Oh dear what have I done? (UL camping here I come)

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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,085
1,208
Berlin
@fingertrouble

Your Lixada mug is surely as good as a Tomshoo mug. Perhaps it even comes from the same factory.

The titanium stuff becomes cheaper and cheaper and gets more and more labels printed onto it. I doubt that one Chinese factory copies exactly the products of the other. I think if the pots look identical they are made by the same persons on the same tool. Afterwards they get different labels and are sold for different prices.

It is of course sensible to read old threads. But we all discover new things and read new reviews, some of us try out the new items. And who works intensively in this "material science" sometimes finds new even more interesting things. I for example nowadays recommend to try out the stainless steel version of my own mug that's sold by Lixada, especially because it's a bit cheaper but also because you surely don't need to stir so often if you cook in it. It costs a quarter of my own Toaks mug, that was the first in this design and was offered a few years ago. The stainless steel mug is a bit heavier though, but you can save the weight somewhere else if you invest the saved money somewhere else.

This forum here has a lot of academic members, and most of them are no students anymore. A lot of them earn very well. And if a well earning man asks me about a double wall one man tent my answer is usually "Hilleberg Akto".

I bought the Hilleberg Nallo 2 when I was a student, and more than 25 years later it looks like new.
But my last purchase was a used German army poncho (of course not my first one) that I indeed plan to use as a shelter for recreational use, and that also looks like new after 30 years in military service.
I bought it for 25 € although I own a much lighter and new slightly more expensive current Italian army poncho and although my Hilleberg tent costs nowadays - with the additional footprint that I own as well - exactly 1000 €.

I have a rucksack that I bought as a student for the same price like the tent. But I usually use a German army surplus rucksack that I bought for 30 €.

Horses for courses!

And if somebody asks me now about a lightweight low budget equipment I will of course not recommend him the most expensive equipment on the world market!
I would tell him how to pack a light rucksack with the most durable stuff that he can get pretty cheap.

A good deal you make if you buy now something that will last you for decades. Such equipment exists and it is very often very affordable.

It's usually olive green or has a camouflage pattern printed onto it and on a little label that's sewn onto or into it you usually find a NATO stock number, and if not, you find the NSN's on the makers site.
 

Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
863
679
42
UK
JR GEAR R5.0 Ultralight Primaloft mattress - 75D like the Exped, not as insulated as the Downmat LW but I don't need -38C, not planning to go out in the midst of winter/snow, UK doesn't get that cold, although I know ground level quite often goes to freezing temps. I know the R number here could be BS but got a good price - £22ish + VAT. Again has good reviews from people actually using it, posting pics. (Yes I am aware that Chinese sites can post fake reviews ;-)) And that inflatable mats are a risk - but that's true of the 'posh' versions too, they can all let you down, like my old Vango.
.

Let me know how that mat goes, it looks right up my street and budget!

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
@fingertrouble

Your Lixada mug is surely as good as a Tomshoo mug. Perhaps it even comes from the same factory.

The titanium stuff becomes cheaper and cheaper and gets more and more labels printed onto it. I doubt that one Chinese factory copies exactly the products of the other. I think if the pots look identical they are made by the same persons on the same tool. Afterwards they get different labels and are sold for different prices.

It is of course sensible to read old threads. But we all discover new things and read new reviews, some of us try out the new items. And who works intensively in this "material science" sometimes finds new even more interesting things. I for example nowadays recommend to try out the stainless steel version of my own mug that's sold by Lixada, especially because it's a bit cheaper but also because you surely don't need to stir so often if you cook in it. It costs a quarter of my own Toaks mug, that was the first in this design and was offered a few years ago. The stainless steel mug is a bit heavier though, but you can save the weight somewhere else if you invest the saved money somewhere else.

This forum here has a lot of academic members, and most of them are no students anymore. A lot of them earn very well. And if a well earning man asks me about a double wall one man tent my answer is usually "Hilleberg Akto".

