3D printing brings endless possibilities for MYOG and ultralight backpacking enthusiasts. If you have the skills you can create your own designs, or you can search online for open-source designs that are ready to print. 3d printing can also be useful for repairing, refreshing and extending the life of your old gear - think replacement buckles, new nobs for your old stove, custom ultralight gear etc. If you don't have your own 3D printer you can have designs printed with online services, or students can often print designs at school, and many cities have maker communities where you can rent time on 3D printers.
Below I've gathered 11 of my favorite MYOG design ideas from www.thingiverse.com that have been helpful additions to my backpacking and hiking gear.
At a fraction of the weight of climbing carabiners, there are many ways these 3D printed carabiners can come in handy on the trail. Use one for hanging a bear bag high in a tree, secure a lantern to the ceiling of your tent, or quickly attaching items to your pack.
Important: These carabiners are not safe for climbing.
A whistle might sound like a silly item to carry in your pack, but if you ever get lost you will be glad you have this crazy loud whistle. You can quickly go hoarse from yelling for help and a whistle can carry for miles will using much less effort and adding almost no weight to your pack. A whistle can also come in handy when backpacking in a group as a way to signal to stragglers that you've made it to camp or are having an issue and turning back. Just be sure to agree on the code before the hike.Full Details
This free design mounts your GoPro on your pack strap to catch a POV view of the trail. I like this mount for it's simple and secure design. It even stayed in place while mountain biking a bumpy trail. If you have the skills to design your own you can customize it to fit your specific pack for a perfect fit.Full Details
If you hike with Trekking poles, then this ultralight mount is a must. It turns your trekking pole into a GoPro monopod and an extra long selfie stick. Use it to catch panning video and epic selfies on the trail. It also keeps your GoPro ready for action when you encounter wildlife and might only have moments to get a shot before it slips out of view.Full Details
I love bringing my DSLR backpacking to capture star time-lapses in the dark skies of the backcountry, but my full-size tripod is heavy and really more than is needed. So I printed this tripod and shaved nearly 2lbs off my pack weight. That makes a huge difference in how often I'm willing to pack my DSLR and led to me capturing epic views my iPhone isn't up to capturing.Full Details
I haven't personally used a pee funnel, but I know how convenient they can be for female campers. And I have many friends that swear by them when they are hiking. If you haven't tried one, then printing your own is a cheap way to give it a try. Be sure to sanitize it thoroughly after each trip with rubbing alcohol or a bleach solution to keep it clean and odor free.
Pro-Tip: If 3D printed with a flexible filament it can be collapsed to save space in your pack.Full Details
This mini fishing reel attaches to a trekking pole or a stick so you can reel in a lunker in a survival situation or impress your friends when you catch the biggest fish with your homemade reel.
Bonus: You can also print your own lures.Full Details
I've lost count of the many times I've stepped on a buckle or smashed one in a car door. While buckles are cheap, sometimes it can be hard to find one the right size and color, and that is a great reason to 3D print a replacement. There are plenty of predesigned options to find the right fit or to use as a starting point to customize to your exact needs.Full Details
These ultralight rope tensioners are awesome. Use them to keep tarps, clotheslines, or tent guy lines perfectly taught. Sure you can use a taught-line hitch to set up a tarp, but if you've ever arrived at camp cold and wet you've probable experienced the frustration of tying knots with numb hands you've probably wished you had a faster option.
Pro-Tip: Use a glow in the dark filament to print these to keep lines visible in the dark and prevent tripping.Full Details
A long day of backpacking can work up a huge appetite and the last thing you want is to have your dinner typing over as it cooks. Or worse yet spilling all over your clothing or gear while in bear country. If you use an ultralight stove like a pocket rocket, it didn't come with the stabilizing legs that heavier cook systems like Jetboil include. While not always needed, they add stability on uneven surfaces and weigh almost nothing.Full Details
This one is for the backcountry gourmets out there. Use it to hold spices or trail snacks and secure it to your pack with the included mole attachment points. We use this even when our meal plan is for store bought backpacking meals. We like to bring some cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or black pepper to spice up these meals. Or if we'll be fishing, lemon pepper makes the perfect seasoning for rainbow trout.
Pro-Tip: Keep in-camp prep simple by premixing all the spices needed for each of your recipes and place each mix in its own compartment.Full Details
These are just a few examples of the many outdoor and ultralight designs the 3D printing community have created and shared online and more are being added every day. Find more at www.thingiverse.com where you can also share your own MYOG creations.
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Austin lives in the Pacific Northwest where he enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Olympic and Cascade mountains.
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