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Cheapest UL Gear List Challenge
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Wal-Mart Swiss Gear Tent on 05/23/2006 11:46:21 MDT Print View

"Wal-Mart's Swiss Gear tent & trekking pole for $35"

That tent looks pretty good-- it has some ventilation built in too. I would expect to give it a good going over with some seam sealer. I think the real test would be how it does in the wind, but that is the nemisis of all UL tents. Considering it has a floor and some bug screening, it sounds like a good deal. Like you said, the 2.5 pound weigh includes the pole and I'll bet the stakes are heavy too. They mention a duffle bag for storage-- I'll bet that's good for 6oz right there.

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/23/2006 13:53:12 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Cheap pot and stove combo on 06/05/2006 21:51:47 MDT Print View

How about a BPL Esbit wing stove and a Stansport #270 aluminum canteen cup? Add a little tin foil for a windscreen and lid and you're ready to boil up to 3 cups of water at a time for $6.98 and 6oz pack weight.

I looked around for canteen cups and all the US versions are stainless steel and thick at that. The Stansport is made in China and has the butterfly wire handles and is 4.7 oz. it could be lighter yet-- the gauge is complete overkill.

Elliot Lockwood
(elockwood) - F
Cheap, "light" backpacking kit on 06/15/2006 20:15:15 MDT Print View

I'll add this to the mix. It's by no means ultralight, but it is quite light; I thought it may be useful in the context of the thread. A complete rig from bag to framed pack to food (and almost everything else, including compass, rope & knife) for only $136.95.
Complete kit weighs 17.88lbs including the bonus of "$25 worth of free Mountain House freeze dried food."

I've ordered from Major Surplus & Survival several times - they've got great prices, excellent selection & speedy shipment times. I have no experience with this particular kit, however.

EDIT: Sorry, I forgot to post the link!

Edited by elockwood on 06/16/2006 13:47:38 MDT.

Tom Gibson
(TerribleTom) - F
Re: Cheap, "light" backpacking kit on 06/16/2006 13:19:13 MDT Print View

Wow. It took a while to find that kit, but dang - that's quite a deal. FYI, the item # is 115940.

It's a <4lb external frame pack! The sleeping bag is heavy at 3.5lbs and there's plenty of 'extra' stuff you could trim from that kit to help get the weight down. If you bought one of the cheap <2lb sleeping bags referenced here you could probably get that kit under 15lbs and still spend less than $200.

You might want to cut the 'two-person tube tent' and call it a tarp while using the poncho as a groundsheet.

In any case, you've got to admit that kit's a pretty impressive bargain.

Elliot Lockwood
(elockwood) - F
Re: Re: Cheap, "light" backpacking kit on 06/16/2006 13:52:53 MDT Print View

Sorry that I forgot the link, Tom. (edited and posted in above message)

The sleeping bag is actually 4.5lbs (not 3.5) - it definately could be cheaply replaced. I assume that the tube tent is a plastic emergency shelter, and it would be best to use a tarp instead. In fact, the kit does come with a tarp, but it's only 5x7.

I agree that it's a great deal. I was almost tempted to get one to keep in the car and/or use as a loaner kit.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cheap, "light" backpacking kit on 06/19/2006 11:28:55 MDT Print View

It is a good idea, but suffers in the details. As i was going through the list, I was thinking about tossing this or that, the relative weights, etc, and it comes down to a waste of time and resources.

IMHO, it would be better to teach the principles of UL hiking and let them seek out their gear, learning to make the comparisons and create their system. "Teaching them to fish" is what I am after.

If an supplier or manufacturer had the courage, they could offer beginner kits, but I could see the liability issues raising their ugly heads: some neophyte would go out and get hurt or killed using the kit and go after the supplier syaing, "XYZ Ultralight sold me this kit for hiking and I got wet and cold, and I got lost and..."

Brian Kelly
(bkelly) - F
Re: Re: Wal-Mart Swiss Gear Tent on 07/19/2006 10:36:26 MDT Print View

Bad News on the SwissGear tent. I checked the local wallyworld today and they had a few of these in stock (marked down to $30). I don't know where they got the 2.5lb shipping weight from, because right on the outside of the package it said it was over 5lbs. I'm sure weight could be lost with lighter stakes and carry bag, but even after removing the trekking pole weights this tent is still going to be around 4lbs. Not bad for $30, but since its a single wall it can't be split between two people so one person gets stuck with the full weight of the tent. I still may pick one up for giggles...

On a side note, has anyone ever put a good eye towards the footwear at Walmart? While none of it is great (and some not even "good"), some of the boots and trailrunners might be passable for a season. At the younger ages, a scout may grow out of shoes in one year. I can understand the need to protect their feet, but if they aren't doing a lot of hiking it might be a cheap option if they don't already own a pair of running shoes.

