How would you answer this question:" I want to buy a car, what should I buy?"
If you answered "How the heck would I know what you need?" (which is the right answer, by the way), then you understand why similar questions about backpacking gear get the same kind of responses.
If you want to get a meaningful answer to your "what do I need?" question, then do the following:
1. Tell us a little about yourself - experience makes a difference in what may be suitable for you. Doesn't have to be much, "I'm a newbie" says it all.
2. Tell us what you want and how it will be used, if appropriate - cooking for one or cooking for four, that makes a difference.
3. Tell us where it will be used mostly (hint, "everywhere" is not the right answer);
4. Tell us the time of year it will be used or the lowest temperature you will be in; for example, canister stoves don't work well in very cold weather.
5. Tell us your budget range;
6. Tell us what's most important - ultralight, cheap, durable, quality, etc.
7. Tell us your age and size - older campers may want a different pad, for example and bigger or smaller campers may want a bigger tent or smaller bag.
8. Tell us what you don't want,if you know as in "not interested in a hammock," "don't want a heavy pair of boots," "don't want a tarp," that sort of thing.
Example: Hello, I am looking for a lightweight sleeping bag that I will be using for 3 season camping in the Midwest. I probably won't be out in weather any colder than 40F and I have a budget of $200. I'm on a budget, so price is more important than saving a few ounces.
Post something like this and you will be doing yourself a favor. The same questions get asked over and over and those with the most information are the most likely to get answered.
If you are asking about a particular piece of gear or clothing, the same rules apply, so do the same thing. A question like 'I am going winter camping in Yosemite in February at 7500 ft., will a TNF Nuptse be warm enough?' will lead to far more useful answers than just "What do I take to Yosemite?" or "Is the Nuptse a nice jacket?"
ps. This is not official TLB policy, just my own observation. I quit answering generic questions a long time ago and so have other longtime members.
NOTE: THIS LIST IS A WORK IN PROGRESS, IT MAY CHANGE FROM TIME TO TIME AS SUGGESTIONS ARE OFFERED. READ THE COMMENTS THAT FOLLOW. I AM NOT LOCKING THIS THREAD FOR THAT VERY REASON. I MAY INCORPORATE IDEAS FROM OTHER POSTS (AS I DID WITH FRANCO'S) TO KEEP THEM ALL TOGETHER, SO READ THEM AS WELL TO SEE WHERE THEY CAME FROM.
Edited by TomD (01/10/13 02:57 AM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.