46 forum posts
I think you can put backpackers into three categories: Long trail, vacation (me), and weekend. My current hiking partner is the first long trail hiker I've really gotten to know. Obviously some sort of addiction. Some of the appeal seems to be the community formed among long trail hikers. A tight knit group. One annoying aspect of them, if my friend is typical, is that they think the only advice worth anything comes from other long trail hikers. The problem with this, as I see it, is that it is too easy for one or two people to start a trend. One person gets on a blog and says the did the PCT with shoe A and it was fantastic. Another person chimes in that he loves them too. Pretty soon half the people on the PCT are hiking in shoe A, even though there are other shoes that would suit them better.
Long trail hikers need things that are durable, reliable and comfortable. They could be stuck with it for a couple thousand miles. Admittedly, quite a testing ground for gear and methods.
On the other hand, vacation backpackers have the advantage that if something doesn't work one trip, they can try something else next trip. They can try more things. This gives them experience too.
Weekend backpackers may do a dozen trips a year. They can try something new almost every weekend, But, unlike the long trail hikers, and vacation hikers, they aren't carrying heavy packs, so we need to keep this in mind.
The point is, anyone that has done a lot of backpacking, whether long trail, vacation, or weekend, probably has knowledge to contribute and is worth listening to.