Welcome to thebackpacker.com
create account login
Cutting Costs and Corners With Gear
Viewing posts 1 to 39 of 39 messages posted.
To add this thread as a favorites, you need to first login.
“I have a friend who I've managed to get into backpacking with a couple Sierra trips - and now he's starting to buy his own gear. He's got the pack, bag and tent taken care of. I was trying to think of some ways he can cut costs by using what he has around the house as opposed to buying new gear. Here's the list I came up with - if you have any others, let em rip...
tupperware bowls/cups and plastic silverwear as opposed to backpacking dishes and utensils
an old saucepan and frying pan, rather than a specific 'packing cookwear set
a cheap styrofoam pad rather than a thermarest
a normal everyday jacket as opposed to a north face down jacket
zip locks and trashbages instead of waterproof pouches
“Lots of things can be found at a goodwill or 2nd hand store cheap.”
“This is my about my favorite topic.
For bowls I like butter containers, well fake butter, like country crock. Throw the contents away, of course, and you have a very lightweight container with lid. They hold up quite a while..
Go with a nice ccf pad. Gossamer gear has a nice one for $20 much better than cheap Styrofoam.
Don't buy cheap stuff! Buy good stuff cheap!
That said I use a cheap large aluminum pot quite a bit and a one egg wonder frying pan.”
“do you ever run into the country crock bowls breaking? That does cut some weight off my tupperware method, but the way I cram stuff into my pack I'd be worried about pulling out a broken bowl”
“For colder temps, to increase the "R" rating of the cheap pad, use an old windsheild shade thing made of reflectix,or whatever it is. Also makes good pot cozies.
+1 on the Goodwill idea.”
“ooh, Gossamer Gear is awesome! I think I'm gonna get the little $20 daypack... maybe the sit pad too.”
“I've never had one break, they are very pliable. You have to put a piece of plastic, like ziplock, underneath the lid to make it completely watertite. Great for re-hydration too.
Which leads to another cost saving tip. Buy a dehydrator, learn to use it. I paid less than fifty for my Nesco. It'll pay for itself fast with MH meals at $5 a pop, or more..”
“been wanting to get into dehydration. It's my understanding that you can dehydrate just about anything, no?”
“Cool whip containers are similar as well. I usually keep the bowl in my packlid so I can add water during the day if necessary. Then if it does leak it's not on my sleeping bag.
EBay! I got a nice 0* down bag made in the USA for less than $50 just before Christmas.
Merino wool socks and shirts can be found there too. Much cheaper than gear outlets.”
“Not anything, but many leftovers that you would ordinarily throw away.. just takes some practice and experimentation. Do that part at home! Nothing worse than discovering what you dehydrated is totally inedible on the trail!
Things cooked in crock pots come back very well. Pot roast, chicken, lean cuts of meat...chili. All kinds of vegetables and fruits. There is a bit of a learning curve but that's half the fun.”
“I'll look into that, thanks!
I'm already having visions of dehydrated corned beef brisket dancing through my head...”
“..oh and pasta, rice, beans. Cooking at home and dehydrating saves the time and fuel of cooking on the trail. Add some water to your next meal while you hike, then simply reheat.”
“I've been through all that.
Now I heat freeze dried meals in their bag, or in an insulated mug in the winter.
Instant oatmeal in my Sierra cup for breakfast and Kashi bars for lunch. Fruit leathers too. I don't remember the brand, but they're organic, from California and available in my supermarket.
My pot is an MSR (Stainless steel) that holds my MSR Whisperlite, lexan spoons, plastic measuring cup and lighter.”
“Oh yes, trail mix which I buy at the supermarket, or mix myself at the bulk food shop.”
“Sorry Pepsi, but I don't think corned beef brisket would do well in the dehydrator because of the fat. Fat doesn't dehydrate and just gets rancid. But you might be able to trim off some very lean pieces and try to dehydrate that.”
“" I heat freeze dried meals in their bag, or in an insulated mug in the winter."
I hate the MH bags.. if I have to eat them I cut them in half in ziplocks. A cool whip container holds one half of a MH.
Mashed potates I prefer freeze dried, but I leave the packaging at home. Ziplocks are lighter and more useful.”
“I'm working on getting into backpacking myself right now and would love any hints anyone here has to offer. Lots of gear out there on sale right now. I got a pack I love for way cheap because it is "last year's color" per the site I ordered from. I've also been making some of my own. So far, I made myself an alcohol stove, a couple of small containers from sawn off plastic soda bottle tops, an assortment of dehydrated foods like fruit slices, fruit leather, and beef jerky, and some single-use tubes of triple antibiotic ointment, anti-itch cream, etc out of drinking straws. The alcohol stove is so far the best success.
If you pack your light cool whip or fake butter container with some items to hold the sides out steady, it won't be as likely to break in the packing.
I've ordered a few freeze dried items in larger sizes which I can make up into meal kits to suit myself. Gives me the choice to carry some components and mix to suit myself. I ordered some freeze-dried fruits and veggies. From several trail reports, seems there are areas where I am planning to hike in the coming year which only offer mini-mart shopping. Plenty of pouch meats and fish, frozen burritos, and bottled water and sodas. Not much fruit and veg available.
