What is the Best Budget Hiking Loadout for Hiking in 2021

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 […]
Last Updated: 2 months ago
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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.

Our Best Budget Hiking Loadout

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.

Ultralight Budget Tent

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.

Best Choice - 3F UL Lanshan 2P

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.

3F UL GEAR lanshan 2 Tent 2 Person Oudoor Ultralight Camping Tent 3 Season Professional 15D Silnylon Rodless Tent 4 Season (2P Gray 3 Season)
  • Flysheet: 15D Nylon (Waterproof Index 5000mm),one-side silicon coated fabric with weight of 584g.
  • Inner tent: 20D Nylon high density mesh with weight of 480g.
  • Inner size: 210*110*120cm (L*W*H)
  • Bottom of Tent: 20D Nylon (Waterproof Index 8000mm)
  • Weight: 1155 grams

Runner Up - Naturehike Cloud-Up 2P

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.

Naturehike Cloud-Up 1, 2 and 3 Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent with Footprint - 20D 3 Season Free Standing Dome Camping Hiking Waterproof Backpack Tents
  • ➤BEST QUALITY on AMAZON -- [Inner tent] made with anti-scratch 20D nylon, comfortable & breathable; [Rainfly] made by 20D rip-stop nylon and silicone coated features PU4000mm water-resistant & UV 50+ sun protection guarantee; [Tent poles] made with 7001 space aluminum, lightweight and can supports most heavily wind rain and , high-tenacity ripstop nylon with Durashield polyurethane coating keep away moisture.DAC 7001 aluminum poles supports over 8 grade of strong wind and heavyly rain&snow.
  • WATERPROOF: 20D nylon rain fly & bathtub with PU 4000 coating is better in waterproof and firmer than you expected. Weatherproof material with factory-sealed seams keeps you dry and comfortable in all season&all weather conditions!
  • ➤EASY to SET UP -- Quick and easy to set up, it takes less than 5 minutes to set up the tent with double flysheets. Packs down small and comes with an ultra-compact compression bags so you can carry it easily in backpacking camping trips or take it to anywhere. It makes camping easier and more enjoyable. NO CONFUSING AT ALL.
  • ➤3 SEASONS with 1 TENT -- It has double layers can be used for many ways of camping: inner and outer tent superpose together as a waterproof and windproof tent can be used in rainy weather winter; only use inner layer alone as a ventilated tent in spring summer autumn. Perfect for hiking climbing in spring summer autumn, will keep you warm and dry even in the strongest wind, most heavily rain, ,or the hotest sun burn. This is a ANY-TIME ANY-PLACE TENT.
  • ➤SAVE WEIGHT & SPACE -- Designs for backpacking adventures, Naturehike Cloud-up 2 person tent weights only about 3.75 lbs, folds up to super compact size, lightweight and compact for your most free mind of weight and size.Put it in your backpack and camp as far you can now.

Ultralight Budget Sleep System

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.

Best Choice - Naturehike Ultralight 800FP Goose Down Sleeping Bag

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!

Naturehike Ultralight Goose Down Sleeping Bag - 800 Fill Power Ultra Compact - Best Down-Filled Lightweight Envelope Sleep Bags for Backpacking Hiking Camping (Dark Blue)
  • HIGH QUALITY MADE -- Made with high quality 15D/400T nylon material, strong comfortable & water proof. Filled by high quality 800 fill power pure white goose down. Zippers: YKK.
  • LIGHWEIGHT DOWN SLEEPING BAG -- Weight only 1.28lbs(regular)/1.74lbs(extra large). If you think your sleeping bag is too large or too heavy on your backpacking adventures, you will not be disappointed to take a try. Design to save space & weight of your backpack.
  • ULTRA COMPACT --This sleeping bag has 2 size: Regular(74.80"L X 28.35"W)/Extra Large(78.74"L X 31.50"W); Both can be compressed to carry bag, size only 4.5 inches dia x 10 inches length, small enough to fit into backpack, easy to carry.
  • WARM ENOUGH -- Naturehike choose the 800 fill power white goose-down, lightweight but warm enough. Recommend sleep zone: Regular(42.8℉ to 51.8℉)/Extra Large(32℉ to 42.8℉).
  • MULTI USE -- This is not only a high quality goose down sleeping bag, when unzip it, it can also be used as a perfect large power down blanket or mat for indoor outdoor use. If you would like to sleep together with your lover, 2 sleeping bags can be jointed together as a two person sleeping bag.

Runner Up - Paria Ultralight Quilt

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.

Thermodown 30 Degree Down Sleeping Quilt - Ultralight 3 Season Quilt - Perfect for Backcountry Camping, Backpacking and Hammocks (Regular)
  • ►WARM - Stay toasty warm due to the large baffled construction and 16 oz. of high loft 700-fill power down (17 oz. for Long size) which provides a temperature rating down to 30F (0C).
  • ►LIGHTWEIGHT - No need to compromise on size and weight. The quilt comes in at only 2 lb. 1 oz. (2 lb. 3 oz. for the Long size) and the included compression sack cinches down to just 9 x 6.5 inches. Use the included sleeping pad strap to secure your quilt to an insulated sleeping pad for a lightweight and compact sleeping system.
  • ►DURABLE - The light, but durable, 20D ripstop nylon fabrics will ensure that the quilt performs for countless adventures.
  • ►VERSATILE - Our quilts offer incredible versatility that is unmatched by traditional sleeping bags. Open up the quilt for warm weather or close it up completely on those cool nights. Since they're so easy to adjust, they're also perfect for hammocks.
  • ►LIFETIME WARRANTY - We're a US-based company that offers a lifetime warranty on all of our gear. If you have any problems with your quilt, let us know and we'll do our best to help!

Best Choice - Paria Recharge UL Sleeping Pad

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.

Paria Outdoor Products Recharge Sleeping Pad - Ultralight, Insulated Air Pad - Perfect for Backpacking and Camping (Recharge UL)
  • ►COMFORTABLE - Say goodbye to sleepless nights on your next backpacking trip! Narrower horizontal baffles, a 72 x 20 inch sleeping surface, and 2.5 inches of thickness create an incredibly comfortable sleeping surface that will rival your bed at home. A large two-way flat valve, with a built-in flap to prevent air escaping when inflating, makes inflation and deflation a breeze (especially when using the optional pump sack).
  • ►WARM - We've stuffed our pad full of high-loft synthetic micro-fiber insulation, providing a true 3-season pad with an estimated R-value of 3.5. You'll stay nice and warm during those early spring and late season trips.
  • ►LIGHTWEIGHT - No need to compromise on size and weight in your pack! The pad comes in at only 20 oz. and easily packs down to just 7 x 4 inches in the included stuff sack.
  • ►DURABLE - High strength 40D diamond ripstop nylon and TPU lamination technology provide ultimate durability and ruggedness to survive countless adventures. In addition, a repair kit is included.
  • ►BUY WITH CONFIDENCE - We stand behind our products and offer a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. Sleep easy knowing that we've got your back!


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.

Klymit Insulated Static V Sleeping Pad, Orange/Char Black
  • 4 SEASON BACKCOUNTRY CAMPING PAD: Lightweight insulated air mattress with Klymalite insulation to keep you warm when its cold out; R-Value of 4.4
  • SLEEP COMFORTABLY ALL NIGHT LONG: Features an innovative v-chamber design and synthetic insulation which limits air movement and heat loss
  • INCREDIBLY LIGHTWEIGHT (25 Ounces) and PACKS SMALL to 5 x 8 Inches
  • INFLATED SIZE: 72 x 23 x 2.5 Inches; 10-15 breaths. Body Mapping Technology- Our patented V-shaped design delivers support and comfort no matter how you sleep – on your side, stomach or back
  • INCLUDES: Stuff Sack, Patch Kit, and, it includes a limited Lifetime Warranty

Ultralight Budget Backpack

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.

Best Choice - NEVO RHINO 45L / 50L Internal Frame Backpack

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.

