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#184560 - 04/17/14 01:33 PM Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers?
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
Hello newbie backpackers. I'm posting because I would love to hear your opinion on an idea I have. Iím just looking for feedback at this point and if enough of it is positive, then Iíll start going down the road a little more. If the reviews are mixed, I'll need to go back and do some reviewing.

What I would like to create is a manual for people who are brand new to backpacking, and the purpose of the manual will be to:
  • Help new backpackers learn about gear details before they buy it.
  • Understand what the right equipment is for their needs, not just give them recommendations on the newest backpack or stove.
  • Provide a system to help keep track of the gear details and prices to make researching the equipment and purchasing it less of a time commitment.

I remember when I was starting to research and buy my equipment, I found myself spending a lot of time going through all sorts of sites and books looking for information that would help me learn about the right tent or sleeping pad to get and also needing a good way to keep track of all the details. Then I spent more time looking for sales or the best price on whatever it was I wanted. I believe a good, simple manual for new backpackers can help them save time, organize the info on gear they want, then help them buy it.

If you feel this would be a good resource for new backpackers thatís great, or if you donít think it would be helpful or has already been done to the point where it doesn't need to happen again, thatís good to know as well. Like I mentioned, Iím only looking to validate an idea for the time being and itís still early in my thinking about the product.

Reading through the New to backpacking - book recommendations thread has good resources and I have found some of those books useful myself, but sometimes those books have too much info, are too technical, or contain dated information.

Would love to hear your thoughts and let me know about any questions or if I can be clearer about the above.

Thanks,

Ryan


Edited by ryan54 (04/17/14 01:34 PM)

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#184564 - 04/17/14 02:27 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3128
Loc: Portland, OR
The big difficulty in a book about gear is figuring out how to prevent your information from rapidly going out of date. The more you cite specific manufacturers & models, the more likely that new product cycles will outdate your citations within a year or two. These days you could publish in ebook format and issue updates fairly easily, but you would be jumping onto an endless treadmill. wink

If you aim for a more generalist approach, you might want to emulate the Complete Walker series that ended with IV. I still think that Colin Fletcher's original book is one of the best introductions for beginners, despite every single reference to gear being hopelessly obsolete, in that it gives very clear categories and assists a beginner in organizing their thoughts and approach to the hobby, plus a lot of illustrative anecdotes to give them a sense of what it will feel like to walk into a wilderness wearing a pack to camp there.

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#184565 - 04/17/14 02:43 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
You answered you own question. Gear books often are outdated. Any manual will become outdated, including yours. Gear is dependent on where you backpack, what kind of backpacking you do (weekend vs thru-hikes, for example), personal style. Most guidebooks have a section on recommended gear for the specific area. There really is already lots of information out there, particularly on the internet. There is no one "right answer". Backpacking is really just a combination of "hiking" and "camping".

I am not trying to be personal here- this applies to ANYONE who is thinking about writing a "how-to"manual. It is hard to sell unless you have already established yourself as an authority on the subject. What experience do you have to tell beginners "what the right equipment is for THEIR needs"? You are talking a huge variety of "needs".

However if this is an interest of yours, a labor of love, why not try? If you have the time and desire it would be a fun project whatever the outcome. Just the process of writing a book/manual will teach you a lot of valuable skills.

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#184566 - 04/17/14 03:11 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: wandering_daisy]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
Those are great points wandering_daisy and aimless. One of the areas I am really looking at is how to provide material or even what to provide that's doesn't become outdated in a few years. I think there is something around creating a resource for new backpackers to use before they get new gear and hit the trail, I'm just not sure what that is yet. Maybe a gear manual isn't the right starting point although it could be something to include, just not emphasis.

And aimless, and ebook would be the way to go since it's easily updated, but like you said it'll be updated every few years.

The Complete Walker is a good resource and I need to refamiliarize myself with that book, it has been awhile.

That's the type of feedback I'm looking for, thanks again.

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#184567 - 04/17/14 03:43 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6728
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I guess I can reiterate much of what's been said:

Anything with specific makes and models of gear will be partially out of date by the time it is published (like trail guidebooks) and definitely out of date in a year or two. It isn't just makes and models but materials that can change in a hurry. 5-6 years ago, most things were silnylon, with spinnaker being the hot lightweight fabric.. Now, although silnylon is live and well, spinnaker is dead and cuben fiber is the hot-selling item. Another example is the current craze for dri-down. The high end manufacturers are, so far, avoiding it, because they feel it needs a lot more testing.

