How to lighten the load on a budget

Bud

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I like the three piles idea. In my experience, less gear rather than more is better. It really boils down to do you want to hike and camp, or fuss with gear?
 

Grandpa

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Great article.


I cannot justify $200 for a back packing stove no matter how light weight it is! For $15 my little solid-fuel folding stove works just fine at any altitude that I would visit.

Any more weight reduction tips are appreciated. Some of my Colmans gear is 20 and 30 years old and the materials are not so weight-efficient any more :tinysmile_twink_t2:
Wow, don't know what kind of stove you are looking at. I have cooked dinner at 14,000 with my 3 1/2 oz pocket rocket just to see if it would and at that altitude it was very quick. I get about 6-7 days out of 1 12 oz cannister of after-market fuel and 7-8 days out of msr. I also have a Brunton ready to go when the rocket dies that I picked up for $29 complete with an 8 oz cannister. ( My rocket is entering its 10th year of heavy service.)
 

Grandpa

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I go backpacking for the enjoyment of it all and the less I carry, the more I enjoy it. However, I have reached an age where an extra pound is worth a good nights sleep.
For a nine day, 80 mile trip last September, in Yellowstone, expecting the possibility of snow, my loaded pack weighed in at a whopping 32 lbs without water. That included a 2 man tent with ground to ground fly, a 2 1/2 inch insulated air pad and a 15 degree bag.
I still had 2-3 days worth of food and a nearly full fuel cannister at the end of the trip. The most expensive item in my pack, (other than camera and spot tracker) was my $79 big agnus pad. One of my backpacking groups has given me the trail name of McGyver because every time something went wrong with one of the group, I had what it took to take care of the problem. Oh, and everything fit inside my $39, 54 ounce pack. Nothing strapped on the outside. Where do people find so much extra stuff to lug along?
 

hweiner

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Thanks for this, wonderful suggestions! I traditionally get a massage after a long camping trip but maybe now I don't have to!
 

savvyninja

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that's good advice. It seems like the key to camping light is a willingness to rough it up a bit more than usual. No unnecessary gear. Just the essentials: water, food, flashlight, compass and a good utility watch.
 

Newanderthal

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I don't see it as roughing it more than usual, just adjusting the idea of comfort. You spend all day backpacking under 50lbs of gear so that you can have the comforts. But it's hard to enjoy them when your back and feet hurt and you're exhausted, whereas I forgo a few extras and forgo the discomfort of lugging around all that weight.

I'm much more comfortable than my companions who have the luxuries.
 

Theosus

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I HATE to carry heavy packs. I will do anything I can to get out of it. I carry only what is necessary and then some things I do without just because I don't want to carry it. I would much rather do without something than to carry all of that heavy junk around. You should have seen my wife when we went to Disney world of all places. She took a back pack with two or three cameras and a video camera. She was very sore the next day and made me carry it instead. I left half of it in the room and she never noticed.
I think I saw you, you might have made it on my "people of Disney world" blog entry. There were people with huge rolling backpacks and such. I took a lowepro compuday pro 250 - which is about the size of a school book bag. It held my SLR camera, spare battery and filter, the required ponchos for our group, drink powder things, and my water bottle. It wasn't bad and fit on every ride, even space mountain which is tight for my 6' 2, 210lb frame.
But anything bigger would have been too much.
 

Laiba

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Stove: Forget the Coleman single burner or the propane powered stoves. Don't even bother with the butane or fuel bar stoves. Experiment with the numerous homemade alcohol stoves. My favorite is the tealight stove. Look it up on youtube to find instructions. It takes about five minutes to build and cooks my meals in about 10. I frequently make a pot of rice and sausage while I'm setting up my shelter. By the time camp is made, my food is ready to eat. The stove runs off of a tablespoon of HEET, methyl alcohol available from any Wal-Mart, gas station or automotive store.
 

southerngal

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Thanks for the links Refrigerator! I like to keep stuff like that around the house as well just in case of emergencies or long power outages. I used to be an "everything but the kitchen sink" hiker/camper but as I have gotten more experienced I take a lot less with me.
 

carmen

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Less is always more. I think it takes people a while to figure out what works and what does not. It is the difference between what is needed and what is wanted too. I see that with our kids still packing things they want rather than the things they need.
 

ppine

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In the early days backpacking was very simple and mostly supported by military surplus equipment. The easiest way to lighten your load is to leave stuff at home. If you are camping in the Apps in summer you probably don't need a sleeping bag. I carry a tarp now. If there are bugs I wear a head net.

We used to mess around with hobo camping. A blue tarp, a canvas knapsack, a blanket. I like decent food and buy everything to eat from a grocery store. Don't get caught up in the latest reviews for slick equipment from Backpacker magazine.
 

Cappy

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It's kinda funny when I was young it was all about how much ya could carry how far> I remember 60 on my back 20 on my belt and a few more in the pockets of my fatigues. Had a friend that usta pack in 150 to our favorite spot in the Chattahoochee forest for trout season. One year the fool packed in a watermellon. As the years past i slowly lightened up till I carried 20 lbs with 5 on belt and few in pockets then a funny thing happened I quit walking started paddling and to heck with the weight again. Later bought a camper and its chock a block full of stuff I seldom use but the suv dont complain packing it.........much
 

Arla

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If you are a lightweight backpacker, it's all about experimenting. You will find that some things work, and some things do not. Ultimately, to avoid buying useless things and get the most bang for your buck you should ask yourself; "Will I use this?" or "Is this TOO much of a luxury item?". Sometimes we just buy something because its cheap. So, do some research don't buy the cheapest thing on Amazon. In the long run it will save you money.
 

ppine

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I like ULA packs a lot made in Utah. I have been carrying packs for almost 60 years.
The ULA Circuit can carry around 35-40 pounds. It weighs about 2.5 pounds. It is light enough for use as a day pack. All of my other packs now seem obsolete.
 
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