, 600g.
I'd probably spend more on the tent as this is the most important thing. Make your own tarp-tent using henry shires free plans.
Soft drink bottles for water
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby beean » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 11:57 am

Will305 wrote:Thanks this is really help full
Im am looking to replace my tent though has anyone got any recommendations on a two man tent that can fit two tall (6'4") blokes that is inexpensive and light or is it worth just buying a 3 man tent.


Good luck getting a tent like that on the cheap. I'm 6'3" and don't really fit into any tents on the market, I still get a wet sleeping bag in a Hilleberg Jannu. Maybe save for a bit and look into getting a mid (pyramid tent). They're light, strong, and you'll have plenty of room.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Will305 » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 12:07 pm

Thanks really helpful
Can anyone recommend any diy gear, materials, plans for a back pack
Ive got the AlDI UL sleeping bag and its been great so far.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Franco » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 12:32 pm

Depending on exactly what is meant as budget, compared to Hilleberg our Tarptents could be called "budget" and "ultralite"
The Double Moment in particular is designed for the taller ones (as in up to 7') and yes it will take two tall one not just one sideways.
For 6'4" the Squall 2 will do it or the 3 person but still not too heavy Cloudburst 3 will do too.
Still, they are in the $350 to $500 range by the time they are posted here.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Eljimberino » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 1:48 pm

We're all in the same boat. Sell your car and stop drinking, if you do.

Keeping your walks local would be the trick. You seem to have more time than money. Hitch hiking, public transport and lifts. Any interstate walks have a lot of hidden costs that quickly blow out. Buy plane tickets early to coincide with your uni breaks to save on flight costs. Since you're into walking, walk to/from the airport instead of a taxi. Once you're on the track though, its very cheap if you're not paying rent.

A bug net, tarp and piece of tyvek should be good for most walks.

Borrow gear if you can, but research it to disclose its limitations.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Supertramp » Tue 25 Nov, 2014 6:05 pm

For the tent, something like these would suit your size, but not your budget.

http://www.backpackinglight.com.au/stor ... nt/dp/9445

http://www.backpackinglight.com.au/stor ... nt/dp/8123

Although if you can make your own tent and backpack, go for it.
There's nothing better than making something yourself.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby lorrainey100 » Wed 26 Nov, 2014 8:01 am

Tent: If you want a cheap tent you can sleep underneath a tarp which you can hang underneath trees or set up with one or two trekking poles. I've camped with people from the army who just sleep underneath a hootchie (tarp) and bivy and they swear by it. Of course, its not for some people. Price range $10 to $300 for cuben fiber.

Alternatively there are those cheap festival tents for $30-40, about 1.9kg. I've used these tents before I bought my more expensive tents.

Stove: Cat can or double wall coke stove. About $3. Or just do stoveless cooking (google recipes). http://gossamergear.com/wp/tips/going-s ... dinner-jar.

Or more the durable White Box alcohol stove which won't crush and take a beating http://whiteboxalcoholstoves.com/ 30 grams used by thousands of thru hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trails in the US who swear by it. You can buy from ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/221147751428?ss ... 1586.l2649

Sleeping mat: Thermarest Zlite Sol All Season about $70, yoga mat, or in summer or hot places just sleep on the ground without a mat which I did when I lived in Qld.

Backpack: Black Wolf B-lite 55 litre about $114. Weight 1.2kg. I've used this on multi-day bushwalks.

Note: Also Ebay is your friend if you are willing to wait a month for cheap stuff from China.
Last edited by lorrainey100 on Wed 26 Nov, 2014 3:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Will305 » Wed 26 Nov, 2014 11:34 am

Does anyone know of any cheap bivy bags
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby whitefang » Wed 26 Nov, 2014 11:46 am

I found this one, which I am considering purchasing: http://borahgear.com/chestbivy.html#. From what I have been able to find it is the best price to weight ratio. It's about $90USD + shipping, and depending on size weighs from about 156g to 190g.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby lorrainey100 » Wed 26 Nov, 2014 2:37 pm

You can make your own cheap bivy sack

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzGheemG3DA
http://www.lytw8.com/My_Gear.html#LytW8_Bivy
http://www.instructables.com/id/Bivy-Sack/

etc. just google it

or Ebay
Highlander Emergency Survival Bivi Bivy Camping Hiking Olive Green Sleeping Bag $15.89

SOL-Survive-Outdoors-Longer-Emergency-Bivvy-Bivy-Bivouac-Bivi-3-8oz-Sleeping-Bag $23.70

Bivy-Bag-sleeping-bag-cover-sleeping-bag-liner-bivvy-sack-belgian-army-A-Grade $24.44

etc
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Elulek » Tue 21 May, 2019 11:01 pm

Hi guys. Sorry for bumping this old thread but occasionally read this in Google and reminded how I was stuck in this situation.

1. Your gear doesn’t get you to Katahdin. Of course, if you aren’t going to Katahdin, the same rule still applies to wherever you are going. Your motivation and determination get you there. Don’t sweat the gear as much as those two things. Saving some money from gear to have money for good food and hostels might just help your attitude and improve your chance of success.

