View Full Version : Best Bang for the Buck ALL Gear

10-14-2007, 01:49
What's the best performance you have gotten for the least money from the following gear:

-Sleeping Bag
-Cook Stove
-Water Treatment
-Anything else you can think of.


10-14-2007, 02:49
In 1973 bought a U.S. Army surplus goose feather sleeping bag = $21.00 new.

I have used it car camping, back packing, chaperoning young campers overnight in their primitive camper cabins, and at home on occasion.
Best buy ever, still have and use it today. It's a bit heavy by todays standards, at about 4.5 lbs.; but got me through a 32 degree Farenhite night in February with snow on the Au Sable River in Michigan. Granted I shivered much of the night, with all the clothes on that I had and that bag. But, we walked - tobogganed out of camp the next moring, without any ill effects.

Gotta love that winter camping.:D

10-14-2007, 08:46
Trangia alchohol stove and pot stand. I think it was like $18. Never fails, clean, simple to operate, toughest and best piece of gear I own. Still going after 8 years, 3 different cook pots, been carried in 3 different packs, set next to 4 sleeping bags. Nothing else in my gear closet even comes close.

My old Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight would be a distant second. But at the ripe old age of 7, the mouse hole is getting bigger, it sags a bit more than in the past, the poles have oxidized and lost their sheen, and lord only knows how much seam sealer is glued to that thing. I don't know what I'll replace it with...tarp, hammock, just not ready to let it go yet.

10-14-2007, 08:54
Gatoraid bottle free
ziplock bags
photon light
homemade alcohol stove
oven bag
silk liner from New Zealand 20 dollars
99 dollar digital camera from radio shack with disposable lithium batteries, sd card
thorlo socks,
cheap nylon shorts
8X10 equinox silnylon tarp from campmor
Campmor 20 degree sleeping bag
frog toggs

SGT Rock
10-14-2007, 08:58
What's the best performance you have gotten for the least money from the following gear:

I made a pack out of a laundry bag for about $8. Good for short trips. But I really have not ever used it much. The best best bang for not a whole lot for me has been my Moonbow Gear Gearskin - for about $150 it has been my everything pack from short trips to 50+ pound loads.

I made a hammock out of factory seconds for about $6. Weighs about 8 ounces - my winter hammock. The tarp is still a sil-nylon job and isn't included in that 8 ounces.

Coleman Peak 1 Aries tent I found on sale for $60. A 5lb 2-person tent that works.

-Sleeping BagJRB no-sniveler. It really ain't cheap, but I got a real deal on mine and it goes on every trip as either my top quilt or my underquilt.

-Cook Stove
DIY alcohol. I have so many it is hard to pick one - but anyone can have a free stove.

-Water Treatment
None. I bring Polar Pure for the questionable water - but the more I backpack the less I use it.

-Anything else you can think of.
Warm clothing - Army surplus Field jacket and field pants liners. You can have an insulated suit for about $10-$20 that I've found to be warmer and lighter than fleece.
Water - the Gatorade bottle continues to be a lightweight and practically indestructible winner. It even comes with a drink when you buy the bottle.
Cup - the lemonade jar as a cup, bowl, measure, etc continues to be a winner. One of the things I have been using now for 7 years.

BrendanYou are welcome.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
10-14-2007, 09:21
Ancient Coleman aluminum cook pot and skillet - in use since about 1975 - don't remember what the set cost. Still using it. TI can't touch aluminum for real cooking.
Thrift store silk shirts - gaudiest fabrics, (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=15560) but the best hiking shirts I own - light, comfortable, don't smell, dry fast and add warmth when used as a layer.
Dollar general Starter pants - men's nylon with mesh liner. About $10. Function over a wide range of temps thanks to zippers at ankles (when open they let air flow from ankle up thru my mesh pockets!). Dry quick.
Dollar General men's polyester sports shirts - He-Dino (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=15560)feels naked without his chest pocket and these shirts are cheap, wick moisture, dry fast and make a warm inner layer.
Homemade hiking dress - don't use it anymore because I've expanded, but that poly-cotton sheeting dress has logged well over a 1,000 miles and is still going strong.
An old American Camper canister backpack stove - still works. Bought it at Kmart in the early 1980's for about $10. Have switched to alcohol stove except in really cold conditions.
Target's Champion polyester full-length bike shorts - about $29,- nothing eliminates chafing better and these add a lot of warmth for the weight. (avoid the nylon bike shorts - they stretch out of shape quickly)
Homemade silnylon poncho-tarp -- used for day hiking and as addition shelter for backpacking. Made from Walmart $1 fabric so about $3.50 for fabric, $1.50 for grommets and an afternoon of sewing.
Black Mesh book bag from WalMart used as daypack - $12

