November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Gear Hacking Goodness : Duct Tape, Tyvek, Subway bags, and other magical materials
Display Avatars Sort By:
Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Gear Hacking Goodness : Duct Tape, Tyvek, Subway bags, and other magical materials on 03/14/2013 08:49:10 MDT Print View

I have three girls. They're awesome but they cost money. Dance money, bike money, lunch money, surfing money, rock t-shirt money, itunes money, and seriously the list just goes on and on. So as you can imagine, this leaves very little in the way of GEAR MONEY.

To solve this issue, I've decided to start selling crack cocaine online. However this is a tricky business. My website would need big time advertising while at the same time being undetectable. My distribution facility would have to be guarded by the A-Team and half my mail deliveries would likely be "Lost" in transit.

So in the meantime, plan B, Gear Hacking. Share with us your ideas for substituting expensive pieces of gear with creative gear hacking goodness. Now hopefully this wont become just another "heres how you shave 4 grams off your cook kit for free" threads. Instead, How can we avoid spending big bucks on gear by using cheap alternatives, or by modifying this to make that. I recently learned about Marshall's and Costco as sources for cheap gear, awesome! I also read in the forums the other days about using taped Tyvek to fashion mitts out of. Super awesome! I'll start with a few cool ones I've used recently. What else you guys got?? Love this stuff!

Waterproof socks out of subway bags
Warm sleeping hat out of cut-off jacket hood
Dri-ducks as snow shells
Wool socks as additional hand insulation
Thrift store Merino sweaters (second only to my Houdini in usefulness and just money-saving coolness!!!)
Thrift store wool slacks (better than you might think)

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
tarp from 2 mil plastic on 03/14/2013 09:14:00 MDT Print View

You can make a tarp using 2mil plastic from home depot. It's like, $5 for a giant sheet, 7 for a grommet kit. You can find good MYOG posts on how to do it if a tarp is your kind of shelter. You can use the left over pieces to make pack liners and stuff sacks with an iron to seal the edges.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/14/2013 09:15:04 MDT.

Kevin Schneringer
(Slammer) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma Flat Lands
2 mil tarp on 03/14/2013 10:35:56 MDT Print View

I just cut a footprint out of 2 Mil last night for my SMD scout and thought " This might make an awesome summer tarp".

Do you have pics of this or did you just use brass grommets?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: 2 mil tarp on 03/14/2013 10:43:46 MDT Print View

Some ideas here, also in people's comments

2 mil is not very strong. I've used it on a few trips. Mostly I think it's good for prototypes or maybe like a youth group where you want to equip a bunch of people cheaply and it doesn't have to last.

Duct tape slowly slips. Like after a windy trip, it will slip 1 inch. If you put staples also it's better. There are better tapes than duct tape.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Gear Hacking Goodness : Duct Tape, Tyvek, Subway bags, and other magical materials on 03/14/2013 11:04:14 MDT Print View

I keep a couple of dog-poo bags in my pack. They can be used as waterproof socks or mitts. I find they're much more durable than Subway bags.

I know you probably don't want to hear this, but a Foster's can makes a mighty light and cheap cook pot. Paired with a cat food can or tealight stove and an ovenliner windscreen makes for a very light set up.

Roasting bags/Crockpot liners are pretty tough if you need a larger waterproof sack than a 1 gallon ziploc.

Trash compactor/contractor bags work dandy as pack liners and are more durable than regular kitchen trash bags.

Wrap your sleeping bag/quilt around yourself in camp for extra insulation.

Cut off the bottom of a milk jug to make a light water scoop/sink. Probably not necessary most of the time, but if you're trying to fill a Platypus from shallow or slow-moving water a scoop is invaluable.

Of course, if you're using 1L soda/Gatorade bottles you can just dunk them right in the water.

I may think of some more later.


Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Repurposing old camping clothing on 03/14/2013 11:19:19 MDT Print View

Using poly tarps is a great one. Although, tying the guylines on directly with sheet bends would probably be much stronger than grommets. using an iron to seal the edges is a great idea, do i need certain type of poly for this to work?

I'll soon be cutting up some old thrift store snow jackets to make warm booties and an old wp/b rain jacket for making snow gaiters and boot liners.

Foster can as pot? Actually, thats exactly how I saved a ton of money getting started. I prefer the 8$ grease pot now but again, these are cheap alternatives that show you do not need to spend $100 on titanium cooking stuff. I have yet to encounter any situation where titanium would have worked better for my pot.

Oven liner as windscreen? never heard that one! what is it? where do you get it?

polycro window sealer as ground sheet. awesome!!

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
tarp and oven liner on 03/14/2013 11:44:14 MDT Print View

For the 2mil plastic tarp I made, I doubled over the corners and taped circles of clear Tenacious Tape larger than the grommet, then put grommets in. For grommets not at corners, I just reinforced the hole areas with Tenacious tape.

And for oven liners, it's any of those disposable aluminum cookie sheets or turkey roasting pans. Asian markets/stores also sell aluminum liners/folding "walls" for use with portable propane stoves as grease splatter guards. Those work well too.

As far as ironing goes, the 2mil sheets from home depot worked great. When sealing the edges, instead of holding the iron flat like ironing clothes, tilt the iron (with no water) at an angle, say 45*, that way you get a nice thin seal without air bubbles. Practice gliding the iron across the seam you want and find the heat/speed that works for you.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/14/2013 11:49:55 MDT.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

RE: Vapur Bottle Alternative on 03/14/2013 11:51:22 MDT Print View

I know some of you may have seen these Vapur bottles sold in Target or the like. Each bottle is sold for around $10 each. On a recent trip to my local 99 cent store, I found similar bottles...holds 16 oz. of water. For the price of one Vapur bottle, I was able to get 10 of the soft bottles.

Other things to find at 99 cent stores are...

- Ziploc containers to fit a Heine Pot of Fosters Pot.

- Plastic container that can fit a 10cm Imusa and 12cm Imusa pot...granted you have to cut of the handles off the pot but it works.

- Duct tape, multi tools, etc. not the greatest quality but it works.

- Light load towels, Shop towels, etc.

Quite a few things to get...

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
$1 Soft Water Bottles on 03/14/2013 12:18:05 MDT Print View

$1 soft water bottles!! Awesome Angus, thanks!!

And E
(LunchANDYnner) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
BPA and other harmful stuff? on 03/14/2013 12:34:18 MDT Print View

Be careful of .99 store bottles.... There's a reason they're .99 probably full of BPA, formaldehyde, and lead and other harmful stuff in their plastics. Even if it says BPA free... It probably only applies to the BPA free sticker.

Course, the factories that sell quality water bags/bottles could be just selling directly to the dollar stores, on which case that's an awesome buy.

Edited by LunchANDYnner on 03/14/2013 12:35:20 MDT.

Angus A.
(mangus7175) - F

Re: BPA and other harmful stuff? on 03/14/2013 12:50:48 MDT Print View

They look like this minus the designs.

Comes with a cheap carabiner to hang from a bag...

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Tyvek on 03/14/2013 13:50:22 MDT Print View

Tyvek painter's pants make a cheap wind barrier over those thrift-store wool slacks. In summer conditions, that combo can also be your sleeping bag, saving lots of money, bulk, and $$.

Edited: Tyvek, not the auto-corrected tubeless.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 03/14/2013 14:36:27 MDT.

Velimir Kemec
(velimirkemec) - F
+1 Tyvek on 03/14/2013 14:08:34 MDT Print View

Hi Adan,

like lots of other members mentioned I suggest you start using Tyvek to
make stuff. It's super easy to work with and super cheap and you can get it in most
hardwear stores

I've made tyvek mittens:

Tyvek daysack:

and even fashioned hooded rain jacket from Tyvek coveralls according to
these thread:

Others have used it to make bivy bags, tarps, groundcloths and even tents
out of it. Super cheap and it works wonders:)

To bond tyvek I've used 3M 77 super glue. Using paint brush to apply it
will save you lots of it.


Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Tyvek goodies on 03/14/2013 14:48:11 MDT Print View

Great links, Tyvek mitts and Tyvek booties are on my project list. I could cut an old snow jacket and make warm booties, then make Tyvek booties to go over them. Not pretty, but serviceable for an unexpected night out.

What would be a good hack for making waterproof breathable boot liners? Is silnylon breathable? I can't think of anything that would have some stretch excepth neoprene but that's too thick.

David Miles
(davidmiles) - F

Locale: Eastern Sierra
Tyvek Tape on 03/15/2013 00:49:26 MDT Print View

I have found Tyvek tape to be excellent on plastics. My wife had a good laugh the other day when I used a small piece and a hole punch to replace the torn out ring hole in the shower curtain liner. I makes a strong simple tie out point for a plastic tarp.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gear Hacking Goodness : Duct Tape, Tyvek, Subway bags, and other magical materials on 03/15/2013 04:11:41 MDT Print View

If you are upgrading from cotton clothing, thrift store wool sweaters are a great first step.

Greg Pehrson
(GregPehrson) - MLife

Locale: playa del caballo blanco
Re: Tyvek goodies on 03/15/2013 05:40:36 MDT Print View

You can make a lot of Tyvek gear by just purchasing one item--
I got a soft (1443R) Tyvek coverall suit with booties on Amazon for $12 including shipping. From this, you can make:
1) a pretty water-resistant jacket, especially if you seam-seal or seam-tape (see above thread)
2) rain/ wind mitts from the upper legs (see above thread)
3) Cut off the Tyvek booties and cover the bottoms with duct tape for durability to make overbooties for the insulated booties you're going to make (check Will Reitveld's article on BPL: Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel)

That's a lot of gear for $12.

Also, check Target's clearance rack. I got a pair of the synthetic "C9 golf pants" for $8. They are amazing for hiking, and I've worn them to weddings, too. Just plain synthetic pants with good stretch and no cargo pockets or extra zippers.

There's a guy called "Intense Angler" on YouTube with a bunch of videos of very cheap gear and stuff he's made/ modified for hiking.


Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: tarp from 2 mil plastic on 03/15/2013 06:59:20 MDT Print View

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: tarp from 2 mil plastic on 03/15/2013 07:01:48 MDT Print View

Edit: guess I can't post ONLY a link.

Polycryo is superior to painter's plastic

I also use my DriDucks jacket as a half bivy to protect the bottom of my bag.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Great tips, Tyvek rocks! on 03/15/2013 09:08:43 MDT Print View

"If you are upgrading from cotton clothing, thrift store wool sweaters are a great first step."

For me they're not a first step but a preferred top layer. So far, I havent found any situation where a $40-$100 technical fleece would have made more sense for me.

Great tips, I'll be starting on these for my winter running pack...

polycro emergency bivy shelter
polycro emergency tarp shelter (for multi-day cowboy camping in the sierras)
Keeping my driducks as emergency snow pants (jacket as emergency rain jacket)
tyvek 1433r suit for booties, emergency snow mitts, snow boot liners

Would love to see more stuff regarding actual clothing. Does anyone have links to making hats, balaclava, warm mitts, warm booties out of old snow gear? It's probably not too complicated but Im really terrible at sewing. I guess I'll just use MYOG articles and modify them a bit to work with old snow clothes. This is just for unexpected overnights in snow so they dont have to be pretty.