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?
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 $|
|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 €|
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.