Its been about 5 months since my last ultralight budget gear was launched and over time I have found and replaced gear with some lighter and more efficient choices.
Today I'm going to cover the best budget hiking loadout for ultralight backpacking which will cover each item here and what the approximate cost would be at the end of the day to acquire them all, along with a LighterPack list that you can reference back to if you need it.
Most in the thru-hiking world online should know about LighterPack as a website that allows you to add your gear and weight to manage the overall performance metrics that matter to most of us.
When I make a list like these I will always link out to their site as it gives you a way to see the overall gear list and associated weights.
The goal for this is to have a tent that is under 3 pounds that is able to provide enough room for a hiker to take on a week-long hike at a minimum.
When you are trying to find tents in the budget area you will more than likely be sil-nylon and around the 2.5-3 pound range and about $150-$200, to drop lower will increase weight dramatically.
The 3F UL Lanshan 2P ultralight tent is my choice for a budget tent that provides you ample space to live from on the trail while coming in under 3 pounds. This is a crowd favorite overall online with hikers who don't have the income for a Big Agnes, HMG, or Zpacks tent.
The Naturehike Cloud-Up is our choice as a runner up where it may win for many people is that it comes with poles and will not require trekking poles so it is a freestanding tent.
The only issue with the Naturehike is that it is 3.5 pounds so it is a little heavy but for its benefits is a good choice on a budget.
When it comes to an ultralight budget sleep system you need to look at the best warmth to weight ratio available at a good mix in price.
What I did was pair a solid ultralight quilt and a nice R-Value sleeping pad which should work for 3 seasons.
What else can you say about a sleeping bag which is rated for mid temperatures and temps into the 40s for under $100? There aren't many I have found with a decent ultralightweight along with budget pricing!
With a quilt that can take you down to 30 degrees, the Paria is a perfect fit for a budget gear loadout that can take a 3 season hike. Definitely a nice purchase for someone looking to give quilts a chance, those who like me are overly fidgety.
The Paria Recharge UL has an awesome R-Value of 3.5 while being very lightweight and this helps to keep it small and easy to carry while at the same time keeping you warm.
This pad is easy to fill and very comfortable in my hikes and I can't argue at the cost to performance value which is pretty awesome! This pad features an awesome R-Value of 4.4 which will help you through the colder nights.
When you want to look at ultralight backpacking while staying in a budget mindset you will need to know your backpack will be at least 2.5 pounds in most cases or much heavier.
This is due to them not being made with dyneema or other similar super lightweight materials.
This is the first backpack I purchased and it has been a strong and adaptable backpack for me starting to gear out and to move myself slowly over time to ultralight, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good simple backpack.
This would be my winner but it has to shop from China which means it takes a month to two to receive it. This is actually my current backpack (blue) and I love having a more lightweight backpack and this comes in at just under 2lbs at 1.87!
When looking into clothing this becomes very personal choice but these are the options I chose due to their lightweight and durability along with not being a name brand like Nike, Under Armour, and others so the prices are dramatically lower.
I have used TSLA gear for work for quite a long time as it is inexpensive and works just as well as the name brands. If you cant tell I love Tron and these are a very awesome replica look that I rock on the trail!
These are loved by many on the big 3 for thru-hiking, they are durable and are perfectly built for long-distance hiking. Along with their ability to combat smell and the fight off the grossness of your hike I wouldn't go anywhere without them.
The Altras of all models they make win hands down, I love the Lone Peak 4 and I would recommend them for anyone looking for good shoes with a quality toe box and long term durability.
There is a lot of miscellaneous specific gear within the Equipment section that shouldn't need too much explanation as to the purpose and need. I did want to ensure a call out to the trekking poles and water filtration as there are many options available.
I chose Foxelli Trekking Poles due to reading reviews from others from multiple sources and they were all very positive.
I can say that in the 4 months I have used them I am very pleased with their performance and that I can't stress how much you want to get a pair that have cork handles to keep your hands less sweaty and gross.
There is only one big player that has lived up to expectations of all the thru-hikers I read and watched videos on. This is the Sawyer Squeeze, not the mini or other models.
At first I didn't get why you would want the heavier option but over time I moved over to the Squeeze as it moves water much faster and the time savings is better than a slight weight win.
I am a large proponent of cold-soaking foods while on the trail and having warm foods when in a town. I did want to provide some seriously nice options which will help you if you would like to eat warm foods for your meals.
BRS has a little powerhouse of a stove called the BRS-3000T Ultra-Light Titanium Alloy Stove for a hiker who loves hot food this is a no brainer as it adds almost zero weight to your pack.
Toaks makes some super nice quality, light, and inexpensive gear like the TOAKS Titanium Ultralight Spork which is perfect for long distance thru-hiking.
If you like to cold soak then I would suggest either getting a screw top container like the Vargo BOT - 700 or similar where it is an increased cost but in weight savings and utilization will pay for itself.
You should keep a decently stocked first aid kit but not overly filled with questionable use items. Definitely good to have some bandaids, leukotape and similar items in the kit.
What you need in today's world is a portable wall charger that can charge things super fast along with a quality size and weight battery to recharge on the trail.
Since we derive so much functionality from our phones this is now on my "have to" list for my gear load out.
I am a firm believer in the quality of Anker products and this Anker Elite Dual Port 24W Wall Charger is a super-fast charger.
Since you will only have limited time in the hotel or wherever you find the power you want as much juice added to your phone and battery pack as you can achieve.
This charger is able to charge 2 devices fast and efficiently to maximize the value of your stop.
While on the trail you won't have access to power outlets to recharge your devices and while running your phone for map apps like Gut Hooks and music you may use more than you want to.
If you want to VLOG and Blog your trip then you may want to carry the extra weight to have a quality camera and some video recording ability.
You can get away with using just your phone in many cases but you will want to watch the battery life use as many will use this for the Gut Hooks app and music or audio.
For a camera and short videos there are many cameras which will fit the bill, what I have purchased was a Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera and stock lenses for now.
As for video recording, I went with the GoPro HERO7 Black with the additional battery which allows me to record a nice chunk of video with normal charging between resupply points. Also can be charged via USB so welcome Anker battery!
The approximate cost of our list on the best budget hiking loadout for 2019 listed above, if you need to purchase everything, will come in around $5-700 depending on the extras like the battery and charger.
Most of the gear is perfectly suitable to a thru-hike for most during the normal non-winter months, some things though may need to be changed out if you will be in the snow or run colder in temperature.
This list will ensure you get quality gear setup for ultralight hiking on a super legit budget approach. From this setup of gear, you can start to add on more expensive lighter weight gear as you move towards hiking more often.
I love hiking and would love to hear if this list has helped you gear up, please let me know in the comments if these style posts help you make decisions and I will continue to make them as new and exciting gear choices become available in the budget realm.