Ultralight Hiking on a Budget

The ‘Big Five’ for less than $100 and under 3 kg! I recently posted about this 362 grams cheap 40 litre pack which you can buy from Amazon for US$20. I bought one just to see and found it very good indeed – as good or better than many more expensive packs I own/have owned, (First though I added a belt to this pack which came without one. This made it ride a bit better. It is a short pack quite suitable for children/wives etc). It fits all my gear for a week’s trip easily enough, so I got to thinking about the (hypothetical) problem of kitting out a beginning hiker/hunter who is on a pretty limited budget.

I had already posted about this DIY tent which you can make for A$10 and which will weigh around 800 grams including groundsheet. Of course I have many other DIY ideas which could also save you money.

Here are a couple of other shelter ideas, a cheap silnylon tarp 3 x 3 metres  and 510 grams with 18 tie  out points US$ 31.95 (Feb 2018) or this ultralight one person tent (750 grams) US$69.10 (Feb 2018)

The next four items our novice is going to need are raincoat, pad, sleeping bag, cookset.

Undoubtedly the cheapest raincoat is the disposable ubiquitous plastic poncho for around A$2 which weighs around 50 grams. As a raincoat they are quite adequate but they have a tendency to shred in any rough going. However, treated carefully they will last several days and can be repaired with some cheap tape. Besides not everyone wants to go hiking in the rain!

If you shop around you will find some pieces of kit which are reasonably priced. Perhaps you are better off spending ‘big’ money on a comfie air mat but I slept for years straight on the ground, so I’m sure you can too. Better than that would be the ubiquitous blue foam hiking mat which can be bought lots of places for <$10 (and which weigh around 225 grams usually). They have an R’ rating of about 1.5 from memory, fine for summer(ish) weather, but not good enough for the cold! Still you can always add a brush bed for free.

I used to buy lots of cheap gear from stores such as ‘Aussie Disposals‘ and ‘Mitchells‘ whom I would still recommend highly – or ‘Ray’s Outdoors’. Just looking at the current Aussie’s catalogue which was given to me by another ‘Steve’, the manager of the Traralgon store. (Say ‘G’day’ from me!)

They have a Hi Country Basic Self -Inflating Mat (down from A$34.95) to A$19.95 (Mar 2018) – probably over a kg though.

They also have a 0C Hi Country Compact Mark II Sleeping Bag 1200 grams for A$49.95.

They have a 360 Degrees Stove and Pot Set for A$59.95 – though I would probably go for their cheap aluminium billy (<A$10) and a Super Cat Stove and a plastic plate from a pack of Sirena Tuna and beans (Spoon from Chinese takeaway or similar).

The Super Cat Stove:

And, Oh, talking of raincoats, they have a Blizzard Storm Jacket for A$29.95. All these items will give many years of good service and can be replaced with lighter substitutes for hiking later on whilst still being useful for car camping – or to lend to a friend.

So, you can buy the big five pack $20, + tent $10, + raincoat $2, + pad $10, + sleeping bag $50, + billy and plate <$10 Stove $0 (though $1 to purchase hole punch from $2 store or similar).

Total cost to begin your ‘ultralight’ hiking career = $100!


Pack: 362 grams + 30 grams webbing belt & buckle

Shelter 800 grams

Pad: 225 grams

Sleeping Bag 1200 grams

Raincoat 50 grams

Billy and cup approx 200 gram

Total: 2837 grams.

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