Where to start?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Aaron Philipson
(fishingfrenzy) - F
Where to start? on 04/26/2010 16:15:11 MDT Print View

I have tents, packpacks, sleeping bags, but all my gear is older,and durable (softer term for heavy:) If I wanted to start moving to going light, where is the best place to start? The kicker here is that I'm in college and my budget is very small, I'd like to make everything I can if possible. So, if I have a heavy tent, heavy sleeping bag, heavy sleeping pad, where is the best place to start cutting weight?

James Klein
(jnklein21) - M

Locale: Southeast
cutting weight on 04/26/2010 18:40:56 MDT Print View

Tent: You could take replace the heavier parts of your tent with lighter materials: replace the fly with 1.3oz silnylon (2nds can easily be found @ about $6-7/ln yard), lighter poles (~$2/18in sections) and hardwear. Check out quest outfitters for supplies:
http://www.questoutfitters.com/coated.html#SILNYLON 1.1 OZ RIPSTOP (see 1.1oz slight seconds)
http://www.questoutfitters.com/tent_poles.htm#TENT POLES (see .344 nanolights).
Depending on the size of the tent you could probably save some significant weight for under $100 (and a lot of work)
Though for 3 season work I would also consider just switching to a hammock (very easy diy)

Sleeping bag: If its a down baffled bag you could probably get away w/ ripping a seam and stuffing with higher quality down to save some weight though you would probably be better of starting fresh - new shell and high fill power down. You could also modify the bag to make a quilt (a more versatile option in my opinion) or of course make a quilt from scatch (thru-hiker.com sells kits for pretty reasonable prices).

Bender Newbie makes some pretty cool custom air mats and provides instruction on how to here:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/24850/index.html
30D heatsealable nylon can be found here for ~15/yd. You can make this downfilled with a pumpsac (google "Big Agnes Pump House"). Blue walmart pads are relatively light and cheap - couple one of those w/ a non-insulated Bender airmat and you have a pretty light and comfy system.

Cheap 800fp down can be found here:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/xdpy/forum_thread/26483/index.html?skip_to_post=258941#258941

good luck,
James

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Where to start? on 04/26/2010 19:11:00 MDT Print View

Read "Lighten Up" by Don Ladigin and Mike Clelland.

Jeff Patrick
(callmeammo) - F

Locale: Sacramento
gear on 04/26/2010 20:06:40 MDT Print View

Start with the basis and work your weight down from there.
Keep your backpack for a while until you get a better idea of the volume, and then make one yourself.

Thru-hiker has a really good make your own down sleeping bag kit. Or you could go synthetic and save some money and they are also easier to make.

They also have articles on how to make backpacks, stoves, and a tent. They also have information on how to sew.
You could buy all the materials from them to make your own stuff. It'll be cheaper but it will take a long time.

Figure out what you want your baseweight to be and then make a hypothetical gear list to get it down to that weight.

tim hower
(jeepcachr) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
just do it on 04/26/2010 20:51:27 MDT Print View

You do not need to spend a lot of money to go light. There are lots of free or cheap ways to reduce weight. Cuban and titanium is hawt but you don't need to have the best gear to enjoy hiking.

Start reading forums like this one and do searches and you'll find more information than you can read.


Most importantly use the gear you have, go out and hike.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: just do it on 04/26/2010 21:20:05 MDT Print View

By the second or third time that I went UL, I had about 15 pounds fully loaded. Instead of using a real backpack, I used a very roomy daypack. Instead of using a real tent, I carried a simple painter's plastic drop cloth with a cord to tie between two trees. I did have a first-class sleeping bag, and that is one item that is difficult to work around where I was.

So, rather than throwing technology at the problem, I simply solved it with brute-force stubbornness.

--B.G.--

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Where to start? on 04/26/2010 22:48:51 MDT Print View

the fast way to cut the weight also happens to be with the 2 easiest things to make for yourself.

Tent: get 3yds of silnylon 2nds (i like owfinc.com but there are many options) Hem all sides and add some tie-outs, tada! Now you have a perfect solo tarp, took little time and money and saved you probably 4-5lbs if your tent is like my old ones. For more coverage get 6yds and sew 2 3yd pieces together along the 3yd length then hem like before.

Sleeping bag: get 5yds 1.1 breathable ripstop 2nds, 2.5yds of climashield insulation (3-5oz yd for something warmer than 40*)lay the insulation on the floor, put 2.5yds of nylon on top, draw the shape you want on the last piece of nylon and place it on top. Pin together along your drawing and sew it up leaving 15-20" open to turn it inside out. I add drawcords and a short zipper, what you add is up to you but you did it for under $80 (should be $50-$60 if memory serves) and it weighs around 24oz or less, which should beat any "heavy" sleeping bag by at least half.