Now I am going to go and wash after all this talk of the merits of wallyworld merchandise...

Tom Gibson
(TerribleTom) - F
Pros & Cons of Wal-Mart on 07/19/2006 14:05:09 MDT Print View

So the Swiss Gear tent is indeed too good to be true. It's 2.5 kilos, not pounds. Still, for price...

Wal-Mart footwear is probably great for the growing feet of the young hiker that doesn't spend too many miles on the trail. I don't know how many is too many, but I don't think I'd want Wal-Mart hikers on my kids feet for more than 20-30 miles/season. If I had a 50-mile summer planned, I'd think twice about Wal-Mart (or KMart, or Target) as a source for footwear.

Wally World is a real conundrum for me. It seems that whenever I enter a Wal-Mart looking for something specific that I never find what I'm looking for. OTOH, if I'm not sure exactly what I want I almost always find something to buy.

I recently bought a family/car camping tent at Wal-Mart. It's late in the season and that kind of stuff is on sale. I paid $64 for a Coleman like this:

I'm also conflicted about Wal-mart on a personal/social level. On one hand, they're horrible for small town economies in that they kill the local mom & pop retailers but OTOH, they sure do save the average consumer a ton of cash. For some things, I'll pay the premium at the local shop but for others...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Wal-Mart Swiss Gear Tent on 07/19/2006 14:07:54 MDT Print View

I think someone got Kg confused with Lbs. myself.

An Ebay seller has been running auctions on the Wenzel branded version (Ridgeline) that comes with a fiberglass pole and steel pegs for $27 plus $11 shipping. He advertizes the weight as 4.5 pounds, so it may come in a shade under 4 pounds using a trekking pole or stick and some light stakes.

I would expect flakey seams and zippers, but I like the design. With some seam-sealing and some care you could get a season or two for a couple people. The emphasis is certainly on price and "reasonably" light. I wondered about cutting out 80% of the floor, but is hardly seems worth the effort for the weight and the loss of a nice ground cover.

For deals on shoes: Marshalls, Shoe Pavillion, and sometimes Ross. IN the Pacific NW, GI Joes and Big 5 run regular sales. Sierra Trading Post and REI Outlet can have some zingers if you know the brand and your size. I got my Vasque Velocity trail runners at the REI "garage sale" area for $20.

Brian Kelly
(bkelly) - F
Re: Wal-Mart Footwear on 07/19/2006 15:28:16 MDT Print View

While running some errands at lunch, I perused through the recent issue of Backpacker. In their they have some sort of "Best Buy" challenge to see what you can get for your money at a variety of places, including Walmart. The intern tester actually rated the boots he bought fairly well (3 out of 5 stars). He did put them through 3 months of use and at $20 they held up pretty well (no real details offered).

I wonder if the price was taken out (and the fact that they are from WalMart) and put side by side with some boots from other manufacturers if they would have rated as high.

Dane Fliedner
(dfliedner) - F

Locale: North Texas
Walmart = Wallyworld? on 07/20/2006 18:10:43 MDT Print View

OK, It's a dumb question. But is Wal-mart what is frequently referred to as "Wallyworld" on these posts? I'm out west, and I figured Wallyworld was some store back east or in the southern states or something. (I realize this sounds stupid, but some areas have pretty silly names of stores... "King Soopers" supermarket in Colorado comes to mind...)

By the way, while we are on Blog Jargon, what does IMHO stand for? I see it here all the time, and IDGI (I Don't Get It) :) Thanks!

Tom Gibson
(TerribleTom) - F
Re: Walmart = Wallyworld? on 07/20/2006 18:20:37 MDT Print View

Yes. I, for one, often refer to Wal-Mart as Wally World. I don't fault you for the confusion, as I have also seen some strange retail names.

IMHO = In My Humble Opinion

I prefer IMO, as mine is not always so humble...

You'll also see IME, which is Experience (better than Opinion every time).

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Re: Cheapest UL headlamp on 08/24/2006 17:25:24 MDT Print View

Carol Crooker had a great idea: screw a small alligator clip to a Microlight so it clips on a hat brim or visor. Trouble is, you can't adjust it up or down, and if you aren't wearing a hat or cap, you have to clip it to your eyebrow. Ouch!

Save the weight of the alligator clip and the cap. Pierce your eyebrow instead!!! (THose young people)


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Cheapest UL headlamp on 09/04/2006 13:33:03 MDT Print View

"Save the weight of the alligator clip and the cap. Pierce your eyebrow instead!!! (THose young people)"

Geez, I had my ear pierced in 1971. Young indeed.

UL hikers in the future will have a Velcro implant in the middle of their forehead :)

I want one in the small of my back to keep my pants up!

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheapest UL headlamp on 09/04/2006 16:01:37 MDT Print View

Ear piercing?? Hell I had my arm removed so that I have a negative total FSO weight.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheapest UL headlamp on 09/05/2006 20:11:05 MDT Print View

"Ear piercing?? Hell I had my arm removed so that I have a negative total FSO weight."

So that's what they meant about how to get Crazy Pete out of a tree....

Answer: wave to him!

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: $25 sleeping bag limited field test on 05/21/2007 16:18:54 MDT Print View

I've been PMed asking me more about the sleeping bag I mentioned a year ago in this post.

I've used it about 15 nights over the past year, in May, June, July, October and April. All that use was in central and northern MN, temperature range 30F-70F.

I still like the bag and I recommend it to families of boy scouts young and old. I'll be taking it to Philmont in two months and several of our scouts and dads will be doing the same. They also have tested it in July, October and April and nobody complained of being cold on a couple 30F mornings. I was wearing light wt long underwear tops and bottoms and a stocking hat those colder nights and I believe that was typical of the others. I don't expect that it'd comfortably take me (a warm sleeper) to 30F without some help.

It is marginally long enough for me (6'0"). I'm too large in the other directions for this bag but it works OK used as a quilt.

The person asking me for more info was asking for an sobo AT walk. I don't think it'll last for that kind of long term daily use but at that price you could go thru a couple of them.

It comes with a compression stuff sack which is a bit of a joke because it is a very tight stuff in that sack and there's no more compression possible. So cut off the compession straps and save some grams. I prefer to use an "expansion sack" that fills th bottom of my Granite Gear Virga pack. I can squish it smaller when I need the pack volume at the start of a trip with all the food and allow it to expand to fill the pack when the food has been eaten.

The weight is pretty much as advertised (2.31lbs)

Edited by jcolten on 05/21/2007 16:26:24 MDT.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Re: $25 sleeping bag limited field test on 05/21/2007 16:46:05 MDT Print View

Thanks for this, Jim. I have struggled with a sleeping bag that the guys might use in my troop. Most of the bags the guys have are huge and heavy... cheap poly bags. Totally unfit for backpacking. The parents are... well... basically cheap and it's hard to get them to spend money on their sons. They have Scout Account money they can use to buy gear on their own but it is precious and they need to make good choices.

Hehe, by the way, by comparison my son is pimpin'... 800 fill down bag, Golite pack, alcohol stove (which he built with my help) etc, etc. His base pack weight(at 12) is impressive. I wish I had gotten started that light that early. Oh the things I would have done!

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
cheap ul gear challenge on 10/14/2007 20:12:49 MDT Print View

i know this thread started almost 2 years ago and has pretty much been exhausted, but i was shopping for halloween costume stuff at Dollar Tree and found something that I knew had to be added to this thread, and in the name of this thread bought it. there was something primal about this piece of gear, even more zen like than cuben fiber, at least to a college kid. Drumroll please...

A $1 backpack! Weighs about 6 oz, no pockets, unpadded 1" webbing shoulder straps akin to the worst thought out MYOG backpacks, and made of what looks like 200D polyester of the cheapest quality. The zipper feels like it could bust open at any moment. The volume is about 1000-1300 ci. To me, it reminded me of the days contemplating uses for emergency blankets and bubble wrap, $4 6x8 poly tarps, fleece blankets, my first catfood can stove, and other things that just barely worked.
$1 backpackdollar menu

I think this backpack even requires a new category of backpacking- Super Ultra Cheap. Now heres my SUC gearlist-

$1 backpack 6 oz
$5 poncho vinyl 9 oz (sleeping bag cover when cold or no manmade shelter
$1 emergency blanket 2 oz (groundsheet/ bivy)
$5 2.5 yds of walmart fleece for blanket (duct tape footbox together :) 14oz
$1 50 ft string 2oz
$9 thinlite 1/8" 2oz
$2 cotton taboggan 2oz
$.49 tuna stove .5 oz
$5 scout mess kit pot 3 oz
$1 gatorade 32 oz bottle 1.4 oz
$15 accessory kit (AAA flashlight, bleach,med kit,plastic spoon, survivo 5-1) 7 oz
$.25 not enough toilet paper .5 oz

There you have it, under 50 oz, safe to 50*, not too dangerous at 45*, completely rookie, no sewing, and only $45.74 (shipping, gas, etc not included), and a terrible idea. I feel the need to use this gearlist for a 2 nighter.

Paul Tree
(Paul_Tree) - F

Locale: Wowwww
Cozy Shack bowl-cup on 10/15/2007 00:44:04 MDT Print View

The pint-plus Cozy Shack containers make a nice bowl. They don't wither from boiling water (boiling at 6000'). The lid is great too, makes alot less licking because you pour in a little hot water, put on the lid, and shake your way to a mostly clean bowl-cup. If you are the ritzy type that brings soap, think of the suds! Aluminum tablespoon from the kitchen drawer.