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Fashion over Function

10:15 a.m. on September 29, 2013 (EDT)
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This online news article caught my eye: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/best-walking-shoes-for-travel/1 What struck me as interesting is they dismiss comfortable shoes as a "no-no" because they aren't fashionable and "you'll want to fit in." One pair is listed at $525 (It's nothing but a ballet slipper).

It made me think about what is it that we carry that is more a status symbol, than a useful item? In that regard, I don't even bother looking at NorthFace gear, because, I feel, you're essentially paying for the logo, a status symbol for some.

A decade ago I once met skepticism because my water bottles weren't Nalgene bottles. They were an off brand that only cost $1 each. Considering both carried water, I didn't see the point.

Some claim trekking poles are now a "fashion statement." I disagree, as without them, I wouldn't be backpacking anymore.

On the flip side, Joseph Renow recently introduced me to the concept of his homemade "Prison Shoes." They are incredibly ugly, but at only 1.8oz, they weigh less than a pair of flipflops and make great camp shoes. I made and used a pair of my own last weekend, and I'll carry them from now on.


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Any thoughts on what we're buying that we don't really need?

1:14 p.m. on September 29, 2013 (EDT)
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But will these blue shoes stay on for river crossings??

There are a lot of things I see in the backcountry which to me are useless crap---

**  GPS devices.  Totally dead weight.  I like my topos,

**  Camp chairs---the kind backpackers carry.  Totally useless.

**  Bear Bells.  Hate 'em.  Bears hate them and will eat people who carry them.

**  Hatchets and Axes.  Paul Bunyan types I guess.  So, where's the Blue Ox?

**  Musical Instruments.  Please.  No.

**  Walmart style blue tarps.  Especially when left in the field and discarded as trash.  This also goes for canned food and the discarded cans, and those pesky heavy green propane containers scattered everywhere.


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I found this wonderful tarp on Slickrock Creek discarded by American patriots at their best---so I cut it down and rolled it up and hid it behind a tree.


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1:42 p.m. on September 29, 2013 (EDT)
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This one should be obvious.

1:11 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi, I agree that some, if not most of the gear you mention would be inappropriate on my trips where I have to carry it on my back. A hatchet is an almost totally useless piece of gear, and quite dangerous. A small HBC pattern axe on my canoe trips is essential, and not just for making fires. It gets used to cut portage trails and put blazes on trees when we have to cut a trail. I also carry a small folding saw on canoe trips, but not on hiking trips. A cheap tarp? I have a silnylon one, but also have a small cheapo as a back up. GPS? I agree, though some like them. I have topo maps and most references I need are UTM coordinates. Camp chairs? Not on a hiking trip, but the new REI chairs on this latest trip were a boon in the evenings and lay days. I can make do for a few days or a week, but longer than that, and days spent getting boats over a hard carry, and a comfy chair is a nice thing to have. Bear Bells? Useful for letting me know where the uninformed tourists are, so I can avoid them. And flip flops, like the sandals above, might be comfortable, but are also an accident waiting to happen. SOmething that stays on when wading, and protects the feet, weights slightly more but is far more useful. Canned food? OK, I don't discard the cans, and I carry some canned food on BOTH canoe trips and hiking trips, but only in very limited amounts. On one canoe trip, which was a very difficult one involved Class 3 and 4 drops, portages around canyons and waterfalls, an old hand made fun of the two or three cans of peaches and mandarin oranges I had brought for the desserts on the nights I made the group dinners. After my turn at dinner on day 3, the old hand kept asking me if had any more tins of fruit. On day 17, I could have sold them to him for a tidy profit!

8:56 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm on board with Tipi's list with the exception of the cheap tarp. I'd never stoop to buying one at Walmart but my local Renys carries a very crappy, extremely light weight 4x6 that is perfect for making a cooking shelter. Unless I'm pretty certain of the weather I carry one even though I don't always use it because when I do use it I'm happy to have it 8p

Of course any crap people are leaving behind is stuff that should have been left at home in the first place.

9:02 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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But the outdoor gear industry is full of Fashionistas! What major brand doesn't plaster its name across everything it makes?

And in the drive to "lighten up" we are now being lured into exotic fabrics and materials, super expensive titanium, etc.

Seriously do we need a Titanium Double Wall Cup for $50?

Its not all bad. I got away from backpacking and have returned after a decade++ hiatus and am amazed at all the changes which technology has brought us. Some to the very good. Some perhaps not so much. Coming back to the sport its great to see so many improved products.