Another issue is, will you include the "cottage" manufacturers? Their products are often better quality, lighter in weight and (unless made of cuben fiber) less expensive than those of the big manufacturers that sell through REI. On the other hand, since many of these are small, one person or one family firms, some of them will not be around 2-3 years down the road, while new firms will have come up with new ideas.

If you are not a really well-known personality, you will find it very hard to compete against the likes of Andrew Skurka, Justin Lichter and even Ryan Jordan. (I'm not an RJ fan.) You might have to do some really adventurous and well-publiized expeditions to get yourself noticed just to sell your book.

Finally, there is a lot of material on the topics you plan to write about on the home page of this site, left hand column. I send beginners there first, to "Sgt. Rock" second and to Mark Verber third.

You might consider concentrating first on skills and techniques rather than on gear. For example, understanding thermoregulation (regulating one's own body temperature) is a critically important skill which is often skipped over or omitted in beginners' books. The same is true for acclimatization to high altitudes. The gear won't do a lot of good without the skills to use it!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#184574 - 04/18/14 01:20 AM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: OregonMouse]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2000
Loc: Napa, CA
Actually, I think the book you are considering may have already been written. Have you read the Complete Walker? It has sections of every type of gear, and how to use it. And it is regularly updated.

And it is always out of date, as my colleagues here have noted!


Edited by TomD (04/18/14 04:34 AM)
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#184575 - 04/18/14 04:45 AM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: balzaccom]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I agree with everyone else here. Fletcher's book in its various editions is the gold standard for hiking books, primarily because of his approach, not the specific gear recommendations. For better or worse, the Internet has largely replaced books such as you are contemplating, while making it much easier to write one. Oh the irony of it all. Just as with other markets, audiences, and activities, backpacking has gone from a fairly standard set of "what everyone should own" to many different styles and types of hikers, who can communicate and form communities over long distances. Just looking at stoves for example, there are so many different types for different purposes that saying that one particular stove is the "best" is meaningless. Another example is the choice between synthetic and down bags or insulated clothing. In my profession, my first reaction to a question with multiple possible answers is usually "it depends" and I go from there. Laying out a book that way could be a great help to beginners- I can see a book with lots of charts and decision trees with pros and cons of various items by class, not so much brand as being useful.

Your idea is admirable, but unless you plan to be constantly revising the book, which you could do with an ebook, traditional publishing would be a tough sell.


Edited by TomD (04/18/14 04:54 AM)
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#184578 - 04/18/14 11:47 AM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: TomD]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Ryan,

I have published about 44 books on Amazon. My advice is to write the book. Even if it isn't the best book about backpacking, you will gain valuable experience. In the introduction, be clear about your level of experience and don't oversell the book. Also be clear about who the book is for. If it's targeted at beginning backpackers, say so. Then go out and revisit your beginning backpacking experience with actual trips.

For example,if you are going to write about the misery of carrying a 70 liter pack filled with unnecessary gear, go to a pawn shop, buy a pack, fill it and go on a trip. The writing will be more authentic. You will also be able to add pictures.

While you are using the gear, I suggest making videos. I suggest reading the book "How to Shoot Video that Doesn't Suck." You could make shooting videos part of the book with a chapter on making videos. I'm not an expert video maker, but I think you will find this video as good as most. After you make the videos, you can transcribe them and you will have a book. You can publish the video series on YouTube, giving away the whole book, and use it to market your book. Read "How to Market eBooks on YouTube" for information on how to do this. Each time you go out, explain your gear and why you use it. If you try to stay conceptual, instead of mentioning a brand, it will be timeless.

Maybe you could call the book "The Evolution of a Backpacker."

For the mechanics of writing the book, I suggest "The Kindle Publishing Bible." The only part that is outdated is using html in the description.

Check with your accountant, but if you write the book, all the money spent should be tax-deductible, assuming the book sells.

Don't let anyone tell you your book can't be successful. My most successful book is the one people told me would never sell any copies. I only wrote it to get practice writing books.

At worst, writing the book can give your backpacking focus and be a fun experience. At best, it can make thousands of dollars for you over a few years.

Good luck,
Gershon


_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#184580 - 04/18/14 01:19 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: Gershon]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
Your feedback have been very helpful everyone - thank you.

I donít have the skill set or knowledge to compete with the likes of Andrew, Ryan and Justin, probably never will. But on many levels I donít want to try and compete with them. Those are the guys many (not all) backpackers try to learn from, but there are a large number of people whose interests donít line-up with Andrew, Ryan or Justinís, that might be where my audience is.

