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View Full Version : The $300.00 Challenge, Revisited.



Locutus
2005-01-11, 02:03
January 10, 2005
Since the challenge posted elsewhere on this website is out of date (from October 2000), I thought it was time to post a new challenge. If you recall, the original challenge called for a 15-pound load for under $300.00. Ultralight hiking is really catching on these days, and there are many more equipment choices available today than back in 2000. But I believe you can put together a relatively light pack load quite economically, and still have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable hike. The purpose of this challenge is to help beginners on a budget to start from scratch, so I’d like to define some more rigorous criteria for participating in this new challenge:

1. The original criteria remain the same—15 pounds or less base load, with a total cost not to exceed $300.00.
2. Safety is a primary concern, so The Ten Essentials (http://www.mountaineers.org/main/essentials.html) should be included in your list.
3. Enjoyment is also important, and since most backpacking is done in the wilderness and/or mountains, three-season gear should be included in your list. This means a sleep system rated at 30 deg. F or better, an insulating pad, shelter from both rain and bugs, and clothing warm enough for those chilly alpine evenings, plus rain gear. Avoid cotton.
4. Cooking gear is optional, but keep in mind that hot meals/drinks enhance enjoyment of the trip.
5. Base load is defined as everything you carry in your pack, including the pack itself, but not including food, fuel and water.
6. Every item in your list should be one that you have successfully used in the field or very similar, and which can be purchased or homemade by the reader. Homemade items should include cost of materials. Don’t list an item as “free” simply because it was a gift or you scrounged it. Links to sources would be a nice touch. List item description, cost and weight in lbs. and oz.
7. Use a three-day trip as a general guideline for gear that would be needed.
8. Total the cost and weight at the end of your list.
9. If you can create a “skin-out” 15 lb. load for under $300, fantastic. But put any item not stored in the pack on a separate sublist (clothes worn, boots, trekking poles, etc.).

Please keep your responses on topic and spam-free.

Here’s my entry for all the equipment you would need for a three-day hike:
1. Gossamer Gear G4 (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/G4-Standard.html) backpack, $84.95, 16 oz.
2. Two Pack liner bags (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/pack_liner_bag.html) for G4 pack, instead of stuff sacks. $3.95, 3.6 oz.
3. Texsport 2-person tent (from Ebay, new), $20.00, 3 lbs, 7 oz. (I’ve also seen similar tents, slightly heavier, in Fred Meyer stores for about the same price. Cascade Sport brand.)
4. Gossamer Gear NightLight (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/nightlight_torso.html) torso pad, $15.95, 3.7 oz.
5. Kelty Tundra (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=29027659&memberId=12500226) 15 deg F synthetic fill sleeping bag from Campmor (on sale), $39.99, 3 lbs., 8 oz.
6. Ten Essentials items:
·Compass (http://www.angelfire.com/or2/hikelight/acc_misc.html), $1.99, 1/2 oz.; Map (varies) about $5.00, 1 oz.
·Sunscreen dispensed into 1 oz. bottle, $1.00, 1 oz.
·Extra clothing (see individual clothing items)
·LED mini light from Walgreens, $0.99, 0.3 oz.
·Mini first aid kit in ziplock sandwich bag, $5.00, 2 oz.
·Repair kit & tools consisting of safety pins, 100” of duct tape wrapped around a small pencil, ¼ pad of post-it notes, dental floss for thread, Swiss Army Knife “classic”, a sewing needle and a few other knickknacks appropriate to your gear, about $10.00, most of which cost is for the swiss army knife. 5 oz.
·Fire starter: Bic lighter, about $0.50, 0.5 oz.
·Extra food (not included in base weight)
·Water (not included in base weight)
·Emergency shelter (see tent)
7. 1-qt. aluminum pot with lid, plastic cup, lexan spoon, about $10.00, 7 oz.
8. Pop can alcohol stove, stand, windscreen and small plastic fuel bottle; about $15.00 online or make at home for pennies. 3 oz.
9. 1 liter soda or water bottle, about $1.00 to buy the soda or water, keep the bottle. 1.4 oz.
10. Rain gear: Campmor vinyl poncho (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=40000000226&storeId=226&categoryId=33331564&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=61294), $5.00, 8 oz.
11. Rain gear: Campmor Cascade pants (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=40000000226&storeId=226&categoryId=33331518&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=61294) (on sale), $16.99, 8 oz.
12. Campmor Polartec 200 fleece pullover jacket (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=40000000226&storeId=226&categoryId=61334&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=61294), $25.97, 13.2 oz.
13. Campmor Duofold long sleeve shirt (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=40000000226&storeId=226&categoryId=61354&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=61294) (on sale), $7.97, 6 oz.
14. Campmor lightweight long johns (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=40000000226&storeId=226&categoryId=61369&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=61294) (on sale), 15.99, 6 oz.
15. Campmor Power Beanie (http://www.campmor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=40000000226&storeId=226&categoryId=61392&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=61294) (on sale), $6.99, 1 oz
16. Towel: just use a washcloth and wring out when saturated. About $.50, 1 oz.
17. Emergency whistle (http://www.angelfire.com/or2/hikelight/acc_misc.html), 1.95, 0.2 oz.
18. Insect repellant: concentrated DEET in a 1 oz bottle. About $2.00, 1 oz.

Total cost $298.68
Total weight: 12 pounds, 8 oz.

Not bad, eh?

Once you acquire these basics and have gone on a few hikes, consider whether you would like to save up for some of these weight-saving upgrades:

Gossamer Gear G5 Hyperlight pack (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/G5-Standard.html), $124.95, only 7 oz.!
Gossamer Gear Whisper Uberlight pack (http://www.gossamergear.com/cgi-bin/gossamergear/g6_whisper_uberlight.html), $99.99, only 3.7 oz.!!
Tarptent Squall 2 (http://www.tarptent.com/new.html), $230.00, only 34 oz.
Marmot Hydrogen (http://www.marmot.com/) 30 deg F, 900 fill power down sleeping bag, $309.00, only 21 oz.
Other quality upgrades can be found at Only The Lightest Camping Equipment (http://www.angelfire.com/or2/hikelight/).

Replacing the corresponding items in the main list above with the G5 pack, the Tarptent, and the Marmot Hydrogen bag would reduce the base weight of 12 ½ pounds by 3 ½ pounds, to only NINE POUNDS!

SGT Rock
2005-01-11, 09:11
Actually we started a new $300 challenge thread last year, but no biggie :D

Not bad at all. I also like how you added links. I would have thrown in some gloves and socks, but those can be taken from the sock drawer at home.

Sgathak
2005-01-11, 11:54
I always like playing the "packing list" game


Hrrrmmmm....


Ok

SAS Survival Kit - $25 - 7oz
http://survivalsheath.com/kits/penrith.htm

Tool Logic Knife/light/whistle - $30 - 2oz
http://www.toollogic.com/feat_sl1m.html

6 trash bags (numerous uses - including pack liners, rain gear, emergency shelter, ground cloth, etc) - Free (you probably already have these, if not - $2) - approx 2oz

6x8 ft Tyvek sheet - Free (sorry, unless your buying a roll of it, you basically have to beg borrow or steal it) - 8oz

Sitka Sombrero - $35 - 2.5oz OR Sahara sombrero - $35 - 3oz (depending on likely weather)
http://orgear.com/home/style/home/headware/rain_hats/82100
http://orgear.com/home/style/home/headware/sun_hats/80970

WalMarts copy of Under Armour L/S Tee - $15 - 5oz

WalMarts copy of Under Armour Compression Shorts - $10 - 4oz

WalMart polyester sports shorts - $10 - 5oz

Under Armour Shorty Socks ($10 for 4 pair - carry 2 pair) $5 - 3oz

Homemade Backpack (supplies cost approx $25) - 16oz

USGI Sleep pad (cut to size) - $6 - 15oz

Sleeping bag - Kelty Tundra *Regular size* - $60 - 64oz
http://tinyurl.com/3qotn

Walmart Fleece Vest (on sale) - $10 - 15oz

Walmart Fleece Beanie (on sale) - $3 - 2 oz

Walmart Fleece mitts (on sale)- $5 - 3oz

Tire Sandals (approx $5 for materials) - 10oz
http://www.hollowtop.com/sandals.htm

2 32 oz Pepsi bottles - $2-4 dollars - approx 3oz

Pop Can stove - $.75 - 2oz (w/fuel approx 6oz including bottle)

Chopsticks - free from Noodles and Co - 1oz

Walmart Grease Cup w/ handle removed - $5 - 4oz


$295.75 (including cost for both sombreros and 4 pairs socks)
196oz/12.25lbs (weight only 1 sombrero, 2 pairs socks

Sgathak
2005-01-11, 11:59
Oh, add on 50ft of Dacron kite line... about .5oz and about $3

Sgathak
2005-01-11, 12:34
Just for sh*ts and grins - No "homemade", cold meals, multifunctional is rule #1

~~~~~~~~~~`

Soviet Army Rucksack $10 - 21oz
http://www.russiancombatgear.com/product_info.php?products_id=189

SAS Survival Tin $35 - 7oz
http://survivalsheath.com/kits/penrith.htm

Tool Logic Knife/light/whistle - $30 - 2oz
http://www.toollogic.com/feat_sl1m.html

Nakhodka Basha (raingear, bivi, tent) - $60 - 24oz
http://www.russiancombatgear.com/product_details/Nakhodka_Basha_(NPO-SM).php

Exped Wallcreeper PL - $95 (on sale) - 35oz
http://www.backcountrygear.com/catalog/bagdetail.cfm/EXP157

WalMarts copy of Under Armour L/S Tee - $15 - 5oz

WalMarts copy of Under Armour Compression Shorts - $10 - 4oz

Under Armour Shorty Socks ($10 for 4 pair - carry 2 pair) $5 - 3oz

Walmart polyester stretch gloves $2 - 3oz

Tire Sandals (approx $5 for materials) - 10oz
http://www.hollowtop.com/sandals.htm

Trash Bags - cheap - light (you figure it out)

Pepsi Bottles - cheap - light (you figure it out)

$270
120oz

Locutus
2005-01-11, 14:52
[QUOTE=Sgathak]I always like playing the "packing list" game
6x8 ft Tyvek sheet - Free (sorry, unless your buying a roll of it, you basically have to beg borrow or steal it) - 8oz


You can get custom cut Tyvek pieces from this source (http://www.goodlingoutdoor.com/index.html).

Lanthar
2005-01-11, 17:54
nice source locutus, thanks