I bought the Hilleberg Nallo 2 when I was a student, and more than 25 years later it looks like new.
But my last purchase was a used German army poncho (of course not my first one) that I indeed plan to use as a shelter for recreational use, and that also looks like new after 30 years in military service.
I bought it for 25 € although I own a much lighter and new slightly more expensive current Italian army poncho and although my Hilleberg tent costs nowadays - with the additional footprint that I own as well - exactly 1000 €.

I have a rucksack that I bought as a student for the same price like the tent. But I usually use a German army surplus rucksack that I bought for 30 €.

Horses for courses!

And if somebody asks me now about a lightweight low budget equipment I will of course not recommend him the most expensive equipment on the world market!
I would tell him how to pack a light rucksack with the most durable stuff that he can get pretty cheap.

A good deal you make if you buy now something that will last you for decades. Such equipment exists and it is very often very affordable.

It's usually olive green or has a camouflage pattern printed onto it and on a little label that's sewn onto or into it you usually find a NATO stock number, and if not, you find the NSN's on the makers site.
It's funny cos I was looking for grills for my Biolite/fire to cook sausages or bacon on...all very expensive, especially Titanium ones - and settled on a 5" £2 pizza cooking tray. Although smaller and stainless steel, it's stlll pretty light and I suspect it'll do the biz fine!
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,085
1,208
Berlin
In the German ultra light trekking community are a lot of well earning people who order cheap Chinese equipment just to try it out and afterwards sell it even cheaper. I assume that it's the same in Britain.
The stuff doesn't convince me though and I doubt that it's a good investment in the long run.
Nevertheless one could join their internet forum too. But I don't know how it's called.
 

fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
In the German ultra light trekking community are a lot of well earning people who order cheap Chinese equipment just to try it out and afterwards sell it even cheaper. I assume that it's the same in Britain.
The stuff doesn't convince me though and I doubt that it's a good investment in the long run.
Nevertheless one could join their internet forum too. But I don't know how it's called.

"Good investment in the long run" - that's the issue, I don't have money to invest. I know the expensive stuff is better. But I don't have the money.

Just after doing this, my computer died and needed £100 battery - was going to be £200+ but I did it myself. And I looked how much I spent on the first trip, and spent more than I should....so yes, I don't have the money for the 'best' sadly.

And I know it's a false economy, but what people don't get is it's this or...nothing. Lug around my heavier gear or try this and maybe it's better, maybe it isn't.

There isn't another option - even the second hand pro mats are £100-150.

People saying 'save up' don't get that now my benefit is cut (like everyone - we're losing £80 a week, so less to try and get my company up and running without going debt - which again, time is ticking) - and we're going into a fuel recession; and I need to travel now for work. In a year I won't have the money nor the company and probably will be forced to go back to looking for jobs that don't exist....it is now or never.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,214
4,561
Mid Wales
There is a lot of kit snobbery and, although I understand that quality costs, I don't believe it has to cost the huge price hikes of some well known makes. I have good but low price kit that has lasted me 25 years+

The right piece of kit is the one that meets your requirement which will always be a compromise of performance, weight, pack size, robustness, environmental impact ....

Everyone makes purchasing compromises no matter what they preach - you don't buy a Rolls Royce to drive 10 miles to the supermarket and back (well, most sane people don't).

As for the 'Chinese equipment', they build to the quality and price demands of the purchase contract - they are capable of building world-class equipment and I find the constant 'cheap Chinese rubbish' statements almost racial. I have had c**p goods from the UK, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway ... the list goes on.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,085
1,208
Berlin
Berghaus military rucksacks for example are made in China and issued to several NATO armies, the German one for example.

Nevertheless most civil outdoor equipment that comes from China is made in a bad quality, why ever. But of course there are surely exceptions.

The point is that if someone generally lives on a low budget, he isn't rich enough to try out all the bad equipment just to sort out the few exeptions.

I bought a lot of cheap lightweight eqipment during the last decade, just to test it, and payed in the end more for all that than I would have had to pay for one good civil equipment.

