Dec 16, 2009 at 12:46 am #1252764
This was originally going to be a poncho tarp question-If you could get a full rain suit and shelter for the same weight as a poncho and bivi would you change? For me part of it is the purity of multi use items, but as I thought about it, it's also the look of the item as opposed to all the identikit regular backpackers. When it's raining and I'm walking along the trail it's kind of good to see the incredulous looks as I saunter past in a giant trash bag and two plastic sacks (cuben rain chaps!). Then I got reminded of the punk rock thread. So would you change if you could get 'conventional looking' gear at very low weights or do you like to use cuben fibre backpacks partly so that people can tell you that 'you shouldn't do that'?Dec 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm #1554461
@rinconLocale: Desert Southwest
This is not something I spend a lot of time worrying about. To me, function is much more important than is form (aka fashion). My priorities are: 1) functionality; 2) price and; 3) what it looks like.Dec 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm #1554534
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I have a run-of-the-mill ordinary Gossamer Gear G4 pack. While hiking the PCT I got a lot of comments from regular backpackers that I met about how small my pack was. It was kinda fun.
But if I could get a full rain suit and shelter for the same weight as a poncho and bivy, I would definitely take the rain suit and shelter. Why? Because I would get more for the weight. Pants and a jacket and a tent vs just rain protection for my upper half and a bag.Dec 16, 2009 at 5:55 pm #1554544
my fashion IS function
but self-expression is in every item we choose so…
Id say people should go with what best represents them as an individual or member of their chosen lot
are you a 1, a none, a some, a minority, or the consensus?Dec 16, 2009 at 6:05 pm #1554550
I like to look goofy on the trail. It helps my friends find me if we get separated for some reason. For example, in the winter, we may ski in different directions for a while. If I wore boring grey and black (like so many these days) I would blend in, but instead I typically have a neon yellow Montbell jacket and a purple hat. In the summer, I like to wear my yellow O2 rain jacket and pants, for similar reasons. The only time I didn't like this "look" when when I was in Europe, as I didn't want to look like an ugly American.
Probably the main reason I still prefer a rain jacket over a tarp is that I can also use it as a bug suit. Speaking of which, when I didn't care so much about ounces, I wore the Original Bug Shirt (http://www.bugshirt.com/). That would get more comments than any of my other gear.Dec 16, 2009 at 7:49 pm #1554598
For me it's the opposite. Given the same weight, I prefer to not look like a UL geek on the trail. I think some stuff is cool (ie. cuben packs) but a lot of stuff doesn't draw the kind of attention I prefer (ie. DriDucks, Poncho tarps). I'd rather not be perceived as an escapee from a mental institution if there's no good reason to.
I like Montbell's slogan: "Function is Beauty". In most cases I will choose whatever is the most functional, but if it's all about equal then I'll avoid looking like a UL geek. Think about it….if a jacket, rain pants and shelter weighed the same as a poncho tarp, then how would you logically explain why you have chosen to wear the poncho tarp? I can just see the conversation:
Me: "Whoa…what's that thing you're wearing?"
UL Geek: "It's my new lead poncho tarp."
Me: "Hmm….so why are you wearing that?"
UL Geek: "Well it's my rain protection and my shelter and it weighs 4 lbs."
Me: "4 lbs????"
UL Geek: "Yeah 4 lbs…just like your tent, rain jacket and rain pants combined."
Me: "I see….so what's the advantage then?"
UL Geek: "Well it does all the same things as your gear and it weighs the same, but I get to look like geek."
Me: "I see….very compelling."Dec 16, 2009 at 8:45 pm #1554623
@rob-kLocale: SF Bay Area
One can't enjoy the timeless beauty of nature in last year's fashions. Don't take it too seriously though.Dec 17, 2009 at 12:21 am #1554686
I like looking different! It sets me apart from people. I'm kind of anti fashion in my general life too though. That's why I thought about the punk thread- the gear that marks you out from the crowd is the tattoos and piercings that shock people for no good reason. UL geek is really the correct way to describe it though!
In terms of functionality though, there's a few ways to look at this. I like the simplicity of having only a few things that do everything for me- the pack is a lot less cluttered. When I set up camp, everything is being used-treking poles support my shelter, my sit mat becomes my food cosy and my sleep mat. It also helps me to think more clearly about the land, how and where I set up camp. I like packs with very few features, I'd have no pockets in my trousers if I could- one pot, one spoon etc, etc.Dec 17, 2009 at 12:45 am #1554687
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
"One can't enjoy the timeless beauty of nature in last year's fashions."
