Lightweight and AFFORDABLE!!!

10:14 p.m. on July 16, 2010 (EDT)
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Hey y'all,

Im looking for some lightweight gear to replace some of my older much to heavy gear. Mainly Im looking for a tarp/shelter to replace my mere 5lbs Kelty tent. I was thinking about the Integral Designs Siltarp 1 or MSR E-Wing. I cant seem to find too many pics or reviews about these products on the web. Both are about 7oz, HUGE improvement from my tent. Another problem is finding one that doesn't make me go broke! Those are the only ones that have trusted brands and reasonable prices. (Integral Designs Siltarp 1 = $75 approx) (MSR E-Wing = $80 approx) Keeping in mind that I need room for me (5' 7" 115lbs) gear, and my dog (full grown Golden Retriever). Any recommendations out there? Lightweight and affordable!?

Im also looking to replace my 5lbs backpack. Understandably packs are more expensive, but Im not spending more than $200! I dont even want to spend more than $150! The big question for me is exactly how much space I need though. My old Jansport Klamath has 5200 cu in of space. My Kelty tent took up alot of that space and among other things that I have now downsized, like my stove (now a .3 oz cat-food can with holes). GoLite seems to have some nice packs, and of course they are wicked expensive! I have been eyeballin the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 and REI Flash 65. I think a pretty average size would be around 3800 - 4100 cu in. I want something that could be used for multiday hikes and day hikes, something that is VERY versatile. Once again, I need something lightweight and affordable! Recommendations?

So I guess I should explain why Im making the push for lightweight. Next summer Im planning a 450 ish mile hike from Seiad Valley to the Oregon-Washington border, the Oregon PCT. I figured I should get part of my dream out of the way before my Paramedic-Firefighter career absorbs my life. This way I can get a taste for what its like before embarking on the other 2000 miles. I guess a more simple way of backpacking is a little more intriguing to me...

11:05 p.m. on July 16, 2010 (EDT)
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Golite makes some ligh gear but its not all inexpensive.

This is Golite's Quest pack,it weighs 3 lb 1 oz and is4392 in, at $175

This is the Golite Shangri-la 3 tarp, it weighs 2 lb 7 oz and is $275 I used one of these for the last 10 years.

1:35 a.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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Golite Quest is awesome and can be found in your size on ebay BNWT for about $125.00. I use the Golite Pursuit at 3300 cubic inches and love it. I am eyeballin' an Odyssey pack (Gigantic pack-90L) for longer winter excursions. It weighs only 3-10 and has a weight cap. of 55 pounds. nice.

ShangriLa 2 is my dream solo setup (w/nest for 4 season use).

Good luck w/ your hunt...

2:16 a.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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what would you consider a "good capacity" for a ultralight pack though? I know it depends on what you take and all. Just the basics, tarp, sleeping bag, small cook kit with stove inside, no water pump (Aqua Mira instead)... I dont want a pack that just sags and I dont want one that is too small and I end up regretting it when I need to stuff extra food or water into it. Not too extreme but just on the lighter side of backpacking...

7:46 a.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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While going light is all fine and dandy, do consider a hike of that length will make you strong as an ox by the end of the first week, and you may regret the consequences arising from some of that shaved weight. I wouldn’t take a shelter into rain country that had any openings to the outside that couldn’t be sealed, in case it rained horizontally. Hence I demure from tarp set ups and the like. Also, super light packs do not provide as comfortable a ride compared to something with more structure that assists distributing weight. Women will wear 5” heals out to dinner, but not on a three day jaunt. And so it is, you should consider comfort versus the sexy allure of an ultralight pack for a multi-month trek. Likewise for your cook kit. The longer you are out, the more significant part food plays in your overall pleasure. Those micro stoves are good for little else than boiling water. If you decide you what some “real” meals the tiny stove will prove an unwelcome challenge to an already tedious task. And don’t even consider titanium cookware, it has lousy heat distribution characteristics

1:41 p.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I just bought the REI UL 45 secondhand off eBay but brand new, the guy never used it. Got it for $55, I searched for weeks until this one finally came up for auction. Maybe try an REI retail store garage sale? It is an excellent pack, a bit older than the new ones on the market, but functional. Holds enough stuff for several nights of solo backcountry if you choose your gear wisely. I thought it was comfortable for me, others didn't think it was comfortable though.