My personal conclusion is that to buy used military surplus equipment in the best available conditions is still the best recommendation one can give to people who want to buy a low budget equipment.
And who wants to achieve a light load simply has to shorten the packing list.

On the current market Solognac clothing is one of the rare exceptions from that rule, as it is cheap but durable. The here saved money can be invested in a good military surplus equipment, that surely will last a lifetime in civil use.
 
Last edited:

SaraR

Full Member
Mar 25, 2017
805
499
Ceredigion
"Good investment in the long run" - that's the issue, I don't have money to invest. I know the expensive stuff is better. But I don't have the money.

Just after doing this, my computer died and needed £100 battery - was going to be £200+ but I did it myself. And I looked how much I spent on the first trip, and spent more than I should....so yes, I don't have the money for the 'best' sadly.

And I know it's a false economy, but what people don't get is it's this or...nothing. Lug around my heavier gear or try this and maybe it's better, maybe it isn't.

There isn't another option - even the second hand pro mats are £100-150.

People saying 'save up' don't get that now my benefit is cut (like everyone - we're losing £80 a week, so less to try and get my company up and running without going debt - which again, time is ticking) - and we're going into a fuel recession; and I need to travel now for work. In a year I won't have the money nor the company and probably will be forced to go back to looking for jobs that don't exist....it is now or never.
I would buy the most suitable (not necessarily the "best") items I could comfortably afford, starting with the most needed or that has the biggest impact on my ability to do what I wanted to do or on pack weight. Then I'd make sure I got out and enjoyed it! That can be the hardest part when you're worrying about money and/or can't afford travelling places.

You don't need everything to be UL for your pack to lighter and more enjoyable. And, yeah, titanium cups and eating utensils are nice, but plastic often does the job just as well and is cheaper. Just use whatever you have or can pick up in your price range. If you can't lighten your load by getting lighter stuff, perhaps you can be inventive in terms of what you bring and how you use it.

I get the feeling that a lot of UL people view their gear as, not quite disposable, but something that they'll get one season's use out of and then it will need replacing. They pay a lot of money for something that will allow them to travel further, faster, with less effort and are happy, it seems, to pay that "fee" on an annual basis.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,085
1,208
Berlin
Yes, that's surely the case.
If you compare the durability of NATO equipment with ultra light trekking equipment you can call the latter disposable.

I think that's stuff for weak people who earn very well at writing desks and are unable to carry more due to their weakness that's caused by a non sporty lifestyle.

It's offered as equipment for long distance trekking but mostly bought by more or less handicapped persons.

Most cheap lightweight stuff that I bought did last perhaps 6 month in continuous use or even far less. Some of it didn't survive a single month.

If it's almost radical to call such stuff GARBAGE, well, then I am almost radical.
 
Last edited:

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,938
898
Vantaa, Finland
If I can (actually fairly easily) put a weeks summer trekking equipment and food to 15kg and about 50 l pack I would call that light weight. I know that spending enough money I can get it down to about 8-9kg. That means having no redundancy and no emergencies of any kind.

If I can't easily carry 15kg for 25km a day I had better change to another game. That might mean dropping the day's walking to 15km and just shortening the total. Age does take it's toll.
 

fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
Berghaus military rucksacks for example are made in China and issued to several NATO armies, the German one for example.

Nevertheless most civil outdoor equipment that comes from China is made in a bad quality, why ever. But of course there are surely exceptions.

The point is that if someone generally lives on a low budget, he isn't rich enough to try out all the bad equipment just to sort out the few exeptions.

I bought a lot of cheap lightweight eqipment during the last decade, just to test it, and payed in the end more for all that than I would have had to pay for one good civil equipment.

My personal conclusion is that to buy used military surplus equipment in the best available conditions is still the best recommendation one can give to people who want to buy a low budget equipment.
And who wants to achieve a light load simply has to shorten the packing list.

