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General Gear Discussion The General Gear Discussion forum is for the discussion of traditional and lightweight (ultralight) backpacking gear that is not covered in other Practical Backpacking™ forums. [Please post about Backpacks, Shelters, Sleeping Gear, Backcountry Kitchen (Food, Stoves) in those respective forum areas.]


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  #1  
Old 03-24-2008, 12:30 AM
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severenz severenz is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 8
How much do you spend on backpacking gear per year?

I've budgeted about 1k for some new gear this Spring (solo shelter, pack, new sleeping pads) and it got me wondering how much I've spent on backpacking gear in my lifetime. I manage to blow a fair amount of cash every year.

So here are some questions for everyone:
  1. On average, how much do you spend on backpacking gear per year?
  2. How often do you update your gear?
  3. Why do you purchase new gear?
    1. To save weight with a lighter replacement.
    2. To replace a broken or failed piece of gear.
    3. You are a gear slut and you just like to try new gear.
  4. If you make any of your own gear, how much do you estimate you've saved by doing so?
I often find myself looking for ways to justify gear acquisition -- the "shedding weight excuse" eventually fails once you have the lightest, functional piece of gear. Getting married and having children allowed me to justify a whole slew of new purchases as I outfitted the family with appropriate gear for camping, hiking, and backpacking.

Last edited by severenz : 03-24-2008 at 12:39 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2008, 06:46 AM
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Trudy Trudy is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 199
I'm relatively new to backpacking. Previously I was into the lightest possible (for my budget) bikes, both road and mountain, for racing. I carried that mind-set over into backpacking and didn't go too far wrong with my initial purchases back in 2004-2005.

Campmor 20 degree bag $109
Eureka Spitfire tent $90
Outdoor Products backpack $30

I already had a 10-year-old Ridgerest closed cell ($10). It's the only pad I've ever used.
So a total of 7 lbs 11 oz for all four, at a cost of $239.

2006 - I bought an REI UL45 backpack for $35 on sale. I also bought a small down quilt from a bedding company in Canada for $30. This is for hot weather. In November I bought a Sierra Designs 15 degree 800-fill bag from Campmor, on sale for only $200 and a mere 2lbs. This was a rare deal on a great bag. My sleeping bag inventory was now complete. Total spent in 2006 was $265.
Any extra money I made that year went towards taking overnight trips.


2007 - I bought a Go-lite Jam2 on sale for $80 shipped. Took lots of trips.

I honestly feel like my big spending days are over. I've got great gear and I love using it. It's more fun to be frugal than spend a lot. You're going to need that extra money for the gas tank if you want to go anywhere.
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2008, 06:50 AM
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WildlifeNate WildlifeNate is offline
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Backpack: Osprey Atmos 50
Sleeping Gear: DIY down quilt
Shelter: ENO Doublenest Hammock, WB Bugnet, GG Tarp
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nacogdoches, TX
Posts: 1,610
I'm pretty happy with my backpacking kit, so I haven't bought anything aside from food and fuel for over a year now. I'm debating sewing up a hammock, but that won't cost much for materials.
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  #4  
Old 03-25-2008, 08:38 PM
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kreate kreate is offline
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Backpack: an old madden 2400ci pack I bought for 20 dollars at the gear store across the steret from REI.
Sleeping Gear: Kreate Designs Hammock, Lafuma down bag
Shelter: Kreate Designs Tarp.
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Northern Kentucky
Posts: 47
I try to make as much of my own gear as I can. but there are some things that Im just not skilled enough to make, those being a sleeping bag ,a decent backpack and anything that resembles clothes. that being said most of my gear costs revolve around buying materials and red bull (for the cans). I like making my own gear because I can satisfy the gear whore within and spend a mere pittance. for example in the last month I have made a new tarp shelter (9x10 $4.00), a hammock with pea pod looking thing (less than 20 for everything), and more alcohol stoves than you can swing a dead cat at (much to the dismay of my fiance). so I would say that I spend a prety low amount on gear and end up updating my stuff prety often with new crap that I make and think will be better than the old crap I have made in the past.
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  #5  
Old 03-26-2008, 10:17 PM
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optoomistic optoomistic is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 4
Maybe 200$ us

on general upgrades jackets are my real ..."problem"
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2008, 03:38 PM
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Miner Miner is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Regular Member
Backpack: ULA Conduit
Sleeping Gear: 20F Down Quilt
Shelter: Bivy and Tarp
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: SoCal
Posts: 121
This year I'm already over a $1000. The last few years, I keep redoing my kit for a potential PCT thru-hike. I have, every year since 2006, ended the spring with gear that would work for the purpose, but I start over again around Christmas. I promised myself I would hike it in 2009 but each year I keep getting stir-crazy and tempted to do it now which leads me to lusting over the newest lighter gear. This year I replaced the big 3 all at once. I wanted a larger pack for more comfort with heavy loads for those longer trips, I wanted to try a quilt instead of my sleeping bags to save weight, and a lighterweight cuben fiber tarp. This doesn't count the new stoves and titanium cookware. Hopefully I won't buy as much next year.

