You guys don't know what condescension is. Start running. I started running just about a year ago to be in better shape to pack on some real trips and have had a huge eye opener. Since then, I've run six 5K's and one 5 miler road race. (I've also lost about 30 pounds in the process... yay me !) For the most part, runners are great but, there are also the "10% er's" that don't have a good thing to say about anyone except themselves. Check out some of the stuff on the Runners World forums.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I've said it before, I've said it again, I think twenty-something men these days are just plain stupid, in general (please accept my apologies if you aren't, I know there are exceptions).
I have two 20 something daughters and they, and their girlfriends, do go hiking, camping, floating, atving, 4wheeling etc. They even go rock climbing, rappelling and hunting. Those young women are a blast to go hiking with. I've taken them bushwhacking with me many times and they're tough as can be. They go camping together themselves quite a bit now, and from what I've heard they have a pretty good time of it too. I'd pity the guy who walked up and said something stupid to them
As far as condescension in backpackers, I don't run into that much here. There just aren't many backpackers here, and I don't use trails much so I rarely run into others. When I do, I'm pretty much dressed like a hobo, and scruffy as can be, and unless they're a real hillbilly they generally don't stop to chat much.
Real hillbilly backpackers are rarely condescending. I've never run into one that was. Now your city backpackers who come here with shiny new gear generally kind of freak out when they see a local backpacking. You can hear the banjo music playing in their heads and see the fear in their eyes. It's so obvious, they think your out there cooking meth and murdering intruders with an axe and it really makes for a very uncomfortable encounter. I suppose in a way that could be considered pretty darn condescending, but I never take it that way. First I try and calm their fears, never succeed, then I just head off bushwhacking into the forest and let them sleep on the fact that I'm out there too
Loc: Portland, OR
Actually, Jim, I think lori's point was not that the gentleman in question was inferior to her, but that the way in which he offered her advice seemed to suggest that she didn't know what she was doing and therefore included a presumption of superior knowledge on his part.
For my part, I think that offering unsolicited advice always carries this danger, and I've been guilty of it more than once in my life. However, as sins go, if the advice was well-meant, it is far better to overlook any unintended offense and forget about it.
Loc: Pullman, WA, USA
.... reminds me of the time ....
in the early nineties, a bit before I created this site in 1995, went on a week long trip with a group of folks (guys, actually). I was just getting into carrying a light pack and was maybe a little religious about it - all my light gear in the face of all the other dudes with their heavy gear.
Anyway, very long story, so the short of it is this - when at our destination, I somehow was able to not squirrel away in my self-sufficient lightweight environment, but instead to join into the group share mentality. Of course, once encamped, their gear was more awesome than mine.
One guy brought a (must have been at least ten pounds) cast-iron griddle. It took four camp stoves under the thing (including my tiny tit gas stove) to heat the whole plate. Man that was fun. To this day I have fond memories of that trip.
We all went fishing (me with my 4oz fishing kit and they, with their full-size gear - of course, they did way better), caught 45 trout one day and had a major fish fry using that griddle. Some of the guys brought eggs, pancakes, pots, pans and so on. Things I wouldn't dream of bringing on a 7-day trip that covered 25 miles with about 5000 elev gain with some of it cross-country.
Anyway, now, when I'm with other ultralight gear junkies, I suppose I'm as religious as the next person, but when with a mixed crowd, I strive to blend in without too much regard to who has what -- and as you might expect from this experience, I don't mind using someone else's stuff, if they offer.
The trip was a success - everyone had a great time!!!
" Not all those who wander are lost ! " J.R.R. Tolkien
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By balzaccom
As a cyclist, I am happy (?) to report that a recent poll showed that people thought cyclists were the most unpleasant and arrogant of all amateur athletes. Backpackers didn't even make the list.
Somethig about spending all that time sitting on that tiny saddle....
It could very well be that tiny, rock hard, seat
I want to add a little localized flavor to this conversation, because, to a degree, I think it can be a local thing.
