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Best Cheap Gear of 2013
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J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Best Cheap Gear of 2013 on 12/21/2013 14:20:27 MST Print View

I thought it would be fun to list BPLers' favorite cheap gear of 2013. Let's face it, with a little research and a lot of money, it's relatively easy nowadays to piece together a UL/SUL kit.

But for college students, high school students, scouts, broke chumps, vagabonds, parents of triplets, and those exploring becoming a UL hiker, the initial cost of gear can be downright daunting.

I know cheap will mean something different for many of us, so don't be afraid to list an item. AND please, I'm asking people NOT TO HIJACK this thread and make it a moral issue about where gear is sourced. I've seen too many threads lead to that lately, and that is not what this thread is about.

For the sake of consistency, please list the item, price, and where you obtained it.

I'll start the list off with several items:

1) Driducks Ultra-lite rain suit; $19.99;
There are plenty of reviews of this jacket and it has many detractors due to durability issues, but I have found the jacket to be a great cheap option. It breathes well and is light; the size large weighs 5.98 ounces on my scale.

2) C9 1/4 zip fleece; $17.99; Target
It's held up great for me on the trail. It's warm and light with the large weighing ~10 ounces on my scale.

3) Fox River Gripper glove; $10.99;
I like these as a base glove and will layer over them with my MLD rain mitts in rain. They have proven to be warm and durable. The pair weighs 3.44 ounces on my scale.

4) UL Ground Cloth; 8$;
I believe this is the polycryo frequently mentioned on BPL. I cut mine in half and use it for a groundsheet. It has proven plenty durable. Weighs 1.2 ounces as stated on the website.

5) Timex 1440 sports watch; $19.99;
This has lasted over 2 years for me and several thousand miles. Great cheap watch. Not much else to say.

6) Starter wind jacket; 15.99$; Wal-Mart
Cheap wind jacket. Full zip, two hand pockets. No hood. I use a Patagonia Houdini for my UL trips, but this jacket has served me well for trail runs. Yes, it's a bit heavy at 10.76 ounces, but it's 85$ cheaper than the Houdini.

7) Stoic Hadron Down Anorak; 90$ on sale;
Maybe this is pushing cheap, but for an awesome minimalist UL 3-season down jacket, 90$ is a steal. There are plenty of reviews here on BPL, and the only negative I have read is the elastic cuffs, which don't bother me at all. In the size large it utilizes 2.5 ounces of 850fp down. Total weight in large is 8.33 ounces. It has a hood, kangaroo pockets, and a hem draw cord.

Edited for brevity

Edited by Damager on 12/26/2013 01:10:22 MST.

Matt Weaver
(norcalweaver) - F

Locale: PacNW
Re: Best Cheap Gear of 2013 on 12/21/2013 14:27:14 MST Print View

Zelph's StarLyte stove and the Sawyer Mini have been good to me thus far. They've both been guilt free inexpensive purchases that have functioned simply and reliably.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Two. on 12/21/2013 14:36:39 MST Print View

Recently there was a $22 Koppen rain jacket from Dick's posted, that hardly got a yawn. I think it's an excellent deal.

I'll add: the Imusa aluminum mug with Zelph lid, can be had for, what, about $7? I forget the exact number. It'll compete with an MSR Titan Kettle costing $65. I own both, and plan to transition over to the Imusa mug, once I get a wind screen built.

Wait...another, kind of. TJ Maxx and Marshalls are currently remaindering lightweight Marmot Polartec 100 sweaters at $30, see previous thread on same.

Edited by Bolster on 12/21/2013 14:54:23 MST.

J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Re: Two. on 12/21/2013 14:43:19 MST Print View


The Faux Wolfskin wind jacket is the exact thread I am referencing in my initial post, where I'm begging people not to bring up the moral issue, so thanks for mentioning it.

I really want this thread to be entertaining and useful for people on a very tight budget who still want to head outdoors with light gear.

I respectfully ask BPLers to save the debates for other threads.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Sorry on 12/21/2013 14:45:29 MST Print View

Oops, sorry about that, I skimmed your post and jumped to the deals, completely missing that paragraph! No need to get sarcastic, I just didn't read your post like I was studying a textbook, so I failed the quiz. Now edited and deleted. Carry on.

