Disposable bottles weigh 1/4 as much as Nalgenes, cost about 1/18th as much, and come with a free drink. A lot of hikers also prefer SmartWater bottles because they fit on a Sawyer filter (arguably the most popular water filter), and because their tall, skinny design makes them more packable.
2. A Homemade alcohol stove (instead of a canister stove)
3. Plastic bags (instead of dry bags)
A new zip-top bag is one of the most essential pieces of gear a thru-hiker has in their backpack. It separates and keeps gear dry, weighs .5 ounce, and is virtually free. Just don’t expect it to mask the odor of your food when you’re in bear country.
4. An $8 Wal-Mart bathing suit (instead of hiking pants)
Thru-hikers wear whatever is comfortable, and that is often a simple synthetic bottom that wicks away moisture and doesn’t hinder mobility—like a Wal-Mart bathing suit.
5. Ski poles (instead of trekking poles)
6. A sad, beat-to-hell aluminum pot (instead of a titanium pot or JetBoil)
Aluminum is not that much heavier than titanium and with a homemade pot cozy, it’s almost as efficient as an expensive coil-lined pot. A word to the wise, though: Aluminum is not nonstick.