On the current market Solognac clothing is one of the rare exceptions from that rule, as it is cheap but durable. The here saved money can be invested in a good military surplus equipment, that surely will last a lifetime in civil use.
Wow looking at the Solognac stuff, that's a really good price.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,085
1,208
Berlin
I looked at all of the Solognac offers in Montpelier, bought most of the clothing that seemed to fit well for hiking and trekking and tested it very well over a long walking distance and several years of continuous use.

If you need something, just ask me.

I also know other bargains. Boots for example.
 
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Graywolf

Nomad
May 21, 2005
443
2
65
Whereever I lay my Hat
I didn't do that because I read the recommendations here, and they were quite often 'buy the expensive thing!' which might be great for some, but I cannot afford that. I did my research though, but am taking a risk with chinese gear (which indeed was I think a recommendation of yours, that the 'copies' of tents are cheaper). People were telling me to buy Exped Downmats. All very nice but I don't have £150 to spend on a mat, however nice it is.

And a lot of it was based on your gear recs and stuff here - I could find cheaper versions though, e.g.

Lixada 750ml Titanium Coffee Cup Mug French Press (seems basically the same as the Tomshoo) - good reviews on Aliexpress from people actually using it - £9.48 + VAT

JR GEAR R5.0 Ultralight Primaloft mattress - 75D like the Exped, not as insulated as the Downmat LW but I don't need -38C, not planning to go out in the midst of winter/snow, UK doesn't get that cold, although I know ground level quite often goes to freezing temps. I know the R number here could be BS but got a good price - £22ish + VAT. Again has good reviews from people actually using it, posting pics. (Yes I am aware that Chinese sites can post fake reviews ;-)) And that inflatable mats are a risk - but that's true of the 'posh' versions too, they can all let you down, like my old Vango.

JR GEAR Dry Bag pump -we'll see how that works, no weight for that, how heavy etc. £6.34 + VAT

4 Season T door tent from Lanshan https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32811637993.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.259c4c4db5pm8n - this was a link via a ultralight blogger who was using their indoor tents with the Gatewood Cape - cheaper than their version. I prefer a full tent tbh, I know it's a bit more weight, but really not into the Cape fashion statement! Again, seems to have good reviews from hikers, pictures etc. £117.72 + VAT and delivery, paid a few quid extra for that

Trailbuddy Trekking poles - https://www.amazon.co.uk/TrailBuddy-Trekking-Poles-Adjustable-Lightweight/dp/B07N19SSWZ - yes Aluminium, but if I am using these for the tent, I don't want them to fail, ever - to shave off some grams to have a night with a broken tent seems like self-sabotage? £30.99 inc

For the person that said 'carbon fibre is stronger' - Amazon reviews seem to refute that, all the cheaper carbon ones have a decent amount of negative reviews where they shatter or break. And as someone who did engineering stuff upto A level and an engineer father, pretty sure I know why. Carbon fibre is great at downward force (or however the fibres are aligned, a bit like dendrites in steel, that is where the strength lies), but terrible at torsion/sideward forces, you probably could snap them quite easily over your knee. It's just the nature of the material, it's very strong and does flex a little but the fibres that give it strength one way also mean weakness in another. Nothing like a free lunch in material technology!

See also carbon-steel, heat-treated-steel, pig iron and even cast iron - very hard, but drop it, it shatters. It's about where the forces are expected and designed for, and carbon trekking poles expect a downward force, but stumble with them and most likely *snap*!

I'm sure the Black Diamond Z's are less likely to snap, but again, don't have £150+ to spend on poles.

Oh I forgot - Duck Max 1.5mil https://www.amazon.co.uk/Duck-Strength-Insulating-3-Window-284351/dp/B015PY2BY8/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=duck+max+strength+window+kit&qid=1631409293&sr=8-1&th=1 £16 inc, big enough to do several tents

As I said below, just to protect the tent/double seal, the tent inner is already 'sealed' so the groundsheet is more just extra protection from stones etc.
I have the said same mat JR GEAR R5.0 , terrific and have had no problems , the air bag is also a god send , saves all that huffing and puffing . So impressed , I am actually going to get the R3.0 version as well at some time .
I also have a Lanshan 1 but the pro version .
 
