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Old 03-23-12, 10:42 AM   #1
Barrettscv 
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Lightweight camping & cooking gear on a budget. Suggestions please.

I’ll do a few easy overnight tours this spring & summer. I’ll pick weekends with dry weather and mild temperatures. I’ll probably check into a hotel if the weather brings prolonged overnight rain showers. I’ll eat two meals a day at diners.

Posh Touring, I guess ;-).

I want to keep weights low. Please suggest budget-but-adequate camping and cooking gear. The lighter the better.
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Old 03-23-12, 10:46 AM   #2
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Sewing machine purchase, perhaps? MYOG.
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Old 03-23-12, 11:00 AM   #3
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The mini-Trangia cook set is inexpensive and quite light considering you get a couple of pans. if you want to go lighter and smaller consider using the Trangia and a pot stand with a Ti mug.

For lightweight tents I'd look at

http://tarptent.com

or go with a tarp or minimalist bivy if you want to save on cost and weight, but sacrificing comfort.
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Old 03-23-12, 11:08 AM   #4
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I’ll eat two meals a day at diners.
Spork! That's it. Since you eat already two hot meals I would skip cooking and just get food you can eat cold. That saves a lot of weight and time. A spoon or spork might be handy when eating stuff you bought at a grocery like yogurt.
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Old 03-23-12, 11:09 AM   #5
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See what your local thrift store has for cookware. I found a pretty sweet aluminum pot without a traditional handle that's as light as anything you might buy at a fancy gear store and only cost me $0.75. The MSR stove is maybe a bit spendy depending on how much fuel you go through as the canisters aren't cheap, but the initial buy in was low, it's rather light, and very hassle free.



I could probably ditch that metal mug in favor of something plastic to save some weight.

After that, just grab a spoon out of the drawer before you leave and you're pretty much set.

I carry a plastic bowl (in background) though, as I don't like eating out of an aluminum container. Food cools too quickly.
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Old 03-23-12, 11:15 AM   #6
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Spork! That's it. Since you eat already two hot meals I would skip cooking and just get food you can eat cold. That saves a lot of weight and time. A spoon or spork might be handy when eating stuff you bought at a grocery like yogurt.
I agree, but I would want to be able to boil water for tea and soup.
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Old 03-23-12, 11:31 AM   #7
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Spork! That's it. Since you eat already two hot meals I would skip cooking and just get food you can eat cold. That saves a lot of weight and time. A spoon or spork might be handy when eating stuff you bought at a grocery like yogurt.
This makes sense to me. I enjoy doing a little cooking at the camp site, but if you've already budgeted time and money for someone else to make you two hot meals a day, then I'd lighten the load that much further and plan on carrying some food you don't have to cook.

But if you want cooking gear, I like my little trangia burner with a Clikstand base. I found a cheap GSI pot/pan combo that fits within the wind screen, and the GSI kettle works as well. But the Clikstand site also has lighter, pricier options.

My tent is a Hennessy Hammock. I don't know the weight, but I'm sure they give weights for all of their models. It's the lightest tent I'v ever had, but I know there are other, more lightweight options.
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Old 03-23-12, 11:35 AM   #8
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&fe...&v=WkW-fhQAZjE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oHHj2bzL5o

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Old 03-23-12, 11:36 AM   #9
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I agree, but I would want to be able to boil water for tea and soup.
This is the kettle I use, or at least the latest version of it. A pot is probably more versatile because you could cook other things in it, but I feel like the kettle boils faster, and it's definitely easier to pour. I bring the kettle and a pot/pan combo because they almost nest together, so it's not that much more room, but if all you want is hot water, the kettle will do.
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Old 03-23-12, 12:27 PM   #10
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Lots of light and inexpensive stuff available...
  • Pop can stoves work great. I use mine most of the time even though I own a variety of "real" stoves. The pepsi can stoves are pretty much free. Do improvise some kind of windscreen though. My cooking and eating kit weighs 9 ounces with an REI Ti pot, but would not be much heavier with a walmart grease pot as a pot.
  • If you want a butane stove the new MSR Super Fly looks nice.
  • You really only need one pot and there are tons of cheap aluminum ones at most stores including thrift stores.
  • The Eureka Spitfire 1 is a great lightweight tent at a very low price.
  • Personally I prefer to splurge on a nice down bag (I love my Mountain Hardware Phantom 45) and a NeoAir Pad, but a blue foam pad and a slumberjack superguide or similar will get you started cheap.
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Old 03-23-12, 01:16 PM   #11
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GSI cookware is light and inexpensive. their soloist setup is good and packs into itself for a small package.

http://www.gsioutdoors.com/products/...pots_and_pans/
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Old 03-23-12, 02:07 PM   #12
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Yup, Alcohol stoves out of beverage cans are easy to make ..
and, charity shop source the pan.

boy scouts we made a #10 a , restaurant sized can, work OK over the Wood fire.
you wont get things hot enough to melt the Solder , It will burn the food first.

