Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
backcountry gear

---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#188513 - 01/12/15 07:15 PM A Look at the Design of Essential Camping Gear
TripleCrownJ Offline

Registered: 01/12/15
Posts: 1
So in this thread I'd like to start a discussion between experienced camping/hiking/outdoors people about the different aspects of essential camping gear that you all find poorly designed and hard to use, or exceptionally designed and incredibly convenient. Feel free to talk about product preferences and product comparisons.

In my experiences, one of the most annoying and and tedious parts of setting off on an adventure is the gathering of all the little trinkets that are necessary for a good experience and sometimes, in worst case scenarios, for survival. Then once these items are gathered keeping track of these items while out and about in the wilderness. It is my goal to find a way through design problem solving to condense these items in a minimal and space saving way.

Thought, Comments, Concerns?

#188514 - 01/12/15 07:47 PM Re: A Look at the Design of Essential Camping Gear [Re: TripleCrownJ]
aimless Offline

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2964
Loc: Portland, OR
My initial thoughts:

Keeping in mind the dictum that form follows function, optimizing gear for secondary considerations, like saving space in one's pack, or designing it to combine several usually separate functions in one item will almost always compromise functionality to some degree. For some less than critical functions, like digging cat holes, a suboptimal tool is perfectly fine. I use a tent stake for that and it works well enough. But most of my gear serves a critical function.

You'll need to be extremely clever to design more functionality into fewer pieces of gear than most of us have already winnowed our gear lists down to, and to design it with minimal enough compromises to satisfy some very demanding users.

I look forward to seeing if this discussion attracts much participation, and if so, what directions it might take. Good luck.

#188648 - 01/18/15 12:05 AM Re: A Look at the Design of Essential Camping Gear [Re: TripleCrownJ]
wandering_daisy Offline

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2797
Loc: California
Maybe you are taking too many unnecessary "little trinkets". I find backpacking easy living, compared to home, precisely because I have very little to loose track of! If you really think about it very few things are absolutely necessary.

Here are a few ideas. I think some of these have already been done-

titanium spoon (not sporke) with a real fork on one end, real spoon on the other.

a walking sleeping bag with feet holes - that has been done - I think it is called the "wren" made by feathered friends

A friend of mine proposed an external pack frame in which the tubing of the frame is a container for white gas for his stove. Not sure I am into that idea! Maybe if you used an alcohol stove. Hey- maybe put bear spray in your pack frame and have a trigger/nozzle that you can reach.

A pack that could double as a "crazy creek chair". Not sure you know what a crazy creek chair is - it is a strap and pocket thing that is like a sling-chair. Was quite popular in the 1970's-80's.

A pack that has a specific attachment for a bear canister. It would be great simply to have a manufacturer design a pack (particularly a women's small size pack) that a Bearikade Weekender would fit in horizontally. For those of us who backpack where bear canisters are required, the current bear can - pack incompatibility is a BIG issue.

A few more little pockets on the inside of my sleeping bag to hold lip balm, headlamp/light, small bottle of pills, etc. To save weight - Velcro instead of zipper.

#188693 - 01/22/15 02:12 PM Re: A Look at the Design of Essential Camping Gear [Re: TripleCrownJ]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
This is what I use.

Condor pouch

I hang it on the front of my shoulder straps on my chest. It is very convenient and holds all the little stuff. I also put my map and compass inside so that I don't have to stop and dig it out of my pack. It is kinda heavy, so I have been looking at ways to sew one out of lighter material. But man, the function is amazing. I love it.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Goose Down Question
by Bill Kennedy
09/23/18 04:56 AM
Back pack frame length
by Petro1234
09/22/18 08:42 PM
Pullover vs Zip Rain Jacket
by 4evrplan
09/13/18 05:12 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Whsiperlites: Catch the flame or let it go out?
09/23/18 03:03 AM
Donnell Fire in the Sierra
by balzaccom
09/10/18 08:51 PM
Leaving a Mark
by balzaccom
07/10/18 09:32 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Pack Attachment Angle
by 4evrplan
09/21/18 09:04 PM
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 44 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Phil Harvey, RyannBoehm, disguisedrob, grantwiley, Korak
12644 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum