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New backpacker to the community
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Albert C.
(Albsthehiker) - F
New backpacker to the community on 03/04/2010 12:45:46 MST Print View

Hello, my name is Albert and i go by the nickname of Albs.

I'm new to the backpacking community and am in the market for new gear. uhh.. I guess i dont really know where to start other than to say that i may be new to the backpacking community but i absolutely love to outdoors and I’ve done a couple backpacking trips in the trinities and some along the pacfic crest trail.

Well, i guess i better get to the meat of this thread. As i said i'm in the market for a bunch of new stuff, I'm basically shopping for pretty much everything. But at the moment i'm pretty much a poor college student at UCSD, so i have to prioritize the things that i'm looking for. I would at some point love to go UL but at the moment I don’t think I can afford it. Currently i'm in the market for a tent that can comfortably fit 1 person, but is not afriad of fitting two.

I'm currently asking if anyone has a good condition REI quarter dome that they would be willing to sell to me

I am also looking for a sleeping pad, seeing as how i'm currently a little short on spending money, i was thinking about getting a thermarest trail pro or prolite plus if anyone was looking to sell theres
All this can be changed depending on the feed back I get, but at the moment I was just asking if people had this stuff that they would possibly sell to me.
Thanks for reading and thanks for helping about a beginning to the backpacking community.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: New backpacker to the community on 03/04/2010 12:50:35 MST Print View

Welcome Albs! Yep, just wrapping your head around all the UL philosophy, style, gear, etc can be daunting at first. My advice: be patient, FREQUENTLY check the Gear Swap (things go fast!), ask questions, do your research, and take it all in stride. There are many helpful people here, and with a little time, things will start to make sense. Of course, much of the process is your own trial and error! As far as money goes, search for MYOG ideas that can be light AND cheap. Good luck!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: New backpacker to the community on 03/04/2010 12:56:47 MST Print View


Welcome! I highly, highly recommend that you read up on backpacking -- before diving into gear buying. The choices are endless and we all have our own favorites -- often contradicting each other outright. You see, gear selection is really both an art and a science.

One easy but very good read is The Ultralight Backpacker - Kestenbaum.

You see, it's not just picking the "best" tent, and pack, and bag... but understanding also how well all the gear pieces will work together -- as a system!

Edited by ben2world on 03/04/2010 12:58:06 MST.

Jack Bauer
(mclovin) - F
Re: New backpacker to the community on 03/04/2010 13:06:09 MST Print View

Hi Albert,

Since you're at ucsd, REI in convoy san diego will have the used gear on march 27th I believe, maybe you want to check that out. You want to get there really really early, like 5am, if you go there late, all the good gears like tents and SBs are gone. Good luck.

I am also in SD. PM me if you have any questions.

Edited by mclovin on 03/04/2010 13:09:19 MST.

Albert C.
(Albsthehiker) - F
Thanks on 03/04/2010 14:55:12 MST Print View

Thanks for the posts everyone

@ Travis Thanks for the advice, i have been surfing BPL for about a little over a week now for deals and hope to see some stuff i'm interested soon

@Benjamin Thanks so much the advice, i googled the book at managed to read the first 10 pages for free. Sounds like a very interesting book and i do look forward to trying to get a copy soon

@Jack Thanks for the advice concerning the REI outlet in Convoy, i didnt know about that REI nearby and hope to make a trip down there soon

If anyone has any gear suggestions i'd be more than happy to read them, Thanks in advance


Kohl Kinning
(kohltk) - F
Albert! on 03/04/2010 15:00:14 MST Print View

Hey ALbert,

I have a perfect tent for you. It's the Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight. It would have plenty of room for 1 person and gear. It could fit 2, seeing as how it's a 2-person tent, but its not too bulky. I'm in the market for a hammock, so I'll sell mine to you if you are interested.
Thanks, and welcome!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Prolite vs. others on 03/04/2010 16:04:35 MST Print View

To build on Ben's comment around designing for the system: Your sleeping pad should probably wait till you determine the type of pack you will use. I started with a Prolite and it now only gets used in the winter as a second pad because I use a Ridgerest Foam pad as my pack "frame" in a Golite Jam2. A good example of the system being more important than the parts.

Walter Underwood
(wunder) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Lightweight on the cheap on 03/04/2010 19:32:33 MST Print View

Your first purchase should be a copy of "Lighten Up" by Ladigan and Clelland. $12 and it will teach you a system of how to pack lighter.

Read that before you buy anything else.

For a tent, if you use trekking poles, consider a Black Diamond Betamid. Not ultralight at 2.5 pounds, but lighter than an REI Quarter Dome and only $64 dollars on sale. A cheap way to get into single-wall shelters.

That doesn't have a floor, so get a Gossamer Gear polycryo ground sheet. Two for $8 plus shipping.

Your sleeping pad should be comfortable, but if a Z-Lite Small feels good, that is a danged good choice at $30 and 10 ounces. With a pad, always go to a store and "lie before you buy".

R Alsborg
(FastWalker) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Re: Lightweight on the cheap on 03/05/2010 00:03:47 MST Print View

2nd the recommendation for...

Lighten Up!: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking


Informative reading with a sense of humor

Illustrated by BPL's member Mike Clelland

Welcome to BPL!


(lamanite) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
you'll buy everything 3 times on 03/05/2010 00:25:08 MST Print View

Another piece of advise: just know you will end up buying everything 3X. Hard advice to follow but we all do it: we stew over the next perfect purchase and then finally pull the trigger and then next thing you know we find some better or lighter or more comfortable way and end up being able to outfit 1 or 2 others! It's a fun process but just realize today's perfect piece of gear may very well be on the Gear Sale thread next season (or sooner)!

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Lightweight on the cheap on 03/05/2010 02:27:57 MST Print View

Hi Albs. My advice is to pick up stuff which is 'out of fashion' because it has been superceeded by a new version.

I just went on a 10 day trip with my lady using a Golite Hut 1 single skin tent. Good kit. Easy to pitch, light, roomy and strong. I got it here on gear swap for $50. Make a front pole out of a carbon fibre golf club shaft, and a rear out of a fihing rod section.

Sleeping bag/quilt: Don't be tempted to go too light until you have the cash for something good. A warm night's sleep is essential. Man made fibre is cheap and forgiving of dampness.

Sleeping pad. Big Agnes clearview. Cheap, packs small, and good enough for summer, get a cheap foam pad to put on it in winter.

Pack. Anything will do as long as you keep the weight down.

Waterproof: 7oz polyester poncho. Cheap and doubles as groundsheet strong enough to preserve your clearview.

Pot: Wally world grease pot.
Stove: pepsi can alcohol stove.

Water carrier: 2L Pepsi bottle.

Don't buy lot's of nick-nacks, you'll end up carrying them and not using them.

Tips: Spare clothes are for girls. Socks and undies 2x max. Wear a hat. Learn how to use a map and compass. Don't skimp on footwear.

Have fun!

Edited by tallbloke on 03/05/2010 02:38:22 MST.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Lighten Up on 03/05/2010 09:09:51 MST Print View

A decent book , but just take it out of the library or buy it on eBay . It is often a freebie if you buy Brawny's book (Carol Wellman)on eBay. Brawny's early online journals and videos on you tube stressed a real attempt at buying or making cheap gear. Might be good advice for you. Get Trail Life by Ray Jardine out of the library as well.Don't decide on specific tents or packs too fast . Take a hard look at that REI quarter Dome's width and length. Very narrow. That's why they are on eBay all the time. And research older gear . I just bought a used REI pack because it is adjustable while the newer model is not. And if you are handy and able to MYOG you can trade your time for money.

