"Always again"

10:52 p.m. on April 4, 2013 (EDT)
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In a recent post Tipi mentioned, in reference to Hilleberg tents, that he would buy one "always again."  The phrase struck a chord with me and I am wondering, what specific pieces of gear you would buy "always again."  I've had a hard time answering that question for myself.  I have a variety of gear, but much of the individual pieces have readily available substitutes by other manufacturers and I would likely be satisfied with those substitutes.

What comes to mind for me is my gear from Cooke Custom Sewing (several portage packs and tarps) and my Moss Titan GT tent.  The CCS gear is top notch quality and the design is refined to be perfectly suited for canoe trips.  In the case of the Moss, this tent is easily the finest tent I've ever seen.

Anybody else?


11:45 p.m. on April 4, 2013 (EDT)
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I can qualify my comment "always again" because even with the Hilleberg flaws I still keep coming back for more.

A big consideration and negative with the Always Again policy is that most companies make outstanding tent models which they discontinue after a few years.  North Face Westwind/Toulumne and Mt Hardwear South Col/Muir Trail tents come to mind.  So, it's sorta hard to do an always again when the product doesn't exist.

Then again there's brand loyalty which means "I'll buy anything made by Western Mountaineering or Feathered Friends or Petzl or Hilleberg" or whoever else even if they discontinue a certain model.

We have to work around the defects in ALL outdoor gear as no single piece of gear is perfect.  Brand loyalty happens when a brand has been tested over time and works.  Sadly, many companies go out of business or change so radically that they still exist but have become ancient history.  North Face down bags come to mind, at least in my opinion.

6:03 a.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I'd buy a North Face Wrapac if they ever came out with it again.

7:32 a.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Of course I have my share of sentimental favorites, but regarding the following items, I have found no equivalents:

Kelty external frame pack (I believe it was the Sonora model back in the 1970s).  This 4,500 cubic inch pack was fitted to the mountaineer frame, and had additional space on the frame to lash a sleeping bag below and other gear on top.  I have carried a keg of beer strapped to the frame this pack 5 1/2 miles up a trail with 1,500 foot elevation gain.

Wilderness Experience internal frame expedition size hauler pack.  It is a beast – 6,200 cubic inches plus an expansion collar on top.  This company is no longer around.  This pack carries a heavier load comfortably than any internal frame pack I have tried out.

Trailwise 60/40 parka.  Trailwise has been out of business for decades, but I still use this soft shell garment on cold dry snow trips.  Perhaps the best crafted and tailored outdoor garment I have ever owned.

Cammenga mil spec lensatic compass.  Simple to use, dependable, rugged and accurate.  This is the only item on my list you can still purchase.

MSR FireFly white gas stove.  This model was sold briefly in the early 1980s, and predates the WhisperLite.  Max heat performance of the FireFly is similar to the MSR XKG series stoves, but his baby also has great simmer control.

Bulldog Brand Camping billies.  The aluminum three pot set is simply a classic.  It too is not longer made and I cannot find a similar three pot set.  Mine has lost some components and I would like to replace with a similar product.  Any suggestions?

Asolo expedition ski boots.  These FGL double boots are the most comfortable boot I have ever slipped on.  They literally feel like slippers.  Alas these too are no longer made.  I purchased another set of telemark boots for short trips and resort skiing, so I can extend the life of my exped boots and use them exclusively for extended trips.

Camping Bacon.  WTF you say?  Yea there was a product called camping bacon.  It was par cooked bacon that came in a tube.  It required no refrigeration.  You’d fry it just like normal bacon, and it tasted fantastic!  It generated barely enough grease to fry other breakfast items. 


9:16 a.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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The list is great.  I once had a set of Bulldog billies I bought at REI.  I wound up shipping them to a friend in Wales who was looking for a set for sentimental reasons.  Sigg used to make a set of pans in up to five sizes with wide locking bales and lids you can use as a plate/shallow bowl/fry pan.  I have the two smallest sizes and would buy the rest of the set in a heartbeat.  

Camping bacon - I remember the brand, in fact K-Mart used to sell it.  I could never get over the fact that it came in a can, but I've heard from many folks the product was of very good quality.

Carrying a keg of beer on a back - I am in awe.

The North Face has re-released the Westwind from time to time, the tent seems more popular in Europe than here.  Google just found that you can buy one now.


9:43 a.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Alan---Thanks for the update on the Westwind.  I knew they were being sold in Great Britain for around $500 (?) but didn't know it's now available here.

11:20 a.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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I am wondering if the Westwind is also suffering from the same problems as the MSR Fury - too light of fabrics, especially in the floor.

12:23 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Very few tents have the floor specs of a Hilleberg.  The Fury while having a thin denier floor never leaked water at any time in my experience although I could not say this after 2 years of hard use. 

Look at the TarpTents---they use very thin denier fabrics both for the fly and the floor.  My old Westwind had a thin floor and a decent polyester fly, urethane coated before the days of Silnylon.  The new Westwind looks to be silnylon thruout.  I'd like to see one and put it to the test.

9:14 p.m. on April 5, 2013 (EDT)
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msr whisperlite...northface tadpole...ridgerest pads.

7:06 p.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
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Memories grow fonder over time.  I definitely remember the canned bacon they used to sell at Kmart.  It was just uncooked bacon in a can, not of the highest quality - it was pretty fatty.  The highlight was watching as the huge amount of grease at teh end was poured into the campfire to flair up.    

8:44 p.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
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If I told you, then I'd create even more competition.  No thank you.  Suffice to say, there are a couple things (which is why I'm still buying backups of backups of backups).

5:15 a.m. on April 9, 2013 (EDT)
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drphun said:

Memories grow fonder over time.  I definitely remember the canned bacon they used to sell at Kmart.  It was just uncooked bacon in a can, not of the highest quality - it was pretty fatty.  The highlight was watching as the huge amount of grease at teh end was poured into the campfire to flair up.    

I think we are talking two entirely different products.  I got my bacon from REI.  Whatever the Kmart stuff is you refer to is not what I ate.  Camping Bacon was packaged in a foil lined paper tube like what Pillsberry’s pop’n fresh rolls come in, not a metal can.  It was definitely par cooked, obviously not raw. And a full can of Camping Bacon yielded only about a teaspoon of grease.


9:09 p.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Tarptent Moment (So light and fast to set up. Great in wind.)


Trail Designs Sidewinder Stove W/ Inferno gassifier wood burner (most versatile stove out there!)

REI Kimtah eVent parka



11:25 p.m. on April 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Swiss Army knife, not sure what model, but it has a phillips head screwdriver that fits the adjusters on a derailleur. Columbia fleece jacket, had it for years, looks almost new. TNF Baltoro, extremely warm down jacket. Capilene base layer top and bottom, long lasting, warm, still great after years of use. MacPac Chrysilis down bag, really well made and comfortable.

7:14 p.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Early Winters 1 kilo bag. Anyone got one?

Some other items in this tread i never saw, and others i wanted a copy off but never had.

Cool thread.

June 24, 2018
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