LOL — The North Face should use that in all its brochures! Heck, maybe REI too. :)Dec 17, 2009 at 6:10 am #1554719
@maynard76Locale: New England
When you get older you realize that people are born unique individuals. It isn't something that you need to try to be or become. Whether you put a bone through your nose or put on a suit you are still a unique individual -nobody can take that away from you. fashion is meaningless and superficial and you just end up conforming to a smaller less tolerant subculture. People who grew up with punks and hippies learn this fast.Dec 17, 2009 at 6:21 am #1554721
@chadnscLocale: Duluth, Minnesota
Yup you don't have to look different to be an individual. Most of us are weird, er special in our own way. :)
I am the most special off all. :PDec 17, 2009 at 7:17 am #1554736
All this time I thought that the woods were the only place I REALLY don't have to give a crap.
Although I do try to get most of my gear in black/earth tones these days- for purely tactical reasons, of course.
Punk rock? Whatever…
You just never know when you're going to have to fight the government, U.N., or help start an uprising.Dec 17, 2009 at 7:38 am #1554746
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
I also don't spend much time considering this, but in general, I prefer not standing out and drawing attention.Dec 17, 2009 at 7:49 am #1554749
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
Simon – I hate to squash your dreams man but you don't really look weird or different to me in that picture.
My advice is add some Tyvek and maybe a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers to your kit…!Dec 17, 2009 at 8:00 am #1554752
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"Form follows function."
Since one of my main hiking goals is to avoid other people, it doesn't matter. Plus I wouldn't know what cool or geek looks like anyway.Dec 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm #1554950
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
It's beyond me why appearance would even enter into gear selection, unless maybe you're young and headed to a backcountry rave. ;}Dec 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm #1554952
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
I was cruising around last night, I think it was on the Section Hiker blog, and he linked to some hiking kilts.
Pretty cool idea, no pun intended, but I don't know if I could do it.Dec 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm #1554956
I have a sport kilt in my family tartan. I've never worn it hiking but I have worn it to Home Depot a couple of times. That was fun.Dec 18, 2009 at 1:11 am #1555138
…Dec 18, 2009 at 1:14 am #1555139
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Maybe I should resurrect the green Lycra ski pants?
CheersDec 18, 2009 at 1:26 am #1555141
…Dec 18, 2009 at 2:35 am #1555148
now you're talking! High visibility, low bulk, wicking, less likely to snag on vegetation. A very functional clothing choice sir.Dec 18, 2009 at 2:45 am #1555149
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
You can borrow my neon pink '80's climbing harness to go with your green lycra tights Roger. :)
.Dec 18, 2009 at 4:56 am #1555158
John Brochu wrote: 'Simon – I hate to squash your dreams man but you don't really look weird or different to me in that picture.'
I've been thinking about this a fair bit, and John's made my point -some people can get unsettled by such small things. – it's kind of like how colours go in and out of fashion-how can a colour affect people's perception of you? I can understand using greens, browns and blacks in order to minimise visual impact in a wilderness area but for mike to discard that perfectly good climbing harness just because it's pink…..;)
Like I said, for me it's functional and the reaction I get is just a kind of bonus amusement-it's not like I use a poncho just to make a statement. The comment about punk was more an observation on how ultralight backpackers are a small community outside of the mainstream perception of what is 'good' and as such there will be the opportunity to attract negative attention. Now do you go along with this or do you try to blend in? The 'punk music' post in chaff made the observation that maybe UL attracts certain people because of this outsider status and there does seem to be a large amount of people on this site who do fall into this free thinking mentality about life in general. What came first? The thought processes or the backpacking style? Trying to get back to the original topic a little-is this method of thinking related to how we rate our equipment in terms of 'value'. Is the only reason to use a poncho tarp just weight or are there other values attached- relationship with nature, the necessity of technique, purity of use, freedom from the clutter of modern life. apologies for the long post!Dec 18, 2009 at 6:38 am #1555174
@junctionLocale: Atlanta, GA
Wow. That's pretty special. And when I say special, I mean pink. LOL You don't still use that thing do you?
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