Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Lightweight on a Budget

I was interested in John Mannings feature in this months TGO about kitting yourself out for less than £100, a bit of a coincidence as only a few weeks ago I’d posted a theoretical gear list on Outdoors Magic to see how light you could go on a budget.

I had started by picking the Pro Action Hike Lite tent which was formerly known as the Tiger Paws and is in fact mentioned in Johns article. The Hike Lite weighs in at around 1.8kg which is pretty heavy for a solo tent when you consider that a Laser Comp weighs around half that at 900g approx. Of course when you start with a heavy tent everything else needs to be looked at with a critical eye and you certainly can’t afford to carry too many luxury items. I found that the weight of the tent could be offset by opting for a 2/3 season closed cell sleeping mat at only 190g. Look at it this way, if for example you choose a TN Laser Standard at 1.3g and an Exped Synmat 7 at just over 1kg you’d be carrying 2.3kg having spent around £350, the Hike Lite and Closed cell mat (I choose a Eurohike model) together weigh under 2kg and cost £30 assuming the Hike Lite is on offer, at full price the total would be £55.

Now I would concede that with the Laser/Synmat you’ll have a much higher performance tent and a vastly more comfortable sleeping mat but for low level 2 season use on grassy pitches do you actually need the performance of the Laser or comfort of the Synmat? If you're on a budget then it's elementary.

Looking at cooking gear the Anti Gravity Gear aluminium pot weighs pretty much the same as Titanium pots of similar capacity but at £8.50 is only 1/3rd of the price although you do need a pot lifter at £2.50/34g. As for the stove it’s a copy of one of the premium brands yet only costs £12.75, in fact the next model up in the Gelert range, the Blaze PZ costs £15 and is almost identical to the Markill Peak Ignition at £45.00, in fact my gas stove is a Markill Peak Ignition copy and it performs perfectly as can be seen in my test comparing the performance of the Jetboil PCS and Cartridge Stove/Mitymug combo.

The rest of my theoretical Kit List was made up of the following.

Lightweight on the Cheap

Pro Action Hike-Lite - £24.99 - 1719g
Pegs Terra Nova 5g Ti x 6 - £14.99 - 30g

Total - 1749g
Cost - £39.98

Sleeping System
Tesco Down Bag - £34.26 - 800g
Eurohike 2 Season Closed Cell Mat - £4.99 - 198g

Total - 998g
Cost - £39.25

Antigravity Gear 3 Cup (700ml) Pot & Lid - £8.50 - 110g
Antigravity Gear Pot Lifter - £2.50 - 34g
Stove - Gelert Intensity - £12.75 - 87g
Windshield - BPL.UK Ultralight Foil Windshield - £6.99 - 63g
Hydration - Drinksafe Systems Travel Tap Bottle 650ml - £34.99 - 150g
Hydration - Source Liquitainer 2.0L - £6.99 - 35g

Total - 479g
Cost - £72.72

Utensils etc.
Mug - Gelert Plastic 275ml - £0.90 - 55g
Spork - Lifeventure Lexan Spork - £2.49 - 14g

Total - 69g
Cost - £3.39

Energizer 3 LED Headlight - £9.95 - 70g

Total - 70g
Cost - £9.95

Karrimor Bobcat 65L - 1480g - £50.00

Total 4845g @ £217.78

I think that’s a reasonable list, apart from Tent/Sleeping Bag/Sleeping Mat everything thing else is perfectly adequate and isn’t a lot different from gear I use or have used myself. Obviously I haven’t looked at clothing as John has done in his feature but if you combine his budget list with mine you’re looking at about £300-350 and that’s pretty good IMO.


  1. Hi Mac,

    I saw your original post on OM regarding the light(ish)weight/cheap kit list. Its a great effort and just goes to show what you can achieve.
    I would say that most of my original kit wasnt far off what you are proposing although in most cases heavier as it was nearly 30 years ago I started collecting kit :)
    For an extra few grams you can beef up the sleeping mat with laminate floor insulating material (also only a couple of quid). In my experience, you can get away with a lesser sleeping bag as long as the sleeping mat is up to the job


  2. Aye it's just a fun list really but useable none the less. My April trip to the Ciarngorms I was using a Laser and still ended up carrying 20+kg through stupidity. I've been working on the gear though and as soon as I find a lightweight tent I like I'll get it.

    I'd almost (but not just yet) consider a Laser Comp even though I didn't like the Laser Std, the weight savings gained by using a comp might make it worthwhile, I felt the Standard wasn't light enough given the compromises.

  3. just goes to show that with a bit of thought and a mix of manufacturers, you can actually get a half decent kit list for not a huge amount. Obviously tent and sleeping bag tend to blow a big hole in the budget once you start looking at "named" brands

    Looking at your list there are one or two pretty decent bits on there.

    If I was being snobby I would opt for the Golite Jam2 over the karrimor. 10quid more, 10litres less but half the weight

  4. To update the list slightly, I've just seen Golite Jam 2 packs (51L) for sale at £60.75 (Normal price £67.50 less 10% if you sign up for the newsletter at Winwood Outdoor)

    Swap out the Karrimor and it adds £10.75 to the total cost but saves just over 700g.

    The Total Cost/Weight would be,

    £227.78 / 4120g

  5. Would the Scarp 1 from Tarptent.com maybe be something for you? Its slightly heavier as the TN Laser, but a lot bigger, two porches and entries and also could fit two if necessary.

  6. Hi Hendrik, I've looked at the Scarp but I'm not sure to be honest. I didn't like the end struts on the Laser and there were only 2 of them and the Fly sit pretty high up from the ground. I was actually more drwn to the Rainbow/Double Rainbow (similar to a Phreeranger but single Skin) or the Contrail.

    I bought a used a Spacepacker recently as a winter tent, about 1.8kg with plenty of porch space/door option for solo use, in fact it is in fact a 2 man tent.

  7. this is great - a really good ethos and a counter to all the "all the gear and no idea" mob.