EMS retail stores offer 20% off their house-brand and 15% off other stuff if you have a valid college ID. Thats how I got my sleeping bag and pad.

For my lightweight solo tent I bought an LL Bean microlight (its not UL, just light). Great for netting on nights with tons of skeeters, also a good rainfly if a thunderstorm hits. I like it a lot, once I get some more time with it I may do a review. Outstanding price for the quality/features. Another light tent would be a Eureka! Spitfire 1. My Google search on this one found some positive reviews on it. Amazon has it for $85, a steal. I just bought my Microlight as I wanted to purchase local retailer, otherwise I would have bought the Spitfire.

For eating stuff I bought the REI polycarbonate utensil and plate/bowl/cup kit for $10.50, its very light and holds heat in better than the titanium stuff (which I also couldn't afford). Just leave the plate at home, probably won't need it when going light. I use an older Primus Classic stove that is pretty light with MSR isopro bottles to boil water. Get a cheap aluminum pot for boiling. I use a MSR Alpine 1L bot, its a bit heavy but I've had it forever and can't afford any new pots.

3:13 p.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I was a expedition style backpacker in my early younger years when I could thrust a 90 lb pack and disappear into the Sierra Nevada Range for 5 months in the early 80s. But then as I got older and learned to pack lighter I started like you looking into lighter gear and companys like Golite came about.

I used a Golite pack called the Gust which while having a huge volumn weighed only 1 lb. It was basically just a large stuff sack with waist and chest straps. It had no internal (or external )frame. A un-rolled partually inflated sleeping pad insdie became its frame.

I also used a Golite Shangri-la 3 like tent, tho it was called the Hex 3 in the early 90s. I had three parts, the tarp/rainfly, the bugnetted floor and the single floor. All together it weighed about 4 lbs.

I use a ensolite pad for sleeping, a MSR Pocket Rocket stove with a 1 qt cook pot and nylon spork.

My sleeping bag is also Golite and is 1.4 lbs of goosedown rated to 20 degrees.

So with Golite pack,sleeping bag, tent, pad, stove and cook gear I could go out with only about 8 lbs of gear, plus water and food, and extra clothing. My average week long pack was about 22 lbs.

I started doing month long hikes in the early mid 80s in the Grand Canyon. But instead of carrying a months worth at a time, I would pack in prior to a hike four one week food caches which I would leave a weeks hike apart along my months route of food and water in a ex-mayonaise or pickle plastic pail. Then I could start with a weeks worth of food and water (tho water was replenished almost everyday along my routes) and when I arrived at a new cache I never had to carry more than 22 lbs at a time, over four weeks.

I hiked this way from 1983 to 2003 in the GC and also while traveling around southwest Utah.

Now I tend still to do food cached hikes but dont go along week long routes but tend to carry all my food into an area and then base camp for a week, while exploring the area within 10 miles radius for week, then moving my base to another area and doing the same thing, for 6-9 months straight.

In the last 30 years whether I was In the Sierra or Alaska, Utah and Arizona or Wyoming, I spend from September to May hiking,bike touring and camping and work May to September. I live on an average of $5 a day or $150 a month. So working and saving about $1500 will get me thru 9 months of living outdoors of adventures.

3:23 p.m. on July 17, 2010 (EDT)
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A good compromise like the Quest would work because it is very light weight but can accommodate a lot of stuff (4500 ci). It is not made to handle heavy loads over 45lb really but with your propensity for light-weight camping gear, it affords you some extra space. With the compactor system you can reduce it (other light packs have similar) to daypack size, and at 3 1/2 pounds you won't notice it back there any way.

Whomeworry has excellent points as well concerning cookware, stove, etc. and long term comfort. I don't have an ultralight cookware set, and it works fine because I've never gone on a long trip by myself (just finally weaned off my pacifier)...jk. There is safety and advantage in numbers. I am usually the one to carry the cooking set for a group up to four.

