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ARTICLE: 12 Ways to Save Cash on Outdoor Gear

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As the cost of living continues to soar, we're all looking to save money. To help make a modest dent in the outdoor budget, Tom Ripley shares some ideas for everyday items that might do in place of more expensive branded gear. 

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In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Well if nothing else the 2 way gas valve sounds genius, I'm getting one of those right away!

 john arran 08 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

I've never understood why people spend money on water bottles, when there's an unlimited supply of lighter ones freely available. I also haven't had a plastic one fail on me for decades, despite often having deliberately crushed them flat for carrying empty to bigwalls and then restoring their shape for filling at the base.

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In reply to john arran:

3 reasons I use a nalgene: 

Wide neck for filling (probably the biggest advantage)

It lasts for ever (I'm on my first which has seen some pretty intense use for 15 years)

I sometimes like the massive punter I am I clip it to my harness on big days out, which I appreciate you can do with a cheapo one but it's a bit off a faff and not super secure.

Saying that the inability to squash it down after use can be annoying.

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In reply to ebdon:

Sainsbury's taste the difference orange juice with bits. Has about a 1" opening, so wide enough to fill easily but narrow enough not to piss all down your t-shirt when you drink out of it like nalgenes do.

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 tjhare1 08 Sep 2022
In reply to ebdon:

But how does it work? Genuine question. Surely it can only send gas through until the pressures are equal - at that point there’s equilibrium and without anything more complex it’ll just stop flowing. If that’s the case then it is going to be impossible to completely refill using one of these. I’d even go as far as saying that without partially depleting quite a few cylinders you’d not get it close to full (as to do so, at every point in time, the filler cylinder would need to be at higher pressure than the one you’re filling). Thoughts?

In reply to tjhare1:

It seems to work pretty well. I put the small empty canister in the freezer for a bit, make sure the big fuller one is warmer, give it a good shake and then turn it upside-down when connected so gravity helps

 tjhare1 08 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Ah, temperature, good shout!

In reply to tjhare1:

Yep, they seem to work really well - there are a number of videos on youtube of people showing their methods to get them to work.

IIRC Dan got one after he had seen a picture of mine on facebook - I only got one this spring after over 30 years of trying to use up all the gas in cans sensibly that often meant carrying two cans with me when I wouldn't have needed to for the amount of gas I needed. 

Just last week I did a three day bikepacking trip and took one 100 gram can and my 25 gram ebay ultralight stove. I knew the can would be plenty for three days because I refilled it using the gadget before going. You can weigh them and see how much gas you've put in. Putting the empty-ish one in the freezer seems to work really well.

 Pedro50 08 Sep 2022
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Could someone kindly post a link to a recommended model, a search brings up several. Thanks.

 elliot.baker 08 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

One thing that's not in this list - Top Cash Back - the website. I use it for everything. Sometimes the cashback is only a couple of percent (but it all adds up), but I got a £200 Mountain Equipment Firefly jacket this year and the website just happened to be on top cash back offering 10% cashback, so I got it for £180, and you couldn't find it for that price anywhere online at all.

I've made about £500 in 7 years of using it intermittently, but it's free money.

Also amazing for things like broadband and phone contracts that you're likely to renew every couple of years. Got £90 cashback on our home broadband, basically meant we didn't pay for it for 3 months.

In reply to TobyA:

That's right Toby, I got mine on your prompt. And I've not forked out for a small backpacking canister in months!

In reply to Pedro50:

I was faced with the same problem - Amazon really is a minefield of quality and crap, and I'd only ever use it for small bits and bobs of outdoor gear where the expenditure on a dud won't matter too much. I took a gamble on one called a Fader, which is pictured in Tom's article.

It works really well (so far). I see it might not currently be available though, which is little help I'm afraid...

 elliptic 08 Sep 2022
In reply to tjhare1:

> But how does it work? Genuine question. Surely it can only send gas through until the pressures are equal 

Butane and propane turn to liquid under a few atmospheres pressure.

The contents of a full canister are mostly liquid (with a small amount of pressurised gas in the remaining space) so what you're actually doing is draining the contents of the upper can into the lower one. 

That also means you need to be really careful not to overfill the smaller can and leave some headroom in it - I check the weight on kitchen scales to be sure. 

 simoninger 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Totally agree with the 50m ropes: the vast majority of uk trad pitches are  under 30m, that’s a load of excess rope to manage on stances. Plus I once got called a mutant for suggesting a rope each rather than owning matched pairs. Kids these days obviously have more money.

1
 MischaHY 09 Sep 2022
In reply to simoninger:

The nicest of all is using a single triple rated 60m doubled over. Something like the Beal Opera or Edelrid Canary is only 48g/m. Close to half the weight and means your partner has to carry the big cams. Ideal! 

1
In reply to simoninger:

Except last time I bought ropes it was cheaper to buy a pair of 70m. Figure that one out. Easy enough to turn them into whatever length you want plus some free tat.

Also +1 for jeans rope protectors. Cut the legs off, but a cheap press stud kit off eBay, put 3 or 4 studs down the seams (leave the fabric double thickness), add a bit of string to stop them sliding about, and enjoy your fetching new pair of daisy dukes.

 JRS81 09 Sep 2022
In reply to tjhare1:

As long as you always have the smaller canister on the bottom, gravity will ensure it will fill with liquid gas. Once it's full, shut off the valve before moving it and your small canister is fully pressurised. As long as there a small canister's worth of liquefied gas in the big canister, you will always be filling up to the same quantity as liquids can't be compressed any further.

 simoninger 09 Sep 2022
In reply to MischaHY:

Oh yeah, I would always get triple-rated ropes nowadays too. 

Sweet deal on the two 70s, as well (other post).

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Off cuts of garden hose slit lengthways also make a good rope protector.

I wouldn't spend rope bag savings on a clipstick, a large bulldog clip and a few cable ties and you can bodge a clipstick from a washing poke, fishing rod or dare I say it, even an environmentally friendly, biodegradable stick.

1
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I looked into home made clipstick. I found the cheapest way to buy a long, telescopic pole is actually a clipstick. All the fishing/window cleaning/decorating options are more expensive for anything but the shortest sizes.

 john arran 09 Sep 2022
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Off cuts of garden hose slit lengthways also make a good rope protector.

Better to cut in a spiral. Slightly more fiddly to get on, but virtually no chance of the rope finding its own way out.

 David Bibby 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

For backpacking lunches, I've found refillable babyfood pouches full of peanut butter and some tortilla wraps work really well. 

And I wish I'd known about the gas valve many many years ago! The posters bemoaning having to carry multiple partially filled canisters resonate a lot with my experience. 

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Of course, with meths, you can just carry as much as you need. In a pop bottle. Using a drinks can burner and foil roasting tray cone. And use PET or PP ready meal bowls. And a cream pot for a cup and measure (cream pots often have a graduated scale). M&S used to give away sturdy 'disposable' plastic cutlery, but they've all gone 'green' with wooden cutlery. I have PET bottles dating back twenty years or so.

Bin men gloves, cheap work gloves and cold store gloves have been discussed at length.

In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Sounds flippin genious to me

In reply to captain paranoia:

If you're after saving money, and I can't believe nobody's said this yet.... MSR, surely. I've spent about £2.50 on fuel for my stove in the last 5 years.

 James Oswald 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Really good article Tom, like lots of the other responses I wish I'd known about the gas refilling earlier.

The only thing I disagreed with is on 60m ropes. Sure, most of the time you don't need them and it's extra weight but a faff to pull up. But, on the other hand:

1) you can lower straight down to the belay from 30m rather than 25m if you need to back off

2) you can link pitches together better which saves time.

3) you can abseil easily in a few situations where 50m isn't long enough. The most obvious and best example of this is the final abseil from the Old Man of Hoy. I think this alone makes carrying slightly long ropes around the rest of the time worth it! Also from the end of the main pitches at gogarth main cliff allowing you to do another route. 

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 C Witter 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Other tips (though not all on gear):

- Share gear, thereby avoiding buying things altogether
- Look after and clean your gear, to make it last longer
- If TR something, use plenty of rope protectors!
- Don't wear your best shoes and climbing clothes, etc., to the climbing gym and knacker them whilst doing laps on the autobelay or steady indoor leading... 
- Work out the best deal for getting into your climbing wall
- If in doubt, go local rather than further afield
- Share lifts to save on petrol and look after the environment
- Or cycle...! 
- I know it's beautiful, but you don't actually need that marginally better cam...

- Oh... and did you know that if, by which I mean to say, when you invest in a kettle... something about saving money over 10 years apparently, if - that is to say - if - you have to buy your designer kettles with your own money rather than spaffing tax-payer-funded expenses up the wall!

Post edited at 15:52
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 GrahamD 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Of course, the biggest saving comes from not buying it in the first place - or rather second place.  Does stuff really need to be replaced due to cosmetic wear and tear or because new stuff is a couple of grams lighter ?