10-14-2007, 10:33
-Pack........................ ULA Conduit
-Hammock.................. Speer
-Tent........................ TT Contrail
-Sleeping Bag.............. Mont-Bell
-Cook Stove............... FeatherFire
-Water Treatment....... Aqua Mira

Although some of these are not all that inexpensive, they're the least expensive of that type of gear that I have.

10-14-2007, 10:39
Stoves: alky stoves are almost always "do it yourself" made out of recycled materials. Cost is near-zero.
Tents: Eureka is one of the most under-rated brands.
Water Treatment: use regular laundry bleach as a disinfectant.
Sleeping bags: Check out Campmor's down bags.

Auntie Mame
10-14-2007, 20:48
A Dino question: Did you use a pattern for the poncho-tarp, or figure it out as you went along? I have a nice piece of that silnylon, hope to do the same thing. Its the neck and hood arrangement that I think is a bit complicated to get right. Maybe?
Thanks, Mame

Frolicking Dinosaurs
10-14-2007, 20:54
Auntie Mame, I used the pattern at this site:http://royrobinson.homestead.com/PonchoPlans.html

10-14-2007, 22:06
-Tent- Got my '03 Squall tarptent used for $75. Excellent condition, Excellent deal

-Sleeping Bag- Campmore 20 degree bag for $110 great deal for the weight vs price.

-Cook Stove- my favorite piece of gear, the one I made, my pepsi can stove. My entire kitchen, stove, greasepot, fuel container, cost less than $15.

10-14-2007, 22:10
Cookset: (http://www.magnanti.com/t2/aaa.JPG) Homemade alchy stove, Mtn Dew bottle for fuel, $4 alum pot.

Gatorade Bottles: Light, cheap and comes with a drink!

Sleeping Bag: The 20F Campmor bag continues to be a good bang for the buck bag for many people. It is one I do not hesitate to suggest.

OTOH, I used the same Feathered Friends Hummingbird on the LT(x2), the AT, PCT, Colo Trail and the CDT (plus other jaunts in New England, Utah, Wyo and Colorado). Thats many bag nights for ~$335. Well worth the extra money. :)

Army Suplus Glove Liners (http://www.vtarmynavy.com/wool-glove-liners.htm): At $3/pr, they last longer than the more brand name ones, I use them through out the year. They are ALWAYS in my pack be it for a day of hikiking, ski touring or a 4-5 mo thru-hike.

Long sleeve Polyester dress shirt (http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=36&g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=14207): Sun and bug protection, dries quickly. Has a pocket. Buttons up and down for ventilation as needed. Paid $4 at a thrift store in Helena, MT and wore it all last year. Still wear it over a year later. I look a bit nicer than the link, though. ;)

Boonie style hats (http://www.armynavyshop.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?store_code=army-navy-shop&screen=PROD&product_code=rc5813): Be it the knock off version or the real McCoy, the boonie hats from the surplus store is cheap (never paid more than $8!) provides sun and light rain protection

Generic Polypro: For about the price of a yuppy coupon ($20), I get the generic blue poly top and bottoms. I've only used this type for all my thru-hikes. Sure it may stink a bit..but they all do after a while!

Generic Fleece Hat: Paid $6 at a hardware store for this 1oz fleece hat. As with the glove liners, it is my go-to item for every day hiking. When three-season backpackng though I use the....

Balaclava: Another generic and cheap (~$7) item. I always carry in my backpack. Roll it up for a hat, roll it down for more warmth, wear it just around your ears or as a scarf. Light (1.5 oz), warm, versatile.

In shoulder season (early spring/late fall) and winter, I combine the balaclava and fleece hat for a very versatile, warm and light (and cheap!) hat system.

