So in this thread I'd like to start a discussion between experienced camping/hiking/outdoors people about the different aspects of essential camping gear that you all find poorly designed and hard to use, or exceptionally designed and incredibly convenient. Feel free to talk about product preferences and product comparisons.
In my experiences, one of the most annoying and and tedious parts of setting off on an adventure is the gathering of all the little trinkets that are necessary for a good experience and sometimes, in worst case scenarios, for survival. Then once these items are gathered keeping track of these items while out and about in the wilderness. It is my goal to find a way through design problem solving to condense these items in a minimal and space saving way.
Loc: Portland, OR
My initial thoughts:
Keeping in mind the dictum that form follows function, optimizing gear for secondary considerations, like saving space in one's pack, or designing it to combine several usually separate functions in one item will almost always compromise functionality to some degree. For some less than critical functions, like digging cat holes, a suboptimal tool is perfectly fine. I use a tent stake for that and it works well enough. But most of my gear serves a critical function.
You'll need to be extremely clever to design more functionality into fewer pieces of gear than most of us have already winnowed our gear lists down to, and to design it with minimal enough compromises to satisfy some very demanding users.
I look forward to seeing if this discussion attracts much participation, and if so, what directions it might take. Good luck.
Maybe you are taking too many unnecessary "little trinkets". I find backpacking easy living, compared to home, precisely because I have very little to loose track of! If you really think about it very few things are absolutely necessary.
Here are a few ideas. I think some of these have already been done-
titanium spoon (not sporke) with a real fork on one end, real spoon on the other.
a walking sleeping bag with feet holes - that has been done - I think it is called the "wren" made by feathered friends
A friend of mine proposed an external pack frame in which the tubing of the frame is a container for white gas for his stove. Not sure I am into that idea! Maybe if you used an alcohol stove. Hey- maybe put bear spray in your pack frame and have a trigger/nozzle that you can reach.
A pack that could double as a "crazy creek chair". Not sure you know what a crazy creek chair is - it is a strap and pocket thing that is like a sling-chair. Was quite popular in the 1970's-80's.
A pack that has a specific attachment for a bear canister. It would be great simply to have a manufacturer design a pack (particularly a women's small size pack) that a Bearikade Weekender would fit in horizontally. For those of us who backpack where bear canisters are required, the current bear can - pack incompatibility is a BIG issue.
A few more little pockets on the inside of my sleeping bag to hold lip balm, headlamp/light, small bottle of pills, etc. To save weight - Velcro instead of zipper.
I hang it on the front of my shoulder straps on my chest. It is very convenient and holds all the little stuff. I also put my map and compass inside so that I don't have to stop and dig it out of my pack. It is kinda heavy, so I have been looking at ways to sew one out of lighter material. But man, the function is amazing. I love it.
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