Jan 25, 2005 at 7:29 pm #1215776Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Ohhh boy, I just received the new Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide ’05 in the mail today. Usually I would always await for this time of the year (just like my REI rewards check) and enjoy some relaxing hours reading about the next, new, lighweight, gizmo to fly across their desk. Well much to my dismay, I got the new gear guide in the mail today, and I gotta say, wow, what a piece of, well you know. This magazine has lost all focus on their core users, backpackers! Not only is this issue that same width as their “normal” issues, but the amount of gear they highlight seems to be dropping year by year. To add insult to injury, their “ultra light hiking” section is a joke. Have they lost focus or are they so product or consumer driven that they have lost all focus as to what is cutting edge in todays outdoor market? The stuff that they highlighted in there two page section was embarrasing. Tarps that weigh 12oz., Stoves that weigh between 5-12oz. Sleeping bags that weigh in at 27-34oz. What about bags that weigh in at 16-28oz? Where are the industry trends that show shows that we are not buying “heavy” products but instead are looking at lighter alternatives? What about alcohol stoves, tarps, frameless packs, lighter sleeping pads? I honestly feel that my intelligence is being questioned! Do I pick up a Backpacker magazine to read about kayaking, canoeying, etc. Afraid not. Over the past couple of years the magazine has gone from being an informative, fun read to something that maybe I might pick up for an hour and toss into my recycle bin at home. I feel that I just don’t have too much in common with this publication anymore and I am seriously considering NOT re-newing my subscription no longer. Will I be email them and letting them know my displeasure? YOU BET!!Jan 27, 2005 at 8:16 am #1335296bob chivertonMember
I agree…..almost verbatim.Feb 1, 2005 at 6:11 pm #1335501David ReidMember
I agree 100%…I stopped my subscription a few years ago. Actually, this is why I found Bpl. I was searching for some good editorials to read. So I guess in my case I can thank them…kind of.Feb 17, 2005 at 3:11 pm #1335773Justin GunnMember
You know, I love reading almost any information about backpacking. BACKPACKER definitely sucks, though, for anyone other than newbies. I do not have a subscription for the same reasons mentioned above, and prefer to thumb thru issues when I come across them at the newsstand. If they capture my interest, I’ll buy it. But let’s face it, we’re all SERIOUSLY into backpacking. After all, we have all taken it upon ourselves to become lightweight packing afficianados (efficientados?).
It’s a real shame that popularly accessable sources of information like BACKPACKER gives ultralight such short shrift. I mean, they’re capitalizing on the trend, but giving their readers the REI version of ultralight. Why, for instance was the TarpTent Virga not included in lightweight solo shelters? In fact, the only TarpTent featured was Henry’s new THREE PERSON Rainshadow. Obviously, the likes of MSR are paying more in ad revenue (Tarptent doesn’t pay any).Feb 25, 2005 at 9:46 pm #1335902Dane BurkeMember
@daneLocale: Western Washington
In that same issue they had a “Save vs Splurge” article on lightweight backpacking, and all the “save” stuff was outrageously heavy and expensive. They didn’t mention buying a simple blue closed cell foam pad, making a stove out of a pop can (they suggested the JetBoil for ultralighter’s on a budget!), using a poncho tarp or poly-tarp for shelter…Backpacker Magazine exists for one reason: to deliver advertisements. And reading their “reviews” is a damn joke. It sounds like they just regurgitate the company’s selling points on the product. Possibly the worst thing about Backpacker Magazine is that it reads like a travel brochure. They sell this impossibly luxurious dream of a backcountry experience, so that new people decide to start backpacking and subrscribe to their magazine so they know which of Mountain Hardware’s and REI’s new products they are supposed to buy.
The more I read Backpacker Magazine, the more I appreciate BPL. Thanks for the kick ass website.Mar 12, 2005 at 6:29 pm #1336108AnonymousGuest
I have subscribed to Backpacker for the past three years, and this year it has been a big bummer. I’m only a beginner backpacker myself, but most of this stuff is even below me. There are WAY too many ads, and I didn’t give a rat’s a.. about some of the stuff they have in there like the “Car Camping” page in this new Gear Guide. Honestly, what does car-camping, or even river running, have to do with backpacking. I aslo have to say that I thought that alot of the SAVE stuff wasn’t a deal at all. Jeez.Mar 13, 2005 at 5:38 pm #1336123big bobMember
I agree that it is very sad. First OUTSIDE magazine turned into a yuppie trade rag and now BACKPACKER has as well.
