3D printing brings endless possibilities for MYOG and ultralight backpacking enthusiasts. If you have the skills you can create your own gear, or you can search online for open-source designs that are ready to print. 3d printing can also be useful for repairing and extending the life of your gear - think replacement buckles, new nobs for your old stove etc. If you don't have your own 3D printer you can have designs printed with online services, 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 design ideas from www.thingiverse.com.
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, a lantern, or 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.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.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.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 saved nearly 2lbs of pack weight.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.
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 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 that is a great reason to 3D print a replacement.Full Details
These ultralight rope tensioners are awesome. Use them to keep a tarp, clotheslines, or tent guy lines perfectly taught.
Pro-Tip: Use a glow in the dark filament to print these to keep lines visible in the dark and prevent tripping.Full Details
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.
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. Find more at www.thingiverse.com
Hiking... it is both calming and energizing. It is when I often feel most free. It can be whatever you want it to be- thoughtful or meditative, relaxing or challenging. It is a way to connect with the natural world, with others, and with yourself. It makes you more appreciative, and helps you understand your relative size. You discover beautiful things on every trail. It is one of the healthiest and most refreshing activities available.
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