Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
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 (01/10/1302:57 AM)
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
Tom Can you please add age and size and possibly " don't like". Age can be relevant to mats for example. Most can't sleep at 50 on the same mat they did when 20. Size particularly for tents is important. The best tent for me at 5'8" can be far too small if you are 6'4".. (and if you are 6'4" you may want to consider your suggestion to someone that is 6'8"...) DO NOT LIKE can save a lot of time . IE A shelter... What about a hammock ? Don't like hammocks. A tarp Don't like tarps... and so on..
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
All good suggestions. I don't know how many of these type questions I've answered with "we need more information," but I know it's a lot! I also find myself skipping them more and more, even though I really want to help newbies get started!
Please, help us help you! We are not omniscient, and most of us do not have a lot of time to waste getting off on the wrong track.
Edited by OregonMouse (01/09/1311:00 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
One aspect that I like about this forum ( I infest most of the popular ones...) is the lack of a gang mentality that tends to control some. So I see here many regular contributors with their own likes/dislikes but not (that it is obvious to me...) a particular agenda.
I hope that valuable members such as the Mouse (and I only mention her just not to embarrass myself and leave off the very many that do regularly contribute...) can jump in and fine tune the will be "sticky" (if needed...) to make sure that we have guidelines but not too many or too strict.