Lightweight Home-Made Gear

To lighten up your load, try home made backpacks, sleeping bag or quilt, tarp, gaiters, pants, rain jacket etc... Some of this gear has been extensively tested on spring-fall mountaineering trips in the Sierra Nevada as well as during a 230 miles hike of the John Muir Trail in summer.

Need some inspiration?

Try Ray Jardine's website for Ray-Way kits and his book “Beyond Backpaking, Ray Jardine's Guide to Lightweight Hiking”. Lots of good stuff. Not all the ideas worked for us, try them for yourself. The last chapter has sewing instructions to get you started. We have used some of Ray's designs and written step by step instructions to make it easier.

Want to buy instead of making?

Golite used to make and sell gear based on Ray's designs, but as of 2017 their website is abandoned.
Definitely cheaper to make it yourself anyway.


You can get materials at:


Here are a couple of designs that save both money and weight over conventional backpacks: