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Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 00:07:26 MDT Print View

This is the inverse thread to the currently running "Unusual (and expensive) item that you consider worth it" thread. What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry?

For me it would be:
- Oven Roasting Bags as stuff sacks, $1 each
- Plastic coated Twistees, free with electronics gear.
- Heat-sealed drinking straws to hold small amounts of ointment, free at In N Out
- Reflectix Pot Cozy
- Home Depot braided mason's line

Edited by Bolster on 07/27/2013 00:11:26 MDT.

Kiel Senninger
(Kiel.S.) - F

Locale: San Diego
Plastic spork on 07/27/2013 00:56:19 MDT Print View

Plastic Spork. Free with whatever I get at Taco Bell.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Aluminum foil on 07/27/2013 03:31:43 MDT Print View

Aluminum Foil
1) Baking/cooking
2) Pot lid
3) Wind screens/heat screens
4) Water scoop
5) Reflecter & holder for candle stub
6) Pot cozy (coupled with my hat)
7) Fishing lure
etc.

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
easy on 07/27/2013 04:34:49 MDT Print View

socks

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Hooray for being cheap on 07/27/2013 05:01:49 MDT Print View

Garbage bag ground cover - 43g, think I paid around 3 bucks for a roll of 10. One lasts me about two years of use, circa 40 nights out.

Pie pan wind screen and ground cover for stove - 7g and 2g, one pan costs around a buck.

Recycled #2 plastic water bottle - 33g, 3 bucks plus comes with fruit juice.

Waterproof maps - around 7g each, print off internet and cover with clear tape.

Mixed plastic containers for soap, hot sauce, rubbing alcohol, sunblock, etc. - Free from hotels, free samples at drug stores and girly shops that sell skin lotion and such, etc.

Mini toothpaste tubes - Free at dentist's office, and I am not shy to ask for several.

Wind pants - 155g, Nike running pants on sale for around 10 bucks at sporting goods store.

Foam sit/kneel pad, also backpack frame and torso sleeping mat - 40g, MYOG from leftover piece of foam mat from trimming a regular foam mat down to 2/3rds.

Small packs of salt, pepper, ketchup, sugar, etc. - Free from fast food joints.

Alpaca gloves and socks - 28g/45g, I paid about 5 bucks for both plus a hat (I wear the hat but not backpacking--other hats are better/lighter for BPing) while traveling in Bolivia, and these are my favorite/softest gloves/glove liners and sleep socks.

James Reilly
(zippymorocco)

Locale: Montana
Good question on 07/27/2013 06:07:49 MDT Print View

Compactor bag

One Wrap velcro wire tie (used to hold my goose necked compactor bag closed.)

A soda bottle lid with a bunch of holes drilled in it. Used as a water diverter for showers, dish washing, hand washing etc. Fits on an Evernew water bag.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
PT Scout on 07/27/2013 13:03:39 MDT Print View

My Princeton Tec Scout headlamp (now discontinued) is the "coolest" inexpensive item that I carry 3 seasons. It uses 4 lithium coin batteries so spares are very light weight.

The next most useful and inexpensive item I carry is my canister stove windscreen & its support. It is a MYOG thing I invented and it works much better than expected. I'll post a photo of it in a separate thread.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 13:16:33 MDT Print View

Rubber bands and Ziploc bags.

Kate Magill
(lapedestrienne) - F
Re: Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 13:41:26 MDT Print View

+ 1 rubber bands.

After losing one of the tensioners on my tent and doing a field repair with a rubber band (that I had just picked up as trail trash!), I ended up swapping out all the tensioners for rubber bands when I got home. Lighter weight and they perform way better.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 13:52:10 MDT Print View

imagination and creativity

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 13:59:17 MDT Print View

Head Net, Glasses and a Wide-Brim Hat.

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 14:06:25 MDT Print View

I like your thread.

I don't know if it counts as inexpensive, really, but I like my homemade climaxshield vest... It is simple and it has been really handy.

I gather you are looking for little knick-knacks like the cap with holes in it. That sounds like a useful thing. I don't have any good ideas like that, though.

- - Yeah, I carry earplugs sometimes.
Didn't think about them!
Yeah, carry old soda bottles as well
Extra ziploc. Probably already said. I got nothing...

Edited by Tan68 on 07/27/2013 16:54:26 MDT.

Steve Martell
(Steve) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Washington
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry on 07/27/2013 14:23:19 MDT Print View

Foam ear plugs--such as these:

http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Leight-MAX-1-plugs-Uncorded/dp/B0033YLEGO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1374955150&sr=8-5&keywords=foam+ear+plugs

Worth their weight in gold--when you have to sleep at a high wind campsite.

