Outdoor retailers are overflowing with gear designed to do two things: perform a solitary function, and sell. In some cases, this is inevitable. A tent can’t cook a meal for you, and a stove can’t put a roof over your head. The accessories that surround camping and backpacking gear however can nickle and dime you to the poor house.
There is one material though that can replace a ton of different “specialty” items, and the best news is that it’s cheap, light, packable, durable, and readily available! In the gear world, that’s an enigma. Those into the ultralight backpacking discipline may be familiar with it, but for most people venturing out into the woods for the first time, it is all too simple to go to REI, purchase the “essentials”, and then stand in wonderment at all of the extra “comfort” accessories designed to make your life easier and your wallet lighter. They can walk out of the store with a $200 tent, and $300 worth of items that get used for one single thing.
So what is this wonder material I’m talking about?