Going lightweight / compact


I got my camping gear that works great for me to date (since I ride, fly and camp but not included hiking to date)
All my gear fits nicely into my smaller pannier, and just comfortable enough (All -First Ascent)

  • Lunar 2-person Tent
  • Ultralight mattress
  • Forgot type of sleeping bag, but pack pretty small / light
  • Hiker pillow
  • Desert Fox chair

However my goals for the next season is going to be hike and fly so I got VERY limited space (flying gear already 15kg, but planning on new gear bringing it down to 11) (if any pg pilots here, I’m still very new and KNOW I’m not ready yet…but … goals!)

Only reason I’ll have a tent is for keeping my gear dry, so comfort is taking a back seat.

Was hoping for some tent recommendations that take as little space and weight packed up, but still big enough for one person and a huge backpack (which the flying gear basically is)?
Ease to set up quickly would be big plus also. Durability … hmm… I guess if I want light I just have to take care of it better.

So essentially looking for recommendations (or any advise) on a lighter and smaller tent. Mattress will have to stay, obviously chair also.


ps: Not that I’m trying to flog of my stuff, but if any one interested in swapping / buying my tent…I’m all ears. :slight_smile:

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Hi Nico

Take a look at NatureHike Africa’s tents (https://www.naturehike.co.za/collections/technical-tents). I own the Taga 2 which is their lightest, and I can vouch for its over-all quality. Heads up though, if you prefer a free standing tent (much easier set up) then one of their other designs would better suit your needs.

They also run small as does much Chinese designed gear, but the 2 person of any of their tents should more than suit your needs.


I use a Camp Master Dome 200, it might not be the greatest tent but packs up quite small if you roll up out of the carry bag. Cheap @R400, I use for my Backpack trails in the KNP.

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Check out MSR Hubba (single tent) @ 1.12kg or the MSR HubbaHubba (2 man… or for your gear) @ 1.54kg still a full kilo lighter than your FA Lunar… AND it’s superb quality!

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Hi Nico

If you Hike & Fly with trekking poles, then this is a good one.

ZAR 1,003.62 15%OFF | 730 grams silicon coating 2018 New arrival of 3F Pedestrian 2 ultra-light 3 seasons 1 person 1 layer camping tent

I’ve had good experiences with Nature Hikes tents in general, the Cloud Up and Targa are about as light as theirs get, but you sacrifice them being freestanding in the one-man sizes to get it. Also seems easily available in SA these days for a lot of it which is nice.

If you want to go lighter/smaller than that I would suggest having a look at 3F UL Gear on Aliexpress. They have a good reputation and build quality (Be a little cautious if you are tall, as they design for the Asian market), their Lanshan series is pretty lightweight when combined with carbon poles or trekking poles, and they have a nice selection of tarps. Ultimately if you are willing to sacrifice comfort, a tarp supported on trekking poles with a groundsheet plus bivy for bad weather/bugs is about as light as you can go before straight up cowboy camping.

If you are looking for some ideas and reviews of the Chinese gear I would look around /r/ultralight and Youtube for reviews of more obscure stuff.

Hello fellow r/ultralighter!

Think we should do some lighterpack lists for SA, maybe get some demand for lightweight stuff going here :wink:

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Haha, agree, would love to see lighter gear available here. Can introduce shakedowns too :sweat_smile:

It can feel like the SA market is stuck 10 years ago in terms of materials, particularly in regards to tents and bags. Often really up to date in terms of clothing though, which is interesting. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that most of the hikes easily visible to people are sheltered, or if it is that we are more of a car camping culture?

Some lighterpack lists are always nice to see what the options are, maybe putting together something that looks at only products available locally? My fear always with gear lists is them turning into a competitive thing or argument over ‘best ways to hike’, which this forum seems to have really nicely managed to avoid so far!


Agreed! 10 years might be an understatement. I think it’s really a matter of our small market. It’s only in the last few years that hiking’s become ‘fashionable’ countrywide and so most hikers out there (including myself) are beginners and just assume all the gear we see in the shops is the best available. Our stores are therefore not driven to innovate really, and when they do bring in the odd UL item end up not selling it because they’re unknown and foreign to our hikers (especially the newer market) because they’re used to seeing photos huge packs with 20 things tied to the outside being lugged around. Also only in the last few years has the middle class really been growing enough to grow the market.

The trail running trend has done some good for lightweight clothing, I guess because the entire market is brand new and so sellers pretty much started with and based their standards on what was already available internationally.

