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Budget Backpacking Gear: Cheap 10 lb Ultralight Kit [Sub $500]

Quality backpacking gear has a reputation for being pricy, but I’m here to show you that it’s entirely possible to put together an affordable ultralight setup on a $500 budget.

That’s right; you can get your hands on a brand new backpacking gear kit with a 10-pound base weight without having to max out your credit card.

I’ve spent over $3,200 on my current ultralight setup, so I know how expensive backpacking can be. Many of my readers have seen this kit and asked for more affordable recommendations. I can’t blame them, after all, because the gear on my backpacking list isn’t exactly cheap.

So, I scoured the internet for the best budget gear, tested a bunch of it in the field, and asked fellow backpackers for their favorite affordable recommendations. This article is the result of all my tedious research and gear nerdery.

Every piece of gear I recommend in this post is well-reviewed, widely-used in the backpacking community, and will help get you into the backcountry for a sliver of what you might pay otherwise.

Let’s dive in. It’s time to save some money.

BUDGET BACKPACKING GEAR:
TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Backpack & Sleeping System
2. Carried Clothing
3. Cooking System
4. Water Filtration & Storage
5. Electronics/Technology
6. Miscellaneous Items
7. First Aid Kit & Toiletries
8. What About Worn Items/Consumables?
9. Budget Backpacking Advice
10. Final Word: Budget Backpacking Gear
11. More Backpacking Resources

Explore the complete list with other tips & tricks written by Noel Krasmil here.

LAST UPDATED

May 6, 2022

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The Packable Life

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Hello, world. I’m Noel Krasomil, the guy behind The Packable Life. I’m a trail-seeking, deal-finding, street food-devouring, blog-obsessed 30-something from Colorado, U.S.A. I have been a full-time travel writer for over a year, with no end in sight.

I created The Packable Life to inspire others to travel, hike, and blog with purpose — to grow stronger, more focused, and more inspired every day on the road. I want to challenge you to pack lighter, travel longer, hike farther, and blog smarter.

MEDIA MENTIONS

My only complaint is that eventually, backflushing won’t be enough. These can clog up after some time and no amount of back flushing will fix its low flow. I went through 2 on the AT. However, it will attach to Smart Water Bottles and most bladders!

Anna Hamrick

MEDIA MENTIONS

Built for backcountry reliability and portability, the Sawyer Squeeze filter is our pick for the best portable water purifier.

Pete Ortiz
Writer

MEDIA MENTIONS

The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
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