Dec 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm #1283404
Let me start by saying, that I'm not trying spoil all the fun, for anyone, it's just that I have always felt like it's better to be subtle in woods or even in public for that matter. I've never really felt the need to draw attention to myself (yet here I am writing this and I'm sure I'll probably take a shellacking for it), in fact probably the opposite. On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of camouflage colors either. I like earth tones and colors that are easy on the eye and that are not in sharp contrast to the natural surroundings.
I'm just curious about what people honestly see in these electric blue, vibrant candy apple red, neon gecko green colors. To me it seems like people that like them are sort of saying, "HEY, LOOK AT ME, CAN YOU SEE ME?" "I'M RIGHT HERE, THE ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE A GECKO ;)" I mean if we are really honest with ourselves,(put the ego aside) for a moment do we want to be noticed, or are we buying these colors, because Patagonia and the like want their products to be noticed? I really like some of the products available today, like a Hoodini Jacket comes to mind, but the colors are just hideous to me. It took me 20 years to finally get rid of a pair of Patagonia electric blue powder pants. I just hated the color, but it was all that was available at the time. I would wear them grudgingly every couple years in a pinch, then stuff them away into the far reaches of my dresser draw and try to forget them.
I confess that I've bought a few things over the years that went against my better color judgment, in fact I currently have BD Highlite tent that really borders on the edge of allowable for me. I can see that it might be useful to have a bright colored tent in some snowy places, so you could find it in a blizzard or something, but I really would have preferred something toned down a bit, in fact the only reason I got it was because, free standing, lightweight tents, were sort of scarce.
So what are your thoughts? Do you like to be in sharp contrast to your surroundings, or do you wish for more subtle colors in outdoor gear?Dec 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm #1816287
eric chanBPL Member
its called being spotted in the mountains should something occur
i recall at least once incident where a person went missing, and SAR explicitly indicated that their job may well have been easier should that person have worn something that was brightly colored … that person unfortunately was never foundDec 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm #1816288
Since I backpack in areas where hunters hunt, I like to be noticed easily and completely. I always look for orange/red in an outer jacket – as bright as possible. I do the same with my bicycling gear – I always look for bright reds and yellows for jackets and jerseys. I want to be seen.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm #1816290
See my avatar! We're wearing patagonia…You'll hate us haha
+1 to both what Eric and Doug said. Safety is a big concern for me.
Dressing up in military/earth tones is asking to get shot by hunter in some parts of the woods. Plus bright colors make for a huge moral boost on a crappy day. I have a BD firstlight in the same color you despise…makes for a good psychological boost when weather outside is absolute sh*t
We actually got a lot of compliments on the trail for our color scheme. Also, it helped people remember us when running into each other at different parts on our thruhike–helped facilitate conversations.
Also from a photography standpoint I think they make for better photos (especially when contrasting against a snowy environment)Dec 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm #1816291
Clay: I feel more strongly about litter, noise and light pollution, but, yeah, I try to minimize my visual impact and wish others would too.
Caveats: During hunting season, I step up the colors a lot and even own a blaze-orange hat that I hope transmits, "I am not a deer." While sea kayaking, I have a lot of yellow on and I'm glad my wife's tupperware boat is yellow because I couldn't bring myself to paint my MYOG wood sea kayak over with yellow paint.
And I have at times tucked a very yellow trash bag (actually a tire-change-over bag from the tire shop) figuring if things go south (about the time you hit "SOS" on the SPOT), I'd put it on as outwear. Ideal would be a yellow or blaze-orange trash-compactor liner bag because they are tougher and a better size. I should find out who has those road-side, trash-collection bags. Very orange and probably pretty tough.
95% of the time I'm in grey, brown, and some dark green. It just seems like good manners.
I really liked it when someone offered a dome tent in speckled grey – so it looked much like a granite boulder.
