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How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear
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Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/02/2007 10:35:42 MDT Print View

I applied for a grant recently to help fund a thru-hike I'm doing this summer and one of the requirements was to list your budget for the trip. I tallied, food, transportation, miscellaneous and gear.

I'd be interested to see what kind of money has been spent by the various folks here on BPL. Some of us make a lot of stuff ourselves, others have access to pro deals and some others pay full retail so there will be a bit of variation I'm sure.

Gearlist Price Breakdown
Cooking and Hydration193
First Aid and Toiletries14
Sleeping and Shelter645

Edited by sharalds on 05/02/2007 10:36:44 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
$ on Gear on 05/02/2007 11:02:30 MDT Print View

Using Sam's format, my SUL list (posted on my profile) totals at $1725 (approx.). Not all at once mind you and I took advantage of sales, closeouts, and a couple of private deals to realize this over a few seasons. Some homemade stuff, mostly in the kitchen dept.

Clothing $665
Sleep and Shelter $685
Cooking $45
Packing $110
1st Aid $15
Miss. $30
Electronics $175 ( not on SUL List)

Edited by kdesign on 05/02/2007 13:19:34 MDT.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/02/2007 11:39:51 MDT Print View

Used clothing, even slightly used, can go for very little on eBay, but you have to keep your eyes open and be patient. Also, you may have difficulty finding the lightest stuff. And if there are minor repairs needed you can get things for next to nothing.

I outfitted five of us with lightly used gore-tex jackets and pants for a small fraction of stock prices. My best deal was an Alpine Designs suit, barely used, for less than $20. Not the lightest, but it works great.

Same for other used equipment, especially if minor repairs are needed. is essential to know your products and prices when buying used equipment on eBay.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/02/2007 13:15:06 MDT Print View

My personal experience has been that the final UL or SUL list will be relatively low in cost when compared to the amount of money spent trying to get there.
ie. my coast multi tool (2 oz) was only 12 bucks, but I had 4 or 5 knives/tools before that. Same goes with tents, packs, bags...and I am the worst for doing this type of "re-buying" technique.

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Summer Cost on 05/02/2007 14:36:22 MDT Print View


Cooking and Hydration

First Aid and Toiletries

495 (Camera-an all season item)

215 (including Carbon Trekking Poles)


Sleeping and Shelter

Total: 1925 on Summer gear hike

I figure on about 20 per day for trail food.

Edited by Quoddy on 05/02/2007 14:38:31 MDT.

Erin McKittrick
(mckittre) - MLife

Locale: Seldovia, Alaska
Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/02/2007 16:21:04 MDT Print View

Interesting question. My answer is non-representative in about a zillion ways, but I'll answer anyway. :)
My gear list is for a 9-month expedition with packrafts and skis, so there's more gear required. But I'm fortunate enough to have a number of wonderful sponsors, including the great folks here at BPL, so many things are covered.

$1000 ---- Actual backpacking/packrafting/skiing gear - a third of which is fabric for homemade gear
$1500 ---- Electronics (dSLR, lenses, memory storage, small video, etc...)
$4000 ---- Other costs (mainly food, also postage, transport, etc...)

$6500 ---- approximate per person total (doubled for my two person expedition)

I didn't break the gear cost into categories, since which things I got sponsored will totally skew that calculation. And I know there are other miscellaneous costs I'm forgetting in there somewhere... Once a trip gets significantly long, food ends up being the most expensive thing.

Journey on the Wild Coast

Edited by mckittre on 05/02/2007 16:26:15 MDT.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Costs for an Expedition on 05/02/2007 16:32:49 MDT Print View

Cool Journey. Impressive list of sponsors---I hope a MLD 'mid offering comes out of this. Best of luck!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/05/2007 08:43:49 MDT Print View

I think $1000US will get an UL Hiker off the ground nicely. With some Ebaying, thrift store hunter/gather, and web bargaining, you could cut that considerably.

I've written before about doing a cost per ounce analysis to get the best bargains. The idea is to look a number of items that can bring the cost and weigh down, offsetting some heavier items that would need more expensive replacments.

Sleeping bags are where this came up for me. Contrast a 20F synthetic bag by North Face, Marmot, etc, vs. a 800 loft down bag by Western Mountaineering. You can buy the synthetic bag for a lot less and offset the increased weight with lighter items with good cost/weight ratio like cook gear, pack, shelter, etc.

Items with good cost/weight ratios:

SMD Gatewood Cape
GoLite Gust and Jam packs
Anodized aluminum cookware
Platypus bladders
Coleman F1 stove (butane)
Pepsi can stove (alcohol)
Beer Can stove (Esbit)
County Comm LED micro light

This does help keep cost down for a given weight. I think a 12 pound base weight can be reached with resonable cost. If you want the lightest gear available, cost takes second fiddle.

I sat down and made a list. It's fairly accurate. The items with an asterisk were actually part of trades and my real cost was ~1/2, but I listed the marked/cash price for the item as found in the store. Note that this is a skin-out kit. Weights are mostly published values and pretty close I think.

Equipment list showing cost of items

I made another list showing similar items at prices I found on the web today. I'm sure it could improved on, but it is a real-world-no-smoke-and-mirrors gear list.

Gear list with current May 2007 prices

Update: add $25-$30 for maps and compass.

Edited by dwambaugh on 05/05/2007 16:06:12 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/05/2007 20:11:24 MDT Print View

About $850 to become way lighter...