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fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
I have the said same mat JR GEAR R5.0 , terrific and have had no problems , the air bag is also a god send , saves all that huffing and puffing . So impressed , I am actually going to get the R3.0 version as well at some time .
I also have a Lanshan 1 but the pro version .
Good to hear - waiting on the mat but the tent arrived yesterday, 10 days as promised (weirdly came via/from Bahrain?) so I headed to a local park to put it up (we have a tiny shared garden but it's paved). It was really light, and they sent me a few freebies - some extra straps and a thin bungee cord.

It was a bit of a headscratch as no instructions and the first time putting up a tent of this type, still a few bits I don't know (what is the plastic clip and bungee on the end of the front guy for? Does your tent have that? Looks like it's meant to clip back onto the guy somehow).

Also felt like there should have been another peg or somewhere for the bungee cords on the front under the zip to hook? The front guy was too long, I thought that might be where you hook them, or maybe it's just when you have the front open, you hook them on the side pegs? I would like more tension in the front fly, maybe worth getting some spare pegs.




What was a surprise is when I used flash - the guy ropes and some bits on the tent lit up like Blackpool - the guy ropes are the common fluoro (my old tent didn't have those) but obviously have some reflective stuff in them.

This will help as I've had issues with people kicking out my guy ropes before - on bigger tents with a frame this is less of an issue, but of course this tent will collapse most likely. That's only if people actually use a torch (amount of times drunken d*cks who did that last time was depressing, or kids running around and not looking - hence why I might get some spare pegs just in case).

And you can see the Duck Max DIY sheet underneath. Actually only made one from the pack, and actually this is bigger than I need, but I thought it better to be bigger and then fold it back than too small. The plastic feels quite thin at even at 1.5mm but I suspect it's quite strong, the tent already has a inner, so it's actually just for extra protection.

Overall very happy; I fit in the tent fine, it's a little claustrophobic on my back but actually I am a side sleeper (hence why a good inflatable mat is important, I cannot sleep on my back and breathe - self-inflatable mats like Vango unless really big my hips dig into the ground) so I won't be looking up at the tent anyway. And the tent isn't for staying in for long periods, it's for sleeping when it's dark.
 
Last edited:

Van-Wild

Full Member
Feb 17, 2018
863
679
42
UK
I have the said same mat JR GEAR R5.0 , terrific and have had no problems , the air bag is also a god send , saves all that huffing and puffing . So impressed , I am actually going to get the R3.0 version as well at some time .
I also have a Lanshan 1 but the pro version .
Would you say it's robust enough or does it require some gentle handling?

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
3,085
1,208
Berlin
I think you need to seal the seams.

Pay attention that you don't put polyurethane glew onto siliconised nylon!

If it's silnylon you need silnylon seam sealer.

You nowadays find for every tent a video that shows how to set it up correctly.
(And as well a few that show how it doesn't work properly.)
 
Last edited:

nigelp

Full Member
I think you need to seal the seams.

Pay attention that you don't put polyurethane glew onto siliconised nylon!

If it's silnylon you need silnylon seam sealer.

You nowadays find for every tent a video that shows how to set it up correctly.
(And as well a few that show how it doesn't work properly.)
Mix silicon sealant with white spirit and paint it on with a small ‘artist’ brush.
 

fingertrouble

Tenderfoot
Sep 6, 2021
64
43
48
London, UK
I think you need to seal the seams.

Pay attention that you don't put polyurethane glew onto siliconised nylon!

If it's silnylon you need silnylon seam sealer.

You nowadays find for every tent a video that shows how to set it up correctly.
(And as well a few that show how it doesn't work properly.)
I wasn't sure if that was already done; some of the comments of this seller say their tents already had it.

And yes, I think the pole was too low, but I didn't want to re-adjust the guy ropes.
 

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