I prefer Tents to tarps like whomeworry. I have an Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2.0 at 4lb-10oz and it gives me all of the room I could possibly want, packs to 6"x18"with footprint, and has excellent seasonal flexibility (lifetime warranty w/ great service) and paid <$90 for it on clearance at Love this tent, and so do my friends. I have to say that I am hoping to land a Golite Shangri-La 2 fo winter hikes and U.L. attempts in dry areas...

I am biased obviously towards the products mentioned becasuse they've served me so well in all types of conditions.

12:38 a.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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As far as a pack, my son has an Osprey Atmos 50 which he really likes. He is about your size, 5'10" and 116lbs. We paid about $150 for it last year. He just got home yesterday from a 12 day 75 mile trek at Philmont scout ranch during which it served him well. They did only have to carry 3-4 days worth of food at a time and gear was shared so you might have to carry a bit more. Maybe others don't adhere to this rule of thumb but we have always tried to stick with the idea that you don't carry more than 25-30% of your body weight and the Osprey can carry that much but can also be cinched down to pretty much a day pack. We have found the Backwoods store a good place to shop for packs if you have one nearby. They carry Osprey and other brands and have always been knowledgeable and helpful to us. He also took a new Kelty synthetic down(Trekker 20 deg.) sleeping bag just purchased at Target for less than $100.00 that packs down VERY small and weighs only 2.5 lbs. Some of his fellow crew members planned to purchase one after they got home!

Just a thought on your shelter. I also, would not go without something I could close up. Weather can always be an issue and so can bugs. Last year on the Colorado trail, the mosquitos were so bad that the only way we could escape them in the evening was inside our tents. When we stopped hiking to catch our breath, you could just reach out and slap the person next to you and kill 5 with one hit!

1:04 a.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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excellent point about the shelters. On second thought, I think I was going a little too extreme about going lightweight! Im pretty sure that bugs would get the worst of me. I've been looking at the Eureka Spitfire now that loykastj has mentioned it. Reasonably priced and looks pretty roomy. Im sure there is some way to fit my 75lbs golden retriever somewhere in there...

(Jake, trekkin the buttes with me). The most loyal and best hiking partner to this day.

10:58 a.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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When I started getting the backpacking urge again last fall, it was a challenge. I basically needed to buy almost everything from scratch. It was winter so I also had to buy with that in mind.

The tent I chose was an Alps Mystique 2. In my climate it's a 4 season tent. I like it. It not free standing, but sets up quick. Has 2 vestibules. In 30 mph + winds and driving rain, it kept me dry. Rain fly goes to within an inch or so of the ground. Had boots in one vestibule and used the other to heat water for coffee on my pocket rocket.

Had all my gear inside except for boots and it was very roomy.

Has a lot of mesh, so it's great for star gazing and keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Weights in at 4 lbs 11 oz. Fly has a velcro vent that can be opened and closed. I liked the fly cover color because it blends in well with the surroundings.

My budget was under $140.00 for a tent and this one worked.

A little more food for thought. Good luck with whatever you choose.


1:20 p.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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This is what the Shangri-la 3 looks like with both the rainfly and the inner bugnetting with floor section. The rainfly clips to the floor section at the stake-out points. Even with the floor and rainfly it still weighs less than 5 lbs. And comes in the yellow color above or Forest Green.

2:22 p.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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That is a very nice setup Gary. It's on my wish list.


10:32 a.m. on July 19, 2010 (EDT)
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perhaps you can split the difference with what you are thinking about doing??? if you want light-weight & inexpensive, how about a blue tarp & bugnet???

you should be able to pick up a 9x9 & cot sized bug net for less than $30. shape the tarp into whatever size you want. wrap it around into almost any shape. throw the bug net around you (while inside it). and presto cheap, light weight and bug-resistant.....

on a side note, personally i'd rather take a tent. something i can put myself & gear inside and move around a bit, while staying dry and keeping the bugs out. but that's just me. lol





on another side note, i've been wondering for quite along time if i could take some bug netting, sew it to some blue tarp. seal the seams with (the good) duct tape and make my own tent. i think it would be waterproof and keep the bugs out??? every now and than i start to plan it out, but haven't tried yet.......