24 oz shoes $3.91/oz

8 oz stove & pot $22.94/oz

7 oz backpack $14.56/oz

Sleeping and Shelter
50 oz quilt, pads & tarptent $9.48/oz

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/05/2007 22:21:55 MDT Print View

A) More than I want to admit in a public forum
B) More than 3 but less than 5 digits in US $'s
C) But a ***whole lot less*** than I could have spent in a Casino, on a new boat, fast car, sailplane or other vices <(;->)


Trivia of the day:
Did you hear a guy made a song singing the following hexadecimal number? 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
I must be getting old....

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/06/2007 12:55:02 MDT Print View

Mr. Barney said, "C) But a ***whole lot less*** than I could have spent in a Casino, on a new boat, fast car, sailplane or other vices <(;->)"

Ain't that the truth! The cost of a state-of-the-art bicycle could cover a few UL hikers. Don't even start with photo gear. Hunting gear? You need the hiking gear, plus the firearm and ammo, etc, etc. I could spend more on a baseball glove, bat, and ball than a day hiking kit! Golf? HA!

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/08/2007 20:40:49 MDT Print View

Amen to that.

My most costly items have been sleeping bags - $300 or so on a WM Ultralite, $300 or so on a Nunatak quilt (on order), and $250 or so for a Jacks-R-Better Nest Down Under.

My best bargain was a $9 Camp Trails pack on clearance from Wal-Mart.

Two better packs, a good 0 degree sleeping bag, and lots more have been items I've tested with It's a good way to get gear without cash outlay, as long as you're willing to write up an application and three reviews.

Linsey Budden

Locale: pugetropolis
how much money have you spent on gear on 05/15/2007 01:47:10 MDT Print View

Since a great deal of my gear and clothing is handmade, the cost seems very low if you don't count time--the intangible costs are hard to calculate, but the sheer volume of time I've spent is mind boggling and yet I enjoy it and consider the gear tinkering as much of a hobby as the hiking. I've made tarps, poncho tarps, rain chaps, single and double quilts, wood gasifier stoves, pot holder/windscreen combos and tiny esbit holders, assorted custom stuffbags, and clothing. While not the lightest, my handmade shell pants (made with $3.50 worth of discounted 1.9 oz uncoated ripstop) have silnylon cargo pockets and chafe patches, grosgrain beltloops, pack as small as an apple, and weigh 3 5/8 oz. In terms of time, it would have been more efficient to just buy them, but I'm very proud of them and they look and fit fantastic. Which reminds me...there's a back burnered insulated coat project waiting for me.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 05/23/2007 07:56:49 MDT Print View

As much as I can!!!
It turns out being poor an in college limits that a bit. On everything in my current gear closet totals around $1300. I did think it neat that only 2 items were over $100 though- Montbell Thermawrap Parka and my Fuji Film Digicam. MYOG saved me much $.

scri bbles
(scribbles) - F

Locale: Atlanta, GA
Cost on 10/01/2007 08:19:55 MDT Print View

Last total was a little over $1700...I don't even have everything I "need" yet!

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Cost on 10/01/2007 08:58:49 MDT Print View

I'd say 2000-2500 over the last year. Most expensive was my purchase of a WM Versalite Super ($400) this past weekend.

Jon Rhoderick
(hotrhoddudeguy) - F - M

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Cost on 10/03/2007 16:23:38 MDT Print View

I feel that when people buy low performance low cost alternatives, in the end you are wasting money as you will eventually want something better, so really by spending money on that WM or nunatak bag will be alot cheaper in the long run. Then add in externalities such as the environmental cost your creating by buying another piece of synthetic made gear, and then you really start to feel guilty about it.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
MYOG costs on 10/03/2007 18:23:48 MDT Print View

Ironically, we expound some of the virtues of MYOG through low-cost or recycled materials. But while redesigning and testing alky stoves, I've poured (pun intended) through a case of Pepsi, a sixer of V8, two Heineys, 2 sixers of Apple Juice (no more V8, gross!), and a couple gallons of Denatured Alky. Then theres the 24' roll of Reflextix, metal cloth, JB Weld, aluminum foil, aluminum tape. Now I'm buying 80 and 100ml aluminum bottles for a sideburner designs.

Speaking of costs and environmental costs, lets not talk about plastic baggies. At least I wash and reuse them... most of the time.

sorry, this is hijacking the thread.

Edited by uberkatzen on 10/03/2007 18:24:32 MDT.

Dave Heiss

Locale: Pacific Northwest
UL spending adds up on 10/06/2007 17:51:29 MDT Print View

I started updating my 1970's and 1980's backpacking equipment in 2004 prior to a 50-miler boy scout hike I was asked to lead. I have to agree with many of the prior posts regarding UL being a process, for I found myself moving from old, heavy gear to lighter (but not the lightest possible) gear, and it took a few years of experience with traveling light to become comfortable with less.

Now that I've become more UL-educated, have found good sources for UL equipment, and seen UL gear get even lighter over the last few years, a significant portion of that transitional gear is being replaced.

For me, a base weight of 15 pounds is ideal, and by next year (after replacing a MSR Zoid 1 tent and Granite Gear Precipice pack) I'll be there.

In my early gear replacements, I noticed that dropping a pound cost about $100. Now that I've updated the worst offenders and moved on to fine-tuning, I figure that each $100 is only good for a 1/2 to 1/4 pound reduction. It's been totally worth it though. In my youth I used to hoist 45-50 pound loads for a 5-day hike, but this summer I did one at a starting weight of only 28 pounds. Loved it, even though my total cost to-date has been about $2000.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: How Much Money Have You Spent On Gear on 10/12/2007 17:38:28 MDT Print View

Too much but some people spend more on drugs in a weekend.