I haven't tried dehydrating any ready-made meals just yet. Anyone have any suggestions of meals to start with? I didn't even realize that would be possible since most meals have such a variety of items in one dish.”
“lol. Half of that gear at the second hand stores are probably my donations.
Actually, I've given out a ton of stuff over the years; accumulated from the many years of .... accumulating too much gear.
I've given a few things that I wish I had "give backs" on; thought I did but you know how that goes sometimes.
I know that the MH and Bpantry meals don't really jet it for a lot of people; I've come to like them, and when I figure in the amount of electrical and personal time spent on dehydrating, well those fellas are right back to being convenient. There is a few trail meals I look forward to, though. ;)”
“When you make spaghetti or chili use real lean hamburger or turkey. The longer you cook it to make it tender the better.. like I said, pot roast is great. Homemade pot roast with freeze dried mash potatoes is better than any MH meal I've ever tried.
Bpantry stuff is a notch or two above but you'll pay for it and this thread is about saving money. You can always keep some of that stuff for convenience, but learning to make the food you like is how you make youself at home. I'm also a big fan of quick breads, cornbread, pancakes.. the stuff is cheap and fills you up.”
“I'm considering getting this bag now:
It's a 25* 800 down, a Pertex microlight shell and comes in about a pound less than my zero. After an additional discount at checkout its $177.
The downside ,of course, ...it's British, lol..”
“Nice price for 800 down, even if it is British! I am still looking for a zero or -10 bag at a reasonable price. I bought a Big Agnes zero bag but I sold it on e-bay for nearly what I paid for it. It was too big for me and didn't keep me warm.”
“There's this one: http://www.campsaver.com/outlet/andes-800-sleeping-bag-800-down
..less than $300..”
“Did nobody mention ramen noodles yet? Definitely the cheapest & easiest backpacking meal. Put it in your cool whip bowl & add hot water. A pouch of tuna and you are high protein.
Some other popular dirtbagging items:
Tyvek ground cloth swiped from a construction site.
Aluminum grease container from Walmart for a cook pot.
Aluminum gutter nails for tent stakes.
Vasoline & cotton balls for fire starter.”
“1camper - Looks like a good bag for the price. The weight is not too bad for a zero. I am not familiar with the brand though. Just wondering if the rating is true. At maximum user height of 6'4", I think it might be too big for me. I am 5'5".”
“I didn't notice the length..
Rab redesigned there bags in 2010 to use the "optimum" amount of down in each baffle, fwiw.
The colder bags use Pertex endurance fabric that is very waterproof but not quite as compressable as the lighter stuff.”
“Good Eats has had several episodes on dehydrating foods - using a cheap home-made dehydrator. 4-5 air filters (using natural fibers, not fiberglass), two bungees, and a window fan. Look up "good eats dehydrator" and you'll get a couple of youtube links.”
“Alcohol stoves. Probably already thought of this but cooking on your own stove is cheap and satisfying.
Use the lightest weight water bottles you can find for fuel...and booze.
Also for a sit pad I like a tyvek postal envelope filled with a cheap foam pad cut to fit. Store it in the top of your pack for easy access and an added layer of waterproofing.”
“I like that idea 1camper. I used a piece of Wal-Mart blue sleeping pad for a sit pad, but I like your idea better.”
“It was born of me using a scrap of high dollar gossamer gear evozote and not wanting to ruin it, lol.”
“Inside your vehicle on a warm sunny day laid out on trays is a great way to dehydrate foods. Secure from critters and nicely warmed by the sun.
Like to carry some peanuts in my snack pouch. Know they aren't the cheapest thing, but a big handful late morning and another early afternoon along with whatever carby snack I'm eating that trip always seems to keep me so much better satisfied without having to stop for lunch.
Check if there is a 'gently used' secondhand outdoor gear shop anywhere near you. I just picked up a 850 down pullover for $8 at the one near me and I can't even tell it was ever worn. The fabric still has that new sheen.”
“I can't paste the picture or link...but gotta have a DreamWalker for $500. :-)”
“Ugh those things are scary.”
I stole this link from Nicole.”
“Why didn't I see that in Backpacker mag's Gear Guide?”
“Toejam: I know! How could they have missed it?”
“my brother turned me on to these as a quick meal:
they aren't super-light, but they beat the heck out of any store-bough dehydrated meals as far as taste goes (you don't even need the sauce). Decent amount of protein, large quantities. And they're ridiculously easy to cook. They keep in all weather, the packaging breaks down to nothing... did I mention they're delicious?”
“I could eat a bag o' that. Imagine adding tuna and Miner's Lettuce? Mm, mmm.”
“Found an awesome source for cans of many sizes in the heavier weights. Asian market. I got an oversized, heavy-weight can containing guava necter for under $4 and it even came with a snap-on plastic lid.”
Post a MessageIn order to post a response to this thread you must first be logged in. If you do not already have an account, you must first create a new account.
Ready to Buy Gear?
Great Outdoor Sites