3:03 a.m. on July 24, 2010 (EDT)
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300 forum posts

I have a Deuter Future Pro 42, which is supposed to weigh 3lbs 14oz and has a volume of 2550 Cubic inches. It comes with the rain-fly built in, but I have found that the rain-fly (cover) is worthless. Why...because I have to pack so much stuff on the outside of the pack, such as my sleeping bag and pad. I have come to find out that I want to get everything into the bag and so I too started looking for a new bag. I like the Go-Lite Pinnacle, which is supposed to weigh in at 2lbs, which is one pound 14oz lighter than the Deuter but with more storage (4392 cubic inches). I won't add any more stuff to this pack, but will be able to get everything I already take inside it.

With me it is just not weight, but bulk too. That said, I will someday be able to afford $$$$ the Thermo-rest Neo Air sleeping pad, which is only 19oz, and packs to the size of a small loaf of bread. is $169.95! would be worth it for the comfort and reduced size. Now I feel that with a backpack, you need to try it on, so if you order one say from Ebay...then go to a store first and give it a try first. I don't trust the claimed weights of this stuff, so before I shell out the money I am going to buy a good spring scale. The people at REI will once again think that I am a pain in the a__, but that's too bad. Truth in advertising is a myth.

9:24 a.m. on July 24, 2010 (EDT)
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GoLite, Shangri-la 3, tent, nest and floor costs $420 and weighs almost 5 1/2 pounds.

Warmlite, Stephensons 2R (around $500 less than 3lb) or 3R (around $600 less than 4lb). Easier to set up, more storm/snow proof and price/weight per usable square foot might be of interest.

11:23 a.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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We bought a digital fish scale for about $20. and take it with us anytime we are shopping for backpacking gear! A few ounces isn't a lot until you add them all together. I had also seen a very light weight air mattress that I wanted but, like Snakey, couldn't quite do the $129.00 right then. The 1.5" self-inlfatables are fairly heavy and not soft enough for me for the weight. So, I purchased a cheap pool inflatable air mattress for my last trip in Colorado. I made a cover for it out of lightweight fabric so I wasn't sliding around on the vinyl. The mattress and cover together were 1lb. 2oz. and deflated can be folded flat and slid into my pack taking very little space. I slept much better on it than a foam pad. It probably won't last long but only cost me $2.97. I had the fabric already. I am thinking of adding a little plastic air pump(actually the one that comes with the long balloons like clowns use to make things). They weigh very little and while I did get it blown up in the mountains, the pump might be easier. I am a flat-lander and a little short on air up there!

2:49 a.m. on July 26, 2010 (EDT)
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I live in Colorado...and I need to ask. We are not going to see a clown walking down the trails here now are we? Brrrr....Clowns freak me out. LOL

The air mattresses are cool, I slept on one for months after a move. What was the weight difference between your old pad and the air mattress?

4:23 p.m. on July 26, 2010 (EDT)
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No clowns, seems they creep most people out! My self-inflating pad, a Coleman, weighs in at 3lbs. 2oz. The air mattress + cover were just over a pound saving me 2 lbs! I have a thermorest pad that is 1lb but it just isn't enought padding for me. I know air mattresses are not good in cold weather but I'm usually not out if it's that cold. I am kinda wimpy.

10:56 p.m. on July 26, 2010 (EDT)
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If you're looking for a reasonably priced, quality tent for you and your dog then you might consider Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight CD 2 Tent. I own it's predecessor. The original design goes back to the 1970's, a tried and true tent design. A three season tent, it has an average packing weight of 3 lbs. 14 oz, but can be reduced to 3 lbs. 6 oz. at a cost of $180 plus/minus. If interested, you could research it here at Trailspace, for reviews and vendors. I counted 18 vendors offering the tent.

January 19, 2020
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