Edited by Steve on 07/27/2013 14:26:41 MDT.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 14:36:23 MDT Print View

Window film groundsheet
Small repackaging dropper bottles from US Plastic
Tiny (2x3 and 4x6") ziplock bags
Homemade maps from Hillmap.com printed on 11x17 paper at Kinkos for $1/sheet
Mini bic lighter
$5 baseplate compass that I pulled out of the closet 10 years ago
Aloksaks (first aid kit, camera, fishing stuff, etc.)

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
cheap on 07/27/2013 14:46:11 MDT Print View

$3 polycotton button up shirts and running shorts at goodwill.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 14:58:06 MDT Print View

Smart water bottles. Lightweight and I love the cap. Even better that they work great with my Sawyer Squeeze.

Mini Bic. Light enough that I carry two. One in my cookpot and a back-up in an Aloksak with some fire starter. I've never had one fail.

On the more expensive side, I resisted buying a Buff for the longest time but now I've got two, an Original and a UV Half Buff. The Original is so useful, it can warm your head, your neck, your face, or any combination of them, it can keep sweat from running in your eyes, it can wipe condensation off your shelter, and you can use it to pull a hot mug off the stove.

Adam

Tanner M
(Tan68)
Re: Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 15:07:50 MDT Print View

I think the sandwich could be listed in this thread as well. Both unusual and useful.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 15:49:25 MDT Print View

1.25 L rocket-base PET bottles - originally fizzy mineral water bottles.
Cost: $0 after we have drunk the fizzy mineral water.
Weight: about 43 g each, inc cap (lighter than most any other option).
Use: 2 - 4 of them as water bottles. The small caps do NOT leak, and the bottles last for several years at least.

Cheers

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry?" on 07/27/2013 16:36:52 MDT Print View

Vaseline soaked cotton balls. They burn great and I'm always surprised by how many backpackers haven't seen them used before.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 17:05:27 MDT Print View

Empty Gatorade bottles (found not bought) and bread bags (to put over my clean dry socks at camp.)
The bags only last a night or three but are free and only a few grams each.
Several of the ones above too.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
useful items on 07/27/2013 17:53:58 MDT Print View

*Thrift store dress shirt: Light, dries quickly, sun and bug protection

*Surplus wool liner gloves: Use them in all four seasons. Pair with a shell only $4 a pair

*Boonie hat: $10 for sun, light snow and rain protection

*C9 Brand (Target) running socks. Still my go to sock; 3 for about $10

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 17:54:36 MDT Print View

bread bags??? I wouldn't like to wear them where we go lol.

Just about to sacrifice the bottom bit of my closed cell foam pad to make some inexpensive light camp footware :)

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 18:38:45 MDT Print View

"bread bags??? I wouldn't like to wear them where we go lol."

bread bags

They are not for walking just to keep your feet dry at camp.
Here is the sequence.
Arrive at camp
set the tent up
have a full wash (wet cloth wipe down)
put "night clothes" on (that is socks , T shirt and longs or clean underpants)
Put bags over clean socks.
Put wet day socks over bags.
Now you can use your wet walking shoes and keep your feet dry.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
inexpensive on 07/27/2013 18:47:07 MDT Print View

5 gallon mesh paint strainer bag for clothing stuff sack. 0.5 oz, 2 for $3
Rubber bands # 64
Turkey bag as waterproof / smell resistant liner for food bag

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 19:20:02 MDT Print View

For the MYOG crowd:

- no-see-um, silnylon and mesh stuff sacks from leftover scraps
- wind shirts and pants from 1.1 ripstop on clearance (so what if the color is weird!)
- hiking and x-c skiing gaiters from leftover WPB scraps
- kayak deck bags from inexpensive heavy mesh and leftover buckles and webbing

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 19:29:25 MDT Print View

I agree with Franco's use of bread bags.

Also, if you find yourself out hiking during the South Asia monsoon season, the bread bags can go between an inner pair and an outer pair of socks. With shoes like the Inov-8 ones, rain water will soak right through in an instant. But then the bread bags stop the water from soaking all the way to your skin.

--B.G.--

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Most useful inexpensive items on 07/27/2013 20:30:05 MDT Print View

Garbage bags and Ziploc bags

A small water carrier/sink - useful for washing (me and clothes), tent storage, pack storage of small items.

James DeGraaf
(jdegraaf) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 20:30:44 MDT Print View

Franco, I've used bread bags like that before. They also work to cut the wind when bicycling in colder/wetter weather. Your shoe tie method in the picture intrigues me; could you explain more what's going on with the laces?
Thanks,
James

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 20:45:58 MDT Print View

Campbells soup cup. great for measuring (i added lines on the side), oatmeal, hot chocolate, etc. It also fits inside my pot and keeps my stove from clanking around.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - M

Locale: norcal
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/27/2013 21:35:36 MDT Print View

I take my uses lip balm and melt or cut deodorant and put it inside and use them as ultralight deodorant sticks.

Just twist and out comes new deodorant as you use it ;)

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Cup? on 07/27/2013 23:59:47 MDT Print View

"Campbells soup cup."

Don't understand. Did you make yourself a cup from an empty campbell's can?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/28/2013 00:01:07 MDT Print View

Chopsticks saved from a Chinese restaurant.

Trash-compactor bag (raincoat, mini ground tarp, and, hey, even a trash bag).

A square of wax paper as a fire starter.

Likewise, small squares of waxed, corrugated cardboard boxes (they contain produce and can be found behind your local grocery store) as fire starters.

Heat-sealed soda straws to hold pills, vaseline-impregnated cotton balls, and spices.

6" x 24" of heavy-duty aluminum foil as a wind screen.

Mini-Bic.

Free, professional samples of anti-itch, antibiotic, sunscreen, etc, lotions.

Super-mini toothpaste tubes from Chinese hotels (not counting the airfare).

Scrap of copper wire, bent into a U, and hammered flat on the ends to use as a heat conductor for a butane canister.

Found-on-the-beach bits of Spectra and woven dacron fishing line, 60- to 120-pound test, cut into guy-line and emergency-shoe-lace lengths.

The smallest bit of vac-pac bag material to make pills, emergency TP, etc, super water-proof.

Cut-off bottom 1/3 of a gallon milk jug as a SUL bowl, sink, bucket and water scoop.

Dumpster-diving at the recycling center for Foster's, energy drink, and other interesting sizes and thicknesses of aluminum containers as multipurpose pots and water bottles.

Old, wide-mouth Avian bottles. Wish I could still find them. So now I use. . . .

Gatorade bottles - lighter and infinitely cheaper than Nalgene.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/28/2013 00:22:32 MDT Print View

"Your shoe tie method in the picture intrigues me; could you explain more what's going on with the laces? "

Nothing special there, it was meant to show that at camp I often don't do my shoelaces up tight .
(it does look like a knot for folk that have a problem foot or shoe but that is another story)

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/28/2013 01:21:17 MDT Print View

I just made these in-camp thongs from closed cell foam and tape. The pair (size 12) 56grams.home made incamp thongs

EDIT: Sorry guys and gals I cannot change the photo to be pointing right way up.....

Edited by mikmik on 07/28/2013 01:27:15 MDT.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
if you carry hiking poles on 07/28/2013 12:20:37 MDT Print View

100# test fishing line and duct tape wrapped around the shaft. you can also wrap the duct tape around a water bottle.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Blue Pad Camp shoes on 07/28/2013 13:05:05 MDT Print View

i was just going to post my blue foam camp shoes but someone beat me to it. They are cheap, easy to make and light. No need for crocs, thongs, or flipflops.

If you add strips of duct tape to the bottom of the sole they last a little longer in rocky terrain.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
RE:What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/28/2013 20:53:10 MDT Print View

+1 Franco. I use newspaper bags myself but that's one of the best tips I've picked up here.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
wet socks over the bread bag to dry? on 07/28/2013 21:04:40 MDT Print View

I've used bread bags to keep my feet dry and warm, especially in winter. Do you put the wet socks over the bread bags in order to help dry them?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: wet socks over the bread bag to dry? on 07/28/2013 21:10:11 MDT Print View

If you are trying to dry out damp socks overnight during the winter, then take them into the sleeping bag with you and put them next to your bare chest within your sleeping shirt and with your face up. In the morning they will be all or nearly all dry. Note that the moisture leaves and goes into the sleeping bag insulation. If you are warm enough, it will continue to migrate to the outside of the sleeping bag and be gone.

--B.G.--

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: west coast best coast
Re: Re: wet socks over the bread bag to dry? on 07/28/2013 21:11:41 MDT Print View

Yeah, only do this if you have plenty of warmth to spare.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
thanks on 07/28/2013 21:28:27 MDT Print View

In winter I've dried socks inside sleeping bags at night and also inside my puffy parka during the day - but - haven't dried them on my feet while walking around in camp. Not a bad idea if you're warm enough.

Thaddaeus Wharton
(Thadjw) - MLife
Re: on 07/28/2013 21:32:12 MDT Print View

- Earplugs

- ZPacks tent repair tape. Foot health is essential on long hikes. This tape is ultra strong and thin -- works great for many purposes. I share with others when on a big trail like a PCT section.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry on 07/28/2013 21:50:37 MDT Print View

Bic lighter+3

Edited by kthompson on 07/28/2013 21:53:20 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/28/2013 22:28:23 MDT Print View

If you are not warm enough to dry socks on your chest the first night you might just be the second night.
When I was young we were so poor that one of us had to have pneumonia just to warm up the house.