In reply to Ramon Marin:

I've just checked in my Amazon orders, the one I bought isn't currently available but this looks basically the same: Macabolo Outdoor Camping Gas Stove Adapter Gas Saver Shifter Refill Adapter Gas Camping Stove Cylinder https://amzn.eu/2i5Z0kp 

I'm not sure if I've made my money back yet by saving on gas canisters but I suspect I will soon enough. Seems better from an environmental point of view also!

 gekitsu 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

when it comes to outdoor-worthy clothes, i always find it useful to look at the military surplus market as well. army clothing has come quite a way from the days of being clunky and not suited to being active in, and some of that gear has been available surplus for a while. not a viable choice for every item (especially where climbing use demands specific accomodations), but something like waterproof/membrane overtrousers can be had for 30-ish EUR.

and, of course, a hefty +1 to everybody pointing out that the best savings are made at the stage of deciding whether i *really* need that shiny new thing, and if yes, a realistic assessment of ‘good enough’.

 lorens holm 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Glad someone is speaking my language here. Except for the two way gas valve adaptor thing, which I did not know about, I do all the things suggested in this article. If anyone wants belay tat, I've got a half dozen old ropes which are too knackered to lead on and waiting to be cut up. I've also got some perfectly serviceable MOACs and original Friends which could be someone's starter rack. To my mind it is not just the cost - I could probably afford most of the gear if I really wanted to pay for it - but I just don't think it is worth it. Why buy a water bottle when the world is awash in them? Rope protectors... that's what old shirts are for. Most importantly, I do not like the way climbing has become so commercialised; what began as a working class thumbs up to the establishment (I'm thinking working class Peak climbers, 1960s), something open to everyone with a little bit of bravery, has become totally colonised by the marketplace, has become an accessory media flash.

Post edited at 22:02
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 Forest Dump 09 Sep 2022
In reply to gekitsu:

Work gear aimed at the agri sectors or people on the tools can sometimes be good for outdoor stuff, and about half the price

 Mike-W-99 09 Sep 2022
In reply to Forest Dump:

Yes you can get decent safety glasses this way which are fine for cycling, ice climbing etc

 ScraggyGoat 09 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

If you are using gas in warmer temps, you can get an adapter so that you can buy the cheaper cylinders from the likes of Halfords. Then either refill as above, or use direct (depending on stove).

 Nathan Adam 10 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Charity shops are great for finding clothes to wear climbing, usually because they are so cheap you don't care about trashing them and/or getting covered in fulmar spew or guano. I've been wearing a couple pairs of baggy/stretchy trousers I got for about £5 for the pair and have worn them all over Scotland, sea cliffs and mountain routes included. Best thing about them is they're both cream white and show up really well in photos.

Also, cheap jumpers from places like Sports Direct and basic synthetic base layers (Mountain Warehouse do good deals) for summer use. 

1
 Juan-Baw 10 Sep 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Should probably be aware if you fall with your nalgene clipped to your harness it doesn't take a lot of force for the lid to break. Leaving you, at best, without water, and at worst, without a belayer! 

youtube.com/watch?v=frVvdf41Y9w&

 kylo-342 10 Sep 2022
In reply to elliptic:

about refilling small gas cartridges from bigger ones:

simple tip - weigh a full new canister, write that weight on the bottom of it with a permanent pen.  Then when refilling don’t go above that weight. 
 

also, fill with the same gas and never use 100% propane as it has a higher pressure which those small cans are not rated for

Post edited at 08:49
 Guy Hurst 10 Sep 2022
In reply to Forest Dump:

Helly Hansen do LIFA workwear base layers which feel identical to their sport/outdoor lines, but cost half as much, or less.  They're available from so many DIY/builders'merchants they can often be found heavily discounted, too. Softsell jackets and trousers from workwear ranges are also good.

 Doug 10 Sep 2022
In reply to Guy Hurst:

I have a soft shell jacket from Lidl, cost 15€ about a year ago which is great for skiing, walking etc. Not quite as breathable as my similar jacket from Odlo but that cost 100€ but being a little heavier (thicker fabric) I suspect it'll last longer. Shame its in dull grey but the brighter colours in my size had already been sold

 Pedro50 10 Sep 2022
In reply to Guy Hurst:

HH Lifa used to be the smelliest textile known to the human race. I wonder if this is still the case?

In reply to TobyA:

>You can weigh them and see how much gas you've put in. 

How do you work that out? How much does an empty or full can weigh? Does that depend on the brand? How many extra grams of gas, or whatever state it is in, per x% of fullness?

 Pedro50 10 Sep 2022
In reply to mbh:

Most cannisters state gross and net weight.

In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Don't forget buying 2nd hand. I have bought loads of stuff on here and from eBay over the years for fractions of what I would have paid new. I say that having just bought a new bike (!), but that was the first one for me in 20 years. In all those years I exercised, commuted and cycle-toured on a beat up 90s MTB that I bought for £60. My wife still loves and commutes on the Marin bike that I bought for £100 for one of our daughters in 2010 when we decided to go on a family cycling holiday and needed an extra bike.

In reply to Pedro50:

Thanks. Should have guessed and checked.

 saintlade 10 Sep 2022
In reply to UKC/UKH Articles:

Rubble bags are one of my favorite tips. I've never found the roll top drybags to be waterproof enough for incessant rain. I think I have a rubble sack that must be around 4 yrs old and still going strong. 

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