Last year I probably spent $800 and a $900 the year before. Things were cheaper back when I didn't have big plans and just winged most trips at the last moment. So I guess I'm a sucker for lighter weight gear and suffer in general from gear lust. But mostly, it's all those small misc. items that seem to add up faster then you realize. This is the biggest reason I try not to walk into REI or other gear shops anymore.

Last edited by Miner : 03-29-2008 at 03:42 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2008, 11:25 AM
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Seeker Seeker is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 185
On average, i probably spend about $100, after i got my 'initial' setup lightened to the point where i can live with it. I started out with a used kelty trekker ($75), an ozark trails 3-man tent (gift), a simmerlite stove ($75), a northface thunderhead/cloud bag (gift, about $100, 10 years ago), a full length thermarest (about $30 in 1992), and a blacklite cookset (about $25 when i got it in the late 90s).

I've since "upgraded" to a used Hennessy Hammock ($125?) with tarp, JRB underquilt ($250something?), WM Caribou bag ($250+?), a used GoLite Gust ($75?), ditched the tent and gas stove, and bought a Titan Kettle ($45?) and use a SuperCat stove (free). so my upgrades cost me about $750, i guess, and lightened my base weight considerably... i also have learned to do without a lot of the junk i used to bring (air pillow, fork, huge first aid kit, potty trowel, excess tentpegs, heavy cordage, etc).

I update as the mood hits. now it's mostly 'little stuff', like a new swiss army knife, lighter stuff sacks, bug net, dehydrator trays, clothing, shoes, and that sorta thing. i've got my eye on a new WM Alpinlite sleeping bag too, for when i go further north (i live in Louisiana), but that's not to replace something... it's to adapt to a colder climate. Am also looking at going back to a larger cook pot. love my titan kettle, but at .85 liters, it's a little small. i can get 1qt titanium, but won't pay for it... aluminum is fine for me, and i've got my eye on a $10 Open Country pot. no hurry though.

I purchase almost exclusively to lighten the load, or to refine my 'system' (like the pot and bag mentioned above).

I've probably saved a couple hundred bucks making my own stuff... i've made an 8 x 10 silnylon tarp, a hammock underpad, pot cozies (plural), a fleece hat, a hammock, silnylon stuff sacks, cut plastic containers into washtubs/food bowls, made popcan/catfood can stoves, and windscreens from foil pans--just simple stuff. i get a lot of satisfaction out of making my own gear, simple though it is. i've also modified my golite gust instead of buying a newer pack (water bottle pockets and some elastic webbing).
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2008, 07:48 PM
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yippikiyo yippikiyo is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 485
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubaloff
So here are some questions for everyone: On average, how much do you spend on backpacking gear per year?
for just me, about $2-300 which includes trail running/backpacking gear. 4 other family members, 3 of which are growing still adds up to some big REI dividend checks

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubaloff
How often do you update your gear?

only as needed. (every dollar spent means time spent in the office instead of on the trail)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubaloff
Why do you purchase new gear?

to get lighter, newer technology or when something comes out in purple.

I've not made gear but have modified it to fit my needs.

yippikiyo
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2008, 10:11 PM
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ezpy ezpy is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 22
This has been an expensive couple of years for me, by my reckoning as I'm a grad student and do notice the cost quite fast. I've gotten back into backpacking after being away from it for over 15 years because of health issues.

I started out with a combination of borrowed and 1970s/80s old gear (both mine and my parents) I've spent about $150 on gear each year. Thus far I've bought new boots, backpack, and a tent. I'm still using a used sleeping bag and will need a new sleeping pad and water filter when my hiking partner moves away this summer.

I buy new gear as I can. The one piece of old gear that it feels hard to replace is my father's old svea stove. I picked up a used MSR super fly cheap at a garage sale. It works flawlessly and is light, but discarding the empty cans feels like a huge waste. The svea has an elegance that I find very seductive. And man can it boil!

Each time I upgrade a bit of my old gear I feel a bit of excitement combined with betrayal at the replacement of something that's been likea faithful friend. How crazy is that?
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2008, 04:28 PM
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Oaktree Oaktree is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 15
I would be surprised if it was over $30.00 a year. Of course that would
exclude camera film and equipment. All my stuff comes from Thrift
and Army surplus stores.
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