Saturday, April 10, 2010

Going light doesn't have to be expensive

My tent and quilt were the most expensive things. The next most expensive were my two jackets and my titanium pot. Everything else was pretty cheap.

My clothing was either old stuff I've had for years or stuff I bought at the thrift store. I made a fleece balaclava out of an old fleece sweater from the thrift store. I also cut the sleeves off and used them as arm/leg warmers. These turned out to be really useful and light, serving also as a pillow and a pot cozy. I probably could have found jackets to use at the thrift store. I still have a down jacket that I used to always use that I bought at a thrift store for $10, but my new one is warmer and lighter.

My pack on the PCT was only $80 new. The pack I use now was only $40 from the PCT Kick-off ULA bargain bin.

For sleeping, I used half a z-lite which was a costly $35 but I also used half a blue foam pad from K-mart which was less than $10 new.

I used a few tiny containers that once held other things like medicine for my pet bird or visine. I refill my little travel-sized toothpaste over and over. I even refill a sample-sized foil pouch of anti-biotic ointment. It's tricky but can be done. All my hygiene and first-aid stuff is tiny and there isn't much of it.

I only brought one stuff sack (that's another place people waste a lot of weight), which was a pocket shower. Basically a dry bag with a shower nozzle. I put my sleeping bag in it when I thought it might rain and used it for a shower once. It was kind of wasted weight, except that it did work for my sleeping bag. For other stuff sacks, I just used ones that other things came in. I only had one other stuff sack anyway, which held all my hygiene items. Otherwise I used trash compactor bags for food and clothing. Compactor bags last a long time and if they get a little hole, just patch with duct tape. I used a trashbag for a pack cover. I paid the lady at White Pass a quarter for it.

Containers for drinking once held Gatorade or Naked Juice. I did have a few Platypus containers but they are relatively inexpensive and last a long time. I got the Naked Juice container in Stehekin for free because the juice inside was expired by a day. I still use it.

As a backpacker, I feel like the queen of trash, the dumpster-diver of backpacking. Going light can be way cheaper than going heavy because you need less gear overall and much of it can best be found by scavenging.

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