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#201968 - 10/20/18 05:07 AM You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right?
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 177
Loc: Portland, Oregon
A couple of recent posts bemoaning the fact that the "outdoor industry" is largely fashion-oriented reminded me of a post I made years ago. I think it was something like, "What part does aesthetics play in your gear choices?)

Well, I'm asking again. I find that, if I'm honest, it plays a significant part. I know it's silly, but it does. For example, I have a pair of Mountain Hardwear Piero 5-pocket pants, which are fairly stout nylon (8oz maybe?) and cut like jeans. They weigh 14.7 ounces and I like them much more than my REI Sahara pants, which are about 5 ounces lighter and still a little baggy despite the fact I removed the crotch gusset and took the legs in a little. I know the REI pants are the logical choice, since they're lighter and I always carry long johns anyway. Still, I like the MH pants, so tend to take them. Like it or not, clothes seem to affect the way we feel.

It extends to gear, too. If you found the ideal tent, pack, or sleeping bag, but it was only available in shocking pink camouflage, would you buy it?

Of course, personal taste is malleable. Often things that aren't particularly aesthetically pleasing at first become so after a while, like the VW Beetle or the bell-bottom pants of my youth.

Anyway, what do you think?
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Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#201971 - 10/20/18 09:52 AM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1864
Loc: Napa, CA
Pink camo? Not even if it were free. But we switched back to our old red drinking cups, just because we like the look of them around camp. And that's after buying new green ones.

And aesthetics aren't just about pretty. Truck companies pay a lot of money to designers to make their trucks look rugged and manly . Outdoor gear uses some of that same philosophy. The very people who make fun of the overly aesthetic "ladies colors" may even buy "rugged" looking stuff...

And we'd like a photo if you in those bell-bottoms...


Edited by balzaccom (10/20/18 09:53 AM)
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#201973 - 10/20/18 12:09 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3014
Loc: Portland, OR
There's ugly frown and then there's painfully ugly eek

I don't care much about a small amount of ugly, but when it rises to a certain threshold, I balk. Shocking pink camo would be acceptable for, say, a toothbrush or a snot rag, if I got them for 80% off retail, but never for a tent, regardless of price. I have to wake up inside a tent and being literally surrounded by painful ugliness at such a vulnerable moment of the day is not acceptable. shocked

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#201975 - 10/20/18 03:10 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6632
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Female point of view: I want colors that blend into the landscape, part of Leave No Trace! No reds, oranges (except during hunting season), or my two most hated colors, "bink and burple" as I call them. Just try to find browns, tans, dull greens or dull blues in women's sportswear! Although recently I found a tan shirt and pants, something I always wanted when Hysson-of-the-Perpeturally-Shedding-Hair (see my avatar) was alive.

There are exceptions, mostly based on price. I am willing to put up with my pale pink cold weather base layer (Patagucci Capilene 4, bought on sale). At least they are normally hidden by outer clothing, or by the sleeping bag at night. The nearest to a nasty color for external wear is my 2 oz. Montbell wind shirt, which, as I've often described, is the color of wine vomit. It was 50% off (discontinued color, for obvious reasons), which, considering Montbell's regular prices, overcame my prejudice against purple (although it's more like burgundy).

As far as pants go, in these days of the dropped waist for women, resulting in my shirt's always being untucked with resulting bug bites, and, worse, the pants waistband directly under the pack's hip belt (ouch), I avoid "hiking pants" altogether and just find something in synthetic that has the waistband at the natural waist. Such pants are unfortunately getting increasingly hard to find, whether in hiking pants, dress slacks, or jeans. For those of us females whom God has blessed with wide hips, those dropped waists are torture. Forget fashion; I wanna be comfortable!


Edited by OregonMouse (10/20/18 03:30 PM)
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#201983 - 10/22/18 04:17 AM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: balzaccom]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 177
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Originally Posted By balzaccom
And we'd like a photo if you in those bell-bottoms...


