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#137253 - 08/05/10 12:26 PM Backup gear ***
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
In his post under Lite Gear Talk, Pika describes some lightweight backup sunglasses he takes along, and also why he takes them (because, at least once, his "real" sunglasses went sliding off the mountain and, since he has light-sensitive eyes, he doesn't want to risk snow blindness.)

That got me to thinking: as we all talk about strategies for lightening our load, we discuss multiple use gear. I think that implies an assumption that there will be no duplicate gear carried. However, I'm quite sure that, in fact, we all carry at least one piece of duplicate, "backup" gear.

I'd be interested to know what gear you carry a backup for, why you feel you can't risk being without that item, and perhaps what you considered taking backup for and decided you could make do without if necessary. Also, how much weight do you devote to such items? I don't consider a change of clothes or those longjohns you always carry for unpredictable weather to be backup gear.

For me, it's a spare lighter (or some matches, but not both), a spare hipbelt buckle, a spare LED light, some chlorine dioxide tablets, and a spare water filter element. Total weight is probably 4 or 5 ounces for the "stuff" and another 4 or 5 ounces for the windbreaker.

The lighter is so I don't have to eat cold freeze-dried food if I lose the lighter I keep in my cook kit (or forget to fill it before a trip.) It's also to light a fire, should one become necessary in an emergency situation.

The hipbelt buckle is purely peace of mind: I have this awful feeling that, someday, I'm going to step on my hipbelt and break the buckle. I've never done it; I'm almost paranoid about buckling it behind my back before I take the pack off, just so it won't lay flat on the ground, waiting to be stepped on. But, I often have Scouts with me, and as any Scouter can tell you, no mishap is beyond the ability of 12-year-old boys.

The spare LED is a Princeton Tec Pilot light that clips onto the webbing on my pack's shoulder straps. It's mostly so I have a light handy while hiking, and so I can see to change the batteries in my headlamp (for some reason, the batteries never die during the day.) However, it's also a backup in case I decide to calibrate my headlamp by dropping it on a rock, or in case I leave it laying on a log as I pack up to leave. I consider it essential to have a light if I should have to hike at night, or see to apply first aid or avoid getting burned while cooking in the dark.

The purfication tablets are there in case I have catastrophic water filter failure. You know: watching it float away down stream, dropping it (those pesky rocks again), having an indispensable plastic part break, etc.

The spare filter element may be temporary backup. I simply haven't used my Hyperflow enough yet to establish a confidence level; I've also seen one review on Backpackgeartest.org about the element threads disintegrating, and had a friend also have that happen to him. After I've worked my way through an element's life cycle of clogging, backflushing, and disassembly/reassembly, this piece of backup might disappear.

As I think about it, I suppose the scissors on my Swiss Army Knife might be considered backup for the scissors in my first aid kit. However, that's purely incidental. I carry the SAK because it has a screwdriver blade, which gets used to adjust the fit of the GG Nimbus Ozone packs the Scouts use. The scissors just kind of tag along. Maybe I'll pull the scissors out of the first aid kit...

That's mine. How about the rest of you?

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#137255 - 08/05/10 12:35 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
Canyonero Offline
member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 28
Loc: Four Corners, Colorado, USA
Iodine tablets as backup for my filter.

Extra matches...a ziploc baggie full in my cook kit, and a waterproof container full with my survival kit.

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#137256 - 08/05/10 12:45 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Canyonero]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6389
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Three backup items: the free "sunglasses" (more like a rolled up piece of exposed film) from the eye doctor, one of those little photon LED lights (around my neck on a cord along with my compass and whistle), matches as a backup for my lighter.

I have some chlorine dioxide tablets in my first aid/"essentials" kit, but now that I use only chlorine dioxide to treat my water, that's not so much backup but an item that goes with me on dayhikes (since the first aid/essentials bag goes with me either way).

One of the big sources of unnecessary extra pack weight is carrying changes of clothing. I take no backup clothing except socks, but since even when it's cold I don't hike in my base layer top and bottoms, they are available as a clean dry layer to wear inside my sleeping bag. When I wear them in camp they're under my other clothing, so they don't get dirty--and I make sure they stay dry!


Edited by OregonMouse (08/05/10 12:46 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#137262 - 08/05/10 02:11 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
Haiwee Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 330
Loc: Southern California
I always carry what I call my "essentials kit." It has a couple of spare lighters, screws to repair my home-made external frame pack, some duct tape wrapped around a small pencil, a pocket compass, some iodine tablets, a small tarp, a needle and thread, some extra band-aids and gauze patches. So it's a combination repair kit and "extras" kit. I had to use the iodine once (on questionable water) when I inadvertently left my Aqua Mira bottles sitting in the sun and one of them exploded.
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#137263 - 08/05/10 02:33 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: OregonMouse]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I agree on clothing. With synthetic shorts and T-shirt, which dry really fast, I don't feel the need for a change of clothing until I get beyond 3 or 4 days. The closest I come to "backup" clothing is the windbreaker I always carry; it's only "backup" in the sense that my rain jacket could probably do duty as a windbreaker - but sometimes, when it's not-quite-cool but windy, the rain jacket is too hot but the windbreaker is just right. So, I don't consider it backup.

Beyond that windbreaker, I carry a change of socks and, if I'm going out more than 2 days, a spare set of boxer briefs. Over 4 days, I might add a second pair of socks and a spare T-shirt and shorts in hot, sweaty weather.

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#137266 - 08/05/10 03:43 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I carry a spare set of sunglasses. It sounds like I carry the exact same "film canister" type that OM carries. I have backups for fire (matches, lighter, fero rod). Sometimes I carry an empty extra water container. I also carry prescription glasses to backup my contacts. I carry three cutting instruments (Mora, multitool, EMS shears). I carry an extra strap for my hammock tree huggers, and a little extra line for the suspension. This is in case the trees are a little wider or farther apart than expected, or if something breaks. I carry extra tie-out line for my tarp or for something unexpected. I guess my needle and thread is extra. I always carry chlorine dioxide tablets, are those extra?
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#137275 - 08/05/10 08:17 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
Wolfeye Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 413
Loc: Seattle, WA
I don't carry much by way of backups: a sparklite with tinder in case my stove doesn't work, some iodine tablets as backup for my filter or to make a wound cleansing solution in a pinch, duct tape if something rips, 20' of cord for repairs or for lowering my pack when scrambling gets too tough. I used to carry some nonlubricated condoms as backup canteens, but felt silly about it seeing them in my bag after a few trips.

Arguably, the foam pad in my daypack could be used to sleep on. I carry "backup"-grade essentials (button compass, zipper light, etc.) for easy dayhikes where nice equipment feels like overkill.

Oh, I do carry backup prescription glasses. My eyes are probably legally blind by themselves. I picked up a pair of folding reader glasses & had some lenses installed. They pack away tiny.

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#137277 - 08/05/10 08:38 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
Summer: backup lighter - one in the stove bag, one in the ditty bag. That's it - I do carry three pair of socks, but I don't consider that backup, since I wash a pair each day. I guess you could say one pair is backup - one to wear while the other dries and the third is backup in case the one doesn't dry that day.

multi-day ski trips: I carry a photon micro light as backup to my headlamp; a second pair of liner gloves (lost one once, and can't be without); and backup sunglasses - at 11 or 12K on the snow in early May, you gotta have shades!

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#137281 - 08/05/10 10:13 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Paul]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I don't carry a lot of "backup" preferring instead to take stuff that doesn't break smile

I carry two mini-bic lighters. one of those is definately a backup.

I do carry two sets of socks, but one is for sleeping, and one for hiking

I take CL02 solution, not a filter, so I don't really need a backup for that

When carrying a thermarest, I carry a small patch kit.

Beyond that, there's really not a lot of stuff that I carry that has much a chance of breaking - and if I were to break it in any real way, I'd be uncomfortable but not in any real danger.

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#137285 - 08/06/10 01:50 AM Re: Backup gear [Re: phat]
verber Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/04
Posts: 269
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
If backup is second items in case the primary fails, then the only backup items I carry are related to fire starting. I use a lighter, and have carry several wind resistant matches and either firesteel or a sparky. That's pretty much my pure "backup gear".

I carry duct tape for blisters and repairs, and a first aid kits. I carry more Katadyn water tablets than I need, and I plan my clothing to keep me comfortable in expected conditions, and safe is reasonable worse case so some people might say I carry more clothing and absolutely necessary.


--Mark


Edited by verber (08/07/10 12:17 PM)

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#137300 - 08/06/10 12:23 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1732
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I don't carry much in the way of backup gear but I do carry a few items that I have found to be quite useful in the past. These are:

1) backup sunglasses (noted in another post).

2) spare reading glasses. I have had a lens pop out of my normal glasses twice when bushwhacking. I was able to find the lens once and could not find it the second time. I don't really need glasses for distance vision but do need them for map and recreational reading.

3) A little key-chain LED light. Actually I use it about as much as I do my headlamp because it is easier for me to use at night. I have a knack for turning on my headlamp pointing the wrong way and have often blasted my night vision as a consequence; I don't have that problem with my Photon light.

4) My "when you absolutely, positively, must get a fire going" kit. For normal lighting chores, I carry Bic mini's, one in my pocket and one in my stove bag. I use the one in the stove bag to light the stove because it saves me having to stand up and get the other one out of my pocket. Yeah, I know, but it is only 0.4 oz. My "absolutely, positively" kit consists of a golf ball-sized wad of paraffin impregnated excelsior, a 1" cube of paraffin impregnated sawdust, two birthday candles and 6 storm matches with striker. All of this is vacuum sealed into a lumpy package about 1" x 1" x 2.5". It is designed for one-time use. I have needed it in the past and it served me well. I think I could get wet rocks burning with it.

5), I carry a small repair kit: thread, needle, duct tape and Thermarest repair kit.

Altogether, my backup stuff weighs about 4 oz. It comforts me to have it along.


Edited by Pika (08/06/10 12:24 PM)
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#137335 - 08/07/10 02:11 AM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Great topic!

For three seasons, I must admit that my "back-up" gear is minimal:

-I always take one mini-bic, a small box of strike anywhere matches and stormproof matches. I could do without the SAMs, but for 0.2oz, I don't worry too much.

-I take both Chlorine Tablets and the Aquamira Pro Filter. The latter is for emergency and weighs only 2oz.

-Clothing extras: my biggest thing is gloves-- I take Smartwool liners, BD Fleece gloves and rain mitts on pretty much every trip in the high country. Cold hands and poor dexterity is not fun.

In winter-- I also bring additional socks that count as back-up.

Beyond that, I don't bring too many extras.




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#137336 - 08/07/10 02:20 AM Re: Backup gear [Re: ChrisFol]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6389
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I hadn't thought about the reading glasses. I bring the lightest pair I could find, a folding pair in a small metal case from gofastandlight.com--the shipping cost as much as the glasses! They are pretty fragile-looking, though. I will look for a small plastic magnifier for backup. While since my cataract surgery I can get along without regular glasses (although I do need them to drive), I sure can't read a map without something to help!

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#137339 - 08/07/10 08:43 AM Re: Backup gear [Re: Pika]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I probably carry more backup gear than I should.

My repair kit (8.8 oz.)includes fire starting gear, book matches in my pocket and a baggy of book matches in my stove kit.

Wool liner glove in the tunnel pocket of my fleece hoodie, Possum Down gloves in my clothes bag, a pair of deli gloves in my clothes bag and a pair of medical gloves in the first aid kit. The deli gloves (.1 oz.) replace rain gloves or can be used in a glove sandwich.

Dri-Ducks jacket and poncho. Poncho is also hammock fly and Dri-Ducks jacket is for warmth and around camp.

Petzl e+Lite headlamp and Photon knock-off light on a lanyard around my neck. I seldom use the headlamp and even carry a spare set of batteries.

An extra set of underwear if more than two nights.

An extra pair of socks, sleeping fleece socks and produce bags for a vapor barrier kit.

TYVEK pants (2.2 oz.)for vapor barrier and rain pants.

Clorine dioxide tablets to back up AquaMira.

A buff in the tunnel pocket of the fleece hoodie, a Possum Down hat in my clothes bag, a bandana do-rag, and regular hiking hat.

Scissors on the mini-Buck 350 and sewing scissors.

Whistle on my lanyard and on the sternum strap of my pack.

A gallon water capacity, but this in not backup. I seldom carry more than 2 quarts, but the extra is camp water.

I can get rid of all my back-ups and hike with an 8 pound base weight, but my normal 12 pound base weight is more comfortable and provides options.




_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#137361 - 08/07/10 08:23 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: ringtail]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 997
Loc: Australia
Good topic...
Starting with the sunglasses, watching the "on thin ice " TV series (race to the South Pole) I noticed that one of the guys had 3 different types os sunglasses/goggles, the other two had (at least) 2 each.
Snow blindness is not fun neither that unusual ...

I carry two Mini Bics except when using a light Kovea stove that has a reliable (so far) piezo ignition, then I have one.
No matches or magnesium sticks, but have some petroleum jelly impregnated cotton balls to start a fire if I need too.
Always have 3 pairs of socks. Two thick ones and a Coolmax type for bed. In camp if wet (or with wet shoes) I wear the thin socks with a bread bag (plastic bag) over them to keep them dry and clean.
(so I carry 4 plastic bread bags, 2 as a backup or for others)
Always have two short sleeve merino tops. One for day the other for camp. If the day one gets really wet and I have a cold start then I keep the night one on. (hoping to dry the other during the day or the next night)
I don't filter or purify unless the water looks "dodgy" to me (not a good system but that is what I do...) however I have Micropur tablets with me.
Here during summer/dry season I also carry a Pur Hiker pump because often the only water available is from ponds on otherwise dry river beds or some waterholes.
On longer walks I have my standard head lamp (or mini torch) and a Petzel E Lite (1 oz) .
Oh, yes , over 2 days I have a spare pair of underpants ( Ex Officio now, they dry very fast, even wearing them...)
Franco


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#137364 - 08/07/10 10:18 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: verber]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
I carry a few extra pennies for my penny stove. Those things are easy to lose, especially when dark out!
_________________________
"To me, hammocking is relaxing, laying, swaying. A steady slow morphine drip without the risk of renal failure." - Dale Gribbel

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#137375 - 08/08/10 11:34 AM Re: Backup gear [Re: GDeadphans]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By GDeadphans
I carry a few extra pennies for my penny stove. Those things are easy to lose, especially when dark out!


I don't - but I have lost the penny - then I use a small pebble in place of the penny...

You can do the same and you have just saved the weight of three pennies smile
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#137377 - 08/08/10 01:30 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
For me this varies a bit with the trip plans, weather, and the people I'm going with.

Generally speaking I always bring 3 sources to start a fire, 3 sources of light, a headlamp, a small powerful LED flashlight, and a very small LED keychain light, a complete change of clothes packed to make double sure they stay dry, and a couple days worth of extra food. I carry a katadyne pump filter and my backup is to boil water in my pot.

But I consider the above to be essential in anyone's pack and, except for the extra food, I use all these things.

For me personally, I carry spare reading glasses, sunglasses, and batteries for my GPS and lighting, and some light cord or rope. I almost never use these, so they are truly "Backups".

If I am hiking with others that have little experience I will carry some extra first aid items, a light weight rain jacket, blaze orange marker tape, Emergen-C vitamins, bug repellant, and more if I feel the need. I almost always end up handing a lot of this stuff out too.



_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#137380 - 08/08/10 03:04 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: billstephenson]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Bill
In the winter I've been known to carry 4 pairs of gloves - sleeping, xcskiing, goretex shells and heavy warm insulated goretex gloves. Often 4 BIC lighters cause I end up spreading them around and can't find one when I need it. A closed cell pad under my airmattress is definitely backup (or rather spare stuff thats not really probably needed but gets used.)

By your definition my entire first aid kit, photon light, spare batteries, etc, are backup because they never get used but are carried anyhow.
Jim

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These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#137440 - 08/09/10 01:20 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Pika]
OldScout Offline
member

Registered: 03/17/03
Posts: 501
Loc: Puget Sound, Washington
Glen, I'll only add to those items that haven't been mentioned yet. I will always carry an extra contact lens case and bring an extra freezer bag meal, just in case.

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#137494 - 08/10/10 03:49 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Jimshaw]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
By your definition my entire first aid kit, photon light, spare batteries, etc, are backup because they never get used but are carried anyhow.


Yeah, that's mostly correct, by my definition. Here's the two dictionary definitions I would reference to support it:

1. a thing that supports or reinforces another. (ie. First Aid, and First Aid Kits)

2. a device, etc., kept in reserve to serve as a substitute, if needed. (ie. spare batteries)

Dictionary.com > Backup

The above items could also be defined as "Essential" items.

Certainly backup items can be essential, or not (as in the case of your foam sleeping pad).

_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#137500 - 08/10/10 04:41 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: billstephenson]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
My original intent was to exclude things you carry for "normal" unexpected events - so I wasn't really thinking of first aid kits or 10-essentials as "backup" gear. It was intended more as "what are you worried about breaking so you carry two (or more)?"

However, I think the items you've all mentioned certainly add to the relevance of the discussion, since they can be creatively used to overcome the failure of some of the other items. (For example, iodine in a first aid kit to purify water.)

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#137506 - 08/10/10 08:35 PM Re: Backup gear [Re: Jimshaw]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3884
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Jim, the stuff I pointed out that I personally carry for "Backups", eye glasses, batteries, et. are carried in case I break or wear out what I expect to use. They are only in my pack for that case.

The things I pointed out that I carry when hiking with newbies are in my pack because experience has taught me that these items will be lacking in their packs. I don't carry them for me, they are "extra" and I never, ever, expect to use them myself.

I started doing this as a habit after offering my warm, dry clothes, my only Advil, or half of my last dinner, to others who did not have any, or enough, of whatever they needed. I got tired of that. A half dozen more Advil than I would want or need doesn't weigh much, nor does a garbage bag/rain poncho, or an extra freeze dried meal or two, etc.

In the past thirty-five years I have had to cut trips short because of other people's, allergies, diarrhea, fillings that fell out of a tooth, not having enough food, being wet and cold, even a broken shoelace cut a trip short once. I have never had a problem with any of those personally, but learned from them and I have pulled cures, treatments, and solutions, out of my pack for friends for almost all of those and other mishaps since.

When I'm hiking with newbies my pack is always tiny bit heavier than when I'm packing with my more experienced friends or alone. I don't really mind that. It helps us all stay more focused on having a good time, but I am indeed "Backing up" their gear when I carry that extra stuff. That's my intention and that's why I carry it. I use a separate stuff sack just for this SOPF (stuff other people forget wink

Listing SOPF may not have been the OP's intent, but I do consider it "Backup", even if it's not for my use, and I can't imagine that I'm alone in packing it. Not here.

_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#137518 - 08/11/10 01:02 AM Re: Backup gear [Re: Glenn]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Glenn said:
"My original intent was to exclude things you carry for "normal" unexpected events"

Glenn,
I agree with phat, carry good gear that won't fail, at least those items that matter. I cannot concieve of one of my old marmot or TNF goretex jackets ever failing, tearing or needing backup. I call this bomb proof basic gear, things you can bet your life on over and over and KNOW that when you need its service, it will be there.
To answer your original question, batteries and a closed cell pad are the only things that qualify for me unless you consider my compass... shocked Its NEVER used.
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (08/11/10 01:02 AM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#137524 - 08/11/10 11:25 AM Re: Backup gear [Re: Jimshaw]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1722
Loc: Napa, CA
How about things that we have carried on every single trip, but never used?

That includes a few things in our first aid kit, but we're HAPPY we haven't used those.

On this last trip, we never used the extra paracord I take--but I'll still take it next year. We ofter take more bug juice than we use...but we also never want to run out. We take head nets for bugs...they weight nothing and save your life when you need them!

The only other thing I have carried over the years that we rarely use are a pair of lightweight binoculars. But that's just fun.

Jim--you've NEVER used a compass? Do you ever go off-trail? I use mine regularly to sight off nearby landmarks for navigation...



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10/27/17 02:36 PM
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