We probably have the least amount of backpackers here, per acre of public land, than anywhere east of the Rockies. Most of the locals that backpack are as knowledgable as your average backpacker here on the forums, but it's probably true that fewer are true gearheads, or arrogant about their gear or skills.
Backpacking here is not the same as the AT, or Western States backpacking. Our longest trails are measured with a couple hundred miles, and our best spots are often not near a trail because we don't have lot of trails. Most of our trails would be rated nearer the "difficult" end of the scale too, so miles are no measure of a hike here, when compared to most of the popular trails in the U.S.
I don't know of a single hiker here on the forum that has thru-hiked the OHT, or even the BRT, but if you can say that here, you're held in high esteem.
Among the members here, I'd have to say that W_D is the one that hikes most like Ozarkers hike. The miles she does and routes she takes are what the best of us can do here on the trails. I'm not in that group, a 10+ mile day here would kill me, I know W_D could do more here, but she'd be honest about the difficulty too, as I'm sure most our thru-hikers here would be.
So, like our most experienced hikers here on the forums, Ozark backpackers tend to be humble. They know the miles can be tough, and they know the weather can kill you, so if you're out there with them you've pretty much earned their respect already. Even if you find you don't like them much, you have to give them their dues for being out there. I met a couple women down in Arkansas last year at a hiker's gathering that are awesome. As far as I know, not one man there dared to be condescending to them. We can't possibly be, we know where they've been. It's certainly an Ozark thing in that it's how the locals think about it here. I'm sure there are exceptions, but that's the norm.
.... reminds me of the time .... I don't mind using someone else's stuff, if they offer.
Oh I'm not proud either. if I'm packed ul, working my way through three ounces of stove alcohol a day, I will still have extra coffees and soup with me.. I'm definately not shy about yogi'ing hot water if people are bugging me for tall tales
Condenscension: Webster's unabridged dictionary: #3 "voluntary assumption of equal status with someone considered inferior."
lets see the gentleman was inferior because he was: 1) male - sexism 2) elderly - ageism 3) his pack ws lighter - ULism?
My own comments I will keep to myself. I think this thread belongs in the "rant" file. Jim
this post confirms that you are consistently reading my posts wrong...
The upshot of the original post is the assumption that my gear doesn't work is condescending. Which is something you do on an ongoing basis, each time you decide "UL gear is cutting corners and less safe". Kettle, black. Want to check out the tone of this response you made again?
This thread is a musing on the whys of gear elitism. The traditionalists think those of us striving for lighter backpacks are crazy for using silly little stoves and 3 oz water filters. The lightweights who drill holes in toothbrushes and hike all night so they don't have to carry a sleeping bag look at me and say "your pack is too heavy."
I feel that I do enough to stay safe in the environment I hike in most, while not wrecking my back and joints. I hike with newbies, oldbies, heavyweights, lightweights, ULs, and *crazy people* - and I do not criticize nor do I question their gear. I let them do as they will, sometimes to my detriment, since I am occasionally carrying other people's stuff in addition to my own because their **safe heavy gear** weighed too much for them and they blew a knee or a back. And I do it without criticizing - I merely suggest to them that they go fewer miles next time, or get a pack animal, or perhaps plan to leave the chair, four bath towels, and 3 lb textbook at home next time, since it is clearly not working out the way it is for them. And they thank me for carrying their stuff and apologize, and some of them actually do come out with me again, and enjoy themselves a lot more. They do it because I am able to talk to them in ways that don't accuse them in the ways you accuse me. Telling me I am ranting and insinuating that I think this fellow is inferior? Where in this post is there anything saying he or his gear is inferior? He has opinions. They are his. The problem comes when someone tries to make their opinion mine.
My pack is just right, Jim. It isn't too light, or too heavy.
It's light enough for me to save the newbies and heavy enough to give me the food, shelter and fishing gear I need to enjoy myself. I also enjoy helping the newbies or I would stop doing so. Correct?
