On the cheap

When building a 72 Hour Bag I’m the first to admit that you don’t want to spend a ton of money on gear you may possible never use. So the question becomes how can you save money on repurposed items which will function in times of need but aren’t going to break the bank. There’s a couple little tricks I’ve picked up along the way I thought I’d pass along.

The first is a way to create a water resistant stuff sack for virtually no money. Using a FedEx tyvek envelope.

 The Tyvek material is very strong and weather resistant. After you make your stuff sack it will not be water proof, but it is water resistant.  Here’s how I do it:
1. Fold over a width appropriate for the type of cordage you’ll use for your drawstring plus enough to sew closed.
2. Lay the cordage you’ll use as a drawstring around the perimeter of the envelope.
3.Leaving enough of a gap for the drawstring to flow freely through the folded section use double stick tape to secure the folded part of the envelope.
4. Use dental floss to sew the overlapped bag through the double stick tape.
5. Pull the bag inside out and cut a small gap for the drawstring to fall to the outside of the bag.
6. Put a toggle on the drawstring.

Here’s what your finished bag should look like:

Going a little further with Tyvek material – you can make a bivy shelter. There are plans on the internet for very simple bivy’s like the one below:

When constructing a Bivy like this use 2″ carpet tape instead of normal double stick like the stuff sack. Another good tip is to wash the fabric first in your laundry washing machine, it’ll soften the Tyvek up a little and make it less noisy when you sleep in it.  2″ Velcro makes a good closure for you to get in and out of.  You can find how to videos on YouTube and can adapt the basics to any design you might like to create. Small tent poles can be added to give your face a little room. The point of the bivy though is to be light weight and protect your sleep system from damage and the elements… not necessarily for comfort.

Here’s an example of a little more complicated design. The ones below are available for sale at http://www.milesgear.com/DoubleUberBivy.html but I’ve seen the plans for this on the web, so if you’re crafty and want to save money – which is what this post is about you can fabricate your own. 
Another great way to save money is to use a washed out Gatorade bottle as your 72 Hour Bag water bottle. It’s about $2 versus $10-15 for a Nalgene water bottle. The advantage to using a Gatorade bottle aside from price is that it has a wide mouth and is easily fillable. Both the large and the small have adequate necks which allow a piece of cordage to attach to if you need to hang the bottle on the outside of your pack. 
I’m always looking for ways to save money and weight because buying top of the line equipment for your 72 Hour Bag is foolish, but it’s a thin line between cheap and dysfunctional. Know what gear you can cut back on and what you can’t. If you don’t have a lot of experience hiking or jerry rigging things then seek help because if you cut the wrong corner it could be your last corner.

One comment

  1. Joe

    Excellent point, I have at least 10 of the 32oz gatorade bottles washed out and tucked up in a kitchen cabinet. Sure beats a $10.00 nalgene…

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