Mini Bic

Desert Dweller
(Drusilla)

Locale: Wild Wild West
Most useful inexpensive on 07/28/2013 22:30:10 MDT Print View

I love to take fresh fruit backpacking on day or weekend hikes, so I save my plastic cottage cheese containers, line it with a half paper towel and insert a peach or nectarine seal with the lid and this protects the fruit in the backpack. Tall cottage cheese containers work great for halved bananas. And cottage cheese containers are light water scoops too!

Richard May
(richardmay)

Locale: Costa Rica
What are the most useful inexpensive items you carry? on 07/29/2013 07:09:19 MDT Print View

- 8 sandwich sized, double-zip ziplock bags, 15g

each filled, just under half way, with air and put into my sleeping bag stuff sack makes a comfy and light pillow. (43g for the stuff sack + 15g for bags = 60g/2oz)

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Sit Pad on 07/29/2013 07:23:27 MDT Print View

I picked up a Thermarest Z-Lite sit pad while trying to make it to $25 on an amazon order. It now goes on every trip; I sit on it around campfires, in snowbanks, and I use it in my hammock. I'm in love with it and it only cost me $11.

However, the inside joke with my friends and I is that it's actually outrageously expensive. "Not all of us have $90 sit pads, Max!"

Corbin Camp
(heycorb)

Locale: Southeast
Inexpensive on 07/29/2013 15:10:46 MDT Print View

Lightload Towels - $1-2 - many uses, reusable and are durable.

My wife came up with an idea for putting toothpaste into small screw top containers you get at at Target. I think they are sold as make-up jars (<$2 for a 3 pack). They are plastic and crush proof. These held enough for close to 3 weeks worth of use. Compared to tubes, they were much easier to refill and get the stuff out especially when you start running low. You dip the brush in the jar vs squeezing it out.

Reflectix freezer bag cozy.

Delmar O'Donnell
(Bolster)

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Lovin' It on 07/29/2013 22:46:17 MDT Print View

I am loving this thread! So many great ideas!!

"double-zip ziplock bags, with air and put into my sleeping bag stuff sack makes a comfy and light pillow..."

Genius! I think you just removed an inflatable pillow from my want-list. Wondering if fewer gallon bags would be even more efficient?

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Re: Lovin' It on 07/30/2013 04:43:19 MDT Print View

"double-zip ziplock bags, with air and put into my sleeping bag stuff sack makes a comfy and light pillow..."

Great idea!

I have a cheap blow up travel pillow $2 from a cheap shop (the U-shaped ones) that weighs 48g (1.75ounces). I tried using my pack, my spare clothes but nothing worked till this. Very happy with this but would not mind having a go at this idea!!

Richard May
(richardmay)

Locale: Costa Rica
Re: Lovin' It on 07/30/2013 09:51:27 MDT Print View

Delmar, I wish the idea was mine :D Got if from Ultralight Backpacking Tips by Mike Clelland.

I find the pillow works better with smaller bags, it cradles my head easier.

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Keep it going!! on 08/03/2013 05:38:33 MDT Print View

So many great ideas I think I have syphoned most of them to lower my base weight to the lower half of the UL packer :)

More ideas please :)

1.Here is another of mine; Can't remember where I got this spoon from but at 2.1g I am loving it. The handle is not the longest and I was going to gut slots out from the very end to make a spork but I haven't had any problems eating noodles with it so it's staying :)

2.1g spoon

2.Found in a 2 dollar shop contact lense kits with small screw top bottles (I think they are about 10ml each) great for things like hand sanitizer, sun cream, deet, antiseptic cream etc etc. With the product in them they weigh just over 10g and have enough in there for a few days of hike.

10ml bottles

3.Travel toothbrush kit. In the picture is the packaged item $2 from the chemist/drug store and after a bit of McGyvering. 11grams and the full tube of paste is enough for a week.

SUL toothbrush kit

4.the 3ml bottle. It started out as a mouth mint bottle but can be refilled with anything from Dettol (clean wound) to whatever. $1 from chemist/drugstore.

3ml bottle

5.The Red Rooster wet wipe. It's the lightest one I have found. Comes free :). Each one out of the packet weighs 2.1 grams. I love these things for a freshen up or a 'shower' when you get into camp, to clean cooking equipment out, wipe hands etc etc. A bunch of these in a ziplocked bag and they don't dry out.

red rooster wet wipes

More ideas please :)

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
pillow on 08/03/2013 16:21:37 MDT Print View

Found this blow up travel pillow in a $2 dollar shop. Can blow it up as hard or as soft as you prefer, 49grams (1.75 ounces)

pillow