I have been following (and contributing) to a variety of strings involving choice of gear, especially older folk who want to get started on the trail. Many of the posters have been wondering how cheaply they can get into the sport for a particular item.
Now, at 65 years, I started into this sport about 46 years ago and then, like now, I am terminally broke. I posted a couple of replies on the thread about Ozark Trails gear and as to whether it was a wise purchase. On the whole I do not support buying crap, although I have occasionally found incredible buys in Chinese gear (although the buyer needs to be VERY aware!)

Now, I would like to ask the community for some feedback on a topic dear to my heart. I believe I am a past master at saving money and getting quality gear on the cheap. I recognize the risk of going too cheap however and I have occasionally been burned.

Now I am hoping to get more active over the next decade or so. As I age, it is apparent from my experiences last year, I need to be more vigorous in getting my weight down.

I am good with updated packs, I have two one Kelty and one Lowe that are great quality; I got them cheaply when the line was discontinued.
I have ultralight shelters, one an MSR ultralight that I am not sanguine about (no bug protection, no floor) which might still work for bugless conditions when I am alone. Another I made from an old two wall A frame that may prove better in buggy areas.
I have a pile of stoves: an early MSR-G model (it was a display model-discounted) that has traveled more miles than my aging Ford. , I have a GS-1 similar to the Svea 123 but which burns automotive fuel- an estate sale find. More recently a Chinese copy of a multi-fuel that seems of decent quality, if still a little heavy. A butane stove of course, again a Chinese import for $10 and a Trangia clone for about the same outlay. I find the canisters heavy so I will probably go with the alcohol stove.

So, first question: how cheap do you think I can go for a decent down bag that compresses well and is CLEARLY good for a chilly 30 degree night? I have already eliminated the direct-from-China down bags as being unreliable in construction and materials. I want down, do not suggest synthetic as I have lived with them for decades and now want something more packable and light.

So..for myself, what do you think of the Kelty Cosmic 20? It's about $112, pricey for me, but just doable. Are there other suggestions?

Second, for others: how cheaply do you think a beginner (or a born again light/ultra-lighter like myself) can get away with spending for a decent outfit.
Thanks to all...

Edited by EMT Dave (12/06/17 08:17 PM)