I took my parents to Cabela's the other day and browsed around the camouflage clothing section, mostly out of curiousity. I came across a shirt that had a very beautiful printed pattern... it was an almost photographic rendition of pine branches on a tan background, with some out-of-focus branches mixed in for a nice effect. It looked so colorful & artisitc I was tempted to buy one just to wear on the street.
That got me thinking: Why is normal hiking gear - clothing, packs, shelter, everything - so plain? We could potentially have any color and pattern we want on any of our gear; instead, all we have is the "action figure" clothing that people end up wearing when they shop at REI too much. People like a wide variety of styles, and I bet most people get turned off by the present choices. There ought to be more out there to choose from.
Picture it: You're on your favorite trail and pass by a camp of hippies with tie-die silnylon tents. A yuppie couple walks by with money-dripping packs you swear came straight from Nordstrom. You see a bunch of Goths with high-performance clothes that look as depressing as the expressions on their faces. A dog runs by with zebra striped packbags. Your hiking staff matches your rasta hat.
Anybody agree with this? Do we as hikers deserve more style? Do any gear manufacturers care?
You may be right, but personally, I'm not out there to make a fashion statement. I want my clothes & gear to reflect utility, not style. Call me a 'dyed-in-the-wool' conservative, if you must (pun intended). <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
Loc: NorthGA to LowerAL
Y'all are really young, aren't you? LOL.
Earlier 'back in the day' we had more colors, too bright colors that stood out among the green and gray and brown of the trail. And some people objected to the "eye sore" that the colorful clothing was. That it was 'unnatural' in the great out of doors. And colors of backpacking equipment got 'subdued.'
And boring. And we blended in with the woods we were walking in.
"Tarps in blue keep the mosquitoes above you." But the greens blended in better. So add a piece of noseeum netting.
I would like to see some orange camo silnylon.
In the meantime, most of the really good material in camo is going overseas. Unfortunately for us all.
I am in the same crowd as Trailrunner. I buy clothing that I can afford; I'm too old to be worrying about fashion anyway. I do have a preference for muted and natural colors and will pass on a fuchsia windshirt with turquoise inserts almost any day. My jaybird genes probably have long since quit working. When I started climbing and hiking in the 40's most of the clothing and equipment that was both available and affordable was WW-II surplus. I guess I got to like olive-drab.
Personally, I really DON'T care, fashionwise. Other than not wanting loud neon colors or prints like zebra stripes or camo, I don't have a lot of outdoor fashion preferences. I just want my clothes to fit and function properly. I guess I'm just too much of an old fogie (52) to really care about outdoor "fashion". My non-hiking clothes are almost all solid color as well, and perhaps that IS my fashion statement. After all, I do like the way they look. It just doesn't seem to fit in with what you're thinking of as fashion.
Maybe it has to do with having reached what a friend refers to as "the f***-it fifties", where by this age you've figured out what you want and as for what other people think...well, f*** it. I need to go out to the store but I'm still wearing my pj bottoms? F*** it, I'm going anyway (etc., you get the idea) I'm not too concerned about presenting an image to the public, I dress for what I want.
Some of it has to do, also, with not wanting to have loud colors jarring the peacefulness of the wilderness for myself or others. I don't want to stake out my personal style in the wilderness, I want to blend in with what it's offering me.
I'm over 50, but I still like a variety of colors in my clothing. Some are bright, some are not. Having grown up in the sixties and seventies, I really doubt the color of someone's clothing or gear is going to jar my senses.
Loc: Rock Springs, WY
I agree with most of the other posters. Color comes after price and function when i have to rely on gear in the woods. If I do have a choice I will pick some what brighter colors over od and brown, but usually you just get what you get, packs, tents, bivis, tarps all have a fairly small slection of color. also, color can aid function, a white outside/black inside sleeping bag is nice, turn it inside out to dry it faster, but the white is better at reflecting heat back into the bag, and keeps the outside from soaking up too much heat in the sun.
As others have stated, I go with what's affordable. Last years model of most types of gear, (mostly clothes), are usually the unpopular color that didn't sell well, hence why they discount the overstock.
