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Clothing and other gear: Buy good quality once, or mediocre quality more often?


Scodischarge
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Hi everybody!

As you'll probably have to "endure" many more questions of mine over the next couple of months, I'll add a quick introduction before getting to the question at hand (copy / pasted from the Meet & Greet Forum): My name is Alex, I'm an 18 year old guy from Germany, lived in Zambia 'til 2011 - we can blame my wanderlust on that :) When I had to face the question of what I'd do after school, I stumbled across Christopher Schacht's book "Around The World On 50 Bucks" -- and a long period of thinking, praying and talking later, I decided to follow his example. So starting in June of next year (2022), I'm going to start from home with 50 Euro and travel around the world without plane or plan.

And now it's getting serious with the first travel preparations. One concrete question I'm currently thinking about is: quality or quantity? Meaning, does it pay off to invest in good (and accordingly pricey) clothes, shoes etc. at the beginning of the journey, or is it more sensible to buy mediocre equipment that'll have to be replaced more often? If it makes a difference which piece of equipment / clothing we're talking about, I'd be glad if you could specify in your anser.

Thanks in advance for your help!
All the best,
Alex

 

Edit cause it's missing in the introduction: I'll be travelling mostly by hitchhiking and sleeping in a tent/hammock where it's safe to. Duration of the journey is thought to be ~5 year.

Edited by Scodischarge
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Michael aka Mac

Hi again Alex,

Long story short, I have spent a fortune over my lifetime buying gear to replace my other gear of heavier weight and lesser quality.  If only I bought the best in the beginning I would have a lot more money now.

The 1st thing when preparing for a long journey like yours one focuses on carrying the lightest equipment one can get. Your backpack base weight ( that is all your gear minus fuel, food, and water) should be 10 % of your total body weight.

Because you are planning on doing this trip with only 50 Euros on you, fuel is gonna be an issue.  I suggest getting a ultralight collapsible or folding wood burning stove, that has the option of also using an alcohol burner. This would mean that the material used for the stove is titanium.

Due to knife laws  I think carrying a Swiss Champ Swiss Army knife would be your best edc knife to carry.  You are also going to want to buy a water purification device that can last through hundreds of gallons of use.

An ultralightweight tent is a great option and so are hammocks but the issue lies  in the winter time as hammocks you would freeze your A$$ off, and the tent probably will not be that much better.  Not to mention you don't want cheap versions of these as nothing is worse then having your tent or hammock break when in bad weather.

The winter months by far will be the trickiest. Prior to going out on your trip you are going to want to spend a few days in your tent in cold winter weather to test your survivability in it, cause once you are out in the world, you don't want to end of dying from hyperthermia. Also another obstacle is going to be weight of your pack. Since this will be year round, a multi layered sleeping bag system will be needed so that you have a bag for all the 4 seasons.  So your sleeping bag will probably be the heaviest piece of gear that you will be carrying. Military surplus is probably the best route to go for this bag.

You are going to need to carry water with you,  and usually one would suggest using a hydration pack.  Not sure if this is the best route for you as cheaper ones tend to leak, but  bringing a canteen as a backup may solve this.

Oh and definitely buy the SaS hand size survival handbook. which fits in the palm of your hand. I suggest reading the book from cover to cover prior to leaving and bringing this book as a backup/refresher.

You are going to want to use an internal frame backpack Jansport has affordable versions of these, and buy the pack after you buy your gear so that you can fit all your gear into the pack.

You want to bring with you a GPS, compass and map too, along with your medical insurance card/info.

I also strongly advice you to read a lot of the forum posts  as  If you had  you would have come across my thread for 1st time campers which answers a lot of your questions

https://www.trailgroove.com/forums/topic/5604-1st-time-campers-camping-equipment-checklist-and-some-helpful-tips-tricks/?tab=comments#comment-15118

mediocre equipment is just that. They don't last very long, break down easily, and in the end  will just be a drain on your finances having to replace them. You want something that you can depend on with your life not something that puts your life in jeopardy. 

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Scodischarge
Posted (edited)

Hi Michael,

Thank you for this very detailed list of gear, as well as for repeating some guidelines I hadn't yet internalized. Thanks also for linking your previous post; I'll be sure to do my research before asking my next questions.

I want to quickly reach back to our other conversation: Even if you may not think going on this journey is a good idea, you respect that it's my decision and even help me with my preparations. Thank you for that.

Edited by Scodischarge
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Michael aka Mac

I posted on your original post today and not on this one, see your original post at Trailgroove for my update.  And Alex,  you are very welcome. I am trying to ensure that you survive your trip, and start your trip fully prepared. A majority of your questions will be after you read my new post on your other listing and specifically after you buy and try out the gear I am suggesting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You're traveling, assumed under  a wide diversity of conditions,  so quantity of gear is not the approach I'd rec. Instead I'd prioritize low to mid cost apparel and gear that addresses a diversity of conditions. For example a free standing tent is more diverse than a hammock. Where I would be willing to spend more money is on my sleep system and dialing in my footwear as you'll be spending most if not all your time in one of these. I would not prioritize UL wt gear over other metrics like reliability, purchase cost, diversity of usage and durability striking  a balance. Don't be stupid light! Wt 8is one thing and volume of gear is another. A quilt can be more diverse than a bag. Bags and quilts can easily have 15 yr+ usable life spans.

Depending on how you organize your hikes and travel your bag or quilt may not be the heaviest thing you carry. The heaviest thing you can wind up carrying are conumables like food at 2lbs day and H2O.

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