I am on a mission to drop weight from my 45 lb pack down to LIGHTWEIGHT!!!Jan 7, 2006 at 8:30 am #1348054Greg VaillancourtMember
You won’t see any mention of any products that do not advertise in a Rodale rag, period!Jan 7, 2006 at 10:48 am #1348061Curt PetersonBPL Member
@curtpetersonLocale: Pacific Northwest
Backpacker has its problems, to be sure. It’s certainly not the magazine it used to be. BUT, Greg, your comment is just not true. They’ve given space to TarpTent, ULA, and others. It’s not BPL by a long shot, but it’s not evil, either. As backpackers, there’s just not much out there for us to read. Personally, I’d hate to see it go as it would be horrible for backpacking in general. That’s my 2 cents, at least.Jan 7, 2006 at 11:04 am #1348062Ryan FaulknerBPL Member
Backpacker magazine is more for the traditional backpackers, they have some ultralight reveiws and stuff, but they consider 4lb tents, 2lb packs, and 2lb sleeping bags ulttralight.
I still read the magazine, but for real ultralighters, BPL is the way to go.Jan 7, 2006 at 11:07 am #1348063AnonymousGuest
“BPL is the way to go.”
Amen, Brother.Jan 7, 2006 at 11:38 am #1348064Sheldon McElhineyBPL Member
@mcelhineyscLocale: Pacific Northwest
Hmmm … seems to be a market for a monthly vice quarterly BPL print mag.Jan 7, 2006 at 1:21 pm #1348067Bill FornshellBPL Member
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
Comment moved to:
Link to:BPL “Readers Write” A Monthly MagazineJan 7, 2006 at 1:28 pm #1348068Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
After having a subscription for many years, and watching the quality of the content decline steadily each year, I too cancelled my subscription in 2005.
The Gear Guide has been a problem for at least four years. The editors went so far overboard one year (2002?) with the format that they drew so many negative letters that they published an apology and returned to the old format.
Anyone notice the expansion in scope to include canoeing and non-backpacking venues?
Even with their distribution problems, BPL is the way to go – even if you’re not really into the UL scene.Jan 7, 2006 at 1:49 pm #1348072Scott ToraasonMember
Ditto, My wife and I also decided to cancel Backerpacker Magazine at the end of our current subscription. Having been a member of BPL the last two years, it’s very upsetting watching Backpacker ignore lightweight gear or printing inconsequential snippets six months after a full review has been posted on BPL. I’m sure in the next year or two Backpacker will “discover” lightweight backpacking.Jan 7, 2006 at 2:01 pm #1348073David NeumannBPL Member
@idahomtmanLocale: Southern Oregon Coast
I also ended my subscription a number of years ago. Every once in a while I will pick up an issue to read and find that it seldom contains enough valuable information for me. I’m sure it fits a niche somewhere, for someone. Maybe we are just on the fringe… but then we know that.Jan 7, 2006 at 2:55 pm #1348077Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
In my original post all I was doing was voicing my displeasure with the direction that the magazine has headed into.
Here is an example: I am a cyclist. If I want to read about new road bikes coming out or new clothing or gear, then I pick up Bicycling (yes I know who owns it)
When I want to read about backcountry skiing or cross country skiing I will pick up something like Coliour.
I guess that is a perfect world for me. Unfortunately I don’t want to read about car camping, canoeing, etc. I WANT TO READ ABOUT BACKPACKING. I know that the magazines main impetus is to make money….but common, save it for Outdoors or something.
OK my rant is over have a nice day. I did, camped high near Ebbets Pass on Hwy 4 in California with a storm raging. Great skiing and solitude!!Jan 7, 2006 at 6:20 pm #1348093Glenn RobertsMember
@garkjrLocale: Southwestern Ohio
My subscription got cancelled about a year and a half ago. I had two major gripes: They never met a piece of gear they didn’t like and they never took a trip that wasn’t a hero trek through hurricane winds and Noah-scale rains, except for the good day when there was merely a blizzard; of course, all of this was on one of the 10 “most spectacular” or “toughest” trails in the world. Didn’t any of these folks ever just go for a walk in the woods? The superlatives got old; when you scratched the surface of the magazine, all you found was more surface.
None of those gripes apply to BPL – it’s just honest information and well-intentioned exchanges of experience and opinion. (With the occasional COW PLOP and chicken joke, just for fun.)
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