From what it looks like, there are lots of Mossy Oak and camo patterns simular on gear that can be used for hiking/backpacking.
"Let's not miss the beauty of the forest by the ugliness of some of its trees." Bill W.
Having grown up in the sixties and seventies, I really doubt the color of someone's clothing or gear is going to jar my senses.
Point taken, but if I'm sharing a lake with one other tent, it's a lot easier to ignore their tent and forget it's there if it's gray or green rather than lime green and electric orange tie-dye. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
Well I don't know that I'm all about bright colors. I'm not really out there looking to stand out amongst the natural colors more than I must. Thinking about it now, I don't have a single bit of bright clothing I use for backpacking. nothing I have is really going to stand out like a sore thumb against a natural background. I'm not looking to ruin anyone's view by wearing a bright orange shirt with yellow pants or anything and I hope they are thinking the same. The brightest thing I'd prefer to see out in the backcountry is the light of my campfire and that's it.
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.-Aristotle
My colors are mostly mundane and when I go to the woods I try to blend in with the exception of my rain fly. It is walmart green and with the sun shining on it, it almost glows. But no matter, we thought we would get away and be stealthy in the wilderness. Other people have bright colors and it doesn't annoy me. You can't escape other people anyway. I thought about camo, but now I'm thinking of a Clark setup tie dyed with the most vivid Day glow 70's look I can come up with. Call it Un-Stealth litegear. Tag line could be "Get out there man, get way out" <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
In the Winter after skiing for hours and returning to camp - its totally cool if you can find it <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Like never set down a white pack on a snow field <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> Yellow tents are cheery inside and can be seen for a long ways. And when your a couple thousand feet above you tent you can look down and see it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> Jim - I'm wondering what Francos shower curtain looks like with a hole cut in it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> Those French... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
Ah, well... my fascination with colors has passed like many other crazy ideas. Now that I'm back down to earth, I realize that most of my gear is in earth tones. Still, it would be neat to be That Guy From Another Planet that regular hikers see on the trail once in a while. Maybe I'll see if I can find a cheap nylon tux to use as my afternoon hike trail wear, and add a few hundred patches & pins to a sacrificial daypack. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
I'm in the last stages of making a new tarptent (one more...) of a beautiful brilliant orange color, <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />, not stealthy at all, but very good for mood-boosting on a grey day... I'm also the owner of a good yardage of spinnaker-like silnylon in a most unusual camo, black/grey/light blue/light orange <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />...Planning some extra stuff from this one (plus both fabrics were very cheap <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />)
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
To me there's nothing more discouraging than an area where bright-colored tents are visible all over the place. Talk about "visual pollution"!
I have an especial beef with the manufacturers of women's gear and clothing, most of which seems to come in horrible shades of the two colors I hate the most, what I call "bink and burple." Either that, or bright pastels that show up a mile away. Or black, a most impractical color around my perpetually shedding blond dog. My biggest complaint is that the colors I like, like subdued darker blues, greens, grays, tans and browns, seem to come only in men's clothing. Now I can wear men's shirts and jackets just fine, but with my shape (quite ample in the rear) there's no way I can wear men's pants.
I prefer blending into the landscape, both for security reasons (being a solo female hiker) and mostly because I want the pleasure of at least thinking I'm alone!
I happen to be one of those who really appreciates the standard "silnylon gray," which blends very well into the landscape. I don't find it boring at all!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Hmmm. I hadn't really thought of color choice in terms of "blending" versus "standing out", but I'm new to the scene and haven't been observing it for a while. For me it was choice of color I like vs. color I like less or don't like - if it's even offered in multiple color choices. Although the thought of being trapped in a crevasse with a broken something and the helicopters not being able to spot me in my "canyon" backpack and "moss" top and "coyote" pants did cross my mind. Most of my gear is whatever color it came in from the bargain bin or ebay - which, now that you mention it is mostly blend-in colors. Greens and grays. I just got back from the store with my brand new Citron Yellow backpack - the only other color in that model was subdued Pagoda Blue, but ~everybody~ will be wearing that this season. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> Standing out can have benefits, too. What you don't want to do around here is wear a backpack with a fluffy white tail and antlers...