The minimalist approach is simple, use one piece of gear that can do multiple things or simply carry the essentials; deciding your essentials will depend on terrain and long term or short use.
Backpacking is not longer expensive; in the past few years, the market boom has brought multiple companies into play, creating a massive challenging competition between small unknown, cottage companies and the mega well established.
Like any other product is tricky when comes to quality but at least now we have multiple options and budget choices to pick from. We preach on research.
So here is a Full Summer Gear List and a good description of the sleeping system:
- UST Base Tube Tarp 1.0: $20 for 24oz and huge covered space 84 x 12o “. This product is worth 3 times the expense, is not the lightest tarp but is the cheapest that we can recommend.
- The Friendly swede mosquito net , this Amazon company has developed a similar concept (identical) to sea to summit mosquito net for $19, including the same weight 5.5oz. The asymmetrical pyramid fits a full adult plus minimal gear inside. 4 stake loops secured the net down and the interior flaps prevent any bugs crawling or flying in. (You can make an 86.6 x 39.4 using Tyvek or poly sheeting 6mil )
- Thermarest Z-Lite has always been a top contender , the small 10 oz version is 51″ long and costs only $34.
- Marmot Unisex Compressor Daypack is great Ultralight option (10oz) and can be loaded up to 18lb, a 5 star all around for only $42.
- GreenHermit Fleece Bag liner, is a really good option for the minded ultralighter, 8oz for $25 is not a bad trade-off and if you are looking for something cheaper, Walmart, Academy and all major local outfitters carry their own brand for under $10 with a similar weight.
- Sea to summit Ultra-Sil 8L drysack can be used to stash your minimal clothing or down jacket and be used as your pillow, weights 4oz with a retail cost of $21
- Esbit Ultralight Titanium solid Fuel Stove weights (0.4oz) and cost only $14. you can use it also as a pot stand in combination with your DIY cat stove, or if you prefer a butane canister we highly recommend BRS (weights only 87 grams and is $12)
- Toaks Titanium 600ml pot is a well-known phenomenon, at 3.8oz for $29 is a must have.
- Toaks titanium long spoon is a good fit if you are planning to eat backpacking meals, the polished bowl finish is an annoying factor unless you find a reason, but who cares when weights only 0.6oz and you can shine on for $11
- Mini Sawyer, there’s really no a better product for the price. $20 everywhere and comes with a filtration system and 500ml collapsible bottle.
- Emergency Kit (gather all pieces from your house and use a ziplock, the only item you may need is moleskin ) $5 for happy feet.
- Light my Fire is a legendary company and their FireSteel/Emergency Whistle is no different. $13 for safety (
- Sunto A-30L compass is perhaps one of the most reliable and at $23 gives you plenty options to navigate and learn your way around. 1.1 oz
- 2 Smart Water 1.0L should do the trick(2oz ea empty), you may be required a bladder and Hydra Pak Shape Shift is one of the best.
- A decent quick, ultra light carbon blade knife is Opinel #8, the made in France pocket knife is only $13 and has a carry weight of 2.5oz
Final Note: This set was assembled for summer with temperatures of 60F and above,make sure you have an itinerary and guidance if you are new to the elements.
Regarding the gear, we recommend to spent an additional $20 on msr mini groundhogs for your tarp set up and remember you will need trekking poles in order to set up your sleeping system.
Our goal was to create a full quality set under $200 and we have to admit is nearly impossible unless you don’t care much about weight. With a total of $269 shipped, we believe you are closer to your next adventure with a carry base weight of 71.5oz not including water and fuel.