The gentleman in question is far nicer to me than you are. I will hike with him any time he likes. I have a lot to learn about photography from him, and maybe he'll pick up some ways to lighten up his pack so he doesn't feel like he hikes slower than everyone else. You can bet that the lessons we give each other won't have any further condescension, because while I've not talked to him yet about my experience, I know that when I do, he'll let me keep using my pop can stove without further lectures, and maybe I'll finally figure out how to use my camera on manual.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
I can't vouch for BPing, too new to the hobby, but I can say with certainty that shooting sports, and adventure racing are chalk full of gear snobs. Granted, these are both competitions, but both can also be recreational. Snobbery knows no bounds, apparently.
I grew up in the Ozarks, first near Alpena, Ark, then Springfield, Mo. I learned to backpack in that area (mostly bushwhacking for lack of trails) and I can vouch for the challenges (I've hiked and backpacked a good many places since for comparison purposes).
I was just starting a thru-hike of the OHT when my leukemia kicked up a couple of years ago (I'm just getting back into backpacking now). I was only about three days in when I realized I was to weak to be in the woods alone, but I had already had a pretty good look at the challenges, and I hadn't even gotten to the rough parts. I'll try it again one of these days.
But it was fun to be back in country I once knew well.
Interesting thread. Seems a lot of other sports have condescension in them. Although with backpacking it seems less condescending than not understanding. In Lori's case, the gentleman had probably never seen an alcohol stove before (at least not a popcan one) and thought something had broken on hers, but lori was determined to use it anyway. I could be wrong too.
We've got a worse sense of it in golf. In that sport, you get a lot of "Look at ME! Clearly my gear is superior because it's lighter/newer/fancier than YOURS." Mostly it's just name brand clubs vs. my self assembled component oriented clubs. I buy a certain head (or set of heads), shafts, and grips, then assemble them myself to fit my game and me in general. I can't tell you the number of ties someone with name brand clubs has looked down on mine at the tee box, but by the end of the round wanted to know where he could get clubs like mine. In reality it has nothing to do with the clubs and everything to do with his/her ego and lack of knowledge about not only the gear they're using, but the WAY THEY PLAY THE GAME.
I see no difference in backpacking. How you hike is how YOU hike, it's not how I hike. As with everything, what works for you may work for me, but we won't know until I try it. Vice versa applies.
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
I grew up in the Ozarks, first near Alpena, Ark, then Springfield, Mo.
I live pretty close to right in between those places. I have a friend who lives in Alpena and have been there often. It'd have to be pretty great to grow up near Long Creek. I'd have been hiking along that every chance I got as a kid. I've explored it from the back of the cove at Table Rock Lake for a bit and that's a stunningly beautiful area there.
I was just starting a thru-hike of the OHT when my leukemia kicked up a couple of years ago...
Wow, that's a shocker, I don't recall you ever mentioning that before. I'm sure glad to hear you're back on the trails again.
You really did three days on the OHT fighting that? Geez, that had to be brutal. I think the starting point from the west end has changed a few times, but the last time I looked it had you climbing down a big steep mountain, then right back up one just as big and steep, it's like "Welcome to the Ozarks!"
I've never really hiked any of the OHT but I've backpacked/bushwhacked in quite a few of the areas it runs through and I've studied it on topo maps and that is just a vicious trail. I'm kind of baffled by some (most) of the routes it takes. A lot of it seems to be deliberately vicious. I'm not kidding either.
While I studied that trail I did think to myself that it had to be a committee of condescending brats that routed it. As tough as it is to hike anywhere here, I think that trail was made deliberately tougher than it had to be and plain old jealousy had a lot to do with it. I think they figured "If we can't make one longer, make it tougher", and then they also purposely avoided some incredibly beautiful spots to "keep hikers from ruining them".
So, in my opinion, the trail is those design goals achieved. But that's not why I've never hiked it, I just love bushwhacking too much to stay on a trail for long. Honestly, I don't know how you thru-hikers do it, I'd have made it to the bottom of that first hill on the OHT and started following the creek instead
I guess one of the things I love about hiking here is that I can go bushwhacking like when I was a kid. Back then it was day hikes in city parks and forest preserves, but they were still full of adventure. I've been here for about 18 years now and hiking in the Ozarks is always like a dream come true for me. I loved hiking out West too, but I just never felt at home there like I do here.
