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#132727 - 04/26/10 03:55 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: Jimshaw]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
When I think of gear for a beginner I think of "if I could only own one shelter and might not use it often - what would it be?"

All purpose gear like all purpose autos is a compromise. Not a good idea to take the kids to school in an Indy car.

Most of my gear is specialized and matched to the trip. The gear that I use is not appropriate for someone that is only going to own one pack, or one tent or one sleeping bag.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#132739 - 04/26/10 07:45 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: ringtail]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Thanks everybody for taking the time to write. :)I guess I didn't properly craft my statement, but thats ok, we have heard from many people. I was really writing about light vs UL, and whether that 51 ounce tent is really better than a 52 ounce tent that has some other "better" feature left out of the 51 ounce tent just to make it the lightest. The UL crowd doesn't want to consider what they give up in function in the last few ounces.

I posed this as a set of questions in another group and without exception all 9 respondents said "take the lightest gear that has the function and durability required for the trip, regardless of the weight."
Anyway my wife retired from a law firm after 30 years and I am used to ignoring lawyers. No problems here...
Jim smile
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#132741 - 04/26/10 08:03 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: Jimshaw]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
The UL crowd doesn't want to consider what they give up in function in the last few ounces.

What are we giving up, that we cannot live without? People's mileage may vary of course.

Originally Posted By Jimshaw

I am used to ignoring lawyers. No problems here...
Jim smile


Is this your way of flirting with me Jim.

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#132743 - 04/26/10 08:06 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: ChrisFol]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
"Is this your way of flirting with me Jim."

Sure Chris, I mean you were the one who picked up the ball and said all of the things that proved my point, so thanks.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#132753 - 04/26/10 10:13 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: Glenn]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
And sometimes you need to go either way, to see what you are comfortable with. Hopefully you haven't spent a whole lot of money finding what works, but by then, gained a lot of experience.

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#132761 - 04/27/10 12:17 AM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: hikerduane]
Cstolworthy Offline
member

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 74
Loc: American Fork, Utah
Keep in mind that while i have quite a bit of hiking / camping / outdoor experience, I don't have a lot of experience with finding gear(I inherited a lot of mine).

I have found that when you are on the bleeding edge of anything you are usually paying a premium. You are also usually paying to do the "beta" testing of that product.
You are the one that gets to find, and live with, the flaws that weren't caught in test conditions.

Typically I will buy what I say is "right behind the curve". Products that have proven usability and are finally out of that "premium, shiny new" red zone on cost.

Yea you can buy the latest greatest stuff, but if you buy something 6 months old it typically will work nearly as well at much less the cost.

I assume that this probably doesn't apply nearly as well to backpacking gear as it does to computers, but I have found that the principal more or less stays true.
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A tent is a bad place for an argument, because when you are angry you walk out and slam the flap. How are you supposed to express your anger in this situation? Zip it up really quick? ~Mitch Hedberg

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#132777 - 04/27/10 11:54 AM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: Jimshaw]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By JimShaw
I was really writing about light vs UL,


That's the way I took it. And I completely agree with your conclusions too.

I think "Gear Envy" is akin to what Jim was touching on here too. There is nothing wrong with buying the toys that are made for your hobby, but we don't need to get too caught up in thinking we must have the latest, lightest, most expensive, gear.

I do have some fairly lightweight tents. The Eureka Solitaire is the lightest I have, and yes, it's a big trade off to use it instead of my exponent inyo2.

But I have less than $130 in both those tents together and I bought them new. Like all hobbies, it's fair to say that some of the expensive gear we are offered is really nothing more than jewelry.

That's fine too, but one should be aware of that when they're buying it.

Having worked on autos for many years, I think the "Indy Car" analogy is a good one. Indy Cars are designed and built to go 500 miles and not a mile more than that.

Some ultralight gear is built with the same kind of goals in mind. Weight is more important than long term durability.
So durability is engineered to last only long enough to complete the one trek you are making. In some cases that's a good and even necessary choice.

