My first sixteen posts about free stuff for hiking proved popular, so here are another sixteen:
Home Made Pack Raft I bought a $40 raft (Intex) from Clark Rubber and reinforced it with a layer of poly tarp which can be attached to it with polyethylene tape (from greenhouse suppliers), ‘Gaffer’ or ‘Duct’ tape. You could also use tarp clips if you prefer. This makes it well-nigh indestructible. The tarps come in three weights: 100grams/square metre, 150 and 200 equating roughly to 4,5 & 7 oz per square yard).
Car-Camper Conversion: $50 We have recently been on a car camping holiday in Scotland where we wanted to stay away from people as much as possible on such a crowded island, and save on accommodation costs by sleeping in the rental car wherever we could find a pleasant spot. The car we hired turned out to be a VW Golf which you might think would be a tad small for this purpose, but when the front seats are all the way forward and flipped over there is over 6′ of room. All that was needed was to create a platform to fill up the well in front of the rear seats once they were folded down into the stowage position.
Catenary Curves: They are the solution to tarp/tent problems. I have known about them for so long and done nothing. Well, yesterday I was having a problem getting my new project, a Tyvek octagon/decagon shelter to sit properly. I created the curve you see on the piece of plywood by hanging a piece of rope between two screws then, using the pattern produced as a template I cut the curves out. Instantly the tent wanted to stand upright nice and taut. It will be much better when it is properly sewn with tie-outs and etc.
New Fancy Feast Stove ‘Zelph’ is clearly a genius (like Jim Woods who made the original of the Super Cat Stove – if you have not made one yet, do so today!). He has taken the ‘Super Cat’ to a whole new level – and I’m definitely impressed. I hit upon his website yesterday, saw that he doesn’t ship to Australia (You would have to use Shipito – recommended!) and decided I could not wait, so made one myself with what was available to me.
A Hands Free Umbrella: A reader recommends this excellent DIY solution to attaching your umbrella to your pack here:https://ramblinghemlock.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/umbrella-rigging.html
Simple Hammock Double Up You can hang two hammocks side by side from the one pair of trees using just one tarp with this simple expedient. You need one (or two) spacer bars (3/4″ thick branches or parts of your hiking poles will do) and some of these 25 mm (1 inch) poly plumbing fittings from eg Bunnings at A$1.67 (Jan 2018) each. If you have some 1″ poly pipe you can just cut four approx 2″ lengths and drill eg 3/8′ holes in them (as I have done) for the hammock suspension – they will weigh 6 grams each. Double bunking for 24 grams; how good is that?
Ultralight Ground Sheet: If you are sensible and don’t use a tent, but instead sleep under a nice airy tarp, you may nonetheless want to protect your bottom and other expensive equipment with a ground sheet. As I have mentioned before a mylar space blanket (at about 50 grams) is good enough for this and does double duty by keeping you warm in an emergency – also good for your day pack when you go for a stroll away from your camp to check out that waterfall, rare orchid or monstrous stag, etc.
Col Townsend Whelen’s Forester Tent ‘If you need to cut weight or cost, the Forester tent is a good solution. It’s one of the best tents ever devised for a chronic woods loafer, particularly for one who yearns to live close to nature and who objects to spending any of his or her outdoor hours confined in a closed canvas or nylon cell.
The Forester tent is the cheapest of all wilderness tents, either to make yourself or to buy. It’s the easiest and quickest to construct and pitch, too. And considering its scant weight and bulk, it’s the most comfortable in which to live and do your few camp chores. Also, with the exception of the Whelen lean-to tent, it’s the easiest to warm with a campfire out front.
DIY Super Ultralight Pillow Make your own 10 gram hiking pillow: These approx 17 grams (small) & 27 gram (large) Graham Medical Flexair Pillows are excellent for hiking and backpacking. The two sizes measure 14.5″x10.5″ & 19″x12.5″ They cost pennies: US $35.16 for the small & $43.41 for the large per box of 50! 70 cents each. Seriously!
Budget Pack Mods Recently I bought a couple of cheap approx 40 litre packs from Amazon for less than US20 each. I thought these would be a good recommendation to someone who wanted to begin hiking on a small budget. The first thing you need after all is something to comfortably and reliably carry your stuff in. I bought this one for US$ 17.99 and this one for US$19.99. Straight out of the bag the packs weighed 335 grams and 382 grams on my scales.
How to Carry a Saw A 31 gram 6″ hiking/hunting saw sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Complete with handle and sheath it cost me less then $A9. The Diablo saw blades are A$17.47 per pair in the Tools section of Bunnings. I will try to find an even better blade next time. Holding it in the vice I carefully cut just enough of the teeth off with the angle grinder so I could hold it comfortably. A pruning saw cuts on the ‘pull’ stroke so it should be fairly safe to use.
More about DIY PFDs: 114 grams You can make a lighter non compliant PFD which you fill with other inflatable items, eg Platypus bottles (I carry a 1 and 2 litre bottle, pillows (I carry the Exped Ultralight), wine bladders (who doesn’t have a few of them lying around?) and etc.
Tyvek Jack Russell (Rain) Coat: 13 grams! My little chaps can get quite wet and cold if we are in the bush for long days in the winter so I thought I would treat them to some waterproofing. Surprisingly, my first effort worked very well – you can see Spot modelling it here. He was quite happy wearing it for all of our 5km walk (run for him!) this afternoon and didn’t want me to take it off when we came home
Raincoat Shelter: How to make your raincoat into a shelter. I hope you realise how this is important as every year people die because they keep on wearing their raincoat instead of sheltering under it. I know when you are out in the cold pouring rain probably the last thing you are going to think is, ‘Must take my raincoat off’. It is counter-intuitive. However, read on…
Ultralight Cups It’s surprising how much weight you can save in small ways. For example, my improved Fancy Feast Stove created a simmer stove which weighs under 15 grams. This shaved 30 grams off my stove weight. Using small aluminum containers to store the various ointments etc you carry has cut nearly 100 grams from my pack weight. A lighter cup such as the one shown cut 21 grams. Somewhere during this process, I culled through my pack and discarded a total of around a quarter of a kilogram (1/2 a pound) of quite unnecessary weight.
Ultralight Toothpaste: ‘Tactical skills weblog Imminent Threat Solutions shares a simple method for making toothpaste dots by squeezing small, chocolate-chip sized “dots” of toothpaste onto aluminum foil, allowing those dots to harden for a week or so, and then transferring to a small waterproof bag. To use, all you need to do is pop a toothpaste dot in your mouth, chew for a few seconds, and start brushing.’
You will find a heap of other DIY ideas here: