So, here's what I have so far, most of it distinctly un-classy, un-fashionable, outdated, "undesirable," but, to me, serviceable. And much of it would have been considered ultralight high-tech just 10 or 15 years ago.
Backpack: Well, I had posted about my new 2.2-pound Granite Gear Vapor Ki ultra-light women's-specific pack, but.... I sent it back. Loaded with 30# of gear and carried around Western Maryland's hills for a few hours, I didn't find it as comfortable as my 6-pound Eddie Bauer pack that Steve got at Wal-Mart 3 years ago. Having learned a bit about packs while being fitted for the Granite Gear one at the outfitter, I made some changes to the EB pack and have gotten it down to 4.5 pounds. My next step is going to be replacing all the heavy nylon-webbing straps with grosgrain ribbon. That could shave off another half-pound. I may or may not get a new pack.
Trekking poles: You've read about my personalized ones. I love Polly's idea of marking measurements on one of them for water depth, snakes, or whatever. I'm pondering her trick of incorporating emergency supplies underneath the hand-grips. I was thinking of bike-handlebar tape for wrapping them. In any case, they're not $150 Lekki's, but at $12 for the poles and maybe $15 for tape ($5 if I use duct tape) they're good. And my very own.
Cooking: Stove made out of a Pepsi can: free. Pot -- a 29-oz. tomato can: free. Windscreen -- aluminum foil: essentially free. Pot lid: made from bottom of a disposable pie pan, with a soda-can pull-top wired on for a handle: free. Pot handle: dog-shedder tool, $5.98 when I bought it for the dog a couple years ago, free when I appropriated it for a handle. It weighs almost 4 oz. but I love it so much I'm keeping it anyway. Fuel -- denatured acohol, costs about $5 for a quart at Wal-Mart, one ounce boils a pint of water. Fuel container: cough-syrup bottle, won't be mistaken for a water bottle (as the often-used soda bottle can be), has graduations on the side for measuring, free for the asking at the Wal-Mart pharmacy counter. Lighter: Bic-Flick, $1; backup, wooden matches ($1 for 250, only take a few) or book matches (free.) For storage/carrying, everything but the fuel packs into the pot/can.
Clothing: I did spring for honest rain gear. Marmot Precip top ($99) and pants ($70), waterproof, windproof, breathable. They don't have to be saved for rain, can be used just as warm outer layer if needed. Shorts: my Race-Ready running shorts with built-in underwear and pockets. Cost $30 but I had them already. I also already have ($40) a pair of nylon zip-off convertable long/short hiking pants. Long-johns: My mid-weight running tights. Wicking T-shirt: Free (except for registration) from Vermont City Marathon. Wicking long-sleeved shirt: Free (except for registration) from P.T. Cruiser Triple Challenge at Tampa/Gasparilla Marathon 2005. Long-sleeved fleece top: Free, hand-me-down from a friend. Gloves: Already have, 2 prs./$1.50 at Wal-Mart a few years ago. Hats: My Ironman Florida finisher's hat; nothing I got at that race could be called "free" because I worked my g.d. ass off for it, plus the $450 registration fee. But I didn't buy it extra for hiking, anyway. I have a cold-weather knit hat already but may make a lighter, less-bulky one out of some fleece fabric I already have. Free.
Shelter: I sprung for one here, too. Urethane-coated ripstop nylon 8 X 10 tarp, not a tent, but it can be rigged into a tent using my hiking poles and/or a tree or two. I'm going for tarp vs. tent b/c of the many ways a tarp can be configured, vs. the only-way-this works for a tent. $36.
Tent stakes: Aluminum gutter spikes, 30 cents each from the hardware store. A dozen weigh 4 oz. A dozen titanium tent stakes.... well, not sure how much this would set me back, but definitely more than $4 for a dozen. More like $4 apiece, $48 for a dozen.
Ground cloth: a hunk of Tyvek scored from someone who was building a house on a road where I went biking. Ask and you shall receive. Free.
Sleeping bag: Currently a synthetic 40*F bag that Steve got several years ago for a biking trip. Free. Warm enough for colder temps if I wear all my clothes inside it. Or use the fleece liner I made for about $12 (a silk one costs over $50, as does a sil-nylon one.)
Sleeping pad: Sprung for one a friend was selling. ThermaRest ProLite Women's self-inflating, $50, would have cost $100 new.
So far I have spent: $288
If I had bought all the up-to-date equivalents, new:
Fuel $5 (same)
Rain Gear $170 (same)
Convertible pants $40 (same)
Long Johns: $40
Wicking T-shirt: $40
Wicking LS shirt: $60
Polartec Fleece top: $60
Sil-nylon Tent: $350
Sil-nylon ground cloth: $70
Titanium stakes: $48
Down sleeping bag: $300 (I'm actually hoping the family will go together on this for Christmas)
Sleeping pad: $100
Bag liner: $50
Could have spent, on what I have so far: $1723