Feb 15, 2012 at 2:04 am #1285691
Over a year ago or so, I weighed my gear for the first time, made my first gear list, and posted it on here for feedback. I have to admit, my mind was blown. But I kept and open mind, tried some tips and advice, and was happy with the results. Problem was/is, I'm a humble grad student and father, and hence low on cash. This made me be very careful with buying gear, but I should add that I also happen to be naturally quite frugal and skeptical.
So at first, I just left more traditional gear at home. This included several of my prized bushcraft possessions like my awesome Fiskars axes. Then I repacked and scaled down. My FAK and hygiene kits got cut in half, and without any drawbacks either. Then finally when I got a small chunk of dough for myself, or for my birthday/x-mass, I replaced gear and got gear upgrades and alternatives. But before each and every purchase, I read lots of reviews, asked questions, read threads on these forums, etc.
Fast forward to the present. I just sent payment off for a custom Zpacks Zero, which is the finally piece of my gear library puzzle. This will be my 2 season SUL pack. I have everything I need for my 3 season UL needs, as well as my UL-LW winter needs.
There just comes a time when you don't need anymore stuff, and you are satisfied with what you have. Maybe this–meaning, lightweight backpacking in general–is about as good as it is going to get. Maybe we hit the glass ceiling, and there is little room for improvement or to experiment or explore. I am not advocating or suggesting that we all abandon the idea of pushing the envelope or giving up on progress to improve things, of course.
I was happy to see a thread on here vowing not to buy any gear in 2012. I was not yet ready to join in that vow, but now I am. Heck, unless anything breaks and/or needs replaced, I might not even buy anything in 2013 either.
Just thought I would add my 2 cents to give a perspective from someone that joined the club just last year, rather than 10 years ago, as many of you who read this and wrote replies to the whole "stagnation" thing.Feb 15, 2012 at 3:57 am #1839690
A nice perceptive and I agree completely! Funny, the last piece to my puzzle is a custom Zpacks Zero also:-) As a poor grad student as well all i can say is, "Come on tax refund!";-)
ChaseFeb 15, 2012 at 4:09 am #1839692
Thanks. Funny that I'm not the only grad student on here with a custom Zero! What's your field? English Lit. here, plan on going for doctorate. 2012 is starting off well for me. I kind of viewed my Zero as my gift to myself for getting high marks on my master's thesis.
And oh yes, tax refund is an awesome thing. This year it will go towards vacation rather than gear :)Feb 15, 2012 at 10:52 am #1839827
@artemisLocale: Great Plains
"Maybe we hit the glass ceiling, and there is little room for improvement or to experiment or explore."
Nonsense! No one's designed an alcohol stove made from cuben fiber yet, and I'm still waiting for dehydrated water! ;-)
Seriously, I agree that the "stagnation" is mostly due to the major UL gear design problems facing having been successfully solved. Even if some new wonder-materials come out in the future, the gains those products will bring will be weight reductions measured in ounces, not pounds. I suspect most people will thus wait for their current gear to wear out before upgrading to the latest, marginally lighter models.
Current UL gear may not be perfect, but it is Pretty Darn Good – and that's good enough for most folks.
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