Old Equipment

7:11 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
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Restarting my hiking interest. I have an old down jacket and a 60/40 jacket from Sierra Designs...early 1970's...(man, time goes by. I took very good care of everything and when we had kids the wife put the kabosh on bringing the babies. I found other interests.). Got a Svea, tightly woven woolen knickers (wore them on hikes and cross-country ski trips), and a load of other stuff. I am not interested in selling anything. I wonder, should I just put the clothing items back in the closet and buy new stuf for weight considerations etc; are there any oldtimers still using this stuff. I don't want to look like a dorky old coot on the trails.

8:26 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
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The really well informed of the forum will perhaps correct my thoughts but here goes:

If it still works, I'd use it. You're fortunate to have experience and know what works. I, on the other hand, only have catalogs and the guys on the forum to educate me (a newbie at 55). I'm not saying that's bad. But the equipment you have is a lot cheaper to use than buying new also.

In fact, I rather would enjoy the unique look of quality, aged equipment. I always wanted to hike ever since I got a used backpack tent for a wedding present in the early '70s. I just didn't do it and regret it now. Turns out, it was a Eureka tent, and the only wear it shows is some of the waterproofing on the inside is peeling. The rainfly doesn't cover the entire tent, but I've considered making a better one. I like the old wall tent form it has. Maybe a little bad odor from some light mildew.

As we grow older, looks shouldn't matter that much, and heck with what people think of your appearance, no matter what age you are. I would think that showing off your older equipment would also show off some of your experience too.

If's it functional, use it and show 'em what you can do with it. I actually think some of the more modern equipment looks kind of goofy, but I'm sure there are technical improvements behind it.

What I wouldn't give for what you have.

Steve

9:16 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
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Blackbeard, thank you for reply and your thoughts. Just cleaned up the Fabiano's. They have some life left. Will have to find an old time Shoemaker to put on new thread. I am old enough to remember when a shoemaker would have references from doctors to build custom shoes and boots for patients. I was really young then! Made in Italy, with some italian script inside.

9:51 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
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Sabino-Welcome. Check out the other threads on the SVEA 123. It may need a bit of maintenance. I have one about that vintage. I have newer designed stoves as well. Gear has changed a lot since the 70s.

I would keep the down jacket unless the down has really compressed-try it when it gets cold. I'd skip the knickers and get some synthetic long johns like Patagonia's Capilene midweight. Some kind of waterproof rain pants and jacket, like the Marmot Precips are light and well-recommended. I have the pants and an REI rain jacket.

The 60/40 jackets have been replaced by Gore-Tex and similar materials. Plenty of choices out there. Looking at websites like this one will give you ideas as to what you may want to replace.

10:05 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
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Man, I wanted the knickers! (LOL)

10:06 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
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By the way, I don't mean knickers as in underwear. I mean as pants

11:52 p.m. on August 21, 2006 (EDT)
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sabino said:

"I don't want to look like a dorky old coot on the trails."

Hey, you are going to be out on the trails. Who cares how you look? If it works, use it, as Blackbeard said.

"are there any oldtimers still using this stuff."

Yes, there are. (the "OGBO" under my name means "Old GreyBearded One")

If the boots still fit, they are probably well-broken in and very comfortable. You might want to get new-style socks, though. Socks like Smartwool Hikers (light hikers, expedition hikers, one of the in-between ones, just so they fit your feet and boots properly) are a lot better than the old Ragg socks. Don't wear cotton socks, though - these tend to be blister-generators.

As Tom noted, the Svea discussions further down the board will help you rejuvenate your stove. Great stove. We have 2 in my household, plus one of the very similar Primus 71L.

I still use wool pants sometimes for backcountry ski tours, but my Terray duvet (down parka) hangs quietly in the closet, and my last 60/40 parka got retired (shredded) a long time ago.

You won't look any more dorky than the recent trend of "camo" everything. I can't figure out why anyone would want a camo flashlight - if you need the flashlight, you want to find it. A camo flashlight might be a bit harder to find, just at the critical moment. And that camo jacket you laid next to the bush as you put up your tent might be too camo-ed in the evening when you need it most. How about trying to find your tent when you return after a hard day hike in the evening, if it is a really effective camo. Now where did that camo water bottle go?

Anyway, welcome to the site!

1:39 a.m. on August 22, 2006 (EDT)
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Sabino, I thought you meant pants too. I wear the Capilene under a pair of light rain pants in cool weather or even under a pair of shorts if it's not wet. Looks funny, but practical. I'm not that big on fashion, so it doesn't bother me a bit.

7:56 p.m. on August 22, 2006 (EDT)
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Tom, I'll look at the Capilene. From a google search, they look good. I did find two sets of fishnet underwear, way deep in my closet. I mentioned "fishnet underwear" to my girls who were watching tv and they made some comments about Dad having a kinky side. They didn't have a clue what I was talking about. True story.

8:01 p.m. on August 22, 2006 (EDT)
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Bill S, thanks for the tip on socks. I wore a thin wool/nylon
liner sock next to the sking, then wool rag socks. I wore the cotton only on day hikes in the summer. I had a light weight Pendleton shirt I wore all year, followed by other layers of wool shirts (shirts being front buttoned for ventilation) and wool sweaters. Fishnet underwear except in winter. Winter was a thin wool long john set..if needed.

What item replaced the down jacket?

8:03 p.m. on August 22, 2006 (EDT)
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I meant cotton long sleeve shirts. NEVER wore cotton socks. I got all prepped with moleskin before each trip.

8:07 p.m. on August 22, 2006 (EDT)
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And I continue to blab: one of my favorite things was the Jerry Tarp I have. Waterproof material with sown netting on either end. Could be zipped to form a tube or rigged any which way as a tarp. I wonder what happened to Jerry Cummingham.

8:21 p.m. on August 22, 2006 (EDT)
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Sabino, Nothing has really "replaced" the down jacket. New ones may have Goretex shells. I have one with Goretex and one with plain nylon. Both are North Face. However, there are many alternatives to down including fleece for milder weather or various synthetics (good for wet weather). There are hard shells, soft shells, windshirts, all kinds of stuff. I don't own any of them so no recommendations.

In mildly cold weather, I wear my Capilene base layer, then a light fleece jacket, then my lightweight rain jacket and pants. If it gets cold enough to snow, then I'll put on a down parka. I get cold easy so I'm usually the first one to start adding fleece and such. I also like a fleece balaclava and glove liners with big gloves over them.

Wondering about Gerry? Read this:
http://www.oregonphotos.com/Gerry1.html

12:25 p.m. on August 23, 2006 (EDT)
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The Terray duvet was replaced by a newer down jacket and by a Primaloft jacket. The newer down jacket is a Marmot 8000 meter jacket (the Terray is a bit thin for Denali and other extreme cold situations). The Primaloft jacket is a Dolomiti from Integral Designs - excellent as a belay jacket for ice climbing and for lighter cold weather wear.

12:32 p.m. on August 23, 2006 (EDT)
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Gerry Cunningham sold his business and trademark a long time ago. The series of conglomerate acquisitions and spinoffs since have made essentially everything with the Gerry trademark logo disappear. I think the only thing left is some of the baby gear (the Kiddie Carrier, some of the sipper cup kinds of things), and maybe not even that. All the outdoor gear disappeared.

Gerry himself does cruising these days - http://www.gerrycruise.com/ask_gerry.htm.

12:43 p.m. on August 23, 2006 (EDT)
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Re: socks and underwear

These days, the best choice for socks is, as mentioned, something like Smartwool heavier outer socks with a thin wicking synthetic sock underneath. There are some heavier synthetic socks, but I have found that these tend to harden after a few washings. Wool or blends that are mostly wool with a little synthetic for elasticity work a lot better. Thorlo has some good socks as well. There are some other companies, but I don't find them as good.

