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  1. #1
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    Default Wanting to be Light, but I'm realistically cheap

    Okay, so I know I'm not the first to ask this type of question, but I'm beginning what will hopefully be a thru hike in March. I'm excited and pretty nervous. I'm currently considering my shelter options. I have a great tent that I've used for weekend trips, but it's over 3 lbs and too heavy to really fit the bill for my hike.
    Before you suggest a tarp or one wall cheap tent.... I'm a huge bug stresser. I work as an outdoor instructor and I know and accept that my feelings of bug stress are just a part of me. I'm considering going light by buying a Shangri La 1 person bug net and then tarping around that. Do ya'll think this is a good idea. I'm interested in other possible low price <$150 alternatives.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Have you looked at www.tarptent.com? The Contrail is a $200 option. It may be worth the extra $50. I have over 200 nights in all sorts of conditions on mine, so at less than a dollar a night it's been the most cost-effective shelter I've ever owned. You may find one used, but you'd have to pry mine out of my cold, dead hands.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  3. #3

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    Here's an idea
    http://sixmoondesigns.com/tents/SkyscapeScout.html

    It looks like a sound design. As long as the materials and workmanship are good it looks like an excellent low-cost alternative to a heavy tent.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

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    You might want to keep an eye on Ebay??
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  5. #5

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    Also check out the LightHeart Gear tents. The standard solo is on sale now. Double wall, very roomy, and only 27 ounces. I love mine. http://www.lightheartgear.com/index....f731958b8243ee
    Some people take the straight and narrow. Others the road less traveled. I just cut through the woods.

  6. #6
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Recommended tents would make a good a sticky....

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=KBiz;1228774]Okay, so I know I'm not the first to ask this type of question, but I'm beginning what will hopefully be a thru hike in March. I'm excited and pretty nervous. I'm currently considering my shelter options. I have a great tent that I've used for weekend trips, but it's over 3 lbs and too heavy to really fit the bill for my hike.
    Before you suggest a tarp or one wall cheap tent.... I'm a huge bug stresser. I work as an outdoor instructor and I know and accept that my feelings of bug stress are just a part of me. I'm considering going light by buying a Shangri La 1 person bug net and then tarping around that. Do ya'll think this is a good idea. I'm interested in other possible low price <$150 alternatives.


    wow, good idea with the right tarp or maybe any tarp.

  8. #8
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quality Gear on the Cheap: If you read those glossy outdoor magazines, you'd think you need a $300 pack, a $300 shell and a $300 fleece. You do not need expensive gear to enjoy backpacking. Often the brand name gear, besides being expensive, is heavy, bulky and overkill for what is supposed to be for the simple joy of walking.
    Though written for the Appalachian Trail, the general concepts apply for quality gear on the cheap:
    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...678#post206678
    Some additional information I will add is that you should invest in a decent sleeping bag. The Kelty Cosmic 20F down bag is also getting good reviews esp for the price:
    http://www.kelty.com/p-457-cosmic-down-20.aspx






    Need long underwear, hats, gloves, socks, etc? Check out Warm Stuff Distributing (aka The Underwear Guys) . Run, in part, by the well-know thru-hiker Fiddlehead, it features the basics for very reasonable prices. It is mainly surplus, seconds and irregulars. I find this type of clothing is not functionally different from the Patagucci clothing, is sometimes lighter and it is always less expensive!
    If you are looking for a light, compressible and warm jacket check out an army liner jacket
    (mentioned in the above article, but deserves to be emphasized) :

    If you don't mind a bit of sewing, you can make a Montbell Thermawrap clone for less than $20 with the above liner jacket. A men's large comes in at 12oz! Conidering a Montbell Thermawrap is $150 and weights 10oz, the cheap way is nice for those on a budget on who need something warm, light and cheap!
    Check it out: http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=41034

    For high altitude/desert hiking I suggest a long sleeve synthetic shirt for the princely sum of $4 from many thrift stores. (Old uniform shirts, acrylic shirts from Blair, rayon blends, heck,,.even the 65/35 blends are fine!) I've used this type of shirt for literally several thousand miles of backpacking.
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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  9. #9
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    You should also check out Bear Paw Wilderness Designs for net tents. His inners will smoke the GoLite, or at least they used too. I've got an SMD Scout that seems well built, although I haven't used it yet (couldn't resist the intro sale). And I love Tarptents. And your personal comfort should take precedence over some arbitrary weight goal. Doesn't matter if it weighs less than a pound if you can't sleep.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

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    Are you cheap or are you poor? There is a big difference between the two. For me atleast, there are some things where price doesn't matter, then there are some things I'm just not willing to pay for, and I'm not struggling financially at the moment. It comes down to value...either you value the product or you don't. In the event you value the product but cannot afford it (as opposed to not willing to pay for it) you can make alot of things like Mags has suggested. There are SOME things worth dropping some serious coin on, but that depends on you more than anything. You can get a Lightheart Solo right now for about $200 I think, the Campmor 20 down bag is probably still just $120, can get some Asics Trabuco trail runners on sale for $70 if you search them on the web, etc...For me the test of long distance hiking is in my head...not on my back

