This is part six in a series about my $100 Super-Ultralight Gear List. Part six, is all about clothing and the miscellaneous gear that didn't fit into other categories.
Ozark Trail from Wal-Mart | $1.00 | 0.95 oz.
Batteries from Extra Ozark Trail Headlamp | $1.00 | 0.21 oz.
I wouldn't take it spelunking or anything, but this $1 headlamp from Wal-Mart will cover most backpacker needs. I have even hiked a few miles at night with it.
I bought two headlamps and carry the extra set of batteries just in case they die mid-trip. The second headlamp is cheaper than buying the batteries separately.
I've noticed quite a difference in the brightness from one lamp to the next; nearly three times the difference, so I used a light meter app on my cell phone to find the brightest lamps on the shelf. If your phone automatically adjusts its screen brightness, it has a light sensor. Just search the app store for "light meter". There are lots of apps to choose from.
DIY Buff, from Thrift Store Material | $1.98 | Worn
Buffs are an incredibly simple and useful piece of gear. They are skull caps, neckerchiefs, sun block, balaclavas, towels, gaiters, sleep masks, pot holders, and more.
If you haven't used one, they are essentially a stretchy tube of fabric. They run about $20, which is a bit steep considering they are essentially no different than stretchy pant leg fabric. If you've been reading these posts about my $100 super-ultralight gear list, you know where this is going.
Twenty dollars doesn't fit into my $100 budget, so I bought a pair of stretchy lounge pants at a thrift store for $2 and cut off the legs to make two buffs. As ridiculous as it sounds, if you put them side by side with a Buff, I promise nobody will know the difference.
Thrift Store Fleece, Cut Into Vest| $1.98 | 5.00 oz.
Even in the summer, it can get chilly at night, at high altitude, or in windy conditions, so I don't like to go out without some kind of thermal layer. I found this fleece at a thrift store for $2. Since a vest is all I need in the summer, I cut off the sleeves to save a couple of ounces.
Dollar Store Shammy | $1.00 | 1.16 oz.
For a camp towel, I use a dollar store shammy that you can find around car wash supplies. In addition to using it as a towel, it's also great to have when drying clothes. Just put a wet article of clothing on top, roll it up, and squeeze. The shammy will pull most of the water out. To dry it the rest of the way, I use safety pins to attach the clothing to a clothesline or onto my backpack while hiking. Click here for more information on cleaning clothes in the backcountry.
For Hanging Wet Clothing on Pack or Clotheslines | $0.00 | 0.04 oz.
Back Pad Removed from Atka Backpack | $0.00 | 0.56 oz.
This could definitely be considered an unnecessary piece of gear, but I'm always glad I have it. In addition to having a softer and drier place to sit, it's also nice to have on the ground by my hammock, so I can get in and out without getting my socks wet or muddy.
DEET Spray, 1 oz (If needed) | $2.99 | Carried
Nothing will ruin a trip like a swarm of mosquitoes. If I expect bugs, I carry one of these in my pocket.
DIY Waterproof Notebook | $0.00 | Carried
Also not necessary, but I never go on a hike without a journal. Of course, any small journal will do, but I like to make my own.
If you're just starting out, you don't need to spend a ton of money on hiking clothes. Any athletic clothing will work just fine, but you'll want clothes that wick moisture and dry quickly, so avoid cotton. If you don't already have something that will work, you can find lots of options at a thrift store like the clothes above that I found for $2 each.
Shorts | Non-Cotton T-Shirt from Thrift Store | $1.98 | Worn
Shirt | Non-Cotton T-Shirt from Thrift Store | $1.98 | Worn
Socks | Use What You Have, but Non-Cotton Preferred | $0.00 | Worn
Extra Socks | $0.00 | 1.80 oz.
Underwear | Use What You Have, but Non-Cotton Preferred | $0.00 | Worn
Extra Underwear | $0.00 | 2.787 oz.
Rain Poncho (If Needed) | Frogg Togg Poncho | $4.99 | 3.99 oz.
Shoes | Start out just using what you have. Any comfortable running shoes, trainers, or tennis shoes will work fine | $0.00 | Worn
Please email any questions or comments to email@example.com. If you have an alternative idea for a super-ultralight, super-ultracheap gear list, let me know. I would love to share them in future posts.