Mar 4, 2010 at 7:24 am #1256052
About the only part of this site I get on is the forums and you don't have to be a member to do that.
Is the rest of the site worth the cost? What did you learn from the rest of the site that you couldn't get from the forums.Mar 4, 2010 at 7:30 am #1581591
@junctionLocale: Atlanta, GA
It's pretty easy really. BPL exists because of the efforts of few. It is supported financially from those who sign up as members. The members also support BPL by adding valuable information for you to digest. You can digest for free, or show your thanks by your added support. It takes money to run this website. Plain and simple.
I am thankful, therefore i'm a member.
EDIT – SpellingMar 4, 2010 at 7:43 am #1581594
I was playing on the forums for about a year before I became a member. The reason for joining was simply because I was going to order about $300 worth of gear from the store and saw that it would be cheaper if I bought a membership…so I did.
Since then, I have renewed my membership because for the ~$15/year, I think the articles are worth it. Don't forget that when you become a member, you can look back at all the articles from the past, and there is tons of good stuff there.
The technical articles appeal to me the most but I enjoy most of them.Mar 4, 2010 at 7:52 am #1581600
the articles are worth it, the one on footwear solved a million issues for me, as have the others. Articles, all about the articles.Mar 4, 2010 at 7:54 am #1581602
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
BPL was the only non-military source for reliable, mathematical information on carried weight and distance, and by extension how far one could walk with a given amount of food.Mar 4, 2010 at 7:59 am #1581605
Marco A. SánchezMember
@marcoasnLocale: The fabulous Pyrenees
+ Access to all BPL articles (A lot of interesting things!)
+ Discounts on the Gear Shop
+ Sometimes, preferential access to products (Important, given the usual limited stock)Mar 4, 2010 at 8:28 am #1581608
+1 for the Articles. For me they are worth the 25$. Plus I know who I am supporting with my money, and I find that nice.Mar 4, 2010 at 8:40 am #1581611
It was BPl.com that has taken me to where I am today. without it I would have continued to think 10 kg was a light pack. The articles and the forums provide wonderful information from all perspectives, it is then up to the reader to distil what is relevant to them.Mar 4, 2010 at 8:43 am #1581613
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
The articles are worth the price of entry.Mar 4, 2010 at 9:07 am #1581617
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
I agree with everyone about the articles. No other information outlet I'm aware of considers the technical/scientific aspects of gear performance. The tests on CO emissions from stoves is worth the $25 to me. So are the MYOG articles; they have saved me far more money than a paltry $25.
It's more than all that though. Like Juston, I see how BPL fosters and supports the UL community. How much harder would running a successful business like MLD, SMD, GG etc. be without this site? How many of the cottage makers would survive? Would we have super-cool cottage makers like ZPacks, eNlightened, or KookaBay without this community to put the word out?
It's funny, years ago while managing a big outdoor shop in SLC, I was talking about the small but emerging UL gearmaker's trend with Jerry Gollar. We both kinda came to the conclusion that the key for success was a different marketing strategy that didn't use big advertising dollars to get the word out. BPL provides a means for the small companies to directly market to a very targeted audience. It also allows near instance feedback on products, allowing makers to fine-tune their offerings in a way that's unavailable/unwieldy for the mainstream companies.
By becoming a member, IMO you are not only supporting this site, but indirectly supporting the entire UL community. I feel I get more value from my BPL membership than almost anything else I buy.Mar 4, 2010 at 9:21 am #1581627
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
The forum is worth the membership fee. I figure the members are subventing the cost to host the forum.Mar 4, 2010 at 9:55 am #1581644
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
The "members only" articles are worth the membership.
Plus, I like the idea of supporting an entrepreneurial effort…Mar 4, 2010 at 10:06 am #1581653
The forums are worth the price to me. The articles are a bonus. FWIW, I also think that the forums should be open to anyone to read, but only members should be able to post. And before the flames start, I'm not intending that comment at any person in any way, but instead as a 'business decision' comment.Mar 4, 2010 at 10:35 am #1581662
@rasputenLocale: West of the Great Smoky Mtn's
I joined for all the above listed reasons and for the advancement of my kids outdoor experience. I've made this their site!
