The Lightweight Backpacking Philosophy
Look as everything and strive for choosing things that have Multiple Uses
o Saves weight by allowing you to pack less items
o Save money by buying fewer but more useful items
o Less to fuss with because you have less items
Buy items that are Not Over Built for the trips you will be taking them on.
o Doing so often leads to lighter items
o You will save money with more simply constructed items
o Over building can often make gear too complex to easily use properly
Reduce number items you bring
o Less to buy is often cheaper
o Bringing less makes for a lighter load
o Simpler life from less to demand your attention
Share equipment when practical
o Cheaper because you can share expenses
o Lighter because you can share the carrying
o You can make friends though sharing ;)
Be knowledgeable with what you will be using and doing
o Allows to cut weight and cost without risking your safety
o Allows you to make smarter choices about what you do bring
o Allows you to use more fully the weight you bring
o You will be more aware of how you impact the environment you are visiting
Leave no trace
o Pack it in, pack it out; bringing less means less to leave
o Lighter steps are less impactful to the environment
o Conduct yourself in camp is a way that is not harmful to the area
They sell good kitchen setups for very good prices. Theirs is what I use. I
recommend their "Mama's Kitchen 3 Cup Original Hard Anodized Set" for $35,
add a empty soda bottle for fuel ($1), a lighter ($1), and a lexan spoon ($1) and
you have a complete kit.
I purchased their G4 backpack four years ago and it has carried me through
around 1000 miles of hiking. I now use the Mariposa.
I have never shopped here but many other have and have good things to say.
They are a discounter with good pries. You can buy gear and clothes here.
I recommend them for nearly anything. They have great deals on sock, undies,
next to skin/polypropylene, sleeping bags, tents, and most anything else.
I have gotten many good deals on clothes and they carry virtually anything you
They make the No Sniveller down quilt which I use. Not necessary cheap but
very useful and light.
They make very light tarps in a wide range of sizes and features of which I
own one. Also they are starting into other very light, manly sleeping and shelter
They make just about any type of light alcohol stove you could want.
Do you want to buy something but want reviews of real (not paid) people who
actually have used it. This is the place to go.
Lots of information for people getting started.
More tips here.
Great place to finding good prices on what you want to buy
A very good resource for learning more about lightweight backing. They do active
research to help people have a more enjoyable and lighter trip. Unfortunately it
cost $25 a year for this. Also they have a store with some very unique gear.
Brick a mortar stores
Walmart and Target
You can buy a lot of clothes here cheap. The clothes often are lighter, less
complex construction with is good. It makes them lighter and cheaper.
They will have better quality gear and very knowledgeable staff. I highly
recommend buying you boots/shoes from such a place.
Moose Jaw 1445 W. Webster Place, Chicago
Uncle Dans 2440 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago (773) 477-1918
700 West Church,
Evanston (847) 475-7100
1847 Second Street
, Highland Park (847) 266-8600
REI 8225 W Golf Rd (Four Flaggs Shopping Center), Niles (847) 470-9090
17W160 22nd St, Oakbrook Terrace (630) 574-7700 (Rents gear)
Erehwon 1000 W. North Avenue, Chicago (312) 337-6400
20505 North Rand Road,
Kildeer (847) 726-1301
2585 Waukegan Road,
Bannockburn (847) 948-7250
Standard sporting goods stores.
They often sell some thing for less. However they will generally have
unknowledgeable staff and poorer quality gear than the outfitters.
Sports Authority 6420 West Fullerton, Chicago (773) 804-0044
1801 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago (773) 935-7729
3134 North Clark Street, Chicago (773) 871-8501
620 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago (312) 337-6151
and many more in the Chicagoland region
Books – A selection of my favorites
The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins
By far my favorite. If you read this book or at least skim it you can
learn everything you need to hike. Great writing style that’s easy to read.
The Backpacker's Handbook 2rd Eddition by Chris Townsend
Next to “The Complete Walker” this is one of the must own books. I might rate
this as my top book but I read “Walker” first.
Beyond Backpacking by Ray Jardine
Many great ideas with some crazy ideas. Read if you want to learn more from the
person who really started the craze of ultra-light but be prepared for some of his
ideas because they are plain nuts.
Bear Aware 3rd Eddition by Bill Schneider
Afraid of bears? This book will give you the knowledge to camp in bear country
safely and easily.
Secrets of Warmth: For Comfort or Survival by Hal Weiss
Very very informative about how to keep comfortable in the woods. Writing
style is not perfect though. Can be a little repetitive and occasionally nutty.
This is not a complete list but it covers most of what you need to give a rough idea of
cost. I haven’t bought or tried most of this stuff so be sure not to take these as a
recommendations they are just an example. Also remember you may already own some
of this stuff or could borrow from friends, family, or the group to save even more.
$0 Tent Borrow, make a friend, and save weight
$50 Sleeping bag Kelty Stratus 35°, 2.5 lbs, Found at Campor
$15 Sleeping bag Outdoor Research # 3 Hydroseal Dry Sack at Campmor,
sack could also use a plain sack lined with a trash bag
$10 Sleeping Pad Pack-Lite Closed Cell Foam Pad, found at Campmor
$5 Stove,pot,fuel Find someone to share with and save weight and
$40 Backpack Outdoor Products Pinnacle at Campmor
$1 Bowl I bought a plastic cereal bowl at Walgreens
$2 Water bottles 2 X 1L bottles of grocery store brand fizzy water
$11 Water Treatment Aquamira™ Water Treatment at Campmor
$5 Food bag 9 in. x 19 in. Stuff Bag at Campmor
$2 Spoon Lexan Soup Spoon at Campmor
$6 Undies Duofold VariTEC™ Boxers at Campmor
$8 Polypro shirt Duofold Varitec™ Short Sleeve Crew at Campmor
$20 Fleece pants Campmor Polartec® 200 Fleece Pants
$18 Fleece vest Campmor Polartec® 200 Fleece Vest
$29 Shorts/pants Campmor Trekmor Convertible Pants
$30 Wind jacket Look for thin light jacket
$25 Poncho Cascade II Backpacker Poncho Regular at Campmor
$10 Sock liners 2 X Wigwam Gobi Polypropylene Liner Socks at Campmor
$22 Outer socks 2 X Wigwam Merino Light Hiker Wool Socks at Campmor
$125 Hiking boots Get at a local shop with a knowledgeable sales person
$12 Balaclava/Hat Gordini Lavawool Stretch Balaclava at Campmor
$17 Gloves Campmor Windban Gloves
$2 Bandana Cotton Bandana at Campmor
$7 Clothes Sack Campmor 12 in. x 22 in. Stuff Bag
$8 Toiletries and 2 X Heavy Duty Dunk and Stuff Bag 7 in. x 10 in
$6 LED headlamp As seen on ebay, price includes shipping
$6 Toiletries Sample sizes and children’s toothbrush
$12 Pocket knife Victorinox Swiss Army Classic at Campmor, all you need
$4 Rope Nylon Backpacker Rope at Campmor
This list is $571 plus $7 S/H from Campmor