Feb 21, 2012 at 11:03 pm #1286011
So my wife knows little about what goes on here in the forums or in the woods for that matter. So a couple days ago she asked what I was looking at on this site and I said, "a gear list". Her response was, "you need all that to go out in the woods?". Then it got me thinking that from an outsiders perspective you can get a lot of "out of the box thinking" or crazy responses when I posed her my question:
"What do you think of my gear list?"
Needless to say she broke me down to the point of telling me that men much older than me many years ago would go out in the woods with nothing but food and a backpack full of hardly anything but bullets and a gun.
She first commented on my shelter: "Do you really need one? Can't you just check the weather report the night before you leave, especially if you're only going out for one night?". Ok, I see your point…
"Do you need a stove? Why not just pack Food that doesn't need to be heated?" I get it…
And the list goes on. She tore apart everything to the point of making me really think if I needed to take a certain item for whatever trip I was doing. After we were all through I then packed my bag and got everything to fit into my REI UL Jet 30 for an overnighter with my sleeping bag unstuffed to fill all the empty spots where gear once was. I had literally the bear essentials in my pack and I kinda got excited to try out my "new" gear list setup.
So I pose the question to you. Have you ever let an "outsider" look at your gearlist to tear it apart? I'm not saying my wife knows what she's talking about all the time, but it did face me to look at my gearlist from another set of eyes.Feb 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm #1842839
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
P'raps. But have her spend some time out there for a number of years, and get her to experience all the different things that can happen, and her point of view will change considerably. Those "men much older than me many years ago would go out in the woods with nothing but food and a backpack full of hardly anything but bullets and a gun" certainly spent some miserable nights out in the rain if they couldn't find some sort of natural shelter. Those are the very same people who originally invented things like tarps and pyramid tents! And for good reason!Feb 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm #1842840
As a teenager I would head up to the mountains with a borrowed sleeping bag (camel hair…) a rucksack with some food, a wool jumper , a "wind" jacket and a plastic 1 L bottle and that was about it.
Why don't I do that now ?
Because I can (avoid doing that…)
FrancoFeb 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm #1842841
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
In my happy household of one, all decisions are unanimous and final. :)Feb 22, 2012 at 4:06 am #1842865
Tor Magnus CastbergMember
"I had literally the bear essentials"
I'm sure the bears were happy about meeting you in the woods then! :) (I'm not having a go at the misspelling. Just thought it was very amusing.)Feb 22, 2012 at 4:45 am #1842867
So I pose the question to you. Have you ever let an "outsider" look at your gearlist to tear it apart?
I would say that the primary reason I share my gear list is so that others can look at it and than email me and tell me how I can make it better.
While I have done the vast majority of research for nearly all of my gear, there are a few items that I have bought gear because people looked over my list and sent me an email telling me I should "try x rather than z".
Here is mine if you want to rip mine apart like your wife did you ;)
I think the coolest thing that has happened since I posted my gear list online is that Glen Van Peski (founder of Gossamer Gear) contacted me and wanted to swap XUL gear lists – that was really awesome. I learned sooo much from looking at his setup, even though mine at the time was around 19.2 ounces lighter. He approached things from a much different perspective than I did, and have found myself rewatching his video every couple of months, just for the inspiration!
So, tonight, thank your wife and give her a box of candy that weights the same amount as the gear you will no longer be carrying :-D
John B. Abela
HikeLighter.ComFeb 22, 2012 at 6:07 am #1842881
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I appreciate the outside-the-box factor, but….
Gear lists are a starting point and always need tweaking for a particular season or conditions. Note the difference in demands for an overnight trip, an unsupported week out, or a thru-hike. Most lists are based on 3-season needs: I can get by with lighter clothing and sleeping bag in the middle of August than I can in March and so on.
What people used to do is interesting, but they used to do all kinds of things do to tradition and superstition rather than reason and good science. Those mountain men lived on very little cash and a long way from supply sources with a leather and wool technology, so they had few alternatives.
I assume backpackers are participating in recreation and I prefer to keep my trips on that basis. A "no cook" overnighter is okay, but having a nice meal is enjoyable. Being warm and dry is a good thing too :)
And the real reason for a gear list is to get your kit under control— just a good analysis tool.Feb 22, 2012 at 6:13 am #1842883
Are you going to have her test it out?Feb 22, 2012 at 6:58 am #1842899
I think her main point of the exercise was to get me to say, "I guess I don't need a lot of my hiking stuff". That way I would sell it off and not have my side of the closet devoted to copious amouts of gear. And of course you should always "take it with a grain of salt" whatever is said from someone who has little to no experience.Feb 22, 2012 at 8:10 am #1842934
I applied similar logic to my own gear list. What really helped was building my kit from a bottoms up approach that reflects some of your wife's comments about "need".
For example, in essence, what I'm really doing is going for an extended day hike. In that context, what exactly do I need for a series of summer nights in the high Sierra?
* Even if daytime temps hit the high 70s, nighttime temps can drop below freezing, so I need @ least a 30 degree quilt – 17oz.
* I don't really need a groundcover, but window shrink wrap only weighs 1.5oz, so I take that along. Ditto for pad – I take along a hip pad that weighs 5oz. (Yes, I can go lighter.)