Other than stuff sacks these are the 2 easiest projects, heck the tarp might even be the easiest. Packs get a little harder but that should be the last thing you replace anyway.

make a small alcohol or wood stove and cook in a fosters can (just boil water for freezer bag meals, don't put food in it hella hard to clean), all cost next to nada and weighs about the same.

-Tim

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Locale: LawsonEquipment.com
Where to Start on 04/26/2010 23:04:24 MDT Print View

Good advice Tim but I would buy a bag.. TO MUCH WORK.. The less you can afford the lighter your pack haha.. That's a perfect saying for us poor folks..

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Where to Start on 04/26/2010 23:10:17 MDT Print View

he said he wanted to make stuff.

Also making a synthetic bag is seriously simple.

-Tim

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Locale: LawsonEquipment.com
Good Point on 04/26/2010 23:19:42 MDT Print View

I have a better idea. Howabout a Tim Marshall Quilt... Who needs anything else when your comfortable and warm.. Make sure you alteast include a stuff sack though :)

Cheers

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Good Point on 04/26/2010 23:20:40 MDT Print View

he said it needed to be cheap! :)

-Tim

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Locale: LawsonEquipment.com
Quilt on 04/26/2010 23:41:56 MDT Print View

hmmm...maybe do it bear grylls style... You can't get any cheaper then that. A canteen, knife and a firestarter...

James Klein
(jnklein21) - M

Locale: Southeast
advice on advice on 04/27/2010 08:14:35 MDT Print View

I think the OP wants advice on MYOG projects. Yes he wants to lighten up his pack weight but I think the specific advice he's looking for is: w.r.t MYOG projects where can he get the best bang for his buck (possibly also bang for effort).

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: cheap on 04/27/2010 08:27:30 MDT Print View

I'd second Tim's advice on a tarp and synthetic quilt. Cheap, easyish, simple, durable. Buy a 48" Ridgerest. Make a cat can alcohol stove. Wear fleece insulation, and don't bring anything extra.

Then start looking at packs. You can probably snag a good deal on a used one here. Good pack materials aren't cheap, and design and production takes a lot more thought than the above.

On the other hand, making your own pack is really fun.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Where to start? on 04/27/2010 11:32:21 MDT Print View

What Tim said.

'Cept I'd make a bigger tarp, probably. Shoot, you could even by some noseeum netting from Thru-hiker & just sew it onto the tarp so it hangs down. Super easy project, can do it so all sewing is just a straight line and cut!

Pretty much same w/sleeping insulation. Basically, get nylon and synthetic insulation. Make a sandwich, w/insulation in the middle. Sew it along the edges. Done. Modify from there to make it work better as you can or see fit.

Aaron Philipson
(fishingfrenzy) - F
Thanks! on 04/27/2010 11:44:57 MDT Print View

Wow, thanks so much for the replies and suggestions thus far! It's nearly finals week here, and I've been researching on here more than I have my books so I have you all to thank for that as well:) On a serious note, here is what I'm thinking so far:

1. I have a sleeping bag with a good shell that I have no problem ripping into. Take the old insulation out and insert Climashield XP 5 oz.

2. Shelter. Is there any issue in modifying a Wal-Mart blue tarp into some sort of a shelter? Similar to what Brad was saying, I'm in Minnesota and would need bug protection.

3. Coffee can stove.

Thanks again for the ideas, looking forward to learning more!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Thanks! on 04/27/2010 12:09:56 MDT Print View

"Shelter. Is there any issue in modifying a Wal-Mart blue tarp into some sort of a shelter?"

That is likely to be somewhat heavy. If you use that for your first trip, then you will probably know what you want for following trips.

--B.G.--

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Re: Re: Where to start? on 04/27/2010 12:30:14 MDT Print View

For a quilt don't put the insulation between the nylon then sew. You won't be able to turn it right side out. Put the nylon together on top of the insulation then sew. Then you can turn it right side out leaving the raw edges inside the quilt.

Ripping an old bag apart is ambitious, much harder than making a quilt from scratch. That said if you go that route it'd be nice to see the process and hear your thoughts once its done.

-Tim

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Where to start? on 04/27/2010 12:50:27 MDT Print View

Tim, when can we expect to see your sewing book in the bookstores? Or, will you just sell it online?

I guess it will have a catchy title, like "The Skunk Quilt."

--B.G.--

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Thanks! on 04/27/2010 14:03:50 MDT Print View

I wouldn't plan on trying to re-use an old shell. Major hassle! The old insulation will be sewn or bonded to the shell at minimum. Also, for relatively little money you can probably make a lighter-weight shell. The shell can be the heaviest part of the bag sometimes...

For the tarp, you should be able to get some sil for neighborhood of $5/yd. Even if you got 6 yards you're only looking at $30... seems like a good way to go.