This is meant to be a record of the gear I'll build up in preparation of my first backpacking trip this spring. It may not all be strictly homemade, but I suspect it mostly will, so I'm posting it here. All costs are given in US dollars.
First piece of gear: cat can camping stove. I'll refrain from posting a picture as I'm sure you've all seen these. I haven't had the chance to test it yet, as I just finished making it and have to be at work in about 25 minutes, but I'll report later. Cost: $0.44.
Update 01/21/13 02:27 PM - Stove and Headlamp
I tested the stove over my lunch break by trying to boil about 3/4 cup of water in a stainless measuring cup. It worked great. I don't think it ever quite boiled, but with a lid, a black pot, and a bit more fuel, I think it would work great.
Also, I got this headlamp, the cheapest one I could find at a local Sports and Outdoor chain, which was also the smallest and lightest they had that would work without having to clip onto a hat. I cut off the excess strap along with the little spring loaded plastic adjustment thingy and sewed it together at the right length for my head. I also wrapped orange cord around the strap so it would be easy to see.
Update 01/22/13 08:43 AM - Spoons
I got these disposable plastic spoons from a frozen yogurt place. They're surprisingly good quality, and I'm pretty sure they're polypropylene, which takes a fair amount of heat. I tested it out by stirring boiling water with one of them, and it didn't melt or deform at all, even when pushing it against the bottom of the pot. I got it to melt by holding directly over a flame, but I won't be doing that while I'm camping.
Running Total: $9.43