Jun 10, 2007 at 10:48 am #1223618Heather Pisani-KristlMember
@p-kLocale: San Diego
First post to BPL…
I'm a newbie backpacker, have been reading the archives for the past month, and what's interested me is the availability (or lack) of gear in the Boston area, where I live. Went to Mall-Wart hoping to buy $1/yard silnylon as some here have found (no luck), went to REI hoping to "kick the tires" on lightweight tents (nope, but they had lots of luggage and ski clothes). I wind up buying things from Campmor and returning them just as often.
OTOH, it's very easy to find Imusa aluminum cookware here (large South American population). And I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Knorr chipolte seasoning cubes in the supermarket (4g. per cube; one will flavor a pound of rehydrated beans). Perhaps we do have something here in the East that you lack in the West!Jun 10, 2007 at 12:48 pm #1391834Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Heather as you will find here, there are alot of great cottage industry gear companies out there. REI is not really representative of how the lightweight community is. If you are looking for tents, you're going to have to buy online and trust you instincts. Ask us questions. We all have a fair amount of gear buying savy on this site. Tents? I would look at Six Moon Designs, Henry Shires Tarptent, Anti Gravity Gear, Moonstone or even Gossamer. There are many lightweight tarps out there that range from 4oz. to 15 oz. just depends on what you are looking for. Packs you have ULA, Granite Gear, Gossamer Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs, Six Moon Designs, and many more. You will notice however that all of this gear needs special treatment. These items are not bomb proof like a Gregory and such that you'd buy at any gear store. Hope that helps.Jun 11, 2007 at 8:34 am #1391916jim baileyBPL Member
@florigenLocale: South East
Also in the Boston area, your not going to find many if any retailers around here, your most likely going to have to make your purchases online. EMS and REI mention on their websites that they carry some items but most likely they wont have them at their stores, online purchases only. One place I would recommend is Hilton's tent city in Boston, fair amount of UL items. What little I have found retail wise has been in northern NH towns like North Conway and Lincoln NH
still quite a drive from Boston, hope this helps
JimJun 11, 2007 at 9:25 am #1391926JASON CUZZETTOBPL Member
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
I would buy mostly on-line. Don't forget about GoLite's gear either. Great gear.
If you are going to buy a high dollar item from a company that REI has a relationship with it might be a good idea to order through them. You can pick it up at the store take it home, use it, use it again, and if you have an honest concern or problem you can return it back to the store for a full refund or credit.
I have done this twice now. They didn't carry the equipment (a tent), but they sold it to me and ordered it. I field tested it a couple of times and returned it. There were too many issues with it. I explained what the issues were and why I didn't want it. They gave me a refund.
I did the same with a pair of boots that ended up giving my son blisters even after a detailed fitting, work in period and several trips. We were pretty disapointed in them.
Good luck getting all of your gear together and have fun on the trail!Jun 11, 2007 at 10:17 am #1391933Aaron GrandaBPL Member
Keep at it if you want the silnylon. It took me months of looking. I probably went to 6 or 7 different Wal Marts before I found it. I then found it about five times after that. I was starting to think it was gone but just recently found some nice olive drab. There is also excellent lightweight ripstop to be found.Jun 12, 2007 at 12:36 am #1392009Jason BrinkmanBPL Member
REI probably doesn't stock a lot of backpacking gear in your area, but you can take advantage of free shipping to their store locations and a generous return policy to kick the tires a little. And while UL gear at REI is not too common, LW gear is certainly gaining prevalence there.
Some REI items in active rotation in my current gear closet (I'm LW to borderline UL):
– Marmot Hydrogen sleeping bag
– Integral Designs eVENT bivy
– Sea-to-Summit poncho-tarp
– Lite Core self-inflating pad
– Peak UL trekking poles
– Jetboil PCS
– Firesteel scout
– Triptease guyline
– MTS base layers
– Sea-to-Summit silcordura dry bags
REI even has a couple good lines of LW packs – Granite Gear and their own UL series (Cruise & Quick UL).Jun 14, 2007 at 5:33 am #1392264Heather Pisani-KristlMember
@p-kLocale: San Diego
Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. This message board always impresses me with its members' creativity and well-written posts.
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