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Old 03-23-12, 02:13 PM   #13
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An Esbit solid-fuel stove fits the bill for lightweight and budget:http://www.rei.com/product/653343/esbit-pocket-stove
The Rivendell site says it better than I could: "It's steel, folds down to 3.9' x 3" x 3/4. It weighs 3.5 ounces with a fuel tablet that burns for 9 minutes, enough to boil some tea or soup. All in all, this is the perfect stove to bring when you're not sure you want to bring one, but aren't sure you want to do without, either. Because it's so cheap and small."

The main drawback is the fuel tablets are not readily available out in the countryside, so you would need to make sure you brought an ample supply.
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Old 03-23-12, 02:31 PM   #14
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https://www.minibulldesign.com/productcart/pc/home.asp

If any of this isn`t clear, he has 1200 videos on youtube
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Old 03-23-12, 02:43 PM   #15
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[*]Personally I prefer to splurge on a nice down bag (I love my Mountain Hardware Phantom 45) and a NeoAir Pad, but a blue foam pad and a slumberjack superguide or similar will get you started cheap.[/LIST]
important point. Depends on the individual, and Barrets, I dont know how advanced your old age is, but at mine, getting a good nights sleep is a priority, and X amount of weight more for a good sleep is not an issue for me. In fact I would say that getting proper sleeps most likely makes up for any weight difference the next day (well, within reason)--this comment is with camp mat and sleeping bag in mind.
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Old 03-23-12, 02:52 PM   #16
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If you really want to do this cheap and light, it's pretty easy.

Start with your sleeping arrangement, for protection from the rain, buy a 9X9 square of Tyvek. It's available online, or you can beg one off a local construction site. It should cost you no more than $15 at the absolute most. Another $5 or $10 for a role of the specialized Tyvek tape and some string and you have a perfectly serviceable, light weight, waterproof tarp. If you live in bug country, throw in a net tent. Use a closed cell foam pad, a Thermarest Ridgerest is comfier than the generic blue foam pads and will only cost you $20 or so. If you want a ground cloth, you can use another sheet of Tyvek, or just some 2 mil painters drop cloth.

The above set up will be light, cheap, and keep you protected from the elements, it will however take a bit of practice to learn how to set it all up properly. Spend a few hours at home pitching the tarp in different ways before you set out for the tour.

For cooking, eschew commercial cook sets, alcohol stoves can be made for almost nothing, and an Imusa Aluminium mug is a cheap and effective cook pot. A little bit of hardware cloth for a pot stand and some aluminum flashing for a wind screen and you're set. You can't do gourmet cooking on it, but a full setup should weigh 8 ounces or so, so it's not a bad backup to have.

djb is right though about some things; a nice inflatable pad will be comfier than a closed cell foam pad, but will cost a lot more and probably weigh more too. Not worth it in my mind, but I'm pretty durable

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Old 03-23-12, 03:19 PM   #17
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^^^^ this pretty much covers the cheap and light category......

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Old 03-23-12, 06:44 PM   #18
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The lightest stove going is a home made alcohol stove made with pop cans weighing an ounce or so. There are similar commercially made stove of titanium that are somewhat sturdier made and also very light. I use an iso/butane stove, slightly heavier but I've used it for years and I'm satisfied with it.

I would not skimp on the sleeping bag. My first one was of good quality but the synthetic fill packed out in only a few seasons. Now I use an expensive Western Mountaineering bag that has lasted for, guessing here, say 50 nights, and is still plump and very warm with no sign of wear.

There are dozens of suitable tents, light as well as inexpensive and durable. I've used a Eureka Backcountry extensively, again for 50 nights or more. One backpacking trip was into the Wemenuche Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado where it rained lots and the tent set up easily and kept me and gear dry. http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/...=-1&searchCate I have not kept up with tents lately so there may well be many other fine choices that will do the job as well or better.