The best outdoor underwear these days is a synthetic, like the Capilene that Tom mentioned. There are others as well. Basically these are polyester with antibacterial treatments. The treatment gets away from the old complaint about synth that it picks up and retains odors. Capilene is very expensive (as is everything from Patagucci, er, Patagonia), but worth it in the long run. I have other brands as well. If it is something that won't be used a lot (like on a once in a lifetime trip to the North Pole or Antarctica), then Campmor expedition-weight polyester long johns are just fine. Even Duofold, the old standby wool with a cotton layer to reduce itching, has gone to synthetic longies.

4:43 p.m. on August 23, 2006 (EDT)
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Re: socks and underwear

Patagonia is having a sale right now. I haven't been in to see what all they are discounting, but it should be on their website as well. I have two pairs of their expedition weight socks which work really well with boots. Expensive, yes, but very durable if taken care of properly. Thorlo also makes good socks-look for the ones they make for hiking. For lighter boots and trail runners, I'd try Thorlo, the lighter Patagonia Capilene or Smartwool. Good socks are a good investment. Getting blisters or wet and sore feet is something you really want to avoid.

9:23 a.m. on August 29, 2006 (EDT)
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I'm coming at this thread a bit on the late side. I use as much old gear as I can depending upon what sort of trip I am planning. Newer stuff can save a bit of weight when backpacking which does go a long way. This past weekend I was car camping with my kids. Vintage gear used was a Cannondale Aroostook tent, Class 5 down sleeping bag, Optimus 111 T and Optimus 199 stoves, and an old Trangia cookset. All of it functioned perfectly. We had a great time and perfect summer weather.

If I were backpacking I'd take the Class 5 bag, a vintage backpack, an Optimus 80 (Svea 123) stove, Sigg cookware and use modern gear for the balance to keep my pack weight down.

11:39 a.m. on August 29, 2006 (EDT)
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Alan -

Sounds like you need to get together with Jim S, Tom D, and me for a "historic gear backpack"!

8:32 p.m. on August 29, 2006 (EDT)
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I camped this weekend and made day hikes. The Fabinos still wear well and I remembered where to place the moleskin before putting on my liner socks. The Svea roared. I am planning some more day trips as I work my way back.

I thank you all for the responses. You have given me some good ideas.

3:05 p.m. on August 30, 2006 (EDT)
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Bill, an historic backpack trip would be great fun. Old gear is what got me hooked on ebay. I'm buying items I wanted when I was younger, but could not afford. Outside of weight, the older gear functions very well in the field. I also collect old gear catalogs and the like. I sent Bruce a bunch of stuff and contact information for his vintage gear website that was referenced above.

6:10 p.m. on October 9, 2006 (EDT)
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Remember Diamond Brand? They made some decent gear way back when.

I personally loved their tents, especially their Mountain Home.

2:42 a.m. on October 10, 2006 (EDT)
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When I was in the Boy Scouts way back when, I had a Hillary backpack from Sears-the frame pack with the fold-down shelf if I remember right, and we carried old Army shelter halves with the 3 piece wooden tent poles. Worked fine in NorCal summer weather.

10:45 a.m. on October 10, 2006 (EDT)
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On my first backpack trip I borrowed my sister's Hillary external frame backpack. The pack worked fine, but I am pleased to have moved on to better gear.

11:17 p.m. on October 10, 2006 (EDT)
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I went to an REI store the other day. The "kid" salesman was very good in helping me see what's new. He hiked the AT last year. I told him I still have a Svea123 that works well. He asked "what's that?". Funny, I thought. When I mentioned my Kelty Tioga pack, he said nobody uses external packs anymore. I made a joke about coming from the Grizzly Adams days. He said if he could sell me one thing to help me get back into the sport it would be a pair of poles to take the stress off the legs and knees. I'm going to get a pair when the budjet allows.

1:36 a.m. on October 11, 2006 (EDT)
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Sabino, I have a pair of trekking poles and I highly recommend them. I bought Lekis, but there are lighter and cheaper ones on the market. The kid was right, they do help with the knees, especially on the downhills.

11:51 a.m. on October 11, 2006 (EDT)
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Hate to say it, but the kid (as with an unfortunately large number of REI and EMS sales types) is wrong about "nobody" using external fram packs anymore. He should go to the NH White Mountains and see what the hut re-supply teams are using. If you have a heavy, bulky, or awkwardly shaped load and are hiking on reasonably good trails, externals are significantly more comfortable. If you are hiking in hot humid weather, externals are significantly cooler.

Internals have their place in off-trail hiking, hiking in places that require actual climbing, skiing, and other situations where a narrow pack that conforms to your back is required.

For training when I carry a heavy pack up the local hills, I load a Kelty Sherpa (big load hauler, external frame, that is no longer available) with gallon jugs of water. That way, at the top, I can dump the water (or more usually, fill up the tiny bottles for people who started a 10 mile hike with one of those store-bought bottled water 8 ounce capacity and are now very thirsty). That way, I carry much less weight on the way down to save my knees.

Oh, yeah, hiking poles are very good for balance and they do help the knees to some extent, though not to the extent the ads claim. Modern hiking poles, sold at huge prices, are just the latest variation on the old hiking stick that has been used by hikers and backpackers for several thousand years (see some of the old Greek, Roman, Chinese, etc paintings and statues). I personally do not find the "shock absorber" ones to be of any advantage. Barb finds the give in them on the downhill to sometimes be disconcerting (is it the "shock absorber", or is the pole sliding, or worse and common in the twist-lock type, is the pole collapsing at an awkward moment?) You don't really need adjustable poles. A ski pole of the right length, picked up at a ski shop closeout for $2 or $3 is just fine. But if you get adjustables, I suggest the Black Diamond FlikLoks - expensive, but they don't collapse unexpectedly like most twist lock ones eventually start doing.

12:29 p.m. on October 11, 2006 (EDT)
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There is an interesting variation on the frame pack made by a small company called Luxury Lite. It looks like a lightweight frame to which you attach up to 3 different sized bags that look somewhat like gym bags-they are tube shaped with flat ends and stack on the frame horizontally. Looks odd, but the people who have them really like them. They are expensive though. They did sell a few demo models a while back cheap, but otherwise they are pricey.

My Lekis have the shock absorber in them and I don't notice it all that much. I like the adjustable feature-I've pulled mine apart to stuff in a suitcase to take on a plane which is a handy feature. Saves them from getting bent or paying extra to take along.

2:10 p.m. on October 11, 2006 (EDT)
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I have to say I really like my trekking poles. I have low end Komperdell poles, nothing fancy. Ski poles would work just as well, but the telescoping feature is nice for transport. I notice them the most going up hill; it's nice to be able to use some arm muscles to help propel my body.

Spot on about external frame packs. 90% of the backpackers out there would do just fine with them.

5:57 p.m. on October 11, 2006 (EDT)
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I still have my old Diamond Brand external frame pack, which I stil use from time to time.

Used it mainly in the beginning when I took up backpacking down on the Archers Fork Trail down in the Wayne National Forest.

10:22 p.m. on October 11, 2006 (EDT)
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Good responses. Thanx. What is the proper length for ski poles if used as treking poles? From the armpit down; from the hand down when the arm is perpendiculer? I knew once.

10:27 p.m. on October 11, 2006 (EDT)
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Luxury Lite: the image I get from the discription reminds me of a Jerry Cunningham pack that I saw someplace way back then. If I find the model info in an old book, I'll post it.

12:31 a.m. on October 14, 2006 (EDT)
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a.k.a. axted

I have old stuff too. In 1968 I purchased a Kelty external frame backpack (no such thing as an enternal frame in those days), an Eddie Bauer zipperless down bag and an Eddie Bauer down shirt. Our rain pancho was the groundcloth, and a tubetent was emergency shelter. Cooking was in coffee tins on an open flame. Sadly, I destroyed alot of beautiful wood above timberline to boil water. In 1971 I bought the Svea 123 stove with an aluminum windshield made by Optimus.
I still have all this gear, But I am thinking about recycling the feathers in the sleeping bag into a Nunatak creation, if the feathers are worthy. The stove has been replaced by a Trangia Westwind, the pack by a Gregory internal, and the tube tent by Hilleberg Akto. The Swedish stuff is hard to beat. Its not exactly ultralight or inexpensive, but nature knows what is cheap and will exploit all weaknesses.

