If you had follow our recent articles you will recognized we love gear, we like options and more important, we like good quality products for cheap. If you are a beginner with a really low budget, summer is the best time to experienced the outdoors without emptying your pocket.
Realistically as a beginner, you will need some guidance and some backyard testing and practice because the cheapest way to camp in the summer is using a tarp. Simultaneously you will shave a good chunk of weight vs using a 3 season tent.
I have to assume you be carrying trekking/hiking poles already so I’m not considering that expense. (but if you are looking Outdoor Products trekking poles from Walmart have a good reputation for $31)
There’s a lot of configurations you can pitch with a tarp but they all depend in the size and cut. Symmetrical tarps (square) gives you more options than asymmetrical (rectangular or diamond).
For the set up:
UST Base Tube tarp, the asymmetrical 108 x 96 inches is one of the best quality products for a super low price $30 and weights only 16oz (Not including hardware) I will recommend to switch the stakes for MSR mini grounhogs and z nite figure 9 guidelines for a quick easy set up.
Nite Ize Figure 9 guidelines are one of the best multi use guidelines in the market, weighting only 2.4oz for a pack of 4. Each guideline is 96″ long and cost per pack is $10.
Outdoor Products 5 x 7 Siltarp is an amazing product that started in walmart but the company has expanded into Rei creating a big competition. The 6oz silnylon tarp can be used as an emergency shelter and cost is only $15. You can go lighter by using Tyvek but is super noisy if you toss much around.
The Friendly Swede Single mosquito net is a good alternative to sea to summit mosquito net with an almost identical design and same weight. The only difference is price.
At 5.4 oz and $19 is not a bad choice to separate yourself from critters.
Note: best way to set up any pyramid bug net is by using a ridgeline between your trekking poles. I personally tack the interior flaps under the footprint giving me plenty space to move. Entering a non zip net is a little annoying but it does work.
Nature Hike Envelop 50F sleeping bag weight 24oz and packs down to 5 x 7 x 12. for $25
The rectangular design allows you to zip 2 bags together and is proven to the rating. If you will be experiencing lower temps layer up or choose a different bag.
Thermarest z sol lite has been in the market for years proven quality all year around as a main or second pad during winter season. The close cell foldable design weights only 10oz. for the quality, weight and price there’s truly nothing better. Strap it to the outside of your pack and head out. $35
Klymit develop this particular product years ago and never got much attention until recently. Their inflatable pillow seat Cush weight 2.6oz and you can find it for around $10.
For a grand total of $135 and combined weight 66.4 oz Ultralight backpacking has become way more affordable than ever before.