In this installment of Standards Watch, Rex Sanders tackles sleeping bag ratings: the standard, the pros, and the cons.
Sleeping pad R-values are not useful for many consumers, and the guidance from pad makers, retailers, and gear reviewers is inconsistent and prone to misinterpretation. This is a proposal for improved labeling and marketing of R-values.
Standards Watch will be a monthly column that explains important backpacking product standards, interviews key people, and describes how the industry uses, abuses, or ignores tests and standards.
Internet pundits often insist that new lightweight backpackers should buy a pack last, so that it will hold all their new gear and a week’s worth of food. Sometimes the advice is to buy the pack first, a little larger in volume than the backpacker thinks they’ll need. But both approaches can misfire, and I think there’s a better way.
There are many good motives for altering equipment. Mostly we focus on reducing weight, fixing problems, or adding features. Here are a few more reasons.
What you’re really hooked on is the dopamine rush from buying and trying new gear - which doesn’t last very long.
Simple backpacking navigation: turn-by-turn hiking directions aren’t for everybody, but try them before you scoff and proclaim “Never!”
R-values alone are not enough for many consumers choosing new sleeping pads, and much of the current guidance is inconsistent.
The most comprehensive review of backpacking scissors for ultralight hiking and camping: 11 models compared in 13 tests! You just may leave your knife at home.
Rescue Insurance can be the difference between hefty bills and peace of mind. In either case getting rescued is the main priority, but your most expensive bill might surprise you.