I had them split the cost thus giving them a sense of ownership and expanding their hiking community. We sit around read reviews,view photos and trip reports,and plan hiking trips.
The bonding is worth triple the annual fee!
Mark….Mar 4, 2010 at 10:37 am #1581664
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Not much more than I can add to what has been said, however you might consider that the "investment" of a few dollars in a BPL membership could save you well over a hundred dollars in your future purchases.
As you probably already know, there are a lot of UL product choices out there and they can be very expensive.
Many of these products are not available at your local outdoor retailer to get some hands on experience.
In many cases, buying them can be a bit of an act of faith; trial and error.
Yes, the people on the forum are generous in giving you their opinions and experience to help you out.
However, take into consideration that the articles on BPL give you a scientific examination/review of the very products that you might be considering to purchase. The reviews are indepth and that goes well beyond subjective opinion.
If after reading one of the BPL articles you discover that the product that you were thinking of buying was not right choice for you- how much of a savings would that be in your time and money?
Speaking for myself, the 1st year of my membership on BPL was the biggest return on my investment and helped propel me deep into the UL experience. The articles gave me a huge education into all the various aspects of UL backpacking and in return has helped me to put my two cents into answering questions from non members.
As much as BPL has given me, I like to show my appreciation by giving back by being a member to support this passionate community.
Do yourself a favor and join for one year.
I have no doubt that you will get more than your money's worth in your first year. Cheaper than buying a pile of books on the subject, savings on gear at shop, and top notch advice on how to spend your hard earned money wisely.
All this for about the cost of going to the movies for two.
-TonyMar 4, 2010 at 11:10 am #1581679
@cooldripLocale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
Mark, you are my hero! I wish more parents engaged their children with a resource like this, rather than a video game or youtube. That's a new reason I have for being a member: the legacy it leaves for those generations who come after.Mar 4, 2010 at 11:15 am #1581681
@dsmontgomeryLocale: one snowball away from big trouble
Because the articles, unlike the forum, are always about things relevant to backpacking! ;)Mar 4, 2010 at 11:18 am #1581682
@scottbentzLocale: Southern California
Finding this site was a godsend to me. I was struggling with a heavy pack, knew I wanted to lighten up, was trying to do so on my own and then found BPL. That's when everything began to make sense. The wealth of information in the articles is amazing. I continue to learn every day here on the forum.
I also want to make sure a resource like this is always available. That is why I pay a membership fee.Mar 4, 2010 at 11:21 am #1581685
I agree with Nick and Douglas. The forums are incredible, and the articles are icing on the cake. Imagine any magazine subscription you can think of, including Backpacker. For about the same price, you get SO much more! I learn more in one week on the forums than I do an entire year with Backpacker. (not trying to trash Backpacker or anything, but I'm just saying…)Mar 4, 2010 at 11:27 am #1581688
One issue I have is now the discounts are being given to MLIFE members first and members at a later date. That is a surprise. Not much may be left for the larger majority?Mar 4, 2010 at 1:33 pm #1581770
I joined recently because I am interested in Lightweight backpacking. I like to support what I like. So I give to the national parks ($$ since I am too far to volunteer) and to sites like BPL that provide useful information.
I can't (yet) contribute to discussions but I can "put my money where my mouth is"!Mar 4, 2010 at 1:43 pm #1581774
i like the idea that life or members get advance notice on gear. just like american express, "membership has its privileges".Mar 4, 2010 at 3:42 pm #1581840
To everyone who replied with why I should join. It seems everyone says the articles are worth it by themselves.
Since I can't read the articles I really don't know what they have to offer. I will have to take everyones opinion on them.
You all have some valid points and I will think it over.Mar 4, 2010 at 4:16 pm #1581873
Number of articles:
Gear: 1 every week OK
Places: 5 within the last 3 months
Techniques: 1 within the last 3 months
Trends: 2 within the last 6 months
Technology: 0 within the last 6 months !!!
Seem like most valuable articles are missing.Mar 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm #1581878
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
The articles are few and far between. The "member discounts" are a joke since the discounted prices at BPL's store are far too often higher than the regular prices of other retailers.
My membership has lapsed. I post here frequently and I know I should contribute something — and in all probability I will eventually cave and re-up my annual — but the articles by themselves motivate me very little at this point!
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