Light and Cheap, under $20

Questions about equipment and supplies to bring on a trip (including reviews).

Moderator: hooky

Post Reply
User avatar

Topic author
Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1434
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Ingo » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:13 pm

Since there's been a few threads lately on gear and weight, I thought I'd start a thread to share ideas. I'd like to focus on simple, creative ideas and keep the "under $20" in it and avoid a broader discussion of (expensive) ultra light gear--there's plenty of that all over the web. So here's some of my favorites to start:

- Polycro ground cloth, 1.5 oz for a 2 person tent. It's the window shrink film insulation you can get at a hardware store. Doesn't last forever, but you should be able to get at least a few trips out of one if you're careful. Quiet, unlike Tyvek. $7.50 for 62x210" will get you 2, maybe 3.

- Polycro tarp, 4 oz for 5x7'. Used the included double-sided tape along the edges, then taped wide nylon washers to the corners and centers for grommets/tie outs (used wide reinforced 3M packing tape). Worked well when staked out over a line and stood up to a moderate breeze. Was also great as a clear windbreak in a shelter without blocking the view. I can't find the site I used, but if you search polycro tarp you'll get ideas. I've only used it on 1 trip, so can't say how long it may last, but I was impressed with how sturdy it felt.

- Lightload Towels for towel and washcloth, .5 oz for 12x24". Kinda like a reusable paper towel, but super absorbent and very quick drying. I've dried my 6' 200+ lb body with a 12x24 (mostly, barely, good enough for me) after a dip in the lake. $6.25 for 3 - 12x24, but they do come in different sizes including a beach towel size. They can be washed and reused, but again won't last forever--2 or 3 trips for me. Also great for wiping down condensation and supposed to work as emergency tinder.

- (re)Fillable cosmetic tubes or tottles for small quantities of liquids or lotions. I got frustrated trying to find small tubes and bought a bunch of 1/2 oz refillable tottles. Have used for camp soap, vaseline (fun to fill :? ), suntan lotion, bug dope, ibuprofen, etc. when I want smaller quantities than you can buy. I bought a whole bag of 20 or something years ago for < $10--didn't want the actual cost to be less than the shipping! Mine weigh <.5 oz with a screw on flip cap.

- Pill pouches, like the tottles, great for small quantities of pills in the first aid kit, spices, and anything small and easy to lose. Basically a micro zip-lock. $1.50 for 50.

- Nite Ize #0 S-Biners, 2 gms. I use them everywhere, on anything I want to hang, and I like to string a line and hang everything. Smaller than the #1 size you can buy alone, I buy them as a key-ring set, $9 for 8 stainless biners. Not sure about the specs, but have shown no sign of failing with a couple pounds (don't hang my water bladder with them). They also have plastics ones, but I wouldn't trust them with any weight. Can be a little awkward because they're so small, but I'm OK with that.

- Firesteel and striker, 1 oz. Not necessarily a weight saver, but more reliable than matches, piezo lighters, and Bics--always works, can get wet, and doesn't run out. Use it exclusively for the stove. Have successfully started a fire once, just practicing (I do bring a small Bic too). $15 (Light My Fire Scout 2.0).

Go for it, love to hear your ideas!


torpified
Trailblazer
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:06 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 3
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Contact:

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by torpified » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:21 am

Ingo wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:13 pm


- (re)Fillable cosmetic tubes or tottles for small quantities of liquids or lotions. I got frustrated trying to find small tubes and bought a bunch of 1/2 oz refillable tottles. Have used for camp soap, vaseline (fun to fill :? ), suntan lotion, bug dope,

Go for it, love to hear your ideas!
I do this too, but not for the DEET, out of fear it would dissolve the after-market tubes. Is the fear baseless?

Other ideas:

--repurposed plastic gatorade/smartwater/. . . type bottles instead of Nalgenes.

--catfood can style alcohol stove (plausibly DIY, but also available commercially from eg Trail Designs)

--Wysi Wipes (basically dehydrated wet wipes --- probably not much weight savings, but it's fun to watch them poof up, and if they're hydrated with a drop of Dr Bronners and a splash of hot water, it's a spa-like experience. https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywo ... q8vkbpxs_e

--carrying calorie dense food, and not carrying WAAAAY too much of it. "Calorie dense" needn't entail "pricey"--Trader Joe's does the trick as well as Mountain House. https://www.freshoffthegrid.com/backpac ... ader-joes/

[Edited to add fascinating links]


Tortuga
Trailblazer
Posts: 118
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: Chicago

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Tortuga » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:42 am

torpified wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:21 am

--Wysi Wipes (basically dehydrated wet wipes --- probably not much weight savings, but it's fun to watch them poof up, and if they're hydrated with a drop of Dr Bronners and a splash of hot water, it's a spa-like experience. https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywo ... q8vkbpxs_e
If I took 2 for every day of my upcoming trip that's still under 2 ounces! Holy crap. One of my luxury items has always been to take wet wipes since showers are sporadic, but this is a whole new win. Thanks for the rec!

User avatar

Topic author
Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1434
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Ingo » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:44 am

torpified wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:21 am
Ingo wrote:
Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:13 pm
- (re)Fillable cosmetic tubes or tottles for small quantities of liquids or lotions. I got frustrated trying to find small tubes and bought a bunch of 1/2 oz refillable tottles. Have used for camp soap, vaseline (fun to fill :? ), suntan lotion, bug dope,
I do this too, but not for the DEET, out of fear it would dissolve the after-market tubes. Is the fear baseless?
I don't know--I haven't done it with DEET, because I usually use Picaridin. And it's easier to find small bottles of DEET so not as much an issue--the smallest Picaridin lotion I can find is 3 oz. But good question, obviously depends on the type of plastic since it comes in plastic!


pyrowaves
NewbieCake
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by pyrowaves » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:48 am

Tortuga wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:42 am
torpified wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:21 am

--Wysi Wipes (basically dehydrated wet wipes --- probably not much weight savings, but it's fun to watch them poof up, and if they're hydrated with a drop of Dr Bronners and a splash of hot water, it's a spa-like experience. https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywo ... q8vkbpxs_e
If I took 2 for every day of my upcoming trip that's still under 2 ounces! Holy crap. One of my luxury items has always been to take wet wipes since showers are sporadic, but this is a whole new win. Thanks for the rec!
Ditto! I didn't know those existed. picking some up for my trip in June!

User avatar

DonNewcomb
IR Expert
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:48 am
Isle Royale Visits: 1
Location: Miss. Gulf Coast

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by DonNewcomb » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:53 am

My brother used to get empty sterile saline bottles from the hospital. Best light-weight water bottles ever made.

User avatar

Grandpa
NewbieCake
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:43 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 14
Location: Michigan

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Grandpa » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:07 pm

I noticed that our sofa pillows have a zippered cover that is available at stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. When filled with a fleece or puffy jacket, works great for a backpacking pillow. Soft & cozy fabric. 1.4 oz.

The nylon shopping bags that fold up to the size of a golf ball make nice bags for organizing gear. 1 oz.

Trash compactor bags used as a pack liner keep stuff inside the pack dry. Works better than a nylon pack cover. White color makes it easier to see inside. 2 oz.

Nylon baseball hat that I got at the running store is lighter than a regular baseball hat. Dries quicker. 1 oz.
First visit 1982. Last visit June, 2018. Isle Royale is my favorite National Park!


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 985
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:24 pm

35 mm film canisters are great for storing and protecting all sorts of very small or fragile things or even small quantities of liquid. For insurance I tape the lid on with a few inches of duct tape. They only weigh a couple of grams. They are still available for about 50 cents a piece. These things might actually violate the 3 part rule of you can have cheap, light, durable, pick 2.
"If you count the ounces, the pounds will take care of themselves." ~Colin Fletcher -- “The Complete Walker”
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

User avatar

DonNewcomb
IR Expert
Posts: 517
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:48 am
Isle Royale Visits: 1
Location: Miss. Gulf Coast

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by DonNewcomb » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:04 am

Midwest Ed wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:24 pm
35 mm film canisters are great for storing and protecting all sorts of very small or fragile things or even small quantities of liquid.....
Film? :? You know. I actually have a few of those in a drawer somewhere. I think one of them is even painted Kodak yellow and red.


FF7Cid
NewbieCake
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:26 am
Isle Royale Visits: 1
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by FF7Cid » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:18 am

Thermarest's z-foam seat pad. Great for the canoe, fanning a fire or needing a soft clean spot on the ground to sit on. $15 2oz https://www.rei.com/product/829881/ther ... z-seat-pad

User avatar

Topic author
Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1434
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Ingo » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:26 am

FF7Cid wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:18 am
Thermarest's z-foam seat pad. Great for the canoe, fanning a fire or needing a soft clean spot on the ground to sit on. $15 2oz https://www.rei.com/product/829881/ther ... z-seat-pad
And you can buy a whole z-pad and cut it up into 4 z-seats--costs even less if you need more than one (works great when 4 of you are going to a football game :) ).

User avatar

Topic author
Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1434
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Ingo » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:55 am

Velcro straps with D-rings, "Sport Wraps" https://www.rei.com/product/848430/redp ... ckage-of-2.
The D-ring allows you to pull it back on itself and get it tight, or use as a compression strap. Use on tent, poles, sleeping pad, cook kit, etc instead of stuff sacks, and also great for hanging things up like water bladders.


FF7Cid
NewbieCake
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:26 am
Isle Royale Visits: 1
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by FF7Cid » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:37 pm

Great ideas for the large pad Ingo.

Farkle dice game $10 1oz. This one might not be essential, but it's the perfect light game to bring on a trip. Comes in the same size as a film canister.

https://www.amazon.com/Original-Pocket- ... 000BW13CQ/

User avatar

hooky
IR Expert
Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:26 am
Isle Royale Visits: 2
Location: Central Indiana

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by hooky » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:19 am

My 1 quart, 3 oz cook pot that's $9.

https://www.amazon.com/Stanco-GS1200-No ... dpSrc=srch


Gwest1
NewbieCake
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:35 am

Re: Light and Cheap, under $20

Post by Gwest1 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:34 am

Midwest Ed wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:24 pm
35 mm film canisters are great for storing and protecting all sorts of very small or fragile things or even small quantities of liquid...
In a similar vein, I usually bring two plastic peanut butter jars that I have cleaned out. I wrap a few feet if duct tape around one and use it as a waterproof container for things like my phone, car keyfob, lighter, tinder, a few matches, etc. The other gets partially filled with berries (thimble, rasp, blue, straw) found along the trail. Those become part of breakfast - either added to my oatmeal or eaten as-is.

Post Reply