New backpacker

9:18 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

Im fairly new at this but it's my passion. I've been on some moderate trips. My main concern is everything but I'm buying my new gear now. Price is a minor concern. I'm looking for good three season set up. What is recommended?

9:22 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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By the way I bought the marmot atom. I get pro deals on my stuff so I picked it up. Any comments on that bag will be nice.

9:58 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
3,278 reviewer rep
2,314 forum posts

Weclome to Trailspace Buckeye Trekker!

More specific questions are easier to field for the members here. Geography and goals (at least) are necessary to provide any gear suggestions; you know: where are you going and what do you intend to do?

As I soon discovered when I became a member here, almost any question you can think of has already been asked and answered. I suggest you start with The 10 Essentials and progress from there in each subject area. As much as I don’t like to say things like this (like my Mom used to always tell me to “go look it up”) you would be well served to use the search feature in the upper right and read through previous posts. It can be arduous but quite rewarding as a ton of valuable knowledge has been dispensed on this forum over the years.

Anyway, you have come to the right place if you are passionate about backpacking!  


2:15 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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915 forum posts

Welcome to Trailspace!

As Patman said where will you be hiking most of the time and what the conditions (temps, winds, rain fall) will be are important to figuring out what gear you need.  Also the length of your treks, how many people/animals are going with you and how often are important too.

Since you have taken some trips it is better to go find a piece of gear you think you will like and then ask what people think about here. The best thing about trailspace is that there really no dumb questions. Nobody is going to insult you.  They may tell you that it's not a good choice for your situation but they won't tell you that you are an idiot.

I assume from your handle that you are from Ohio.  Your new bag is probably only good for summer because of the temp rating, but since it is down and only has a 40F rating it should compress very small.

BTW buy your pack last. You need one that will fit all your gear and have room to spare for extra layers, food and water and even though you can estimate the size it is better to have your main pieces of gear with you. 

11:55 a.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
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168 forum posts

I'm guessing you are from OH also. I lived in S. OH for many years. There are so many fine trails right in the area, and then there are wonderful places nearby like the Cranberry Wilderness in WV. Used to go to the Red River Gorge in KY; I hear it has gotten crowded but might be worth a look-see.

Let me say this, which is not a gear recommendation but a gear-testing recommendation. Another great thing about Ohio is the park system. No matter where you are, you are within a fairly short driving distance to a fine park. There is nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with testing out your gear while car camping in some of these fantastic parks. I'm not going to start listing them because we'd be here all night. You can have a great time, see some beautiful country, have some handy amenities like toilets and fire pits, and if something really goes south, there's your car right there and a short ride home. It's a lot better way of finding out that the directions that came with your new tent are inadequate than out on the trail, miles from the trailhead, hungry and tired. I would love to get back to some of those parks again some day.

Take, for instance, Hocking Hills. Nice campgrounds and lots of hiking trails. You could car-camp Friday night, load up the new backpack and head off for a whole day's hike in some of the most gorgeous country ever made, make a nice hot lunch on your new stove, get a feel for how all that weight rides in your new pack and whether you want to load it differently next time, and end up back at your campsite where you can grab a shower and cook supper on a picnic table instead of perched on a rock, have a campfire and roast marshmallows -- oh yeah. Anyone you meet on the trail that day who asks about the big pack, you could pretend you're hiking the whole Buckeye Trail and watch the amazement in their eyes -- no, no, wait, that would be unethical. LOL.

12:17 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
290 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

and let the shopping games begin.

- search gear lists for camping

- refine list and remove simlarities / duplicates

- refine list to essentials

- add weights

- Oh my, remove some more items

- now look at the reviews section here on Trailspace

- select

- search, shopping

- max out credit card

12:36 p.m. on April 12, 2012 (EDT)
denis daly
273 reviewer rep
1,962 forum posts

Welcome to trailspace!

Buckeye trekker I see your looking for three season gear. The sleeping bag you bought by Marmot the atom seems like a 2 season unless you are a warm sleeper in the fall.I keep a 40 degree sleeping bag for summer and late spring.I have a 15 degree bag for early spring and fall and winter. My suggestion is what type of backpacking will you be doing and where. The majority of season's you plan on useing it. That defines your gear and needs. Like patman and occala have said we can help you even more with more information. I wish you the best and again welcome to trailspace..


1:34 a.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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34 forum posts

Basically, I agree with what Brerarnold and Callahan said above. I've been lucky in that the stuff I tested has actually worked out for me pretty well. That's where reviews come in, like on this site.

I read a lot about the layering techniques, lightweight equipment, etc, and then bought a few things I though fit well into a system, and have been using them ever since. I don't know if it's any use mentioning any specifics, since these will vary from person to person based on basic things like physiological differences (warm sleeper, cold sleeper, sweatier, dryer, etc) and personal preference (wool, down, synthetics, weight goals, etc).

However, it's not as daunting as it sounds. The key will be to field-test your gear on day hikes, overnights, and short outings before you decide it's a must-have on a longer trip. And even then, there can be opportunities to swap out for different stuff. For example, I hiked 164 miles of the AT two years ago, and started out with overly heavy Columbia boots. As soon as I had the opportunity, I switched to a nice pair of Montrail Sabinos and have not looked back since.

Live and learn. Everyone has their own preferences and process.

Oh, welcome to TrailSpace!


edit: Hocking Hills is awesome, I agree! Oh, and finally, you don't always need to dish out big $$ for the "best" stuff. For example, I've been very happy with my Eureka 1-person backpacking tent. It was light, water-tight, and very easy to carry when I was on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in PA, and I got it cheap at a sale at Dick's. A great price-to-features ratio, IMHO. It was initially tested at Hocking Hills.

edit2: And could you please clue us in on how you get pro deals on your gear?? Inquiring minds wanna know!

June 7, 2020
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