When I started (late 70's) and took to part of the AT the stoves were bigger and heavier than they are today. And I had never heard of an alcohol stove but am very interested, so much so that I bought one to play with and even plan to buy a can of cat food . . . even if it makes the dogs insecure about their roles in the household.

GPS, yes, I have one. I use it only for DAY trips. I also have a little Brunton and a little Silva and topo maps too. But on simple day walks, or out on a lake if I want to mark a hot fishing spot so I can return the next morning, the GPS is an easy to use, quick to react, TOOL that serves its purpose. Batteries are the problem, which is why, on a multi-day trip the GPS stays at home. But I've found countless uses for it, including finding the corner of my property that sits in the middle of a huge field of corn/soybeans and is claimed by multiple farms.

I do agree, everything packed into the woods needs to be packed out. That is just the right thing. But I'm not sure what that part of the discussion has to do with a thread on "Fashion over Function"

Bear Bells . . . WTF?!? bear_sign.jpg

9:03 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Good post, Erich.  For blazing portages, have you ever considered marking the trail with survey ribbon?  No cutting required.  Unless the portages are so bad and brushy that you can't get thru without clearing a trail.  I use ribbon on new trails that are overgrown and hard to follow, so in case I have to backtrack I can get out.

I take canned food on short trips in the 5 day range but for some reason people love to discard their empty cans everywhere in the woods.  The old timers did it too.  There's an old logging camp on the South Fork Citico trail that has over a thousand old rusted cans sitting in a pile.  I guess when you're dynamiting roads and clear cutting a forest, who cares about a few thousand empty cans?

Melensdad---"Grizzly poop has bells in it . . ."---very good. 

9:19 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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The only thing I'd add to Tipi's excellent list are camp shoes. It's always been my theory that if your boots aren't comfortable enough to wear all day and into the evening, buy new boots. I don't see the value of carrying extra gear to make up for flaws in other gear.

As for a fashion statement, I have brands I prefer (Black Diamond, Outdoor Research, etc.) because their gear has performed as I needed it to under difficult circumstances. The tourists might recognize some brands I use, but probably not others. Like Goose, I dismiss TNF and similar brands simply because the people I see wearing seem to be inexperienced. That might not be really fair - I know North Face makes some decent equipment - but I don't want to be associated with the people who buy expensive gear just because of the name. 

One suggestion, if you like canned fruit, is to substitute dried fruit bars (Sunrype, for example). I find that the fruit craving is more about a getting sugar fix than a nutritional need, and the fruit bars weigh less and have less packaging to carry out. I don't carry canned food because of the weight.

Just my opinion, of course.

9:25 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Erich said:

It gets used to cut portage trails and put blazes on trees when we have to cut a trail.

While I can see that sometimes a portage trail might need clearing, I absolutely disagree with blazing trails to mark them. The scarring sometimes kills the trees and the disfigurement is both unnecessary and permanent. Buy a roll of flagging tape instead. 

(PS: We DO know the bear sign is phony, right?)

10:29 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Peter1955 said:

The only thing I'd add to Tipi's excellent list are camp shoes. It's always been my theory that if your boots aren't comfortable enough to wear all day and into the evening, buy new boots. I don't see the value of carrying extra gear to make up for flaws in other gear.

 Wearing my water shoes in camp with light socks after wearing my boots all day with thick socks is one of my greater joys in life.  Not quite as good as a good cookie, but pretty good. Friday night I put them on as soon as I made camp and even wore them down to the brook to make water.   The feet enjoy the variety and happy feet go up mountains better than unhappy feet.

10:57 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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If you have to carry water shoes anyway, I can appreciate that they would make a good change for tired feet, LS. And light shoes like Crocs aren't much of a burden. Hiking is, after all, about your feet!

I just never found it necessary to change. 

11:22 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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(PS: We DO know the bear sign is phony, right?)

 

REALLY? But I thought . . . ;-)

FWIW there was a study about bear bells => http://www.alaska.com/2008/10/16/1944/are-bear-bells-worth-a-jingle.html

11:37 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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I guess musical instruments is a personal preference and I can understand that the excess noise could really ruin someone else's getaway into peace and tranquility.  However, in Big Sur a couple years back, on the Sykes Hot Springs trail, I ran into two guys who carried a small washboard.  They played the washboard and I was pretty amazed by the musicality of it.  Personal preference I guess.. and I bet not all who heard it was too happy about it.. but I thought it was pretty neat and really enjoyed it.

