If I were a rich man...

posted Oct 23, 2012, 10:08 AM by Paul Wagner
There have been some interesting conversations on the internet over the past few days about the best equipment for backpacking, and we thought we'd share some of the discussion here.
 
It all began with that old question:  If you had all the money in the world, what would your backpacking equipment look like? And you might expect that the answers would be full of super lightweight, space-age material products that cost a fortune-and-a-half: the stuffbags of dreams. Our packs resting at 10,000+ feet.
 
You would be wrong.
 
Most of the veteran backpackers had very similar answers: "I've tried a lot of different things over the years, and I am pretty happy with what I have."
 
That works for us, too.  We hiked for years with pretty basic equipment.  At one point our entire packing list cost us less than $500 for the two of us--and that included a $60 water filter, a $70 bear can, and a $50 stove. Of course, we  offset those with clothes from thrift shops, a homemade tent, and bargain backpacks and sleeping bags.  The packs were Eureka 3900s, and cost us under $50 apiece from a box store.  And the sleeping bags were ExtremePaks that we bought on-line for under $75 each.  They've kept us warm down to about freezing.
Dining with a view
We've upgraded over the years.  The packs are now a pound lighter, as we paid $75 each for Go-Lite 50s.  They're on the rocks above.  And the sleeping bags now weigh less, thanks to our REI Sub-Kilos that we bought on close-out for $170 each.  We love the bags, and we are getting used to the fewer pockets on our lighter packs.  The cost for our current outfit is about $750 for both of us. 
 
But we still have that homemade tent, water filter, stove, and BearVault.  And we don't see any reason to change.  So if we had all the money in the world...
 
We would probably just quit our jobs, so that we could backpack more. 
 
With the same equipment we already have.   This view from our dining room in Kings Canyon? 
Priceless.
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