But I think that for most all of us here, especially beginners, it's neither.

Bill
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#132786 - 04/27/10 02:08 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: billstephenson]
idahosteve Offline
member

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 62
Loc: Idaho
This was great fun reading all these posts. As a very expereinced and gear savvy person I have gone thru a late in season mind/body/gear/ change of heart. After 35 years of climbing mountains all over the place, I gave up that pursuit, and have begun enjoying the walk instead of the climb. Its been fun to try new gear, without the emphasis on having something that my life depends on in extreme conditions. I don't need an additional 30lbs of climbing gear, so every step of the way gets rethunk! I'm finding that lots and lots of UL gear is very well designed, very simple, and very affordable. I am also pleased to see that its very durable as long as its treated with the intent it was intended for. The bottom line is that still the most important piece of gear we use is the one between our ears. Matching the tool to the job will always reap the biggest rewards. None of us who have been down the trail for a few years have the same kit we "started" with. To provide beginners with some sage advice that they will is IMO not very helpful. Better to tell them to go try everything in sight, borrow from all their friends, buy stuff on sale, on ebay, craigslist, and from thrift stores. Then a season or two from now, you will have a box full of junk you laugh at and tell stories about, and a pack full of stuff you enjoy using.... Just remember, get out on the trail and try it out all the time! Gear testing is such a great excuse for a trip!
_________________________
I dare you to move, like today never happened...
-Switchfoot-

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#132791 - 04/27/10 03:28 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: idahosteve]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Well said.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#132793 - 04/27/10 05:19 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: idahosteve]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
Idahosteve just about said my thoughts. I was dirt poor when I started climbing - my gear was actually home-made by my Mom! I went out with experienced people who mentored me - those wonderful people were my best "equipment" I had. After a period of not doing much because I was raising kids, I started in again - and guess what? I was again dirt poor (this time because I was paying some college expenses for a child). I bought cheap heavy but good gear and when the kids graduated, I spent the equivelent on upgrading to new light equipment. Some of my old heavy stuff I really like and still use - such as the Kelty external frame pack; other stuff was sent to the "car camping" box.

Since this is for beginners, nobody has mentioned the different requirements for different regions. Watch out for advise by those who have not had experience in the environment that you plan on being in.

One thing I have found, that since the 1960's, there now is a LOT more choice of gear, but that is not always great. You have to be really crafty to find the good quality stuff - so much hype and junk out there now. For example, be careful of weights cited on websites - some are flat-out wrong! My husband just bought a wading shoes - 12 oz they say - well that turned out to be 12 oz for each shoe! Another item for the car camping box.

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#132796 - 04/27/10 06:27 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6765
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I've seen a lot of overstated weights, too! For some strange reason, rarely understated!

Unfortunately too many of the beginners here don't put anything on their profiles, so it's really hard to give them more than very generic advice. As you and I well know, backpacking in Wyoming's Wind Rivers is a lot different than backpacking in the southern California desert! Although I hear it's still snowing down there, too! Anyway, I'm not the first to complain about this. I'm just wondering if there's any way something could be added to the registration page to urge people to be a bit more specific in their profiles if they want to be helped!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#132807 - 04/27/10 08:39 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: finallyME]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
FianllyME said
"Anyways, Jim, I find your rant humorous. All your gear is ultralight, and now you want to tell beginners that ultralight gear is not better. Your 4 season 8 lb tent is ultralight. Your down everything is ultralight. Your backpack is superultralight. Your 16 pound pack with durable gear is ultralight. "

You mean my 4 season 4 pound 5 ounce tent is UL, but its also a 20 year old design made of goretex, and none of the features were spared to make it that light. My spectra backpack isn't UL, it weighs between 29 and 60 ounces depending on which modular features are in. My jackets are mostly goretex, and have pit zips. My down airmattress (which I just got back from Warmlight) is 20 years old and weighs 27 ounces, my WM down bags have goretex shells and are heavy compared to modern WM bags. My favorite stove is a Coleman Xponent. Even my Ti pots and pans are 20 years old - the originals, not as light as modern UL. My alcohol stove even weighs 1 oz not .5 oz. No the only piece of what I would call UL gear is the new Montebell coat and at 14 ounces its also not UL.

However my 16 pound base weight is almost UL even though the individual pieces of gear are not. What does this say? It says that even people carrying all UL gear are still carrying too many items they don't really need. Heck I wear fleece jackets and fleece pants and my down pants weigh 24 oz.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#132819 - 04/27/10 11:15 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: Jimshaw]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
Originally Posted By Jimshaw

What does this say? It says that even people carrying all UL gear are still carrying too many items they don't really need.
Jim


No, it just means that you are carrying too [heavy] many items that you don't really need.

I carry all UL gear and have a base weight of under 9lbs, but I digress. You obviously know all and I concede to your bias.

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#133042 - 04/30/10 10:53 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: ChrisFol]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Chris
when you say you have a base weight of 9 pounds, it doesn't mean anything without the other information about where you take that pack and what you use it for. Obviously you are very passionate about your collection of light gear.

My basic statement about the jacket I bought is that it is under stuffed, that is, it could be a much warmer jacket had they put an extra 2 ounces of down in it, but they did not, probably to make it lighter and therefore "more competitive". So why does making a jacket less warm make it more competitive? Because of people like you.

I don't see where looking at my brand new jacket and thinking that it looks like a jacket that was washed 100 times in Tide, and destroyed the down (an objective observation) is such a threat to you. It would seem that your own objectivity is highly biased.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#133047 - 04/30/10 11:20 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: Jimshaw]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
Jim,

If you're so honked off about this jacket, why not just send it back, rather than patronizing us all by mentioning it, or something related to this jacket experience, in every thread in which you post?

Seems as if you're really angry that the jacket you bought is not your old jacket, despite the fact that it was never advertised to be an equivalent or even comparable piece of gear. If you're not happy with it, send it back and get a refund, and stop complaining, I can't be the only person tired of hearing you rant about it...
_________________________
Light, Cheap, Durable...
pick two

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#133072 - 05/01/10 01:39 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: taM]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By taM
If you're so honked off about this jacket, why not just send it back, rather than patronizing us all by mentioning it, or something related to this jacket experience, in every thread in which you post?

...stop complaining, I can't be the only person tired of hearing you rant about it...


Hmmm...

Take a look around, this is a "Discussion forum" about backpacking. If you'd rather not read messages about and discuss a particular topic, then don't. Just don't click on it or scroll on by it.

But please understand, I look forward to posts by Jim and I've learned a lot from them over the few years I've been here

And to be honest it seems a bit presumptuous for a newbie here to discourage discussion, especially when it's been on topic, and especially by a longtime member as highly regarded here as Jim Shaw.

Again, the whole point of a "Discussion Forum" is to discuss stuff. I'll also point out that there are "Moderators" working this forum who will step in when they feel it's necessary to moderate a topic or discussion, and guidelines for posting as well. I respectfully request you let the moderators do their job.

And I'll point out that you can "Ignore" posts by any user by clicking on their username and clicking on the "Ignore this user" link on their profile page. Lots of "Newbies" and even "Ol`timers" here start with me wink

Bill
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#133077 - 05/01/10 02:45 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: billstephenson]
taM Offline
member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 112
Loc: Nashville, TN
Originally Posted By billstephenson
Originally Posted By taM
If you're so honked off about this jacket, why not just send it back, rather than patronizing us all by mentioning it, or something related to this jacket experience, in every thread in which you post?

...stop complaining, I can't be the only person tired of hearing you rant about it...


Hmmm...

Take a look around, this is a "Discussion forum" about backpacking. If you'd rather not read messages about and discuss a particular topic, then don't. Just don't click on it or scroll on by it.

But please understand, I look forward to posts by Jim and I've learned a lot from them over the few years I've been here

And to be honest it seems a bit presumptuous for a newbie here to discourage discussion, especially when it's been on topic, and especially by a longtime member as highly regarded here as Jim Shaw.

Again, the whole point of a "Discussion Forum" is to discuss stuff. I'll also point out that there are "Moderators" working this forum who will step in when they feel it's necessary to moderate a topic or discussion, and guidelines for posting as well. I respectfully request you let the moderators do their job.

And I'll point out that you can "Ignore" posts by any user by clicking on their username and clicking on the "Ignore this user" link on their profile page. Lots of "Newbies" and even "Ol`timers" here start with me wink

Bill


It's exactly for some of the reasons you've mentioned that I said something. In the short time I've been around this board, I've come to expect generally insightful thoughts from Jim, based upon his wide base of experience over the years. In the time since his jacket purchase however, most of his posts are soured by this particular experience, rather than his typical insightful advice. Figured it wouldn't hurt to suggest learning from the experience and moving on.
_________________________
Light, Cheap, Durable...
pick two

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#133088 - 05/01/10 08:38 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: taM]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3973
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Peace brothers. smile We come here for fun, entertainment and general discussion. smile TAM I did decide to return the jacket, but the place was closed on Saturday. shocked I have since learned that the jacket I want cost $370 and weighs 25 ounces, the same as the 30 year old jacket I wish to replace, so instead I'm going to get a new zipper in the old jacket. goodjob

For the sake of discussion I like to challenge concepts, but not at the cost of offending peoples basic belief system. Personally I think "consumerism" on all levels drives products and the reason my new "alpine light" jacket was anemic is because that's what the market wants. Enough said.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#133091 - 05/01/10 09:09 PM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: Jimshaw]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6765
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Good for you, Jim! I'm glad you did decide to return it--no point in keeping it when it's not what you were looking for! I have a lot of respect for you even where we disagree, and I think that some of the newer people here may have misunderstood your particular brand of humor. lol

I don't consider the Montbell jacket useless (for me, not for you). It depends on what you want it for! It is definitely a layering piece and definitely not a stand-alone jacket. I have the synthetic version (UL Thermawrap) and really like it, but it does need help from other layers when it gets cold! I like it that way and prefer several thinner layers to one thicker one, but that's me! It's obviously not what you wanted and I'm sure your money can be used for better things!



Edited by OregonMouse (05/01/10 09:13 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#133229 - 05/05/10 03:11 AM Re: The usefulness of UL gear. [Re: aimless]
Bushman Offline
member

Registered: 07/01/09
Posts: 122
Loc: California
Originally Posted By aimless
I think the flaw in Jim's analysis is that it presumes that pieces of UL gear should be interchangeable with pieces of heavier, but more durable gear. In other words, he compares the two, discovers that lighter gear does not perform equally to heavier gear when placed in situations where heavier gear makes more sense, and concludes that this makes lighter gear inferior.

This all seems to have been triggered by Jim's new down parka purchase. He was expecting that the new parka would perform exactly like his old one, except be 10 oz. lighter. It didn't. It couldn't. The 850-fill down and the gossamer fabric were not enough to account for the 10 oz. difference in weight. He had to give up some features and some warmth, and he wanted those features and that warmth. His conclusion was that the new parka was overhyped and a poor value.

Undoubtedly, Jim, for you that new parka is a poor value. It doesn't fill your need. You should return it. Don't stew about it. Rectify the situation. Buy a parka that is warm enough and has the right features for you. But for someone else whose situation and needs are different, that parka might be perfection itself.

As others have said, and you too have often said, it's all about matching the gear to the mission. This gear is just a mismatch you hoped would turn out better than it did.


this is great thanks for essentially ending this thread at this post-no need to read the rest of this lame thread....

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