Edited by Bolster on 12/21/2013 14:50:36 MST.

J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Re: Sorry on 12/21/2013 14:50:18 MST Print View


Sorry, the internet sometimes masks what we really mean. I am glad you mentioned the thread, because while it made for interesting reading with a few beers, I think it maybe wandered off topic a bit:)

I wasn't trying to be sarcastic, so no worries man.

Also, I have another product to mention.

1) REI Stuff daypack; $29.50; REI
I used this pack for over a year before buying a Zpacks Zero. I had no issues with it and honestly miss and have considered buying another one. It weighs ~10 ounces and has plenty of volume for a dayhike. I also miss the outer mesh pockets for water bottles.

Edited by Damager on 12/21/2013 14:57:41 MST.

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
Klymit lite water dingy on 12/21/2013 19:12:56 MST Print View

Have wanted an Alpacks for a few years but was tough to justify the price for a piece of gear that would have a short window of time annually where it would actually be used and being new to this type of wilderness travel this seemed like a perfect entry level way to see if was something I would enjoy.
Totally worth it as I have taught myself to navigate calm waterways and coastal inlets, highly recommend if you are interested in starter boat that handles best in slower moving water at a decent price

Edited by florigen on 12/21/2013 19:31:53 MST.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Cheap gear on 12/21/2013 19:19:04 MST Print View

Kirkland light down jacket. Costco $40
Synthetic insulated pants. Army surplus $9
Kirkland technical soft shell Costco $20

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
Great thread idea on 12/21/2013 19:25:59 MST Print View

Great thread idea.

Bamboo spoon at the ¥100 store, light, strong, natural material (feels good when eating). ¥100, or roughly a dollar.

Went to a shop for people who work construction. Found all kinds of base and insulation layers that might not be the lightest, but very forgiving on the wallet to test out. I got a really thick synth base layer/thin fleece with a hood and thumbloops for ¥1200/$12.

Edited by jakuchu on 12/21/2013 19:43:27 MST.

J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Thanks for the responses on 12/21/2013 20:07:30 MST Print View

I have another cheap option:
Smart Water bottles 1 Liter; $1, maybe $2; Most grocery stores

These have been my go-to bottles for this past year.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Wally Mart's Outdoor Products gear on 12/21/2013 20:08:13 MST Print View

Outdoor Products' dry bag 3 pack at Wally Mart.

And also their trekking poles at the same store.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Cheap Stuff on 12/21/2013 20:28:46 MST Print View

****Fancee Feast cat can stove: $.79
****Duck brand Window treatment film (polycryo groundcloth material): most hardware stores, $10 for enough to make 4 large groundsheets.
****Wide mouth Gatorade bottles: under $2 each.
****Pabst Blue Ribbon: $8.50/12 pack at my local EZ Stop.
****Aqua Mira drops: online, <$12 will have you covered for many, many seasons
****Mora knives: online, less than $15 a piece. My favorite.

Edited by xnomanx on 12/21/2013 20:29:20 MST.

J Dos Antos
(Damager) - M

Locale: Redwoods of Santa Cruz Mts
Re: Wally Mart's Outdoor Products gear on 12/21/2013 20:39:20 MST Print View

+1 on the 3 pack of Outdoor Products ditty bags from Wal-Mart. I've been using them this year with no problems thus far.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Best Cheap Gear of 2013 on 12/21/2013 22:11:57 MST Print View

The REI Flash 18 pack is an excellent daypack, on sale now for $24.

You can get a handmade knit beanie from Kat_P for around $30, Merino or Merino/Alpaca.

Gatorade bottles are cheap, last forever, and come filled with Gatorade!

Sewing machines are cheap and plentiful on Craigslist, and open the door to many cheap projects. I consider sewing machines to be a free item, as you can usually sell them for exactly what you paid for them when you're done with your project.

Being poor forces one to become very creative. Flexibility to look past an object's form and see the material and alternative uses... That's when you can start turning trash into treasure!

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
More on 12/21/2013 23:40:39 MST Print View

Enjoying this thread!

Reynolds nylon oven bags as inexpensive, watertight stuff sacks. I read a poster who reported he blew the bottom out of one, but mine have been tough and not done that (altho they are NOT mouse-proof! -- lost one that way). Cinch them with a NiteIze Twist Tie available at Home Depot.

While at Home Depot, their mason's line makes decent guy line.

Also recommend: a Craig's List Dehydrator. They show up used all the time because it's something people try, then stop once the novelty is gone. Then they hit CL. Mine was a 5-year old model, originally $200, on CL for $20. Allows me to walk right past the food aisle at REI and eat what I want for little $; I make lots of quinoa and lentil dishes and dehydrate them -- they don't even need heat to rehydrate. Also dehydrate fruit in season.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: More on 12/22/2013 00:28:26 MST Print View

Sawyer filter is hard to beat at $25 and even cheaper in some cases.

Coat hanger pot stands.

I've yet to test it in adverse weather but the Hi Tec V Lite is a heck of a shelter for $50 with taped seems. Blue tarps even cheaper.

Since the white stuff is starting to fall from the sky, you can find military surplus snowshoes online for $30. Magnesium so you can use them to help with an emergency fire.

Grease Pot or coffee can as a pot.

evan eisentrager
(evaneis) - F - MLife

Locale: western Mass
cheap gear on 12/22/2013 09:08:02 MST Print View

Ah, a subject dear to my heart. I get blue foam sleeping pads at Kmart for about $10, can't remember the brand name. A 20x72 size at about 3/8" thickness weighs 7 or 8 ounces. I got one that was 6 ounces and after trimming the edges I got it down to 5.3 ounces. These are durable and much more comfortable than the evazote pads from GG or Lawson Kline. I put a torso length Prolite pad (8 oz) on one of these and have a comfortable summer pad set-up for about 13 ounces. Sometimes I just take the short Prolite and a cut down half blue pad for my legs.
Dirty Girl gaiters are also not a bad deal for $20.

Edited by evaneis on 12/22/2013 09:51:19 MST.

cheap and light on 12/22/2013 09:58:49 MST Print View

Well, I dont see how much of this has anything to do with 2013 per se, but cheap gear is good gear IMO. Really, the best cheap gear deserves a "sticky" topic somewhere.

Good cheap and light items I have used :

Stainless Steel 10cm mug, 2.03 oz, $1 from chinese crap flea market
Derma safe knife, 0.27 oz, ~$2 incl shipping on ebay
Walmart space blanket groundsheet - $3
polycryo groundsheet ~ $5
AMK space blanket groundsheet - $5
mini-bic -0.4 oz, $1
Walmart blue foam pad, $12
fleece gloves 1.2 oz, $1 @ dollar store
# 64 rubber bands
tealight cup stove, wire mesh pot stand
bamboo spoons - 0.3 oz $3 for 12 @ party store,( but need sanding to shape up)
Light fleece pullover 1/4 zip - 10oz- $7 walmart
Synthetic Starter shirts - 4.5 oz $10 Walmart
Photon light-~$12 0.35 oz with hat clip
DIY tyvek rain mitts - free (get tyvek envelopes from P.O.)
Driducks rain gear - $20- order direct, all sizes, all colors $20 delivered.
Cheap synthetic Starter socks - walmart $10 for 3 pr
Old 70's thin light nylon running shorts-~2oz w/o liner -$3 at thrift shops

Edited by livingontheroad on 12/22/2013 10:02:20 MST.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Best Cheap Gear of 2013 on 12/22/2013 11:09:17 MST Print View

I've been using cheap polycotton button up shirts from thrift stores. They are fantastic, they are cooler than pure synthetics in warm weather but still dry reasonably quickly. I've been using them for hikes this winter too and they have worked alright.

brian H
(B14) - M

Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
gr8 thread on 12/22/2013 12:20:12 MST Print View

+1 on the fancy feast stove
...bought w/ underthecarseat loose change!
[and used by one hiker i know of for a quaint lil 8k mile hike].

my add:
an item I use daily,
the Costco down vest @ $25.