2. Your gear doesn’t have to be “The Best”. Often hikers will come to the forum and ask what “The Best” rain-gear, or stove, or tent, or sleeping bag, or backpack, or whatever. Earl Schaeffer made it with an old wool blanket to sleep in and a cut up surplus Army pack for his rucksack. Look at Grandma Gatewood who hiked in Keds sneakers with a canvas duffel bag for a pack and a shower curtain for a shelter. If they could make it without Gore-Tex, so can you.

3. Your gear doesn’t have to be new. There are thru-hikers with multiple trips still using the same stuff they used on their first thru-hike. That is a lot of miles on some of that gear and it is still going strong, so the used gear you may already have or can get in a garage sale (with a lot fewer miles) can make it too.

4. Your gear doesn’t even have to be store bought. Flyin’ Brian hiked all three long trails in one season with homemade gear. Ray Jardine makes almost all of his gear himself. Just make it well and take good care of it.

5. Your gear can even be recycled trash. Model T has done three thru-hikes with a stove made from soda cans. Many hikers re-use old soda bottles for their drink containers. If that kind of gear ever wears out or breaks, you can just make another for free. No sense in paying for something you were just going to throw away anyway.

6. Cost is no way to evaluate the value of a piece of equipment. You can spend $300 on a jacket just to have it not work the way you want or you can spend $15 on a jacket and be perfectly happy with it. The $150 stove is often no better than the $50 stove, you often pay for name brands in backpacking gear. A $5 pot at Wal-Mart can hold the food just as good as a $50 pot at REI.

Chances are you probably already have some clothing you can use to hike with. Hiker clothing from the outfitters can sometimes be more of a “hiker fashion statement” than an actual improvement in clothing design to help make hiking more comfortable. Things to look for in hiking clothing: weight, material, and function. Weigh is always a concern, so look for the lightest you can get away with that still works. Materials are important because most of your normal clothing is probably made from cotton which is a bad choice for hiking clothing on the Appalachian Trail since it is normally very wet; you want nylon or wool since they don’t hold water like cotton fibers. And finally function; each piece must do a specific job and compliment the other pieces. If you understand all that, you can start to look at clothing in relation to its function and see what you have that might make it.

Footwear. Most people own some sneakers and they can work for you if you keep your pack weight reasonable. Running shoes are designed to take abusive miles from runners every day. If you already own a pair of broken in running shoes, then you already have some shoes for hiking. One thing to be aware of is these new air cushion sole shoes which could pop and loose air or even get filled with water - they probably shouldn't be your first choice for hiking shoes.

Socks. Life is too short for cotton socks, so leave them at home or be miserable. But if you have some nylon socks like nylon dress socks, then you have something to use. Those fancy “sock liners” that some places carry for a layering system: they are basically the same dang thing. For warmer winter socks you may have some wool winter socks that are just as good as many of the special hiking socks. If you have some fleece house socks you could use those as your camp socks for cold weather.

Shorts. Most folks want to hike in shorts for obvious reasons. If you have some nylon swimming trunks already, then you have the same thing that most hikers wear anyway. For longer pants, see if you have some nylon sweat pants. Avoid blue jeans since they are made from cotton and will take forever to dry once they get wet.

Shirt. Most folks have lots of cotton t-shirts, but don’t use those. But if you have a nylon shirt like a short sleeve button dress shirt, then you have a usable hiking shirt. The buttons up ones are really good because you can open up the front in hot weather to get better airflow.

Hat. You probably own at least one ball cap style hat. It seems like a lot of places of business give those away as advertising so if you don’t already have one, see if you can get one from a friend who has too many or a business giving them away.

Long underwear. If you don’t own any, then see if you have a nylon sweatsuit. This can work just as well.

Fleece top. These are now a fashion anyway, so you may already have one. If not, then see if you have a wool or nylon sweater too so the same thing. A wool sweater and a good rain jacket or windbreaker are just as warm as any of the new high tech fleece. Another thing to consider: apparently some fleece these days is made from cotton - avoid the cotton type for AT hiking.

Warm hat. A fleece that isn’t any warmer than one of those nylon or wool watch caps. If you already have one, then use it.

Warm gloves. You may already own a pair of these too. Just make sure you avoid cotton.

Rain gear. You probably already have a rain jacket of some sort or even a cheap poncho in your glove box and may even want to try using an umbrella on the trail; some folks swear by them.

Bandanna. You may already have one of these somewhere. If not, take one of your old cotton t-shirts and cut a square out of it to make your own.

Blankets or Quilts. Something made from wool or nylon is good. You may even have a down comforter with a micro-fiber shell as I do. This is one area though I would probably look at upgrading to a more backpacking specific piece as soon as you can afford it.

