Jun 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm #1237091
Like many, if not most folks here I've been at the UL game for quite some time. I go on my trips and am often mistaken for a dayhiker.I've worn that like a badge of honor. I love the look on their faces when all my gear comes out like the clowns coming out of the car at the circus :D. This weekend, however, something was different.
I took my 9yr old son on his first AT overnight. We went to Shenandoah for the views and the easy trail. We stayed at Gravel Springs Hut only b/c I wanted my son to be comfortable (aka at an established site)for his first outing. I figured stealth camping might be too much for him 1st time around. Anyhow, I got along with all the hikers/campers present but I didn't really realize how out of place I felt until after reflecting on the trip today.
I was one of only 3 folks using an alcohol stove. The one guy was a thru hiker, and he drew a decent sized crowd who wanted to see him light his stove with a rod and steel. He was carrying a "traditional" gear load and yet had the tiniest steel I have ever seen. He had hiked half the trail carrying this worthless item and decided to try it out now. After much effort he did get it to work, but now I understand why so many people shun such gear after having a long distance hiker put on such a show. Anyway, I kept a low profile and talked very little about UL gear, except with one guy who seemed to get it and was facinated with how fast the prototype I was carrying boiled water.
This is the 1st time I actually felt out of place in the hiking community. I try to stay in touch with what more traditional hikers are carrying and try to show them what UL options exist, but I felt like this time it would have been like peeing into the wind.
Is it just me?Jun 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm #1508331
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
Yup it's just you. It doesn’t matter what type of gear you or the other person may be carrying. The only think that matters is that you’re out having fun.Jun 15, 2009 at 2:43 pm #1508334
Just you. Hike your own hike and what not.Jun 15, 2009 at 2:44 pm #1508336
Nah, that's not what I meant. I don't care what you carry. I guess it's just that I was the only UL guy in the group, and for once it felt weird. We had a great hike, with beautiful weather, and i guess you're right, that's all that matters.Jun 15, 2009 at 3:45 pm #1508351
@benwoodLocale: flatlands of MO
you know i find that alot of backpackers tend to be gearheads, no surprise there, and thus tend to look each others gear and the way they do things. i find myself doing this. i recently went out with a friend of mine who has many miles under his belt. he is not the gearhead most of us are. he takes off the manufactures labels from his gear. when i asked him why, he said the logos were a distraction.
i say let the others carry what they want. if they ask you questions about your gear, share your thoughts.Jun 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm #1508357
@tacedeousLocale: East Bay, CA
went backpacking with some new friends weekend before last, at point reyes… 14.8 lb pack, with all the goodies (i sleep in a tent, gotta have a pad) and alot of extras…dslr camera w/ 200mm lens, tripod, ipod and speaker 16oz of johnny walker blue label (I enjoy camping :)
friends had the traditional setup, as did everyone else out there… I passed by a group of 3 on an up hill, they had HUGE packs! but what killed me was the guy in the back, was carrying a gallon of crystal geyser water in his hand and two cans of Campbell's chunky soup in his side pouches… later thought about that… gallon h2o= 8lbs, 16.8oz can of soup x2= 2lb 1.6oz… 10lb1.6 just right there! they made it to camp about 3.5 later, looking half dead…my friends were already passed out from the hike and a few nips of scotch, i was out hiking around taking pictures (pack still on, LOL)the guy who was in the back saw me and asked if I was staying the night, he was surprised to see me camping at this remote spot, with what looked like a day pack… so I walked over to their camp took my pack off, showed them what I had, they where shocked! and yes I'll be honest it felt great ;) HYOH, but I say enjoy your day off too!Jun 15, 2009 at 5:09 pm #1508367
I went on the BPL Bay Area hike to Point Reyes in January. Immediately felt at home with the gear that I was seeing and the people that were carrying it all embracing the UL concept. I went on a trip to the Lost Coast with a group of traditional hikers. I too felt somewhat out of place. Some were carrying Jansport external frame packs that they have been carrying since the seventies! Giant water pumps and 7 pound tents. You get the picture. I think there is a fundamental difference in the mindset of each group. HYOH of course. Hiking out in front was like being there by myself anyway, should have gone solo.Jun 15, 2009 at 5:30 pm #1508373
Ken, thanks for being just as weird as me :P.
We definitely had a great trip and the Blackberry shakes at Elkwallow were the bomb. In the end I guess the rest doesn't matter.
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