Water Treatment: Iodine tabs. Cheap and effective

Not backpacking, but very much used:

(http://www.pmags.com/gearpics/pack_front.JPG)Generic day pack bought in 1996 (http://www.pmags.com/gearpics/pack_front.JPG): I bought this from the Sportman's Guide. It is sun faded, has dental floss sewn in the at the stretch points..but is otherwise going strong. Has been to Mt. Washington in winter, through the canyons of Utah, all over Colorado on day trips. Has lugged books and groceries as well. Has also suffered numerous coffee stains from my mug. :) Paid $25.

..and lastly....my favorite piece of winter gear

Thermos (http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=36&g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=15096): Left by some roomate god knows when. Price $0. Keeps my drinks hot. Carried mocha, coffee, chai, cocoa and apple cider. OFten accompanied by rum, Baileys. I would not do a winter day or overnighter without it. :)

I also will emphasie the field liners mentioned by Sgt. Rock. Warm, light and cheap.

Appalachian Tater
10-14-2007, 22:24
Supercat stove for sure since it is free.

Auntie Mame
10-14-2007, 22:30
Thanks, Dino! Mame

Jim Adams
10-15-2007, 00:11
1. peak 1 external frame XPD
2. MSR Hubba
3. Peak 1 20* synthetic mummy - less than 3#, accurate rating, $28 on sale-lasted 8 years!
4. pocket rocket
5. $6 Croc knock-offs
6. bargain bin fleece jacket--cut off the sleeves at the seam=1vest, 2 hats.

10-15-2007, 01:49
What's the best performance you have gotten for the least money from the following gear:


-Pack I like the ULA packs $100-200
-Hammock I'm afraid of heights
-Tent Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo or one of their tarps $150-200
-Sleeping Bag 20* Campmor down bags $110-
-Cook Stove Alchohol $5
-Water Treatment I seldom treat, but if I do, it's with bleach or iodine $10
-Anything else you can think of.

You may be able to do it cheaper but, you should probably expect to spend about $1000 on gear for a thru-hike. don't forget pot, knife, headlamp, shoes, sleeping pad, stuff sacks, clothing, poles, etc. You could also end up spending a couple $100 more on trail in replacements or postage for returning faulty gear.

10-15-2007, 06:11
Dorcy $6 flashlight from Wmart. Have Photon, use this far more. Go figure.

10-15-2007, 09:20
Gatoraid bottle...

Oh Yea!!! Forgot all about these little plastic guys. And, they come with all sorts of really neat stuff to drink inside when you buy the bottles...I even found one with peppermint snapps in it one winter. :p

Jack Tarlin
10-15-2007, 17:34
I bought a two person tent from Mountain Hardwear over ten years ago. It now has over 20,000 Trail miles on it, including seven consecutive A.T. thru-hikes.

I used it as recently as last weekend and have no intention of replacing it.

Great company, great stuff.

10-15-2007, 20:57
Millet Odessy 50+10 pack new for $85 this past weekend.

10-15-2007, 21:31
What's the best performance you have gotten for the least money from the following gear:

-Sleeping Bag
-Cook Stove
-Water Treatment
-Anything else you can think of.


Best "bang" (quality, durability, etc.) for the $, IMO:

-Pack: Golite Jam 2 or Granite Gear Virga
-Shelter: Golite Lair 1 tarp shelter, MSR Zoid 1 tent
-Pad: Thermarest Z-lite (Get the long size, then cut in in half to make two.)
-Bag: Golite Feather Lite, Jacks 'No Sniveller' universal quilt. The Kelty Lightyear down bags are actually pretty decent as well.
-Cooking: Pepsi can alcohol burner with aluminum bowl from Goodwill, soda bottle for fuel.
-Water: Soda bottles. I put 4,000 miles on the same 'Smart Water' soda bottle before the lid finally cracked.
-Water treatment: Rarely use, but Aqua Mira
-Shoes: New Balance 809 or other model trail runner
-Socks: Men's wool dress socks (@$2/pair new)
-Poles: Check Sierra Trading Post or other discount outlet stores and get some ski poles on clearance.
-Rain Gear: Frogg Toggs. Sierra Trading Post often has the complete suit for about $30.
-Base layers: Check Campmor for uber cheap Duofold stuff. Shirts for about $4. Works just as well as anything else I've used.
-Insulating clothing: Both LL Bean and Cabelas make very simply designed, high quality and lightweight down and fleece garments. I actually like my Cabelas $30 down vest more than my Western Mountaineering one that cost five times that.
-Sun hat: Ball cap with a bandana tucked in the brim

Also, before you get anything FROOGLE IT!