Gershon that was a great post, a lot of good info there. And you actually went into my second phase - making videos. Iím not ready for that yet, but itís something Iíve been thinking about. Once I become clearer on my thinking, I might have a few questions for you if you donít mind.

OregonMouseís points got me thinking, maybe Iím approaching this the wrong way, trying to provide an answer for a question not many people are asking, a gear manual probably isnít the right course, although your idea about the decision tree TomD is a good one.

Here are a few updated questions which might serve me better than my earlier post - this is open to anyone if you feel like answering all or just a few:
  • Why did you decide to start backpacking?
  • What do you find most enjoyable about backpacking?
  • What makes you the most nervous?
  • What do (or did) you struggle with the most in terms making the decision to finally take up backpacking?
  • What questions do you continually find yourself asking about backpacking?
  • What do you wish you had access to, but donít?
  • What do you find the most difficult about backpacking? (choosing gear/finding a trail/skills and techniques? things like that)

Thatís a lot, hope Iím not asking too much in this thread, any answers to the above would be helpful. Thanks again for the replies, the help has been great.

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#184583 - 04/18/14 02:28 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3128
Loc: Portland, OR
That's an impressive set of questions. Either this thread will get very long, or people will select just one or two to answer.

In my case, I struggled not at all with starting backpacking. I'd car camped and day hiked since early childhood. In my middle teens I made the jump to backpacking and my parents were happy to consent to my plans. It was a natural development.

Because I began at a young age, I was adventurous and adaptable, so my early mistakes never daunted me. I lost food to camp-robbing critters, got badly sunburned, got the runs, got lost and then figured out how to get located on the map again, got my sleeping bag wet when the tent leaked, and so on. Having done all these, I now don't have to do them again, because each time I learned something and applied it to future trips.

In the off season I was eager to learn new things by reading about the experiences of others, especially books, or else news stories about searches and rescues, or about searches and recoveries. frown

Mainly, learned about the value of planning, planning, planning. Making lists. Collecting maps. Consulting trail guides. Collecting valuable new tidbits of information about a better way to do something, store something, carry something. It has been more than 40 years now and I am still studying up, collecting valuable hints, sharpening my skills.

What makes me nervous? Turning this on its head, they are the same things I am most vigilant about:

- sudden turns in the weather, especially getting caught up high and exposed in a thunderstorm.
- fording streams with a strong current
- crossing talus
- complacency about risks, especially about my casually or impatiently accepting a series of small risks until I suddenly discover I've dug myself into a deep and dangerous hole
- falls or injuries
- hypothermia
- dehydration

EDIT: Reading over that list, I guess that, even though I was never a boy scout, I wholeheartedly agree with their motto: Always Be Prepared. It is great advice for backpackers.


Edited by aimless (04/18/14 02:48 PM)

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#184586 - 04/18/14 04:05 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: Gershon]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1892
Loc: Southwest Ohio
"At best, it might make thousands..."

Almost enough to support the gearhead addiction you're sure to develop... smile

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#184587 - 04/18/14 04:12 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
too late Glenn - already there. didn't take too long either.

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#184589 - 04/18/14 04:17 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: aimless]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
Thanks aimless. I agree, that's a lot of questions so hopefully that doesn't turn people away, and answering 1 or 2 works as well.

I was never a boy scout either, but I also have the mind set of alway being prepared, so upgrading my skill and knowledge set is a big piece of that.

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#184592 - 04/18/14 05:08 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6728
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge

Quote:
Why did you decide to start backpacking?

I was only 6 and my parents took me along--no choice in the matter! I loved it, though! The choice to restart after gaps due to marriage/child rearing was due to a great desire to get back out in the wilderness after missing it for a number of years. It took a divorce and my children reaching their teen years for that to happen.

Quote:
What do you find most enjoyable about backpacking?

Being out in the wilderness. It's all good!

Quote:
What makes you the most nervous?

Sometimes I get this creepy feeling in the back of my neck--"something/body is following me". Is it? I have no idea, but I look around a lot when that happens. Interestingly, when backtracking I have never found any tracks to substantiate this feeling, so I've learned to ignore it. I get this feeling more since my dog passed, though, since I could rely on him to warn me if something was there.

Quote:
What do (or did) you struggle with the most in terms making the decision to finally take up backpacking?

The struggle was to find the time and especially the family support.

Quote:
What questions do you continually find yourself asking about backpacking?

Why don't I get out more?

Quote:
What do you wish you had access to, but donít?

Better health so I could do more. At age 78, it probably ain't gonna happen, so I just make the best of my limitations.

Quote:
What do you find the most difficult about backpacking? (choosing gear/finding a trail/skills and techniques? things like that)

The effort required to get ready and get out!


Edited by OregonMouse (04/18/14 05:12 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#184597 - 04/18/14 06:16 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Why did you decide to start backpacking?

To stay out longer than I could on day hikes.

What do you find most enjoyable about backpacking?

Being outdoors. Hiking. Sleeping outside.

What makes you the most nervous?

Other people. Thunderstorms.

What do (or did) you struggle with the most in terms making the decision to finally take up backpacking?

I didn't struggle with that. It was an extension of camping, then car camping, but those and backpacking are really about hiking for me.

What questions do you continually find yourself asking about backpacking?

Can I take the time?

What's the weather forecast?

What do you wish you had access to, but donít?

Groves of Sequoia Trees. Really the entire Sequoia NF.

What do you find the most difficult about backpacking? (choosing gear/finding a trail/skills and techniques? things like that)

I don't struggle with that much. I use the gear I have and live near public land that's good for hiking and backpacking. I mostly go off trail. Acquiring skills was a joy for me. Still is. Having the chance to learn and practice is pure fun.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#184612 - 04/19/14 01:18 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: billstephenson]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
Thanks OregonMouse and billstephenson.

I might as well chime in as well:

Why did you decide to start backpacking? Living in Northern California provides easy access to the Sierras - figured I might as well take advantage of that along with the good trout fishing while i can.

What do you find most enjoyable about backpacking? The views and learning new skills.

What makes you the most nervous? Getting injured. I tend to hike alone and my first aid skills are not that great just yet, so if I snap an ankle or something like that I'm not currently the best equipt to handle that situation or a similar one.

What do (or did) you struggle with the most in terms making the decision to finally take up backpacking? The fear of missing out with what's going on where I live and with my friends. Eventually I just decided I needed to start making my own adventures.

What questions do you continually find yourself asking about backpacking? What can i leave behind this trip that I really don't need?

What do you wish you had access to, but donít? For trips, I would really like to have better access Montana.

What do you find the most difficult about backpacking? (choosing gear/finding a trail/skills and techniques? things like that) Making sure I have the right gear for the trip and finding good food to eat.

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#185558 - 06/04/14 11:30 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
OK, again thanks for all the feedback on my question. I didn't forget your input, I actually went away and did a little more research to update my original idea. Instead of an ebook, I would like to start a blog, written for those brand new to backpacking. This blog will help them understand what to look for in new gear before committing to buying it. It will not be a gear review/recommendation site, but will help readers understand the basic components of their equipment, regardless of model. For a better background, hereís my intro article I wrote up if you are interested in reading, itís about a page long: Link to opening article in Google Docs..

But, what I would like is feedback on my article on choosing a backpack thatís right for your backpacking needs. Here are a few points to keep in mind if you are able to read it, the article is 3 pages, but includes a few charts.

My demographic: People brand new to backpacking. A step further in the demographic might be 25-45 year olds. Iím not trying to target people who have been backpacking for a year or so or already know about backpacking equipment.

Purpose of the article: To provide readers with a clear and easy way to understand the important components of a backpack and find one thatís right for their needs.

How I came to cover the material I did: After doing some more reading (recommended books, blogs, etc.), attending beginner backpacking classes, listening to peopleís questions when they were buying packs at REI and talking to a few of the customers, I tried to address the customers main concerns. I realize I left of various classes of backpacks, denier, material type, etc. but that was by design. I really wanted to give new backpackers something they can use to make the process of learning about and buying a backpack, and eventually a tent, sleeping bag, easier.

Feedback I'm looking for:
  • Did I completely miss something or was I off the mark on any points I made in the article?
  • Did I get the main points correct about choosing a new pack?
  • This is my first stab at writing a blog post, so if the article doesnít read well for you, please do let me know.
  • Any additional feedback/questions is very appreciated.

If this works my plan is to edit the article as needed and then get started on ones for sleeping system, tent, and stoves.

Article link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/12YbWEGbQcbwzrKVnWRBuB3NdKlLvkekqicF9OfUrPP4/edit?usp=sharing .
If a Google Drive Doc link is not allowed, feel free to delete and I can repost is a more forum-friendly manner.

Another long post, but thanks for reading through it. If you are able to provide any type of feedback, no matter how small or large, I would be very appreciative. Thanks again.

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#185570 - 06/05/14 06:44 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Ryan,

Writing a blog is a great way to document the learning process.

I only have one comment. I wouldn't use sandbags to test a pack because the weight will be distributed differently. Instead, take the gear you own, or use gear in the store similar to what you own.


Edited by Gershon (06/05/14 06:44 PM)
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#185573 - 06/05/14 11:15 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
May as well chime in with a little different perspective.

I did not "decide to backpack". I started mountaineering and rock climbing when I was 16 years old and after 45 years of climbing, my climbing partner hanging it up, I began backpacking to stay in the mountains. In the last 10 years I have expanded into coastal hiking and canyons.

Being in the high mountains is the most enjoyable to me as well as exploring nooks and crannies. I still enjoy the challenge of a good difficult route, but no longer technical climbing (too old to carry all that climbing gear).

Bears, particularly grizzlies, and mountain lions make me the most nervous. I solo a lot and am small so feel like I am a little treat for Grizzly bears.

Believe it or not, I struggle the most with simply getting out the door. Usually I have gear all packed, and still not decided where to go, and getting everything done with the house never ends - water the plants, clean, make arrangements for mail pick up, care of dog. Then there are the people obligations: check with my elderly Mom, check with the grown kids, etc. on and on! I have eight grandkids and am always in demand for last-minute babysitting. Cannot wait until I can rope the grandkids into going with me!

I really do not have any questions I continually ask myself. I am pretty focused when I am out.

I wish I had access to compatible backpack partners! My style is pretty crazy, off-trail and I am not keen on a lot of chit chat. I like to get up at the crack of dawn, hike hard, and use the later afternoon for exploring nooks and crannies. I also am pretty spontaneous (goes with my inability to get going so often I start a day late- I am retired so can do this!).

I too have difficulty in paring down my gear. I am currently "light" but always trying to go a little lighter. I also have to backpack on a budget so need to carefully consider the cost of every trip (particularly gas). It is that old saying - If you have lots of free time you probably do not have lots of money! Someone once said the "leisure class" consists of the retired, unemployed and bums with little income or the born wealthy.


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#185578 - 06/06/14 02:19 AM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6728
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'd ditch that pack capacity table. It totally depends on the bulk of your other gear, which is why everyone recommends (or should recommend) that the pack should be the last gear purchase. I can go for 10 days with a 40 liter pack (plus outside pockets). As Gershon says, a pack with your gear inside carries quite differently than a pack with sandbags, particularly if you don't have the rest of your gear and therefore have no idea of the weight and bulk that need to go inside.

The only way you'd need a pack as big as the one you recommend for 5+ days is if you're packing a big herky synthetic fill sleeping bag designed for winter temperatures. Or for a parent sherpa-ing for small children. Or my youngest son hauling a bulky, heavy wet suit to surf on the Olympic wilderness coast.



Edited by OregonMouse (06/06/14 02:24 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#185579 - 06/06/14 08:44 AM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: OregonMouse]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Wandering_Daisy,

My son and I call that inability to get out the door "Pre-hike Depression." Many times it seems like it would be easier to stay home and weed the garden.

Since I learned to backpack independently after survival school, I have some different ideas about things. I'm not a crowd follower, which I admit can be annoying when I suggest different approaches. Before the internet, there wasn't anyone to get advice from. With my military background, I'd prefer someone would just issue me gear and I'd make do.

For a person who has their gear, I wholly recommend taking the gear with them to buy the pack. However, for a person starting out, I suggest choosing a pack first, or even buying a used pack of an appropriate size. A used pack can usually be sold for a price close to what is paid. If a person buys all their gear first, they may find they need a huge pack. If a person buys their gear with the idea of fitting it into a smaller pack, they will buy appropriately, or not buy at all.

The size of the checkbook matters, too.

The gear doesn't make the backpacker. With experience, a backpacker can make almost any inexpensive gear work. Four summers ago, Wandering Daisy told me in a nice way that my gear seemed a little cheap for a long hike. She was right about the WalMart tent as it leaked. However, I'm still using essentially the same gear except for the tent.

Getting on the trail safely should be a new backpacker's first priority. A person can learn more in two or three weekends than they can in a year of research. For the first couple trips, I suggest hiking with the gear and spending the night near the car.

