Posted by: davepidgeon | January 23, 2009

Lightweight: Cost prohibitive?

 

Are lightweight tents worth the cost?

Are lightweight tents worth the cost?

I ordered a new single-person tent, and I’ll reveal my choice in a later post, but I’m going to shock backpackers reading this when I say: I avoided the allure of purchasing a lightweight tent.

What?! Blasphemous! In today’s modern hiking world, how could you be so asinine?

I support efforts to make backpacking gear more lightweight, which eases stress on our backs and joints and saves pack space. Some of this stuff is simply awesome in its design and function. But there are some setbacks, which I considered strongly before I purchased  a new tent:

  • Price
  • Durability

New lightweight tents can go for $300, even $400, and in this economy and on my budget, those amounts were simply too high. I have a wedding, a honeymoon and several trips planned for 2009, and I need to pour as many pennies into the coin jar as a I can. If I was a CEO with more expendable cash, I would have a much different mindset.

Also, the sacrifice you make in buying lightweight materials is they simply don’t last as long as more traditional materials. That’s to be expected. Thinner materials, more mesh, more likely to wear out faster. But if I’m going to drop several hundred dollars on a tent, I want it to last.

Let’s also consider cost verses weight. If you drop $150 extra on a tent that weighs 2.5 pounds against another that weighs 3.5 pounds, is that one pound worth the cost? If it is, I say go for it and buy the lighter tent. But if it’s not, don’t feel like you’re making a bad decision by going with the 3.5 pound tent.

 

I really dig the advances in lightweight backpacking gear, and if you’re into that, I say go for it. But for backpackers like me, we have to consider budgets as much as saving our joints while out there on the trail. And I think I found the perfect fit. More on that later.

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