I think posting some gear lists might be helpful as seeing some of these things being used will become more normal, the demand should increase, and more importantly they will actually sell because they don’t seem so weird anymore (nvm the fact that we’re not even aware of them until we dive deep into reddit or YouTube). And beside the gear, the philosophy of UL is great imo and could help many people save their cash and their joints from early on in the hobby. If the discussion continues in that vein (emphasising that cliche hike your own hike), I think the competition aspect should hopefully be avoided.

I’ve got an excel spreadsheet going, so I’ll draw up a post this weekend. Mine is mostly budget/improvised stuff. My pack’s from AliExpress, my headlamp from Amazon and I’ve got a quilt on order in the USA, but the rest is all available locally and I’ll include local options to those if possible.

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Hi there

There are a few that I am aware of that do light and fast style hiking, but I am only aware of them from posts over at vertical-endevour.com, and have no idea about their base-weights. I am quite a newbie to the 'berg, so still doing a lot of experimentation, but pretty much started out with the ultralight guys in the States as inspiration. My winter base-weight is hanging around 6.2kg currently, but still actively working to get it lower. Think I would be toasty down to -10C or so easily, but the juries still out on whether my tent will survive the wind.

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I started a new thread on lightweight hiking in SA and put all my stuff there. Check it out, would love to see what you’re carrying!

i have the cheapest tent Takealot offered a few months ago at R389, it weighs 1.2kg.
Works well but is in no way ready to withstand a strong wind, these poles are very thin and I suspect they will snap in a strong wind.
But at this price I don’t mind buying another tent.

My goal has always been to own a tent under 1kg.
Amazon sells quite a few
Here is an example that weighs 780g, it does not come with any poles as you use your existing trekking pole as the pole.
Very clever idea but i just cannot bring myself to paying so much to save a few 100g’s.
If only these type of tents were available here in RSA at a proper price.

As for a lightweight sleeping bag i have opted for a Sea to Summit Inner rather than a bulky sleeping bag. Most sleeping bags are over 1kg.
This one has the highest temperature rating and it really does keep me warm inside the tent (not in winter though), and it is so tiny - uses no space rolled up.

My pillow is the size of a 200ml tin of cooldrink when rolled up, maybe shorter and weighs 79 grams

I am still very new to overnight hiking and learning as I go along

A word of caution about relying entirely on that sleeping bag liner - it is only intended to be used as a liner and not as your main insulation against low ambient temperature. I’ve tested that exact liner, and even when used as a liner inside a down sleeping bag, it doesn’t add nearly as much warmth as they claim. Cut weight everywhere else, but not with your sleeping bag - it could save your life when the weather goes south unexpectedly.

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Great advice, as I said I have only used it in non Winter moments and sure as hell would not rely on this in cold winter times.
It is a great summer alternative where nights are around 15 degrees outside the tent

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Hey MasterMo, I’m a bit late to the party but I do a lot of lightweight hiking in the Drakensberg in summer/winter. Summer baseweight around 5.3kg and winter baseweight around 5.6kg.Thats assuming I’m going alone with my 4 season bivy, otherwise I have to lug a tent around. Saving up for a lightweight bombproof 4-season assault style tent (1.8kg) at the moment. That will bring my total all weather baseweight up to 6.6kg.

You cant really go lighter that 5ish kg IMO in the berg, without taking some serious risks. The conditions encountered on the ATC and PCT, where the current ultralighweight craze started, for instance are not comparable to what you could experience in the berg.

Reasons Why:

  1. Tarps and floorless tents. I would not advise taking any shelter without a floor onto the berg escarpment during any season. Sometimes there is simply nowhere to hide from the wind and a good solid tent can be vital. This is where alot of the ultralight obessed hikers cut weight. (Tents normally are the heaviest item in your pack). I would not trust these ultralight tent setups incorporating trekking poles in the berg, they are meant for below treeline conditions. I have seen to many destroyed tents over the years, even recently at Bannermans hut during a approaching cold front.

  2. Coldsoaking Food (Leaving stoves). I would not leave my stove under any circumstances. The ability to boil water and have hot food in emergency situations can be a life saver.

  3. Minimum and Ultralight Clothing. I carry thermal layers even in summer months. You simply cant just carry a waterproof jacket and other minimal clothing. I have cut down on clothing as far as I’m willing and still have to carry a fair amount.

  4. Sleeping Bags Quilts IMO don’t work in the berg, you loose a substantial amount of heat by not having a cowl. A full 3/4 season sleeping bag also adds to your baseweight.

I follow more of a alpine methodology in my lightweight hiking, than the ultralight craze that is currently in the States, simply cause I feel it is more relevant towards areas such as the Drakensberg. It basically entitles, what is the least I can survive with should the hike goes sideways in order to self-rescue.

I will ad a link to my gear under the lightweight hiking section should you be interested.