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#169387 - 09/13/12 09:03 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Steadman Offline
member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 510
Loc: Virginia
@Glenn, I learned that by listening a lot even as I've run my mouth.

As someone who's benefited from your gear addiction, I'm not in a position to criticize. I think that makes me an enabler....

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#169394 - 09/13/12 11:42 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: Gershon]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
The appropriatness of cotton depends on where you hike. In the PNW or on the California coast, planning on not getting wet is a pipe dream! If you do off trail travel bushwhacking early in the AM or after rainstorms you WILL get wet. I have nothing against someone hiking in cotton, AS LONG AS they have sufficient non-cotton insulating layers to change into. Personally, I do not want to carry the extra weight of cotton plus insulating layers. If you get 2-3 days of rain in a row and cotton gets wet, you will end up carrying around dead weight. Jeans are not appropriate for hiking for other reasons- they are very heavy and they tend to be tight in the knee area which makes you work harder for each step you take. If you want to hike in cotton pants they should be loose enough that they do not bind when lifting your leg up over a rock.

I use an Arcterex 24L pack for day hikes. But I do not have a large amount of camera gear. The 24L pack was my go-to pack for long day technical rock climbs. Black Diamond targets climbers so their packs have extra loops for carrying climbing gear or crampons, ice axe, etc. If you do not need these features they just add weight. I like Arcterex because you can order their packs in different waist sizes vs pack size. The packs are also bomb proof. Arcterex packs are also specific to climbing. IF you are not going to do climbing or scrambling where your pack gets beat up by rock, the climbing-specific packs are overkill and too heavy.

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#169396 - 09/14/12 12:03 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: lori]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
My experience with SAR uniforms was somewhat different. We had a patch which was tacked onto whatever item we individually cared to wear. We were civilian volunteers responding to requests from the sheriff. The responding deputy wore a uniform. The rest of us dressed appropriately for conditions (anything from a full wetsuit to T-shirt and shorts to full winter gear). Our emphasis was (and is) on performance, not appearance.

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#169397 - 09/14/12 12:22 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: oldranger]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
We started lobbying two years ago. We got approval last year. Apparently we might get synthetic versions of the shirts we currently have by next year... We're surviving. But the shirts are absolutely beastly and uncomfortable. Bureaucracy grinds along slowly and there's been a search nearly every other week this year.... We have to be in uniform for most functions. It's either the orange dayglo button down or the red cotton t shirt with reflective lettering. Same stuff the deputies wear for SAR.

I did buy a pair of 5.11 taclite nylon ripstop pants in OD green that meets the standard. The old canvas ones I originally had were horrible with a capital HORRIBLE. I hated them.

We still have to wear Nomex and leather boots in federally funded helicopters. But the parks provide that when we get there. Our boots and synthetic whatevers go in the cargo with our packs.

I tried hiking in jeans last year. What a stupid thing to do. I was quite young and impervious before, when it was what we used for hiking - now it feels heavy, hot, sweaty and involves lots of chafing. Cotton socks do nothing but blister my feet these days. I wear t shirts around the house, mostly, they don't go anywhere any more.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#169404 - 09/14/12 06:53 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Nothing quite matches the experience of sitting close to a fire in Wrangler jeans.

(Only older men are likely to remember this one.)


Edited by Gershon (09/14/12 09:59 AM)
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#169409 - 09/14/12 10:01 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Oh, that's true. Nothing matches trying to dry out your jeans....
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#169411 - 09/14/12 11:30 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Lori,

This one is definately a man thing. On Wrangler jeans there used to be a rivet at the bottom of the zipper. If you sat too close to the fire, the rivet would get real hot and then suddenly burn a strategic part.
_________________________
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#169416 - 09/14/12 01:05 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: Gershon]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Gershon
I'm going to disagree with the "cotton kills" theory. Not to suggest people discard synthetics and go back to cotton, but to illustrate a concept I'll call "Living within the limitations of your gear."


I have to agree with that, and W_D...

Originally Posted By W_D
The appropriatness of cotton depends on where you hike.


When I'm bushwhacking here through thick bramble, cotton denim jeans are the way to go, the heavier the better. But I wear my nylon zip-offs a lot too when backpacking. They're lighter, pack smaller, and work great with layers. I can wear thick fleece pajama bottoms under those, and long johns under the fleece, and stay pretty darn warm and comfy down into the teens.

Cotton does take a long time to dry. It can be almost impossible to dry. A few years ago I spent 5 days where it went from fog, to drizzle, to rain, and back the entire time and I never could dry out my cotton socks. I did manage to singe them, but not dry them.

Last winter I found out by accident that you can make a great clothes dryer with an emergency blanket. Either solar or a small campfire will power it. I haven't tried to prefect a method, but just rig the blanket into a small box and put your wet clothes in it and build a small fire in front of it. It works fast and it won't singe your socks wink
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#169419 - 09/14/12 02:37 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: billstephenson]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
What did anybody wear prior to synthetics? Wool and cotton? Those people who taught us what we know today, what did they wear. Doesn't mean you can't use the new stuff. I find myself using the new micro wool as opposed to the synthetics shirt wise. Pants...depends upon what I'm doing.

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#172758 - 12/07/12 11:46 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: skcreidc]
bns3 Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/06/12
Posts: 1
I am chiming in a bit late on this thread, but figured I'd add a couple of tidbits from my soldiering days.
One, if you have concerns about losing exposed items on your pack (i.e. water bottles), secure the item to your pack or person with 550 cord. I was in an airborne unit and we would tie down everything to the point of being compulsive about it.
Two, for pants, you could do worse that get some surplus BDU pants (light weight rip-stop material). I think they were 100% cotton in my day, but more recently have been poly blend. We would wear lightweight year round because if they got wet they would dry faster.
Three, do not succumb to "paralysis by analysis" when it comes to picking gear. After years of having little to no choice regarding the gear available to use, I found the wide ranges of choices in the civilian world dizzying. But I had to remind myself that I humped many a mile with a cheap low-tech pack and issue boots and hundreds of thousands of others have as well. IOW, don't hold out for the perfect gear to get yourself out there.


Edited by bns3 (12/07/12 12:32 PM)

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#172766 - 12/07/12 02:01 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: bns3]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
lolBud, I can second that. I was in a specialized unit, so we did have some options, not available to everyone, as far as gear was concerned, but ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, like running down to the local REI... laugh
And that gear, being absolutelly low tech by today's standards, got us through more than 99.9% of what your average backpacker would even bother with, today.
J.

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#172783 - 12/07/12 10:05 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: skcreidc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
We have gotten off subject! Original post was about packs.

What did we use in the old days?

Pants - Air Force dress wool pants, surplus

longjohns - 100% itchy gray wool union suit, with front buttons and back flap

Socks- my mother knit me wool socks and mittens. She knit socks with no seams! never had such good socks.- also 2 pair of thick rag wool socks - the darned boots were so stiff that you needed 2 pair of thick socks or you would get blisters.

Boots - 5 pound boat anchors. All leather. Huge vibrum soles that we had resoled every so often. Shoes lasted 10+ years.

Sleeping bag - down. Down bags have been around a long time.

Hiking shirt - 60/40 dacron/cotton work shirt, self embroirdered with flowers (we were all hippies then)

insulation - wool, wool and more wool

more insulation - down, down and more down

Shell jacket - cotton treated so that it had a very waxy feel. I cannot recall what it really was.

Tent - same waxy stuff as jackets. Remember when you could not touch the tent or it would leak?

daypack- canvas with leather bottom
backpack - external frame Kelty. Started with an old canvas packbag on a frame, but when I bought the Kelty in 1966 it had a nylon bag.

By now you get the idea- heavy, heavy, heavy!
But when you do not know any other, we felt we were "high tech"! Had the latest and greatest!

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#172785 - 12/08/12 05:25 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: wandering_daisy]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
I still have a couple of my externals packs. I still use them on occasion. It regularly goes as the second pack on my tandem canoe trips. I know we often think of them as "heavy", and they are compared to some frameless packs. But the externals are significantly lighter than many of the giant internal frame packs. They can carry a load too! Which is great for the canoe trip portages. At present I think externals are overlooked because they aren't "cool". Ironically, they do literally keep your back cooler than internals. Too bad the style and size choices aren't as available like they used to be.

I still use wool pants too in all but the summer. Used men's dress pants on ebay are a great cheap source.
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http://ducttapeadk.blogspot.com

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#172791 - 12/08/12 01:55 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: DTape]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I too still use my external frame. To make it lighter I have sewn my own pack bag. Externals still excel in load carrying.

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#172794 - 12/08/12 02:54 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: wandering_daisy]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
Add one for the external frame. My Kelty is actually lighter than internals of the same capacity I've looked at. Like others, I find I rarely use it these days, but when I do, I'm delighted to have it.

And like others, I used a lot of wool and loved it. Only reason I don't use it today is that I have this (fairly new) child bride and trophy wife who's allergic to wool. She can't backpack, but she's a delight on canoe trips, and I typically use much the same gear. In cold weather, it was not unusual to wear three layers of wool with a shell over in camp. Stuff was heavy though.

best, jcp

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#172804 - 12/08/12 08:56 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
I am still nostalgic for my 1960's Kelty frame pack; had it not been stolen, I would still be using it. Fairly light and nothing beats an external frame for heavy or awkward loads.

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#172805 - 12/08/12 11:34 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: oldranger]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Originally Posted By oldranger
I am still nostalgic for my 1960's Kelty frame pack; had it not been stolen, I would still be using it. Fairly light and nothing beats an external frame for heavy or awkward loads.

I think internal pack frames are the greatest invention since ice cream, but I can remember being younger, and hauling heavy loads with external frame packs. You're right about them being heavy duty, but if I had to haul a load with one today, it'd probably put me in intensive care for a week or two... grin Can you even imagine using one of the old wood frame packs?

J.

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#172806 - 12/08/12 11:57 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: oldranger]
Richard Cullip Offline
member

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 16
Loc: Poway, CA
Originally Posted By oldranger
I am still nostalgic for my 1960's Kelty frame pack; had it not been stolen, I would still be using it. Fairly light and nothing beats an external frame for heavy or awkward loads.


I too remember my old Kelty frame pack. Hiked alot of miles in the High Sierra (mostly out of Mineral King) back in the early 1970's. Now that I'm older (and maybe even wiser), I avoid carrying heavy and awkward loads. A load that is both light and compact is the answer that lets me continue hiking in the high country that I love. Total load for my last 5 day trip was 18lbs tucked neatly into my frameless ULA CDT pack. Couldn't have made the trip with the weight I used to carry back when I was young.
_________________________
Life is good. Eternal life is better!
Richard

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#172809 - 12/09/12 04:50 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: jbylake]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
yup! The first ever rig I used backpacking was a milsurp molded plywood frame, Korean War vintage. It did not have a waist belt, but was surprisingly comfortable, even if a bit heavy. At the time, there was nothing better for a starving student (the Kelty was far out of reach at the princely sum of 38 dollars). I borrowed a Kelty once, and that was my undoing - I finally amassed the small fortune required and got one - and that was before the rig had a solid hip belt.....

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#172811 - 12/09/12 12:13 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: oldranger]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1340
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I'm not sure externals are dead - they've just morphed into something better. I've got a buddy who absolutely loves his Osprey Atmos 50, and I've used the same pack with success. (However, my own preference is toward internal frames with backpads, since I use them as an extender with my short sleeping pad.)

It's a newer, better version of the old e-frames: advances in material and design mean you don't need the half-inch "pipes" that made up the old frames - the Atmos frame is a lot more like arrow shafts (same improvement as tent poles: no more Eureka Timberline tubes, but the slimmer and stronger pole sets we all know and love.) However, the general structure of the Atmos remains true to the classic design: a visible perimeter frame, with a few bends, and a couple of arched cross-members behind a tightly-tensioned trampoline mesh back band. As a result, you get the same great ventilation as the old Kelty, Jansport, and Camp Trails packs we grew up with.

There's nothing old-school about the pack bag, though: it has a hydration pocket (and an option to use the space between the frame and trampoline for the hydration pack, when space inside the pack is at a premium.) The packs are as streamlined as the modern internal frame bags, and retain one feature of the old Dana Designs Terraplane we all lusted after: long, vertical "sausage" pockets on the outside.

As a result, this hybrid eliminates most (but not quite all) of the one annoying feature of the old externals: the tendency of the frame to move against you as you turned, instead of moving with you.

Maybe other designers will start updating the old external styles, too.

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#172997 - 12/12/12 10:45 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: Glenn Roberts]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts

Maybe other designers will start updating the old external styles, too.

My memories of them are reminiscent of Soylent Green. Maybe they'll start updating us old external style people..... laugh

J. sick

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#173197 - 12/20/12 11:24 PM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: jbylake]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I wish they would make the old external frame packs just the way they made them.

Meanwhile, I will keep using mine.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#197366 - 01/10/17 05:54 AM Re: Pack Recommendation for Beginner [Re: Glenn Roberts]
momof2 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/10/17
Posts: 1
I have planning to go to a camping trip with my husband and kids. But we have been so busy that we don't find the time to do it right away. I'm reading through this forums for valuable tips for beginners like me. For now all the fun we have are going to be at home. a
trampoline and put it beside our house. We might just buy ourselves a camp fit for the family and place it beside our house. When the right time comes, we can finally have that real camping experience.


Edited by momof2 (01/10/17 09:05 AM)

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