Henry Blake
(Dragon) - F

Locale: Minnesota
MYOG? on 03/05/2010 09:24:33 MST Print View

MYOG means: Make your own gear

We forget sometimes, "newbies" may not know all the acronyms.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Lightweight on the cheap on 03/05/2010 09:31:18 MST Print View

"lie before you buy"

Hahahah! I love this!

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Re: Lightweight on the cheap on 03/05/2010 09:50:26 MST Print View

>>>One easy but very good read is The Ultralight Backpacker - Kestenbaum.<<<

Albert - I have a copy of this book you can have. PM your mailing address to me and I'll send it next week.


Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Lighten Up! on 03/05/2010 09:54:58 MST Print View

Just bought this for my nook ereader. Love the fact that there is a digital edition.

Matt Allen
(zeroforhire) - MLife
Welcome! on 03/05/2010 11:19:39 MST Print View

Hey Albert,
Welcome to the community! This is a great site to get help a suggestions. Let me look around the gear closet, I may be able to find some gear for you.


Albert C.
(Albsthehiker) - F
Thanks everyone! on 03/05/2010 14:37:24 MST Print View

Hey everyone,

Thanks so much for your help, helping a newbie out with advice. I defiantly plan to get some reading done before I start heading out, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

yea, I would really try to develop a system, but at the moment I’m just starting out and am planning on just thinking and developing a system as soon as I start getting some more experience because at the moment, I still consider myself a newbie

I really love your cost and weight saving suggestions, the idea about the shelter with trekking poles. I’ve heard of that, but that seems like (I mean no offense, since I’m just a newbie to all those super ultra light backpackers) super hardcore and a little bit above my experience level. I’ve only done two week long backpacking trips in the Trinities and Pacfic Crest, so I’m still not use to the ultra light philosophy, but I do hope to be able to work my way up to that ability to use shelters like those. Thanks for the reading tip and the advice about lie before you buy.

@ Roger
Will defiantly check out that book when I get a chance to

yea, I figured just as much. I remember reading on some other forum about someone debating between getting a whisperlite and a pocketrocket, and someone posted “we all know that at some point you’re gonna just get them both,” Thanks for the helpful advice though.

Thanks for the advice on the clearview, I will definitely look into it. Also concerning the alcohol stove, I’ve heard of them before, I remembering someone on one of my trips mentioning how it would save a lot of money, but he didn’t go into specifics. Does anyone have any more information on this? Are they safe for a newbie such as myself? I feel pretty comfortable operating a MSR whisperlite, and I was wondering if it was any more difficult/dangerous.

Thanks for the tip about the older models, will check up on it for sure

Thanks for spelling out the acronym for me, haha

I’ll PM my mail address to you in a second

Thanks for looking around for me!

In general, Thanks everyone for you invaluable advice and experience, I’ll defiantly take your advice when I’m thinking about the possible gear that I’ll need.

Jack Bauer
(mclovin) - F
WBC on 03/05/2010 15:01:05 MST Print View

Hi Albert,

Are you taking the sierra club WBC course by any chance?

Tim Haynes

Locale: Mid Atlantic
New backpacker on 03/05/2010 15:18:44 MST Print View

REI Outlet right now is having their 20% off sale (started today), and there are some good options (note that I said "good", NOT "great"), but at least decent for shelters... worth checking out, since it will be free shipping if you've got a store local for pickup, and most of the stuff is 30-40% off already.

The REI Sierra Dome 2 is $80, which at ~5lbs is heavier than most people on here would advise, but not a bad starter tent. Solid, dependable and a great value.

The Montrail Torre GTX boots aren't a bad value either at ~$53 with a lot of men's sizes.

For REI Outlet, the 20% off coupon is always a little frustrating. It's good for 20% off the highest priced item in an order, but you can use it on as many orders as you want. So if you've got a store nearby, just place a separate order for each item, and you get the 20% off of every order by default. No coupon codes or anything else -- just time consuming, and you can end up with a whole mess of packages to pickup. :)