Decathlon has been gaining popularity in the ultralight backpacking world due to its wide range of gear and the affordability of its products – many of which are surprisingly lightweight compared to competition products.
However, because of the huge number of Decathlon products available, it can be hard to know which are worth a look should you be looking to outfit an ultralight backpacking kit for thru-hiking or romps in the backcountry.
I’ve combed through Decathlon’s selection, acquired, and used each of the following products. If you’re looking for affordable yet lightweight solutions to many of the multi-hundred dollar pieces of gear available, look no further than the following five items.
- Weight: 13 oz / 370 g
- R-value: 2.1
- Dimensions (in): 71 x 21.6 x 0.8
- Dimensions (cm): 180 x 54 x 2
- Packed volume: 11.5 L
- Material: 100% Foamed Polyethylene
- Foam thickness: 30 kg/m3
- Fold: Accordion
- MSRP: $34.99
A sleeping pad is a must-have piece of gear for a thru-hike. It seems some of the most popular pads have gotten absurdly expensive in recent years – some are even more than tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks now. The Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100 Folding Foam Hiking Mattress is a straightforward foam sleeping pad that won’t break the bank. Foam pads can get some getting used to, but they’re pretty awesome once you’re in the groove (so long as you aren’t sleeping on freezing ground). They also make excellent sit pads; but if you want a sit pad, I would also suggest just getting a sit pad – or cutting off a section of your foam pad. Check it out here.
- Weight: 10.5 oz / 298 g
- Fill power: 800 CUIN
- Fill: 85% Grey Duck Down, 15% Grey Duck Feather
- Suggested temperature: 23 to 41°F / -5 to 5°C
- Material: 100% polyamide, 35 g/sqm, 15D
- Pockets: 2 zippered hand warmer
- MSRP: $99.99
Decathlon’s Forclaz MT100 Hooded Down Puffer Jacket is a 10.5 oz / 298 g hooded down jacket that won’t break the bank and that will keep you warm down to 23 to 41°F / -5 to 5°C. As is the case with most Decathlon gear, this is an excellent alternative if you’re looking for a lightweight alternative to comparable gear available at many times the cost. The Forclaz MT100 was also the fourth-most popular insulated jacket on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2022 according to the Pacific Crest Trail hiker survey and the tenth-most popular down jacket on the Continental Divide Trail in 2022. Check it out here (Men’s/Women’s).
- Weight: 7.5 oz / 212 g
- Material: 100% Polyester
- Pockets: None
- Guarantee: 2 years
- MSRP: $19.99
Fleeces have become more popular with thru-hikers and ultralight hikers in recent years and the Quechua Hiking Fleece MH100 is a great option if you’re not willing to shell out a ton of money for one. This fleece has quickly become a staple of many Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail hikers’ backpacks. The MH100 is 7.5 oz / 212 g, 100% polyester, and comes with a two-year guarantee – long enough to cover multiple thru-hikers. Check it out here (Men’s/Women’s).
- Weight: 6 oz / 170 g
- Dimensions (in): 14 x 10 x 3
- Dimensions (cm): 35 x 25 x 7
- Exterior Material: 100% Lyocell
- Volume: 0.7 L
- MSRP: $22.99
If you’ve never used a backpacking pillow and are still stuffing your extra clothes into a stuff sack or rolling up your puffy, I strongly suggest trying a pillow. Will you die in the backcountry without one? No. But your nights may be significantly more restful with one. The Forclaz MT500 Inflatable Backpacking Travel Pillow weighs 6 oz / 170 g and packs down small enough to fit in your sleeping bag’s stuff sack (with your sleeping bag). If you want to use a pillowcase, I suggest wrapping your camp pillow in a buff. Check it out here.
- Weight: 6.7 oz / 190 g
- Material: 86% merino wool
- MSRP: $64.99
Decathlon’s Forclaz Trek 500 Merino Wool Tights are a great option if you’re looking for a base layer to sleep in, to keep you warm in the morning (because you only brought shorts to hike in), or want something revealing to wear around town while doing laundry. They’re made with 86% merino wool (most of your hiking clothing should probably be merino) and weigh 6.7 oz / 190 g. Packing down small, they can be stowed easily in your pack. My only gripe is that there’s no easy access hole in the front of the men’s version (and presumably not the women’s version either?) Check them out here.
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