1:48 a.m. on October 14, 2006 (EDT)
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Sabino, I adjust my poles so that my arm is perpendicular to the ground. That seems comfortable to me. I suppose that should change when going up or down hill, but not by much. I don't fiddle much with them once I have them set. My poles are 3 section Lekis so they can be adjusted quite a bit. I have taken them apart for traveling on a plane.

10:20 a.m. on October 20, 2006 (EDT)
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Not yet read: External frame packs have an additional advantage over internals in terms of rescue transport. Both my wife and I are over age 50 so when we backpack, I have to consider the possibility of helping ourselves back to a trailhead following an injury. I wear the external partly because I see it as a means to transport someone who can not stand upright. I could not carry my wife out nor could she carry me out, but dragging someone seated on a frame or even better lashing a frame as a seat across two longer A frame poles becomes more do-able. In the absence of trees, four trek poles become the next best option.

One last point since trek poles have been discussed. At my age, I would now be dead had I not used trek poles during our trek up and down the Mist Trail at Yosemite. Nuff said.

1:02 p.m. on October 24, 2006 (EDT)
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I came to this thread late (pretty normal for me) - and I guess I'm a geezer. I still hump my external frame pack (EMS copy of a Kelty), I still use my Primus stove (cannot recall the model - but it's all brass and fits into its own metal box that serves as a pot-support). I even wear all leather boots (Danner mountain lite II's that replaced my mountain lite's). I sleep in a Eureka timberline tent(bought it for my honeymoon backpacking trip 21 years ago)although I am going to replace my sleeping bag this fall (it's an old North Face and the down is shot). I can be seen from time to time in an old sierra designs down sweater (when it's cold) - and I hike in (horrors, horrors) blue jeans or chinos (my wool knickers haven't fit for years ....). May the gods of backpacker magazine forgive me ....
If you've got equipment that you're comfortable with, that brings back fond memories (like the small holes burnt through my down jacket by campfire cinders do!) and that you already own - why replace it with new stuff?
Plus - consider the environment when you replace gear - most of my gear is well over 20 years old - and very well worn - patched up - yes - but I keep using it. To replace it out of "fashion" would be a slap in the face to the environment - and as backpackers - aren't we supposed to be stewards of the environment ?

Peace

Steve

10:31 p.m. on October 26, 2006 (EDT)
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I was in...ok, I shop there for some things...WalMart and I was walking through the workwear section. I remembered the days when hikers/backpackers would gear up with pants and tops from Sears (wally world did not exsist in my part of the country then). Need shorts? Short sleeves? Got scissors?

I am working up the courage and weight loss to walk the local woods this winter in my knickers and red knicker socks. Mayby in my wooden snowshoes. Jeez, I was surfing the net on snowshoes recently and I felt like I came from a time machine.

I took very good care of my equipment and I thank all of you old timers for the encouragement.

10:47 p.m. on October 26, 2006 (EDT)
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OH yeah, playing around with my candle lantern tonight. One of my favorite backcountry toys. Used it even when the kids were small...until my civilized wife decided we should have a Coleman. Picked-up some replacements at REI but they were way too fat. So, I am picking through the remnants of old candles around the house...but this thing-proudly made in France- used "real" candles. I hope its French dignity doesn't get upset about impure candles. God Bless my French grandmother in heaven. Thinking of you, MaMa, as a light it up tonight.. (And REI still had my membership number from way, way, way, back.)

10:54 p.m. on October 26, 2006 (EDT)
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Sacre bleu! It works! Better put it out before the house burns down.

7:54 a.m. on October 27, 2006 (EDT)
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Is your candle lantern one of the brass/spring loaded ones with the tubular glass lense?

11:20 a.m. on October 27, 2006 (EDT)
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It is aluminum, spring loaded, with clear window like panes(rectangular) on the sides. No manufacturer imprinted on it. Only a " Made in France" strip label on it.

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