I'll try it again one of these days.
If you ever do get back here let me know, I'd love to hook up with you for a bit and I'd be glad to resupply and shuttle you. And if you think you might rather ramble around bushwhacking for a bit again instead, well, you know, I'm always ready for that too...
Thanks for some serious nostalgia!! Yes, Long Creek was fun. We used quite regularly the swimming hole just west of town, and walked considerable distances on fishermen's trails. Can't speak for Table Rock; Norfork was only half finished at that time. Camped years later on the Table Rock site (after the initial drilling, but before they started moving things).
Hiking tended to follow very old wagon roads,farm lanes and animal tracks, or just plain bushwhacking because existing trails usually led to places where Mason jars could be filled (and where we knew we shouldn't be). There were a few that went to caves (sometimes that was where one went with the jars -- Boone was a "dry" county). There was one trail to the top of Boat Mountain that was a a real adventure for a kid. There was also the route of what is now the highway to Fayetteville, then the remains of a pioneer wagon trail, two ruts with gates across it; funny, since most of the area was then free range.
If your friend was a local native I might know the family, there weren't that many. Dad was principal of the little consolidated high school.
I'm serious about trying the OHT again, probably next April (early) or the next one (depending on my strength), and I'd love the local contact/company (and I would not be averse to a bit of bushwhacking -- now that most of the stills are gone).
You give me too much credit, however. I started from the West, but it wasn't quite that bad. I had indeed just gone down a very long (and yes, unnecessarily steep) hill (from the state park camp and lodge), and sat down for lunch when I sorta took stock and realized I needed to get out, so spent the remainder of the day climbing back up again. But that was the only really serious hill up to that point. There were two fords (out of three) that were considerably worse than the hills (actually dangerous for a solo hiker in the spring). But I'm well aware that the real challenges were still ahead.
Much more to say and share (and questions to ask), but we've already hijacked this post.
I would say "you know your gear is light enough when you can carry the pack, you have what you need, and you're safe in the conditions you're facing - and, it's the pack weight you wanted to carry."
Being a snob about the gear you're carrying is kind of dumb either way. It's not science. It's a balance of skill and tools. A heavy pack won't help you at all if the stuff inside it is beyond your ability to use it properly - same as a light pack. Durable four season gear is overkill on a one night trip at lower elevation where you're going to bail on the trip if the forecast is bad. It'll be just the ticket if you're over 13,000 feet and intending to stay out for three weeks in October. (Yet, someone brought a four season tent on my last six mile, one night, easy trip....)
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
Being a snob about the gear you're carrying is kind of dumb either way. It's not science. It's a balance of skill and tools. A heavy pack won't help you at all if the stuff inside it is beyond your ability to use it properly - same as a light pack.
AMEN! As I've told prospective customers who want me to modify their golf clubs, "It's never the bow and arrows, it's ALWAYS the Indian." That is it doesn't matter how good/light/expensive your equipment is, if you don't know how to use it properly, then it's just dead weight.
Loc: Portland, OR
it's ALWAYS the Indian
Even though it is a bit of a derail of the thread, this reminded me of an article I read long ago in Sports Illustrated about Lee Trevino.
Apparently, when Lee was a teenager and not yet on the PGA tour, he won a ton of money from players at the country club where he caddied, betting he could beat his opponent across 18 holes using only one club to drive, chip and putt, and he let his opponent choose the club. If I recall correctly, he also once beat someone using a pop bottle as a club.
Being a snob about the gear you're carrying is kind of dumb either way. It's not science. It's a balance of skill and tools.
It's also a balance of time, interest and money. All backpacking equiment is a compromise. Some choose to spend more money, some choose to take less, some choose more comfort, and some simply take what they have always taken, because the trip is more interesting than the equipment.