As Thrifty Hikers…

Thrifty Hiker is a blog that was born out of two things: a love for ultralight camping, and a great eye for a bargain! We specialise in reviewing cheap alternatives to big name camping gear.

For years now, ultralight camping gear has mostly been a cottage industry, albeit with a few big-name players operating there as well. The amount of money needed to buy some decent ultralight camping kit, even at a starter level, has historically been pretty eye-watering.

This initial investment can be enough to put people off dipping their toe in the water when it comes to ultralight backpacking. Lately, however, we’ve noticed a big shift in the market.

The ‘Ali Express Effect’

A lot of the traditionally known ultralight camping brands suddenly have a lot of competition from companies based in China, such as Naturehike and 3F UL Gear. Most of these Chinese companies operate through Ali Express, which serves as a means of connecting them directly with consumers all over the world.

Ultralight camping gear companies on Ali Express typically offer gear that is more or less on par with traditional western brands, quality-wise. Crucially, however, they sell this gear at a much more competitive price.

We feel that the price of decent gear is one of the key barriers to entry that prevents more people from going ultralight, so we see this affordable kit from Ali Express as a huge positive! We want more people to try out ultralight camping, and anything that helps people dip their toe in the water seems like a good thing to us 🙂

And Now?

So – there is a proliferation of (relatively) cheap, exciting new ultralight gear coming out of Ali Express. How do you know which hidden gems are worth picking up? That’s where Thrifty Hiker comes in : )

This blog is where we share reviews of our favourite ultralight gear, i.e. items that we regularly take hiking and camping ourselves. We also feature reviews of ‘Not Ali Express gear‘ from time to time. Our main aim is to encourage people to go ultralight without having to spend a small fortune, so if we find gear that fits the bill outside of Ali Express, we’ll be sure to add our two cents!

Finally, we want everyone who visits us to know that we do share affiliate links on the site – it’s how we keep the lights on. But we only share affiliate links for gear we really, truly love.