In regards to equipment, I am a little guilty of buying things that I don't really need.  I bought a Black Diamond Orbit lantern this season that really doesn't have much of a purpose besides ambient light (esp since I'm typically carrying a headlamp).  I do own the above mentioned "titanium mug."  While some of my "trail" clothing is from Patagonia (which is pretty trendy aka PradaGonia/PataGucci), and all things considered, is pretty overpriced esp since they manufacture in countries with low-wages and poor human rights records.  But then again.. in our global economy.. besides cottage industry brands, I think most outdoor gear manufacturers outsource to these countries.

11:38 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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As for a fashion statement, I have brands I prefer (Black Diamond, Outdoor Research, etc.) because their gear has performed as I needed it to under difficult circumstances. The tourists might recognize some brands I use, but probably not others. Like Goose, I dismiss TNF and similar brands simply because the people I see wearing seem to be inexperienced. That might not be really fair - I know North Face makes some decent equipment - but I don't want to be associated with the people who buy expensive gear just because of the name. 

 

Coming back into hiking and backpacking after an extended absence I look at gear a bit differently. Perhaps I should be considered a newbie despite my past experiences.

But I think I have a slight advantage in that I've got a fresh look at a lot of gear that has improved over the years.

Clearly The North Face makes a good deal of "fashion" wear. Kids seem to buy the brand for the label alone.

But should we dismiss EVERY item from TNF simply because of the label? I think not.

Nor should we be simply gravitating to the small companies/cottage brands simply because they are not multi-national firms.

I considered Eddie Bauer to be a 'sell out' brand about 20 years ago. But now I see the Eddie Bauer "First Ascent" brand of clothing/gear and it seems to be very functional. Its also getting some very good reviews. I own none of it, but am considering their "Accelerant" light jacket because of the reviewers comments and the endorsement from Backpacker magazine.

Back in another age, Gore-Tex came out and those of us who were "wool" devotes looked at the prices and had to pause but its now hard to find real wool wear (with the exception of some companies like Filson) that is designed for real use.

Guess my point is that SOME of the 'new' developments are real advances, and SOME may be fashion statements, and a SELECT FEW may be both.

At least with my fresh look at the new stuff that is my take on the gear/clothing that seems to be out there in the marketplace.

Just my opinions, dismiss me as the 'new' guy, but it seem logical to look at every piece of gear with fresh eyes.

11:58 a.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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melensdad said:

But should we dismiss EVERY item from TNF simply because of the label? I think not.

Then we agree.

Nor should we be simply gravitating to the small companies/cottage brands simply because they are not multi-national firms.

I'm curious about this. What would you consider a cottage brand? There are specialty companies aimed at a very small market segment that produce excellent equipment, and there are major manufacturers who cater to the same specialized markets, but carry other complete lines as well. Black Diamond comes to mind.

...Gore-Tex came out and those of us who were "wool" devotes looked at the prices and had to pause but its now hard to find real wool wear (with the exception of some companies like Filson) that is designed for real use.

Gore-Tex was never meant to replace wool, but rather the non-breathable waterproof shells that were in use. Nothing wrong with wearing a cozy old wool sweater with a Gore-Tex shell over it if it rains!

Just my opinions, dismiss me as the 'new' guy, but it seem logical to look at every piece of gear with fresh eyes.

Don't worry about it. You make good points, and Trailspace is all about giving every piece of equipment a fair review.  

 

12:24 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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There are many right answers. I do not like flagging in the backcountry. I have used a lot for field work but always remove it.

An axe is a requirement for some trips as Erich explained.

Last week we were on a canoe trip. My brother somehow managed to bring his tent but without a fly. I pulled out a small green tarp, problem solved.

I like chairs because of multiple back injuries.

Music is always a treat.

I have a lot respect for Walter's ideas. But I have a different interpretation of what is appropriate.

12:31 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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No camp shoes??  Ye gods!!  I went over 20 backpacking years with just boots and no camp shoes and for the last 12 years I've been carrying and using a pair of crocs for creek crossings and camp shoes.  They have saved my life and brainstem and medulla and maybe the Pons.  How so?

In the old days I did all creek crossings in bare feet.  Negatory on this one, especially with a 75 lb pack.  Crocs are a survival tool.

Then, after a day of backpacking, I'd have to put on my boots everytime I left camp and my boots were often soaked and muddy and sometimes frozen---and the long laces went everywhere. (You're not an official outdoorsman until you've dug a cathole and taken a dump on your boot laces). Now I keep my socks dry and slip into a pair of crocs.  Crocs also make a great reststop sit pad during breaks or in the snow.

On long trails involving a dozen or more creek crossings you can just stay in the crocs and hike under load in the things.  Even in the snow.  Don't try this barefoot.  And don't ever get your hiking boots wet intentionally in the winter on creek crossings---they'll stay wet for the whole trip and freeze solid.  Why ask for trouble?  Crocs never really get wet and never freeze up.

Ribbon?  It's easy enough to remove old ribbon when I see it.  Stick it in my shorts pocket and into the litter bag.  A lot of people mark trails with ribbon for whatever reasons and 90% of the time I remove it as I walk by, unless it's at an important trail junction.  It's valuable when doing trailwork on unmaintained trails---just so I can get the hell out if things turn ugly.

Regarding camp chairs---


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Little Mitten likes her camp chair as shown here on Trail 149 in the Citico wilderness.


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She brings her camp chair over to my tent for dinner.  I tell her she looks like a backwoods lawyer giving counsel to forest bums and tent hobos.

12:45 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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I think you have asked an interesting but ultimately very personal question.  One's needs vary based on individual preferences. the places we hike, and the seasons in which we hike, have great influence on what we buy and carry.  and people obviously have many differing philosophies about how lightweight gear should be or which functions are important to them.

about ten years ago i assessed the gear that i had and decided to replace a lot of it, because all my basic gear was 10-20 years old at the time.  i probably didn't need to make those purchases, but as i stand here today, i'm still using basically the same stuff i bought 7-10 years ago - large backpack, leather boots, stove, tent.  (i swapped my synthetic sleeping bag for an on-sale down bag a few years ago, and the leather boots are about to be shipped to Limmer for their first re-sole).  i probably spent more than the average person on the gear, but i had the disposable income and wanted things that would perform well and last a long time.  i don't go buying more of this every few years and probably couldn't afford it.          

if i have a weakness, it's that i'm always searching for better stuff for day hiking.  trail running shoes. mid-sized packs for a long day (and for carrying my spouse and kids' stuff, sometimes) or a winter summit.  t-shirts that are comfortable to hike in year round.   wind and rain jackets that will actually function well.  of course, trail running shoes and jackets don't last nearly as long, and I use the stuff enough that it gets worn/damaged and replaced from time to time.  i admit that a few of these purchases were more whim than need.  for the packs in particular, i have discovered there is a reasonable market for selling a mildly-used and reasonably-sized backpacks on craiglist or other website classified sections.  also, the smaller backpacks don't cost as much anyway.  so, between the lower cost and the opportunity to sell the existing pack, the overall cost of upgrading or trying different things isn't as bad as it might appear.  (this last paragraph reads like justification for a gear addict - and in some ways it is!). 

some specific observations:

i don't bring a gps when i hike in the summer, but it's standard for the winter.  with trails and cairns snowed under in the white mountains, with white outs common, a gps unit can save your life. 

i usually buy a cheap plastic drop cloth and use it as a ground barrier for my tent.  i always leave no trace and take it with me when i leave, though. 

the rise of decent dried meals has eliminated canned food from my hiking diet.

i'm not a subscriber to ultralight and have therefore avoided new stoves and titanium pots, sporks, etc.   

1:22 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi and Peter, I had thought about mentioning flagging tape as an alternative to blazes. The few times I have resorted to blazes, they are quite small, and they have been used to mark where we are building an established trail and the trees with the blazes will be downed. I hate to see flagging left in the bush. Cutting a new portage trail is rare. The few times I have done it, the trees had grown up so close together, there were spots we couldn't get the canoes to bend, so we had to actually cut a few trees.

The beginning of one nasty portage. It got worse.
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Other times the axe has been used to clear out an old trail that had a burn. The trees had fallen like matchsticks four and five feet deep in spots.

BUT, I wouldn't be caught dead on a hiking trip with an axe.

For camp shoes, I often bring along a pair of moccasin rubbers. That's right, the silly rubber things that some folks wear over dress shoes. I get mine small enough to wear over my socks. They aren't good for anything but camp shoes, but they are light weight, cheap, and have good traction. I've also used them over good moccasins, but for back packing, the latter are too much extra weight.

I am also not a fan of the MSR titanium spoon with stove wrenches on the handle. The spoon is fine, but the titanium is too light to make the wrenches useful especially when trying to remove a seized nut on a stove. I stick with the stainless ones.

Titanium cups lose heat too fast, I prefer something that holds the heat in for hot drinks. I also don't bring a hacky sack or a folding frisbee.

3:44 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm not suggesting that anyone who doesn't use camp-shoes do so...if you have a system that works for you...great...but I think it is important to provide a different perspective for those who (like me) want or need something besides their wet and dirty trail-shoes to get around while in camp. I tried for many years to use only a single pair of shoes...and found that my feet seriously suffered as a result.

 

Given the delicate state of my feet...I have experimented with different shoe combinations for about 10-15 years...initially only using boots on and off the river. I have never found the perfect combination...and sure...camp-shoes are not critical...but for me they offer two significant advantages: 1) get me out and back into bed more quickly and more CLEANLY than my hiking shoes when nature calls in the middle of the night. 2) They help to keep my feet dry the entire time I am in camp....which results in less blisters. Both of these issues can be worked around...and using camp-shoes was not the default for me (not using them was)....but for 1.3 oz. and about 1.00 US the "prison sandals" above have made life on the trail and river's edge much better...if not somewhat embarrassing.

 

As far as sticking to the point of Goose's thread (I do not believe Goose mentioned bringing useless gear)...I have never really cared too much for labels (there just too expensive)...and more often than not larger manufacturers are developing products for BoBos to use on the street corner. However...I do believe there is some value in supporting small manufacturers who produce gear specifically intended for the trail (if you can afford to do so). For example...Pillowthread had a great backpack on our last trip made by z-packs. Cuben fiber is not the first material that I would want my backpack made of...but these early experiments may lead to totally functional backpacks at significantly less weights in the future...and given that my backpack is the single heaviest thing I carry on the trail (usually an OHM 2.0 approx. 3500 cu. in. and approx. 30 oz.) I am fully supportive of this effort.

6:51 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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CAMP SHOES:

Until I made my "Prison Shoes," I wasn't carrying them. The value is getting up at night to pee! I hate sticking my warm, dry foot into a wet hiker in the middle of the night. I'm not crossing streams in them. At 1.8oz, I'm happy with them.

TNF:

I wasn't questioning quality. I'm saying you are paying extra for that logo. I have a 11yo fleece pull over from Old Navy that keeps me warm. I paid $7 for it on clearance. I've never seen a TNF anything that cheap. Is TNF fleece better quality? Probably, but after 11 years, I've never had a complaint about my $7 fleece.

CAMP CHAIRS:

Hammock hangers don't need 'em. The other night I sat in my hammock and cooked my dinner right next to me. The next, cold morning, I laid in my sleeping bag, reached over the edge of my hammock and made my coffee and oatmeal. Ah! Breakfast in bed. Try that in a tent!

8:34 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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If Camp shoes work for you GO with it..I just think we should get paid for advertiseing..I am not a big fan of all the labels.I could do without them,,They dont do anything for the shirts or pants I wear..They just get free advertiseing from me..

8:59 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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I carry and use a GPSR. Primarily I navigate by map & compass - but I use a GPSR as a failsafe - especially when I'm way off trail and completely by myself. It also gives me a way to improve my dead reckoning skills by comparing my GPS coords with where I think I am on the map.

Used properly I don't see how fashion has anything to do with it.

But - if someone carries one because it's the "thing to do" then yeah for them it was a fashionable purchase decision.

I also carry camp shoes, my leather boots fit quite nice and are my choice when backpacking, but at the end of the day when I'm not traveling, a comfy pair of camp shoes (used only in camp no stream crossings) is the ticket. I like moccasins, five fingers, or sandals - just depends.

Maybe it's not so much WHAT we carry but - WHY - and do we really NEED it based on how we like to do things, or where we go, or what the conditions are?

All points that could be argued I guess, but logic must play a major role in gear choices well above fashion or vanity, or fitting in.

A good topic.

 

9:11 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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Ah! Breakfast in bed. Try that in a tent!

That is exactly what my mate is doing...

 His pack with food is inside the tent and he just made some coffee with his JetBoil and some coffee plunger thingo.

10:37 p.m. on September 30, 2013 (EDT)
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okay, Franco. You got me. :)

12:51 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Good conversation here.  I am one who favors campshoe...which also see service as creek crossing shoes, fishing waders, and get up in the middle of the night shoes.

But if you really hate all those expensive logos...how does it change the equation if you find that equipment for 15% of the original price at a yard sale?

I don't mind the logos of high-priced gear---I just mind paying the prices.  When i found a nice Marmot Precip at a local thrift shop for $4, I grabbed. 

Still using it, four years later.

9:02 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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I'd say it boils down to packing what we can each define as a justifiable or necessary luxury.

If we didn't have any, we'd all be UL, carrying no more than the absolute minimum. It's one thing to just survive, another to get by comfortably.

I'm a ground-dwelling, tent camper, and I don't like tracking dirt and mud into my tent. Sure, I could use my same shoes and take them on and off, but the convenience of slip-on sandals makes it a much easier and more comfortable process.

10:33 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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balzaccom said:

Good conversation here.  I am one who favors campshoe...which also see service as creek crossing shoes, fishing waders, and get up in the middle of the night shoes.

But if you really hate all those expensive logos...how does it change the equation if you find that equipment for 15% of the original price at a yard sale?

I don't mind the logos of high-priced gear---I just mind paying the prices.  When i found a nice Marmot Precip at a local thrift shop for $4, I grabbed. 

Still using it, four years later.

 Totally agree about the low cost expensive logos.  I have local access to a Goodwill and a Salvation Army where I find some great deals on discarded Christmas and birthday gifts 8p

Found a nice Columbia shell a few weeks ago and a heavy Bean fleece that came in very handy after a few hours hike in a cold rain last month...both were $5 deals. Still looking for a nice $5 down jacket though ;)

10:48 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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I agree about using a topo and compass as a primary means of navigation, however, I tend to throw my GPS in my pack during deep winter hikes.  You never know when a crazy winter storm can come in.  It is hard to use a topo when you can't see your hand in front of your face due to a whiteout.  Pull out the GPS and let it guide you straight back to camp.  That method has worked for me several times over the past few years.  

I like my camp tennis shoes.  I have good boots but it feels nice to throw on some tennis shoes after hiking mile after mile in the backcountry.  

11:15 a.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Brands are as good as their names - TNF I find on eBay for discounted prices, so it's more easily affordable to me, and it has a good resale value when I want to buy new gear (I keep a "one in, one out" policy). Be hard to find a tent like my Sputnik (as packable and lightweight) for $165 from any other brand.

Their customer service, though, is what grinds my gears.

Once took me several phone calls and as many e-mails over a month's time span to try and get some guy-lines to replace the faulty ones I had on one of their tents. 

They wound up sending the wrong diameter lines. @#$%.

5:34 p.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Time-tested function... A 1/2 zip unlined Woolrich pullover. This belonged to my great-grandfather, Steingrímur Hallgrímson and it is still in 100% condition with the exception of one wear spot, and one moth hole. Funny how this is now considered 'hipster-fashion'. It functioned well for him living in Gimli, Manitoba...

8:33 p.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Just to go back to those camp shoes.... I thought about making something like that myself but something that puts me off on the trail (here in Australia...) is seeing bits of blue mat that have come off those externally carried mats. A lot of our trails involve dodging vegetation and there is where those mats get torn. I would think that walking around camp over pointy stones or thorns  with those will end up producing more of those blue bits... as for fashion, I often have plastic bags over my clean socks (inside opened runners) at camp so not all that worried about my looks.

8:51 p.m. on October 1, 2013 (EDT)
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Franco said:

I often have plastic bags over my clean socks (inside opened runners) at camp so not all that worried about my looks.

 That would take care of the wet socks to pee problem!

I will watch carefully for the bits of blue foam. Again, I'm just using these for the quick step out of the hammock.

12:52 a.m. on October 2, 2013 (EDT)
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Franco,


I used my last pair for about a year (15-20 trips)...mostly on gravel beaches in the Ozarks...or wooded trails in the Midwest...during this period there were no signs that any material ever came off the sandals. I did however watch the wear on my sandals closely...and probably would've have replaced them before my next trip as I thought they were getting too thin where the ball of my foot compresses the foam. As it turns out...I retired the pair on my last trip unintentionally when I lost them in the woods storing them in the mesh pouch on my bag...so there is the issue of BIG chunks falling out of my bag. I would also add...that these shoes are surely not for everyone...and they are not the kind of shoe that you gather wood in or tromp around your campsite exploring in. They...like a lot of lightweight gear...are very delicate and require care when using...but not a great deal if you're using them as slippers as I do...and at about 1.00 US and 1.3 oz. a pair I have not found another solution (IMO) which has the same level of convenience + price + weight that helps my feet recover while in camp.

1:03 p.m. on October 3, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice post by Sean.

I just used a pair of Crocs for camp shoes on a canoe trip and they were great.

April 19, 2014
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