  11. #11
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    shoes, sleeping bag and shelter should be of better quality. you really dont want to skimp on them because those are the items that will make you comfortable. then rest of the stuff is where you can be less stringent on quality and price...i have me a B A Seedhouse 1 weighing in at 2.4lbs and i really like it. its freestanding and i can set the thing up in 30 seconds or so...seirra trading post has this and the seedhouse 2 on sale all the time for around 140 with the coupon and other savings. once u make a 1st purchase u get a coupon for an additional 30 % off on any item. make sure u buy something cheap for your 1st item then get your higer priced item with the extra coupon..

  12. #12
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    The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 and is cousin, the Flycreek UL1 are good tents both made in China. My SH SL1 weighed 2' 12' and my Flycreek SL1 2' 2" both with only six stakes, and only pole bag and stake sack. You can find 'em both on eBay for under $200. Best I can do for set up is around five minutes but . . . I am only mortal. Oh yeah, both have excellent bug protection.

    At some point you are spending big bucks and agrivation for a couple of ounces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 and is cousin, the Flycreek UL1 are good tents both made in China. My SH SL1 weighed 2' 12' and my Flycreek SL1 2' 2" both with only six stakes, and only pole bag and stake sack. You can find 'em both on eBay for under $200. Best I can do for set up is around five minutes but . . . I am only mortal. Oh yeah, both have excellent bug protection.

    At some point you are spending big bucks and agrivation for a couple of ounces.


    Thanks for mentioning that tent. I've been looking for a bit and that looks like it for me.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 and is cousin, the Flycreek UL1 are good tents both made in China. My SH SL1 weighed 2' 12' and my Flycreek SL1 2' 2" both with only six stakes, and only pole bag and stake sack. You can find 'em both on eBay for under $200. Best I can do for set up is around five minutes but . . . I am only mortal. Oh yeah, both have excellent bug protection.

    At some point you are spending big bucks and agrivation for a couple of ounces.
    i rarely ever use the stakes thats why i can set it up so fast. if i need stakes i will carve an old peice of wood and use that. without the stakes its 2.4lbs if not mistaken. i set it up fast to bust the balls of my hiking partners who try to set up there regular tents. im done and they barely have there poles together. they always look at me and say, your done alreday. my answer is, yep.

  15. #15

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    Thanks for the Seedhouse recommendation. I've been considering a free standing tent for my next purchase. My 8yr old tent is on its last leg.

  16. #16
    Hike smarter, not harder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by swjohnsey View Post
    The Big Agnes Seedhouse SL1 and is cousin, the Flycreek UL1 are good tents both made in China. My SH SL1 weighed 2' 12' and my Flycreek SL1 2' 2" both with only six stakes, and only pole bag and stake sack. You can find 'em both on eBay for under $200. Best I can do for set up is around five minutes but . . . I am only mortal. Oh yeah, both have excellent bug protection.
    I try to buy all my stuff from China. I don't want to keep any innovative Americans working.
    Con men understand that their job is not to use facts to convince skeptics but to use words to help the gullible to believe what they want to believe - Thomas Sowell

  17. #17

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    Wow, thanks for that recommendation for Bear Paw Wilderness Designs. I tried to make my own net tent and being so bad at it, it has no floor and no zipper so I have to lift a corner and crawl under to get in. It's okay that way, but kind of a pain plus if the ground isn't very level, bugs can get in under the edges. A net tent is something I've wanted for a long time. While I loved my Gossamer Gear One, I often felt cut-off from seeing outside, but I couldn't stand cowboy camping in the mosquitoes.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  18. #18
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    I just bought a Eureka Spitfire on here for $75, I'm taking it on my 135mile section hike starting on 1/1/12 I carry an older Swiss Gear Pack @ $50 works great & very comfortable, Marmot Aspen 15 degree down bag $140, Thermarest 1 1/2" inflatable pad had it for 5-7 years @ $80. I haven't thru hiked but I do a series of 100+ mile section every year & this works great for me. Just don't get caught up on the Marketing that these High$$ companies push & you'll be fine. When you buy gear break it down in 8 year incraments that way you'll see that most of your gear will cost you @ $10/year.
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  19. #19
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    or $10-$15 per year depending on how long it lasts. for example, if I take good care of my $140 bag & it lasts me 10 years it cost me only $14/year & so on
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  20. #20
    CF97 > Everything Else.
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    I have a Mountain Hardwear Sprite 1. I picked it up on Moosejaw for less than $130. Granted people have posted much lighter options for cheaper. It comes in at 47oz without cutting out useless stuff.
    "... I know it is wrong, but I am for the spirit that makes young men do the things they do. I am for the glory that they know." --Sigurd Olson, Singing Wilderness.


    AT '12, LT '13, CT '14, PCT '15

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