N NEVO RHINO Hiking Backpack, 40L/50L/60L/70L/80L Waterproof Camping Backpacking Daypack (Blue 100L, 100L)
  • The most popular Internal-frame backpack with 40 L capacity; made of durable waterproof Nylon material; Lightweight and enough space is suitable for 2 to 3 days of backpacking,hiking or camping .

Runner Up - 3F UL GEAR Ultralight Backpack 40+16L

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!

3F UL GEAR Qi Dian Ultralight Backpack 40+16L outdoor Hiking Backpacks Lightweight Camping Pack
  • Capacity: 40+16 Liters,Dimensions: 80cm*30cn*22cm,Weight: 1.87 lb / 850 g
  • Buckle: DURAFLEX,Material: 210D Nylon,Zipper: YKK
  • Frame: you should use foam mattress as the frame! such as Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Mattress
  • Features: Waterproof, Lightweight, Durable
  • Notice! the foam mat not include!

Ultralight Budget Gear - Clothing

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.

TSLA Compression Gear

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!

TSLA Men's Compression Pants, Athletic Sports Yoga Leggings & Workout Running Tights, Cool Dry Base Layer Bottoms, Athletic(mup19) - Tron, Small
  • Alert: True to size : Please follow the size examples below*(EX: Size "Large recommended" - Size for 6" 215 lbs.) (EX: Size "Medium" 5'9"165 lbs.)
  • Men's compression pants geared for all weather and seasons (Releases heat and wicks moisture with a cool dry effect)
  • TSLA workout leggings are made out of Polyester & Spandex. Versatile Baselayer for a variety of sports such as running, yoga, baseball, basketball, soccer, football, bjj, at the gym training and most active workouts.
  • Non abrasion athletic fabric with excellent elasticity and durability
  • Performance Boosting fabric : Moisture Sensing/Quick time Dry/TWO-WAY Air Circulation.
TSLA Men's UPF 50+ Quick Dry Long Sleeve Compression Shirts, Athletic Workout Shirt, Water Sports Rash Guard, Athletic(mud11) - Tron, Large
  • Alert: True to size : Please follow the size examples below*(EX: Size "Large recommended" - Size for 6" 215 lbs.) (EX: Size "Medium" 5'9"165 lbs.)
  • Designed for all seasons (Releases heat and wicks moisture with a cooling effect)
  • Mix of Polyester & Spandex. Excellent elasticity with enhanced range of motion.
  • Non abrasion fabric material with excellent elasticity and durability
  • Moisture Sensing/Quick time Dry/TWO-WAY Air Circulation.

ExOfficio Men's Underwear

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.

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Mens Boxer Briefs Underwear 3-Pack, Medium
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FABRIC | Mesh underwear with breathable fabric that enhances airflow and keeps you cool
  • ODOR RESISTANT | Antimicrobial treatment reduces odors
  • SECURE WAISTBAND | Durable, comfortable waistband won't stretch out
  • EASY CARE | Quick to wash and dry so you only need two for any trip

Trail Runner Shoes

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.

ALTRA Men's AFM1855F Lone Peak 4.0 Trail Running Shoe, Gray/Yellow - 10 D(M) US
  • Durable mesh upper with integrated tongue
  • Improved, grippier MaxTrac rubber
  • StoneGuard resembles the skeletal structure of a foot
  • Stack Height: 25mm
  • Cushioning: Moderate

Ultralight Budget Gear - Equipment

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.

Trekking Poles

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.

Water Filtration

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.

Ultralight Budget Gear - Cook System

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 Ultralight Stove

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 Cook and Spork

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.

Ultralight Budget Gear - First Aid

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.

Ultralight Budget Gear - Electronics

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.

Fast Wall Charger

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.

High Capacity Low Weight Battery

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.

This PowerCore Lite 20000mAh Portable Charger from Anker provides 5 full charges to an Apple iPhone X or 8 charges to an Apple iPhone 8!

Optional Gear - Camera & Video

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!

Total Cost For Our Best Budget Hiking Loadout For 2019

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.

Final Thoughts on Best Budget Hiking Loadout

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.

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