In another thread it was a mentioned of female members so I took a quick glance at the member list. It is surprising how many members have not been active in years. I am not advocating removing them because they may be watching posts on a regular basis but not actually contributing but I do find it interesting.
Loc: Portland, OR
I think that younger hikers, like most young people, are more attuned to sites with less text and more video.
YouTube videos of hikers chatting about various hiking topics are very popular now. You can look, listen and learn with little effort, but a video can only show one point of view at a time, as opposed to these forums, where half a dozen very experienced hikers from many places can provide different perspectives and converse about a topic in depth. The drawback is that you must read and follow a full thread, which might develop over a week or two to get all the information presented.
I think another potential issue for younger hikers is the forum software. Many younger people access the internet from their phones more than their computers, and this site is not set up for viewing on smaller phone screens (far too much side-to-side scrolling necessary) - only larger computer screens. If someone who spends most of their time on their phone comes to this site from their phone, they probably won't be back. FWIW.
Some day the young group will be old like us and will not be able to see those little phone screens.
My original point was that there are a lot of members who have not been active for 10+ years. I am not sure that age is the determining factor. I started looking because I was wonder about the male/female ratio but that is hard to determine when many are using screen names.
Like on most of these type of forums there are a small number of members doing most of the posting. On this forum there are probably 50 members doing 90% of the posting. That is not bad but typical.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I just looked at the user list. I noticed a number of folks who were frequent contributors some years back but have disappeared and are missed. I'm thinking of phat, midnightsun, ringtail, sarbar and others. (I at least do know how and what sarbar is doing!) Of those of us who went on the TLB Columbia Gorge backpack some years back, I'm the only one left on this forum, except for Jimshaw who is no longer active but still drops in to say hello a couple times a year.
Although I'm not a smartphone user (as Gord mentioned, we older folks can't cope with the small screen), I do agree that having smartphone-compatible forum software is important. My children (ages 48 - 59, so no longer young) and my grandchildren (except for #7, who's only 4 months old) are wedded to their phones! I suspect this may be why we've lost some of our younger members who were here for several years and then dropped out.
Whether such software would be feasible for packlite from a cost standpoint is another question.
Edited by OregonMouse (10/18/1802:19 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
I'm still here, have a look a couple times a week, sometimes respond to a post. The forum has changed. When I started way back when, this forum was more about ultralight backpacking. Not so much now, but I still like it.
Could it be that what used to be “ultralight backpacking” is now just “backpacking”?
Over the last few years, I’ve seen the packs that beginners bring on our how-to trips shrink dramatically. I think at least some of it is due to the fact that what used to be ultralight gear (one-person tents, canister stoves, and 2-3 pound packs, for example) is now mainstream gear. (Of course, some of the shrink is also the excellent pre-trip advice about what to bring that they get from, ahem, their leaders...)
One reason may be there are now more area-specific backpacking forums. I primarily post on High Sierra Topix. It just got too cumbersome to post on two forums. I still post here occasionally because I would like to see this forum continue. When I look and see most posts are a week or more old, I tend to loose interest.
I prefer HST because it is much more active and more trip report oriented than gear oriented. That is just me. Nothing wrong with a gear-oriented forum as long as it stays active. HST also includes great databases where everyone adds descriptions of off-trail mountain passes. Over the years, this data has become a very valuable resource for trip planning. We have some VERY tech-savy and active moderators- their knowledge is WAY over my head.
I don't think so. I wander through an REI and still see all the same heavy stuff, lots of useless gear, etc. Things have gotten a tiny bit lighter, but nowhere near as light as what I carry. To me, "ultralight" means more of a Ray Jardine vibe. Trim off tags, ditch pointless straps, trail runners instead of boots, quilts, tarps, no zippers, and the like, with much more DIY stuff.
If you want to see some interesting gear take a look at some of the local Facebook groups. I swear some of these folks must be lugging 75 pounds on an overnight trip.
Actually I think that a lot of the backpacking discussion has moved to Facebook at least for the younger folks. Much more instant gratification. A lot of them apparently are connected to Facebook 24/7.
Wandering through REI is no longer relevant to what I see on the trail. REI carries standard brand gear, and the lighter models (light but not UL) are still available at REI, but on their internet site. What you see in the store is not a good sample of what is available. It has been a while since REI marketed to the serious backpacking people. It is all about $$; profits and what sells the best. The UL backpackers have primarily gone to the cottage industry internet sales.
A lot of people simply cannot afford UL gear given that they may only backpack once or twice a year. I think it is great that they still go out, even with that heavy gear. The UL market is really a tiny part of the whole outdoor market.I would say that 90% of what is bought at REI never hits the trail.
Seriously, I think if the moderators would put in a few short words so that the most recent posts are not so old, it may help.
By the way, I personally do not want to be UL. I have gone lighter, deleted stuff, added some back, and have come to a good compromise that suits me. There are some UL items I would love to have, but even though I could afford it, I simply will not pay that much. $800 for a single person tent? No way. Hundreds of dollars for a pound less is not worth it to me.
I do see the more affluent younger backpackers willing to pay a lot for the latest, new trendy stuff, including $800 tents and very fashionable clothing.
I always found UL to be far cheaper! I've made most of my gear for a fraction of retail or standard gear. My shoes are standard trail runners, not expensive boots. My trekking poles are re-tasked ski poles and guaranteed not to collapse on downhills....$3 garage sale. Some companies, like GoLite (GoGone!) jumped on the UL craze and tried to make big profits but it just didn't go well. Weight is always my first concern on treks which makes me think more about double duty and efficiency. DIY is a big part of the fun!