Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Multi-Shop Stop

In the spring and summer of this year Carsten started the One Stop Shop Series and I added several international webshops to the list. Now I want to take an excursion into shopping NOT at one shop, but buying an Ultralight Gear List from several shops. Will it be lighter and cheaper than the average?

If you need to freshen up what this is all about, read the Introduction and browse the past entries!

Carsten’s One Stop Shop Idea really was superb. It gave new and old backpackers an easy list of online shops with gear choices which allowed them to find the lightest and/ or cheapest gear to lighten up or get a complete backpacking kit. I tried to get a few big Retailers like REI.com and Backcountry.com to join the series for even more options but wasn’t successful (well, maybe they join now ;). Anyway, with 13 shops from Europe, the USA and Japan budding lightweight backpackers have over a dozen of options to choose from and get inspiration for a lightweight kit. Here’s that list with weights & prices for your convenience:

 Trekking-Lite-Store.com 6.157 g 2.288,80 € 0,47 € per gram
CampSaver.com 5.316 g  1.993,80 € 0,52 € per gram
Globetrotter 8.995 g  3.272,20 € 0,36 € per gram
Partioaitta  7.354 g 2448,15 € 0,33 € per gram
Bergfreunde  4.657 g 2.440,10 € 0,52 € per gram
Walkonthewildside.eu  6.143 g  2.349,45 € 0,38 g per gram
Backpackinglight.dk  4.994 g 2.464,35 € 0,49 € per gram
Racelite.de 5.884 g  2.145,05 € 0,36 € per gram
Ultralight Outdoor Gear  4.549 g 2.796,69 € 0,61 € per gram
Bergzeit  5.559 g 2.430,00 € 0,44 € per gram
Outdoorline.sk  5.392 g  2.056,70 €  0,38 € per gram
Aventure Nordique  6.044 g  2.121,40 €  0,35 € per gram
Moonlight Gear  2.630 g 1.735,36 € 0,66 € per gram
AVERAGE  5.667 g 2.349,39 € 0,45 € per gram

The thing is with the One Stop Shop: What if you really want a Laufbursche huckePACK as your backpack? Or a Mountain Laurel Designs TrailStar as your shelter? An Esbit Stove setup? You always could adapt your shopping at the one shop you want to buy - they do, after all, often offer a lot more options than the ones they suggested. But what if another webshop has a better price on the kit you want? What if the shop doesn’t have the item you really want?

Then you’ll need to buy from several shops. While this will add extra costs in form of shipping costs (and import taxes if you order from outside Europe) it still might be cheaper - the € is still relatively strong which makes buying abroad more affordable. Thus my experiment is simple: I want to buy a few items I really want but try to keep the list as cheap & light as possible. Here we go:

Item Name Weight in gram Price in €
Backpack Laufbursche huckePACK incl. Airbeam 525 348,00 €
Sleeping bag PHD Minix Down Bag 590 199,00 £
Mattress Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite 353 149,95 €
Shelter Hyperlite Mountain Gear UltaMid 499 675,00 $
Pot -    
 Stove Trail Designs Caldera GVP 91 53,90 €
Cutlery Sea to Summit Alpha Light 12 7,95 €
Knife Deejo Light Knife 27 24,95 €
Lamp Petzl e+ Lite 27 29,95 €
Trekking Poles Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles 264 129,95 €
Shoes Luna Sandals OSO 412 125,00 €
Fleece Arc’teryx Delta LT Jacket 285 99,95 €
Insulation Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody 375 139,00 €
Rain pants Marmot PreCip Full Zip Pant 377 89,95 €
Rain jacket Marmot PreCip Jacket 372 80,00 €
Boxers Super.Natural Base Boxer 175 50  18,00 €
T-Shirt Icebreaker Tech T Lite SS 138 45,00 €
Longsleeve Ortovox Rock’n’Wool Longsleeve 250 84,95 €
TOTAL - 4.647 2.200,00 €

In this list I ordered from five different parties and this are the shipping costs to Finland: HMG 50 $, Laufbursche 17 €, PHD 24,90 £, Trekking-Lite-Store.com 13,50 €, Bergzeit 9,95 €. In the above total these are not included (currencies have been converted today via xe.com) but would add 110,45€ to the total. I also only ordered the HMG UltaMid from outside Europe so only would need to pay import duties for it (or not with some luck!). I looked for bargains in the different shops, and thus with a total of 2.310,45 € I would get the exact kit I want from several different shops. My list still is cheaper than over half of the above shops, and only two shops offered a lighter list.

The conclusion? If you’re starting out with backpacking and want to do it right (thus, light) from the start, buying all your gear from one shop is very convenient. However, if you want a special piece of gear that the shop doesn’t carry, it only minimally increases the costs to order it from somewhere else (and this is especially true in the USA, where lots of online retailers offer free shipping above a certain amount). Also, mixing it up and supporting small cottages like Laufbursche Gear, highly specialized companies like PHD, niche retailers like Treking-Lite-Store.com and large online shops like Bergzeit makes sense, as this way you can look for the best offers across them & still save, and what the one doesn’t have the other can offer.

Disclaimer: The One Stop Shop Series was Carsten’s idea and he gave me permission to translate his posts to English and contact a few more shops around the world. If you can read German, you can head over to his blog and read the posts in German.

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