I remember when I was 8. I was thinking that old seems to be quite relative, but I knew my grampa was old, and he was 65. He was a 65 year old farmer and he was broken at 65. I know lots of folks never get to see 65, but for me it mostly means that I hire a youg'n to shovel the roof or dig a new pond. I love to ski and kayak.
For those who do not know me, I have a collection specialized [un-obtanium] camping gear with some pieces 30 years old. I jave not replaced this gear because either there is nothing better, or everything available is lesser, or what is better costs $500 per ounce savings over what I already have that has woked for decades. I just plain don't care about the new widgets - my titanium fork is over 20 years old now and serves me just fine, but so would a stainless steel fork...
A lot of people think there has been a "camping revolution" but the biggest change in my opinion is in the old days we didn't care what we took; an old sleeping bag and a boyscout cook pot was fine. Now it seems that virtual packs and the consuming attempt to save a few ounces has become more important than the experience.
So I am going to write more in this column for the older hiker camper. Jim
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I think that in the 1980's (which is when my kids got old enough that I could go out without them, and my non-backpacking husband and I separated), there was a big emphasis on heavy gear and taking everything including the kitchen sink. It worked out just fine until I tore nearly every ligament in one knee on an X-C ski trip. Now, of course, at 78 (you're still just a spring chicken, Jim!), it is either use lightweight gear or don't go at all. However, I am basically out of the gear purchase mode because I'm happy with nearly everything I have!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Loc: Santa Cruz CA, Sierra Hiker
Well my first backpacks were in the late 60's....I carried a Kelty framed pack that was 4 lbs I think. A lightweight goose down bag I got at the army surplus store, but it was not army surplus but a ripstop nylon bag that was super light. I carried an ensolite pad, a tube tent, cooked in a coffee can ...probably die early from that...oh wait, I'm already 61 so maybe not!:) Anyway, my pack weight was only 25 lbs for 5 days including food and water. Later on when I got to leave the kids in the late 80s and go solo, my pack was 40lbs! On that trip I remember thinking about those early trips and how light my pack was...and decided that I was going to get my pack back down to that weight again. I hadn't heard of Ray Jardine...and didn't have money for expensive gear...but somehow little by little I have managed to get my pack weight down to those old high school pack weights again. I'm a happier hiker.:)
Wow. We are almost the same age. I have a month to go. Greatest thing about turning 65 - Medicare. Currently going naked with respect to health insurance. Like OM said, we are still spring chickens. No excuses not to go on big trips.
When I started climbing in the mid-60's we made a lot of our clothing. I made a sleeping bag from a Frostline kit Even the guys would sew gear. I never was a "backpacker" as such until my old age. We carried heavy packs, but most of it was very heavy climbing gear. We approached climbs whatever way got us there. Did not think much about trails vs off-trail. Did not look into guidebooks much - just went and tried. Failed a lot too! Another big thing - the 7.5-minute USGS maps were just being made. Did so much travel on the 15-minute maps - even one 30-minute map made in 1903! I really got lost on that one.
Loc: Portland, OR
Congratulations, jimshaw, on making it to 65 without fatal mishap!
After reading this thread, I will keep my age, the base weight I carried in my 20s and all other aspects of my vast backcountry experience to myself -- because however good it may sound at first blush, you guys take all the fun out of my bragging myself up, by being older, smarter, and better looking than me every darned time!