* The Sierra typically get afternoon showers. Maybe it will continue to rain a little @ night, or the dew may be heavy, so I take along a tarp that weighs 11 oz with guys/stakes.
That's about it – my total add'l equip over & beyond a day hike.
As for food, my wife & I like to cook @ home, but I realized I can go days on GORP out on the trail, so I don't bother with any stoves, cookware, etc.
So there it is – a long day hike kit with a few add'l items to make it through X nights, along with some high calorie nuts & berries.Feb 22, 2012 at 8:30 am #1842946
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Different perspectives I guess. Over the years my wife has bought me a Portable Solar Panel, a GPS, a Video Camera, a P&S camera, a large Leatherman multi-tool and thinks I should take a cell phone. When I told her there is no cell phone coverage, she suggested a satellite phone. She also thinks a hiking partner, mace, tasers and a gun are good ideas too. She thinks my pack is too small and I need a "real" tent.
I do take the P&S camera sometimes. I take the other stuff when we go on day hikes together.Feb 22, 2012 at 9:46 am #1842991Feb 22, 2012 at 9:48 am #1842992
@newtonLocale: Southeastern Louisiana
On a recent 100 mile section hike of the AT my hiking partner made the comment that tents and tarps and bivies are shelters of last resort. He said this after we had completed our trek shelter hopping all the way. He never had to set up his tent and I never had to set up my tarp and bivy during our hike.
Theoretically we could have left our shelters at home. We could have left our stoves at home, carried no fuel and used a campfire to cook our meals. I could have left my change of clothes at home and been the talk of the trail town in the laundromat! LOL
My gearlist used to look like the inventory of the local outfitter's warehouse. It has been pared down over the years with the suggestions and shared experience of the good folks on BPL. Lately I've become part of the crowd that finds some value in adding back some comfort driven weight to my kit. My overall kit's weight in pounds for a one week hike still comes in at the low 20's. This includes all of my consumables.
FWIW my wife dislikes the idea of sleeping out on the trail. She does go on day hikes with me but prefers cabins and RV's at the bare minimum for shelter at night.
I am pretty sure that she would suggest that I take more gear than less on the trail.
Yes, I could cowboy camp, eat no cook meals and leave the change of clothes at home. But do I want to do that?
NewtonFeb 22, 2012 at 11:31 am #1843051
I have shared my list with hikers novice to experienced non-UL'ers. With one exception the response has been very underwhelming. Your wife paid attention – she must love you man.
PaulFeb 22, 2012 at 11:44 am #1843053Feb 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm #1843063
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
I can hardly remember the last time I used a stove. Sometimes it's easier to leave the camp clothing at home and pack light on the sleeping bag and just sleep next to fire at night. I rarely set up a shelter either. My tarp is only 5×7 and if I need to weather a storm I build a roomy natural shelter. I guess I am more of a bushcrafter.Feb 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm #1843154
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
I don't have a wife, but I have been forgetful a few times. As has my boyfriend. Turns out sometimes even those things you really need can be done without.
Like the time I had no umbrella and no rain jacket and the wind was blowing 55mph so my shelter was pretty much useless. I hiked wrapped in my polycro and the first night I slept in my tent as if it were a bivy sack and the 2nd night I hiked as many miles as it took to get to a hotel. :)
Or the time we had a tarp but the high winds made it impossible to set up for the two of us. So he slept under a large boulder and I figured out a way to tie the tarp to a tree to create somewhat of a shelter for the part of me that didn't fit under the boulder. It rained that night but we both stayed dry, mostly thanks to the boulder.
Or the time he forgot his down jacket. He found a flannel shirt in the trunk and brought that instead and it turned out he never missed the jacket.
I mailed my own down jacket home at the Washington border on the PCT and then froze to death pretty much all the way to Canada, but after each segment of the trail, I realized I survived so I never tried to obtain another down jacket and just did without. No biggie.
I've forgotten my stove fuel and had to build a fire instead.
You can cut cheese with a credit card if you forgot your knife.
This weekend I fully planned to forage for greens for my dinner. I didn't find any, which made my dinner suckier than it could have been.
Your wife does have a point. More things can be survived without gear entirely than you think. Doesn't mean it's always a GOOD time though.Feb 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm #1843163
"I rarely set up a shelter either. My tarp is only 5×7 and if I need to weather a storm I build a roomy natural shelter. I guess I am more of a bushcrafter."
Or you live in california… I kid, I kid! Kind of.Feb 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm #1843169
My wife would look at my gear list and say……
When'd you buy that?
How'd you pay for that?
Did you take that straight to the garage?
What's that cost?
And so on…………unlike Ben, decisions in my house are only unanimous if only one person knows!Feb 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1843207Feb 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm #1843222
@brooklynkayakLocale: South West US
I agree with Piper and in fact learned from her books.
I'm also in the same predicament as Joe C.
But I've also become less of a gear nut over the years and now shy away from having the latest and greatest gear.
When I forgot my stove, I realized that I either didn't have to cook food, but built a fire to cook on from time to time.
When a major clothing item came up missing, like in Piper's case, it ended up not being that important.
I once even forgot my sleeping bag and was planing on just wearing all my clothing inside my bivy instead. I actually ended up finding a surprisingly clean kmart style sleeping bag abandoned at the first camp so had that for the rest of the hike:-)
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