I hope my lifehacks will be helpful to some of you who occasionally bumped into this old topic about cheap hiking gear.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Lamont » Wed 22 May, 2019 1:20 pm

Someones Nan used a shower curtain?
You beauty!
I could see my Nans doing that-they were tough.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Franco » Wed 22 May, 2019 8:06 pm

As the saying goes :the devil is in the detail.
Grandma Gatewood would have not been able to do what she did without the kindness of strangers.
One old lady knocking on your door could be welcome. 175 unwashed hikers doing the same may not get the same response.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Lamont » Wed 22 May, 2019 9:35 pm

'Grandma Gatewood would have not been able to do what she did without the kindness of strangers.
One old lady knocking on your door could be welcome. 175 unwashed hikers doing the same may not get the same response'

I don't know Franco, if t-bone, hikin' larry, katadin and any others turned up with their woolen blankets, I would feel compelled to help them out with a drop of grappa and a warm pastizzi.
Of course first looking after nan (nonna) with her shower curtain- of course.
Civility still counts for something!
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Franco » Thu 23 May, 2019 9:35 am

I have a basic understanding of the English language so there is no need to post pseudo Italian references every time you comment on one of my posts.
BTW, pastizzi is from Malta not Italy.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Lamont » Thu 23 May, 2019 2:26 pm

No offence intended. I was eating a ricotta pastizzi, I keep them in the freezer, bought from a Maltese baker and former school mate in St. Albans in Melbourne, and drinking grappa myself last night when I typed that. Just came in from the netball. Normally Whiskey that time of night but had run out. Back to Aldi to restock soon.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby johnrs » Thu 23 May, 2019 3:07 pm

Hi Lamont
Very good ultralight pastizzi available here
https://frugalhiker.blogspot.com/
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 09 Jun, 2019 2:13 pm

Perhaps the easiest and maybe safest way to start UL over night walking is to go in good weather when conditions are stable.
My packout weight will never be ultra light because almost all of my walking is in winter and in places where those conditions cannot be relied upon. But as many people here remind me UL isn't a pack weight but a state of mind and UL can mean different things to different people. Some UL people don't mind discomfort, I like to be as comfortable as possible so a weight penalty there, I hate feeling cold so another weight penalty for the extra layers etc
However the UL mindset has helped me trim a few kilos from my load over the last few years
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby havanainthebush » Wed 03 Jul, 2019 4:50 pm

Will305 wrote:I've been hiking for quit some time now and have started to get into ultralight gear, I'm Currently in uni and very broke. Im looking for a basic ultralight setup for a low cost. Im open to any suggestions or recommendations in terms of gear, food, clothing?


Hello,

I've been testing out the 3F UL Gear Zhengtu 2 Person tent - the 210T version 2kg (around $200-$250) and loving it so far.
It seems to withstand quite a bit of wind, rain and works well as a freestanding tent up in the Grampians where there are mostly rocks.
It's so cheap that if it broke, there are no tears than if I had spent $500+ on it. It comes with everything so no extras need to be purchased.

I have just come back from a trip at the Prom. The rain and cold was expected but the tent held up well. What I am enjoying is that the tent never sags and it's keeping my inner tent bone dry. I have yet to test it in snow when I go up to Hotham.

Invest in a good sleeping bag. If you want cheap, it's hard to find a warm lightweight bag but I know Snowys.com.au has some cheap options and Wildearth.com.au too.
I use a Klymit bag -8'C which was $180 at 1kg. My summer bag is basically just a sleeping bag liner and thermals since it gets too hot to be in the tent anyway.

Anaconda does good discounts on hiking boots so check them out. I have bought a few shoes under $150 there from Merrel, Keen and North Face.

In terms of hiking clothes, just pop into Kmart/BigW/Target and buy those cheap gym clothes. You don't need to buy special layers. You will need a decent rain jacket shell and woolen thermals though and Anaconda can stock those for a good price. They also sell good all in one camping stoves if you're into cooking your own food. There's a popular $20 one that comes in an orange plastic box, also available on Snowys.com.au. Foodwise, I just buy packet noodles, dried pasta sachets and tuna packets you can get at Woolies or Coles. Make your own trailmix or head into Aldi as they stock good dried fruit and nuts for cheap.

The best place of course is to buy these good brands secondhand from Gumtree, ebay, Facebook Marketplace (check their groups for buy and swap camping gear) and even in op shops like Salvos and Savers. It is a bit pot luck with these places but the best bargains are there.

Good luck!
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby havanainthebush » Wed 03 Jul, 2019 4:55 pm

Will305 wrote:Does anyone know of any cheap bivy bags


Great for dry weather hiking, terrible for inclement weather hiking.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby Mark F » Wed 03 Jul, 2019 7:38 pm

It can be worth checking out Decathlon for cheap technical clothing. Currently thermal tops and leggings are $10 and light fleeces start at $12. Huge range and decent quality.
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Re: Budget Ultralight Hiking

Postby ChrisJHC » Wed 03 Jul, 2019 8:16 pm

I note that Aldi has hiking clothes on sale this weekend. No idea about quality and you probably want to be early.


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