My campsite in Yellowstone National Park:
All I want for Christmas is backpacking gear. My current tent is great for car camping. It's way too heavy to carry on a backpacking trip, though. Santa took me shopping online at Amazon and I should get my presents in time for Christmas.
I just found out that BCO is going to be hiking the Lone Star Hiking Trail in Sam Houston National Forest starting in February - one weekend at a time. It's part of the Texas Forest Trail region I've been wanting to explore. I was excited to see that I won't have to do this part of it alone. I have no experience backpacking, so this is a perfect learning opportunity. It's good practice for the Appalachian Trail I'm going to hike one day.
I don't have thousands of dollars to spend on ultra light, ultra heavy duty equipment and conditions in Texas are not likely to be severe even in February, so they are not necessary for a weekend trip. The cheapest gear falls apart after a couple of uses or doesn't perform as required even for ideal conditions, so they are not a bargain. I settled for light enough, good quality, and affordable.
I found a tent that weighs just under 4 pounds and got good reviews from users for keeping them dry, easy setup, and durability. I also bought a ground tarp to place under the tent to keep it drier, warmer, and make it last longer.
I found a sleeping bag that weighs just under 3 pounds which is rated to 30 degrees, so it's probably comfortable to 40 degrees. I can add a silk or fleece liner to make it warmer if needed.
I ordered a backpack that smaller women reviewers loved. I'm only 5'1", so that's a big plus. It has a space for a water bladder. One of the comments was, "Most quality packs are well over $100 and some even approach $200 for this kind of quality. I was so blown away with the quality construction and all the "extras" that I'm still a little speechless." I didn't see any bad reviews for the pack (and Amazon buyers have no problem handing out bad reviews), just a few minor details that could be improved upon. I'm thinking it will be more than adequate for an overnight hike.
My bill, including shipping, was 250 dollars. I still need to buy a few more things, but I think I got the most important items.
Any suggestions from experienced hikers and backpackers out there are appreciated.