Mar 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm #1314072
Michael GillenwaterBPL Member
@mwgillenwaterLocale: Seattle area
Interesting new product.
Not sure how the hybrid cuben fiber material will hold up under long term UV exposure.Mar 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm #2079917
Stands to reason
Joe Valesko's name was "Samurai Joe" on the PCT
(This pic from Zpacks website)Mar 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm #2079920
Clever to work in a visor for a suspension.
First thing I thought of when I saw the title:
I guess in our case, the Sorting Hat would choose a trail for us. Sit on the stool, put the hat on and it squawks "Pacific Crest Trail!"Mar 5, 2014 at 7:35 pm #2079922
Looks more like David Carradine in Kung Fu.
"Hike more, Grasshopper!"Mar 5, 2014 at 8:25 pm #2079934
Check out his hiking staff! The handle from a garden hoe. Matches the hat.
I used one of those for a staff 40 years ago.Mar 5, 2014 at 9:05 pm #2079953
That feller needs a bath :)Mar 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm #2079964
@m-lLocale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Looks a little unminimalist to me..Mar 6, 2014 at 1:00 am #2080002
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
I have always believed that there is a direct correlation between a hat's effectiveness and how much of a dork it makes you look, so I am sorely tempted by one of these:). I love the way that Zpacks keep the new stuff coming.Mar 6, 2014 at 1:26 am #2080004
Larry SwearingenBPL Member
@larry_swearingenLocale: NE Indiana
I like ZPacks stuff but this "hat" is just too Charlie-like for me.
LarryMar 6, 2014 at 1:42 am #2080006
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
Is it the lighting, or is he sporting a little Samurai mustache too?Mar 6, 2014 at 1:59 am #2080007
Rick MBPL Member
delMar 6, 2014 at 9:55 am #2080095
Dena KelleyBPL Member
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
Rick M- What product were you looking at? I'm super impressed with Z-Packs shelters, packs and sleeping bags. The hat- not so much although I can see how it would be functionally terrific.Mar 6, 2014 at 10:14 am #2080101
USA Duane HallBPL Member
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Per my look at their site just now, wait time has increased to five weeks for shelters and jackets. Joe must be doing something right. The hats are a little pricey though ($65), I prefer a less dorky look. I do need to get something for the coming season, since I left my foreigh legion hat in the Little Lakes Valley last Fall.
DuaneMar 6, 2014 at 10:20 am #2080107
My Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat is the epitome of functional dorkinality.Mar 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm #2080165
Brian JohnsBPL Member
I'm with Dena. I'm no fanboy, but have a Zero Pack and a Hexamid tarp shelter and floor. Amazing durability for ridiculously low weight. Everything I've handled was above expectations, down to zipper pouches and other little accessories. I think you need to take some out for a spin, Rick, or stick with Cordura.Mar 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm #2080262
Rick MBPL Member
delMar 6, 2014 at 4:34 pm #2080280
If you could get the sorting hat to give elevation, gps and weather reports in addition to foretelling which house you will be in, then you would have it made for a backpacking hat.
Plus the resemblance to Gandalf's hat = priceless!
Anyway, the "coolie" hat is about the simplest DIY you can do. The only difficult part is getting the head frame right. The "real" straw ones are very light too.Mar 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm #2080282
Greg MihalikBPL Member
"They look exactly like what they probably are…something put together by someone in their home workshop with no formal training in design/engineering or textile manufacturing."
Thank god for that. Otherwise all we would have is the S O S .
Innovative designs, functionality, and light weights are things I appreciate.
(IMHO)Mar 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm #2080284
"Looks more like David Carradine in Kung Fu."
Would be *awesome* if his staff had a sword in it. Finally a way to deal with those pesky marmot bandits!
I've always admired that type of hat – just not sure if I can pull of the look.Mar 6, 2014 at 5:13 pm #2080298
Greg MihalikBPL Member
"Would be *awesome* if his staff had a sword in it."
Will this work?
LuxuryLite Big Survival Stik , a 2008 BPL review.Mar 6, 2014 at 7:20 pm #2080355
I've had a Zero, a Hexamid, a Kilt, and Poncho Groundsheet for 2.5 years. The pack has 2 water bottle pockets and a pad holder. The shelter came with a carbon fiber pole, which I replaced with a more robust pole from Ruta Locura. Total cost of everything was $544.90.
The Zero is a stuff sack with shoulder straps,and I knew that before I bought it. It works for what I want it to do. It is probably going to die this year, but I have gotten my money worth's out of it. When it goes, I'll just substitute my small McHale in its place. I bought the Zero because it was fairly inexpensive and I wanted to test the cuben as a pack material, as I was considering a McHale in Cuben Hybrid. It has lasted longer than I thought it would.
I am thrilled with the Hexamid. It is my go to shelter on most 3 season trips. No netting or beak on it.
The poncho/tarp is pure genius. I rarely use it as a ground sheet, but it shines as a poncho. As a groundsheet it clips to the Hexamid as bathtub floor. In cold rain I need the kilt.
Two years ago I bought 20 degree quilt with a zipper and an ounce of overfill. Quality is good — not a WM, but I am also happy with it. It is my shoulder season bag and for use in the mountains when I expect the temps to drop a little below freezing.
Joe makes gear for minimalist type of hiking. With care it lasts. His service is top notch.Mar 6, 2014 at 8:45 pm #2080400
Yep. Now we know why it seems grumpiness is an occupational hazard amongst some expert gear makers – and Dan McHale is not the only one – people who don't really know what they are talking about making snap judgments. In a store no less.
At any rate I agree about zpacks. It may or may not be your style or your thing, but as someone who has looked at and thought about that equipment in some detail my conclusion is that every damn stitch in that gear has been carefully thought out, the workmanship is near perfect, and when for some reason a mistake was made it is fixed immediately with no questions and at no cost. Not only that but a lot of his solutions to perennial backpacking issues are quite novel. Having someone say it looks amateurish, if I were Joe, would just make my head explode.Mar 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm #2080402
Ive spent more with Joe than I hope my wife ever finds out about.
When i read others gear recomendations on forums to people for lightening their packs, Zpacks seems to outnumber all the others combined today. Except for Joe, the cottage industry appears to be moving in slow motion. Some vendors never have anything in stock, rarely new products, etc. 3 yrs ago he wasnt considered mainstream UL cottage gear really, today he seems to be a very large pecercentage of it.Mar 6, 2014 at 10:55 pm #2080434
Joe started out in the fringe niche of UL. A lot of Cuben, and the really thin stuff. A lot of his early customers understood the limits of the gear and the need to be gentle with it. Over time he is moving to more robust materials — maybe the market demands it or maybe too many problems/complaints from customers whose gear failed due to "abuse." I don't know.
His construction quality has improved over the years too. Sometimes I think he may be stretching himself thin with the breadth of his product line. Time will tell.
To be honest the construction is not quite at the level of Tarptent, MLD, SMD, ULA, GG, or EE – all companies I have purchased products from and have been in business a lot longer than Joe, except EE; but Tim concentrates on just one product. Then there is the upper echelon of quality such as Nunatak, WM, and McHale. These 3 I have experience with too. But Joe's products are completely acceptable quality-wise, given the nature of minimalist products.
I think another factor that is good for Joe is that are many people, like me, who can afford multiples of gear items that allows them to be very selective in picking gear items for specific trips.
If I could only keep one of each item I own I would choose my McHale Full Dyneema LBP 36, MLD Silnylon Trailstar, and WM Ultralight. Meaning my base weight would move from around 5 lbs on a lot of trips to around 8 or 10 on every trip. The McHale is my favorite pack. The MLD and WM aren't necessarily my favorites but they are robust, well made and can be used on almost all trips I take.
As my zPacks stuff wears out, I probably won't replace it as I am leaning towards stuff that lasts and can take abuse – items I already own. The one zPacks item I would re-purchase without hesitation is the poncho/groundsheet. I am not unhappy with any of Joe's products, but I do hike a lot and they just aren't going to last years and years for me.
Joe has his niche and does it well. I have nothing but good things to say about him.
Of course he probably doesn't like some of the criticism in this thread, but that comes with the territory. zPacks gear isn't for everyone, just as a McHale isn't either.
At the end of the day, what matters is that we spend as much time as possible in the wilderness. Whether I am using an old piece of gear or something leading edge it really doesn't matter that much; as long as I am safe, warm, dry, and walking.Mar 7, 2014 at 4:12 am #2080451
Build it and they will come.
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