I don't think most Patagucci stuff is sold to hard-core BPers. It's sold to people who want to identify with that lifestyle and demographic. Rockclimbers and skiiers often have a "look at me" attitude both on the mountain and in the bar. My tan polypro, forest Goretex jacket and brown nylon pants get a lot further from the pavement than those poison-arrow-frog-inspired puffies. Rather like my 2WD Corolla goes over far more dirt roads and snowy passes than most Hummers.
Cause I'm buying based on what I'm going to do with it. Not what I'm going look like as I do it. Sometimes to my wife's dismay.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm #1816294
Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Whether on the trail or at home, I detest most of the colors being peddled in clothing, especially in women's clothing. I prefer earth tones, like browns, subdued heathery blues, gray-greens, subdued burgundy, which are really hard to find in any women's clothing. I'm not very fond of pastels–they look filthy in half a day or less. I also dislike black for outdoor wear–it tends to be hot and actually shows dirt more easily than you'd think. I especially like khaki, but a lot of that has to do with owning a perpetually-shedding blond dog! If the dog were black, I might be more interested in black clothing.
lMHO, Patagucci's gecko green is one of the most sickening colors I've ever seen!
To me, garish colors in the wilderness are visual pollution. I've seen a number of USFS publications asking us to avoid bright colors in a wilderness setting. I've observed that an alpine valley dotted with silnylon gray tents doesn't look nearly as crowded as one with a few brightly colored tents.
I admit that I do have a few items in horrible colors (for example, my wind shirt is the color of wine vomit), but when items are on sale for 50% off, sometimes the budget has to rule.
I do own a blaze orange vest (big enough to fit over my pack) that i wear during hunting seasons. That's one time I do want to be visible! That's only a few months in the year, though.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm #1816295
Douglas reminds me of another of my personal exceptions: Can't be too bright while bicycling. Well, on the roads at least.
Oh, and on Clay's orginal rant: Camo. On the ski slopes, camo shows up even more than neon puke green.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm #1816297
I like grey and grey tents/tarps/shelters; it's nice to blend in, especially around a lake or above timberline. I don't like seeing a few red and yellow tents around a little lake (however high-vis for mountaineering, etc. is good).
I like brown/green/black/etc. colors for all hiking clothes.
However, I have a bright red rainshell; I think it's good when you go out into possibly inclement weather to have one larger article of higher visibility clothing.
Also, brighter colors make photographs pop more. I'm usually above timberline on Sierran granite, and bright colors can really make a people photograph more striking.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:08 pm #1816298
I think the best of both worlds for most people (who might be interested in visually Leaving Less Trace but also in being spotted in an emergency) is to use mostly earth-tones in clothing and gear worn but to at least carry a bright shell layer. My rain shell is bright orange with reflective tape: so obnoxious that it ruins most pictures it's in due to glare. But, it's very noticeable and mostly not worn.
My sleeping bag is yellow, and I do own a pink therm-a-rest, but those are not visible during the day and are under a muted color shelter otherwise. Everything else is gray, green, black, or blue. I currently have dark green and blue shelters, but I think there are definitely times when I would rather have a bright tarp or tent. In fact, a bright or contrasting tarp could be a very wise multi-use tool to bring for group emergency gear.
So if you really care, get muted colors for "visible" gear and don't worry about the rest. Some bright colors are beneficial for safety, and also help you find gear in your pack/camp.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm #1816304
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Some of my clothing is brightly colored if needed towards colder temps, but other types (mostly Patagonia) are UV-resistant and muted towards light gray as not to absorb the sun's heat while having some stain-concealing potential. Just depends. I have a "alpha-green" Houdini of theirs for dayhikes and trailruns near property lines – might add a multicam ball cap or allow my tan one to get greasy enough for camo au natural.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm #1816308
Dustin ShortBPL Member
Again to repeat the previous posters, there's a balance.
I too have some bright orange or yellow-green gear that I wear during hunting seasons or when a rescue may be necessary (wintry conditions). But generally stick to the dark side of monochrome.Dec 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm #1816309
>"I do own a blaze orange vest (big enough to fit over my pack) that i wear during hunting seasons."
Mary: Does it say something about the relative size of hunters and BPers that a hunter's vest fits over (you and?) your backpack?
I practice higher visibility in the Fall, too. But also think, "Aren't hunters supposed to ID gender, rack size, etc before shooting?" I was once in Colorado the week of Opening Day and there were news reports that 7 people had died in hunting accidents. In a state that required blaze orange clothing! I related that to a group of Alaskans (i.e. mostly hunters) and someone pointed out that, "A lot of scores get settled on Opening Day."
So I'm generally going low-vis. And definitely not sleeping with any hunter's wives.Dec 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm #1816331
Richard ScruggsBPL Member
Formerly known as MSR Missing Link, now known as MSR Extinct ==Dec 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm #1816333
@climberslackerLocale: Your guess is as good as mine.
One of the seven Leave No Trace principles is "Respect other Visitors": http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles_7.php
One of the ways of doing that is by not wearing bright colors. That being said, my Houdini is the ridiculous colored one. I got a good deal on it, and so I went for it. However, I try not to wear it when I don't have to and all that fun stuff. The rest of my gear is pretty neutral though. I really don't like the coloring but its what I have. To be fair, though, looking back on the patagonia website, the image shows a much, much more subdued color than what it really it.Dec 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm #1816342
iono guys…if you're truly bothered by what other people are wearing, as opposed to other real concerns (trash, actual noise, actual LNT in terms of its impact on the land,etc), then maybe you're frequenting the wrong places. If you want complete solitude, and no distractions, you probably don't want to be on commonly used trails. I think there are far bigger things to worry about that can ruin your genuine wilderness experience. Is there really a difference if you ran into me while I'm wearing multicam (wikipedia it) vs some bright color? You've already seen me by then, and you realize you're not alone on this trail. Sorry if I disagree, but i'll probably see you out there and I'll be the dude in neon green.
I use to wear a lot of subdued colors, when I use to play airsoft/paintball and made it a point to blend in with the environment. Now these days, I PERSONALLY think of wearing subdued, military clothing (as opposed to whatever the hell color I feel like) as being on the same wavelength of having to carry a big knife outdoors, b/c hey, you're in the wilderness. Obviously, I'm painting with a very broad brush, but again so are some of the opinions on this thread that allude to people wearing bright colors because they want to "look the part."
I used to think like that. I would run into people wearing cotton socks or tees on a trail, and just think that they were some n00b. But then again, who the hell am I to pass judgment on some dude that's truly just enjoying himself in the outdoors. If his cotton socks bothered me that much where I couldn't enjoy my hobby, then I figured that there's something wrong with me, or my outlook on things. I admit, it's still very instinctual for me to jump to these conclusions, even today, but I try my best to look at the bigger picture.Dec 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm #1816349
I can agree with bike riders and hiking in hunting season with something visible, but that's about it. It would be nice be able to do a poll and see just how many people would buy certain products, if the colors weren't so acidtripish. I suspect, if some of the companies knew how many sales were lost due to their trippey colors, they might reconsider their choices, or at least always offer a black, if nothing else, to those of us that aren't colorfully challenged. :)Dec 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm #1816351
Iono Clay, it doesn't take much for Patagonia to go over their year end inventory, sales reports, and income statement to see what's selling and what's not. They've been in the industry long enough to know what works for them from a business stand point. This isn't the first year patagonia has offered bizarre colors. (Hello 1980's). Chances are, people are eating it up. Whether its true hikers or ski cabin folk could matter less to them. And if its the ski cabin and poser folks that are keeping the company alive so that they can continue developing and offering superior equipment to people that actually properly use it, then I could care less either. I'd rather see a patagonia that does what it currently does, than no patagonia at all. Same goes for arcteryx, TNF, golite, and all the other companies that people love to rip on on these forums. What, you guys don't like options? Damn, it's all cabin fever up in here…I guess it's that time of year. (this includes myself…i'm a bit surprised at my own ranting today)Dec 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm #1816354
@mzionLocale: Boulder, CO
Bright colors are cooler in intense sun. White/yellow are much cooler to wear if you're hiking some where warm and need bug protection, etc. "Stealthy" colors are hot… I'm sweating just thinking about wearing black or hunter green.Dec 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm #1816358
Konrad, I agree and tried to convey that I don't think it is a big deal. I hope it doesn't get like the climbing clean versus bolting debates in that community because each "side" had their points.
I certainly bring some high-vis clothing at times for safety reasons.
And I suspect if you look across an alpine lake, you'd rather there were a dozen grey and dark green tents on the other side, than yellow and neon green.
I'm with you on the "big knife because I'm outdoors" and have to stifle a laugh when someone (always a white male) has an 8" blade on a paved trail in Yosemite. In case he's attacked by a viscious ground squirrel, I presume.
I worry more about the "Big gun because I'm on my Alaskan vacation" mentality that I see up here. It takes 30 seconds observing someone with boots, a backpack or a gun to figure out if they have any experience with the equipment.
-okay, I'm back now. The dog was going off about the moose in her dog run. Life in the North Woods, sigh –
And the folks who equipped themselves at Kmart have, on average, less expertise. That worries with guns on trails I take my kids on.Dec 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm #1816375
David, great photo!
I hope I didn't come as overly harsh, as that wasn't my intended purpose…but sometimes I do get caught up in my own head on these things :) And I definitely didn't intend for my entire post to be perceived as rebuttal to only your views. If anything, I'm hoping to interject a little devil's advocate in this thread. Also, I agree, the biggest honkin' knives I've seen were on the waistbelts of men riding the Yosemite shuttle back and forth between the Mist Trail to Half Dome and Curry Village for hamburgers. hehe.Dec 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm #1816385
Your (and others') devil's advocate role has been helpful for me. I don't have a rebuttal to SAR issues about low-vis clothing. I tell everyone where I'm going and sign all trail registers, but still, I cover 40+ miles in a day and I could conceivably fall off a trail before thinking to put on my yellow trash bag.
Something I've done for years now is photograph my luggage (and the kids) with my cell phone. When I get to my destination and am asked, "What did your delayed bag look like?" I'm able to say, "Exactly like this. Can I have them back soon?". I've never had to tell someone, "I've lost my kids, they look just like this" but I'm ready to. Maybe I'll start having my wife photograph me on my way out the door for a hike. I text updates on checkpoints and ETA if I get any reception on the way but more breadcrumbs are better.Dec 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm #1816396
"One of the seven Leave No Trace principles is "Respect other Visitors" One of the ways of doing that is by not wearing bright colors."
Of course, that depends on what side you're on. One of the ways of respecting other visitors is also not expecting them to change their clothing choices to suit you…. ;-)
I'm not sure where y'all hike, but where I hike the forests are alive with bright, vibrant reds, yellows, blues and other colors. Would you prefer those colors went away too so we could have a muted grey landscape to backpack in? Just saying' :o)Dec 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm #1816404
if you like bright dayglo colors in something like a Hoodini, then you have what you want and you should be happy. No reason to try and convince everyone else of your impeccable taste :) If you don't like those colors as it seems at least some people on here don't, then perhaps, the shareholders of Patagonia would be interested in knowing why 50% or whatever, of their sales are being lost, due to poor marketing research. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.Dec 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm #1816405
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I like earth tones and colors that are easy on the eye and that are not in sharp contrast to the natural surroundings."
A big +1. I don't go up into the mountains, or anyplace else for that matter, to be seen. Quite the opposite. That said, if the worst should come to pass, I can rely on my gawdawful yellow O2 Rainshield parka and WM Summerlite sleeping bag to attract attention. There have been a lot of otherwise fine pieces of gear that I have passed up because of their obnoxious(to me) colors, but somehow I always seem to find something acceptable that works just fine. To each their own.Dec 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm #1816417
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I prefer black, everything black…… black pants, black shells, black gloves, black socks, black shoes, black hats, black sunglasses, black sooted titanium pots, black cameras, black puffy jackets, black shorts, black……. except my MLD Trailstar, it's bright yellow.
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