Personally, I like external frame packs for a new backpacker with a small checkbook. You can find a used World Famous Everest backpack in good condition on Ebay for about $60. World Famous was a cottage brand from the 80's. It weighs 3 1/2 pounds. One advantage to an external frame backpack is the size of the sleeping bag and tent don't matter. My inexpensive Alpine 20 works fine and weighs 2 1/2 pounds. The tent goes on top under the flap. I carry a big 3 person tent for the two of us. If I had it to do over, I would have bought two small tents. I once took a nine day solo winter trip in Yosemite with a similar pack.

Another way to get started is to go car camping with whatever gear you can find. You can take day hikes from the campsite. Around here, there are many free campsites that are nicer than the paid ones. The problem is, they are hard to find as there aren't many people that know about them. The forest service is usually a good source of information.

Whatever gear you buy will likely be replaced in time. It may as well be inexpensive gear that works. It might also be discarded which is good, as the cheapest gear is the gear not bought. For instance, I never took my Camelbak on a trip.

You are in a unique position most of us can't imitate. This puts you in the position to write a unique book - "My first 25 backpacking and hiking trips." Take lots of pictures and videos. You can document what worked and what didn't work. After 25 trips, you will have a great system.







_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#185584 - 06/06/14 12:16 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: Gershon]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
Ryan,

Before you set out to reinvent the wheel, look Mark Verber's website. Also, the last edition of (originally) Colin Fletcher's book, The Complete Walker (last edition,IV, co-written by Chip Rawlins).

best, jcp

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#185598 - 06/06/14 05:02 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: JPete]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6728
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I already mentioned some of these, plus Sgt. Rock, earlier in this thread, while wondering if the world really needs still another beginners' manual. Also look at the articles on the home page of this site, books by Andrew Skurka and Justin Lichter, and Paul Magnati's (PMags') blog which has lots of excellent articles for beginning backpackers.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#185652 - 06/09/14 11:08 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
Thanks for the replies - I took a weekend backpacking/fishing trip so I'm just getting back to everything.

Wandering_Daisy: thanks or chiming in. I've heard a similar issue from people about choosing a place to go. That's something I'd like to write about if I get that far with this idea.


Gershon
1st post: good point about the sandbags, I'll make that update.
2nd post: A lot of good points in your post, I'll keep some of that in mind incase future articles would hit on some of what you wrote.

OregonMouse
1st post: I saw similar charts in a lot of articles about pack capacity - maybe there's a different way to present the information to people can grasp how pack sizes vary. Once/if I write the other articles and talk about the size and weight of other equipment I can update that section, but I'll know more once I get those pieces done.
2nd post: I still have your concern in the back of my mind while working on this, that's kinda why I'm digging a little more. I like the idea I'm working with, but I want to make sure I'm not creating something people don't want.

JPete - Thanks for the references. I've taken a quick look at Mark's site in the past, and will do so again. For the The Complete Walker, which I have, while there is a great deal of good info in there, there's a lot of info to sort through. For a someone new to backpacking looking at a 800 page book can be intimidating/daunting, sometimes they just want a quick and easy way to determine the pack or stove they should buy. But as you & OregonMouse mentioned, maybe there's no need to reinvent the wheel with this.

Thanks again. I have a little more work to do and plan to get those pieces in front of new backpackers to hear their reactions. Hopefully by week's end or early next week I have a better sense where to go with all this.


Edited by ryan54 (06/09/14 11:10 PM)

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#186774 - 08/24/14 07:56 PM Re: Any interest in a gear manual for new backpackers? [Re: ryan54]
ryan54 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/16/14
Posts: 13
Loc: CA
Well, I went ahead and did it, kinda. I decided not to write an ebook as planned, at least just yet. Instead I broke out what would have been chapters in the ebook and created blog posts. I currently have 5 posts up and will write a few more in the coming weeks. My intent is to continue to write and build up a little audience, then go into possibly selling content based off what readers say they would like. After a few more articles on backpacking are written I'll move into other topics, tenkara is one thought, although I'll only write one or two articles about tenkara.

Down the road I don't plan on the content looking like it currently does. The future content will be more instructional in nature and provide information in a variety of ways, not just articles and a few videos.

There is already a lot of good sites and books out there, a few of which have been mentioned in this thread, so I don't want to go down a road similar to theirs. While I've started in a similar spot, I'll eventually head down a different path. It's a growing process, but I had to start someplace. I'd love to hear all your feedback, the good, bad and ugly.

Here's the site: The Amateur Outdoorsman

Thanks again for all the feedback on my earlier thoughts.

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