Thru Hiker’s Budget Gear List: $970, 9.4lbs

People often think that hiking has to be expensive. You can definitely spend a lot, but there are genuine options out there that work extremely well for minimal investment.

This list is Thru Hiking worthy, and I would be happy to stand at the southern terminus of the PCT with everything on this list. There are other pieces of gear out there that are cheaper, but I have only included high quality items that I would use.

I decided to develop this article as I have seen other budget gear suggestions that are either not feasible or blatantly unsafe (e.g. including a cheap tent that will either leak, or just break in a storm).  To counteract giving misleading advice, I developed a core outlines that I used for this gear list (and price was not even in the top 3 considerations):

  1. No sacrifice to quality or usability
  2. Value for money
  3. Items that I would use
  4. Price
  5. Weight
  6. Packability

Note: This is the companion to The Ultimate 9 lb Gear List. There is also My 6 lb Gear List, that I take on the trail  and its companion Ultralight Budget Gear List.

Overview:

Weight (lbs) Weight (kg) Cost (US$)
Backpack 2.3 1.1 $237.00
Shelter 1.8 0.8 $240.00
Sleep System 1.8 0.8 $230.00
Clothing in Pack 1.3 0.6 $89.00
Cooking Equipment 0.5 0.2 $81.00
Water Treatment / Storage 0.3 0.1 $17.00
Electronics 1.0 0.5 $59.00
Random / First Aid 0.3 0.2 $16.50
Total 9.4 4.2 $969.50

Backpack:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Backpack ULA Circuit Full Frame, extremely comfortable, stripped back 36 1008 $235
Alternative Gossamer Gear Gorilla $215
Waterproof Liner Trash Compactor Use as an internal bag liner 1.5 42 $2
37.5 1050 $237

Shelter System:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Shelter TarpTent Protrail Best value on the market, Long and skinny 26 728 $225
Stakes 4 Groundhog tent peg + 2 titanium shepard hook Bigger stakes for 4 corners and smaller stakes for the others 2.7 76 $15
28.7 804 $240

Sleeping System:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Sleeping Bag UGQ Bandit 20F / -6C, 800 Fill Quilt 18.8 526 $200
Sleeping Pad Thermarest Zlite, 3/4 length Resonably comfortable foam pad 10 280 $30
Alternative Gossamer Gear 1/8in foam pad Extremely lightweight $18
28.8 806 $230

Clothing System:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Rain Jacket Frogg Toggs Ultra Lite 2 Cheap, dispoable and most breathable in its weight clase 6 168 $20
Warm Jacket Generic Microfleece Find one on discount 7.5 210 $25
Wind Pants Dance Nylon Warm Up Pants Really useful to keep warm when moving, great for laundry cloths 3 84 $18
Gloves Generic fleece Can be found online for cheap 1.5 42 $10
Head Generic fleece beanie Can be found online for cheap 1 28 $10
Socks Synthetic Runner Second Pair 1.5 42 $5
Bandana Use under hat to block sun, use as a drying towel 1 28 $1
21.5 602 $89

Cooking System:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Stove Trail Designs Caldera Cone Alcohol 3.1 86 $40
Pot Toaks Titanium 750ml 3.6 101 $35
Spoon Lexan Spoon As durable as titanim at a fraction of the price 0.5 14 $1
Food bag Stuff Sack Heavy Plastic Bag 1 28 $0
Knife Westcott 1.5 inch Titanium Sissors Basic, all you really need 0.5 14 $5
8.7 243 $81

Water Treatment & Storage:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Water Treatment Aqua Mira Chemical Treatment 3 84 $15
Alternative
Water Storage Smartwater 2 total 1.3 37 $2
4.3 121 $17

Electronics:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Phone What you already have 6 175
Battery Pack Aniker 10,000MA 7.1 200 $30
Charger Look for 2 Amps 1.4 39 $5
Cables 1/2ft or 1ft 0.3 8 $4
Headlight Pezel e-Lite Extremely light and compact, only good for emergancy night hiking 1 28 $20
15.8 451 $59

Miscellaneous:

Item Comments Wt (oz) Wt (g) Cost (USD)
Wallet ZipLock Freezer Waterproof, reasonably durable 0.3 8 $1
ID and Cash ID and Cash 0.5 14
Tooth Brush Chopped down for convenient storage 0.2 6 $1
Tooth Paste 1oz travel size 1 28 $1
Sunscreen 1oz travel size 1 28 $1
Insect Repellent Ben’s 100% Deet, 1oz travel size 1 28 $3
First Aid 10 x Ibuprofen, tenasious tape, sports tape, needle, floss in a hard plastic case 1.5 45 $10
5.5 157 $17