I'm planning on doing the same this summer; touring for 3-4 days at a time in New Hampshire and Vermont. My basic gear weight, carried in two rear panniers, is 19 lbs with camping gear but not food or water. I'm shopping for a small handlebar bag to hold daily sundries; snacks, bug repellant, and arm and knee warmers for cool mornings.

I've followed your recommendation on gearing and installed a 26T inner chainring with a low 30 cog in the back which seems low enough based on trial rides with all the gear.
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Old 03-23-12, 07:06 PM   #19
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`I think closed cell is much more comfortable that air. But... It depends on the conditions. The main one is whether you stay at campsites, and whether they allow grass camping. If you can sleep on a lawn, forest floor duff, or in a field, then I sleep more comfortably that at home. But looking for clear hard flat places to put a tent, often leaves one with uncomfortable lumps. And I guess there are places with rock ledges, desert type rocks, that might be uncomfortable to sleep on. Though in an alpine setting I sure wouldn't want to sleep on on air. And certainly hard packed campsites, worse still ones with elevated platforms that are hard and flat, will not give you the comfort described above. This wild, not how can I find a hard nasty place like a concrete floor at home, and then built it out like my bed at home.

You can easily save half the weight and cost of a sleeping bag with a backpacking quilt.

Tarp tent can provide ideal shelter for minimal cost and weight.
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Old 03-23-12, 09:44 PM   #20
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roll up in a blue tarp with some scavenged newspaper, add dry foliage for padding/extra insulation, and grovel.

if you've never grovelled in a blue tarp, you don't know cheap camping!

Aren't you planning a trip to italia this summer, barretsv? I think you should be able to splurge on some basic camping gear without breaking the credit cards, or you're doing something wrong.

my suggestions for cheap and some budget is the most basic trangia cooker, a nylon tarp, a closed cell foam pad, a mosquito headnet, and a sleeping bag you hopefully already own, or buy a cheap synthetic fill bag.

should be able to get those items new about a hundred bucks.

if you can't swing that, a blue tarp and an army blanket.
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Old 03-24-12, 04:27 AM   #21
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Aren't you planning a trip to italia this summer, barretsv? I think you should be able to splurge on some basic camping gear without breaking the credit cards, or you're doing something wrong.
Hi Bekologist,

Yes, I'll be taking my Windsor Tourist to Southern Italy this summer. My plans for ciclismo turistico this year are limited to 2-day trips. My wife's parents live along the sunny Tyrrhenian coast. I'd like to do the route mapped here: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/48432066/

I'll also do some local single-day-trips cycling while vacationing and then leave the bike in Italy for my future annual vacations. In fiture years, I'll tour places accessible by passenger ferry, including the Croatian coast and Sardinia.

My focus in budget-but-adequate gear is just a part of my general philosophy. I’m an incrimentalist. I’ll start with the basics and take on easier challenges and then move up to better gear and longer trips as I progress.
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Old 03-24-12, 07:11 AM   #22
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important point. Depends on the individual, and Barrets, I dont know how advanced your old age is, but at mine, getting a good nights sleep is a priority, and X amount of weight more for a good sleep is not an issue for me. In fact I would say that getting proper sleeps most likely makes up for any weight difference the next day (well, within reason)--this comment is with camp mat and sleeping bag in mind.
The thing is that the most comfortable (for me anyway) options I have found are also the lightest and pack the smallest. So there is no weight penalty for the best possible nights sleep. Too bad they are not the cheapest too. As a result this is one of the areas where I splurge a bit money wise, but not weight wise.

BTW, I use a cheap down vest ($29.99 from Cabelas) as a pillow. It is super comfy, costs the same as most camp pillows and doubles as emergency insulation. Before that I used a cheap ($6) little pillow from a fabric store. It was like a regular pillow but 1/4 the size. It packs real small if you just stuff it in the stuff sack with your sleeping bag. I like both options much better than the camp pillows I have tried.
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Old 03-24-12, 07:31 AM   #23
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I have not tried to make or use a pop-can stove, but I have not had any problems with the Super Cat stove.

It doesn't get any cheaper than this.
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Old 03-24-12, 10:23 AM   #24
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I also used a super cat stove (made with a tuna fish can, not a cat food can), and it worked really well.
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Old 03-24-12, 12:05 PM   #25
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Very neat and well written article, thanks a lot.
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