Not very likely... smile
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Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#201984 - 10/22/18 10:02 AM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: aimless]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 784
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By aimless
I have to wake up inside a tent and being literally surrounded by painful ugliness at such a vulnerable moment of the day is not acceptable. shocked
This is going to be my quote of the day.
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Hiking is the ultimate realization that the journey is more important than the destination.

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#201985 - 10/22/18 10:10 AM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: 4evrplan]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 784
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
And, I think I'm much the same way. I can take ugliness up to a certain threshold. I despise camo, but I still bought camo webbing to make tree huggers, because the black was out of stock at the time, and they're such a subtle part of the overall kit. Same with the rest of the hammock suspension; my color choices for the cord I wanted were shocking neon green or shocking neon orange. I went with the green. I don't know if I could ever bring myself to buy neon or camo fabric for the main hammock body. Maybe if it was free.
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Hiking is the ultimate realization that the journey is more important than the destination.

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#201987 - 10/22/18 12:17 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
GrumpyGord Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 898
Loc: Michigan
A lot of this depends on how shocking the color is and how much price difference. We may rebel at chartreuse but not a light green. The price difference also enters in as well as the base price. I may opt for the better color if the price is say $7 instead of $5 but perhaps not if the price is $70 instead of $50. Also how visible is the item. Underwear which is not visible would be more tolerable than an outer shirt.

On the whole I am not too fashionable in even my everyday life as my wife will readily attest. My dad used to just go put on whatever he could find and then my mother sent him back to get the right stuff.

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#201988 - 10/22/18 12:39 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1789
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
Personally, I like blend-in, earth-tone, LNT colors. I prefer that my camp and I remain as unseen as possible. With that said, I stick to solid colors and leave cammo to hunters and the militia types. I do carry a 2’ x 3’ piece of blaze orange ripstop to deploy in case of emergency. Otherwise, I leave the bright colors and dramatic styling to those with a more highly evolved fashion sense than I have. Actually, my family tells me that my fashion sense is mostly negative.


Edited by Pika (10/22/18 12:40 PM)
Edit Reason: Spelling
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#201989 - 10/22/18 01:35 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: GrumpyGord]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1690
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I never understood why Garanimals never caught on with men. smile

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#201995 - 10/23/18 12:07 AM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: OregonMouse]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2835
Loc: California
I am the opposite of OM! I want bright colors so I do not leave stuff behind. I even left my purple spork on a rock my last trip. I guess I will have to paint the handle of my gray one hunter orange. Stuff sacks, the brighter the better. My outer layer, bright so SAR can find my body easily when I walk off a cliff.

And for fashion- hardly care. I look really stupid, but I always tie a kerchief over my hair and then on top of that put a baseball cap (current on is purple, because it fit). I hike in Walmart garden gloves- usually hideous pink flowers on them. I like baggy pants in thighs but hate the swish-swish of pant leg when I walk. Therefore, I always wear knee high gaiters.

I AM with OM when it comes to low rise pants. I hate them! I am skinny, butt is decreasing with age, and by the end of a trip they are literally falling off. In fact am frustrated that every pants I own are at least 2 inches too large in the waist. TO keep the pants up I clip a purple carabiner between the two front belt loops.

I like oversized long sleeve shirts, fishing type with big bellow pockets preferred. I have about every color, because I always buy what is on sale.

I will admit that I hate fire-engine red. My color vision is very red-sensitive. Yet, I do have several items of this color.

My tent is orange. I like to be able to find it at the end of a day-hike.

I am well past the age where I care what I look like, and I just want gear that works well. If it looks good, fine, but also will buy a functional item on sale regardless of color.

Occasionally, I will use my "prototype" pack- an old Kelty frame with a bag I have sewn out of old stuff sacks of many colors. That usually gets some surprised looks when I meet people on the trail.

Right now I am hiking with unmatched trekking poles. One REI carbon pole, and one old aluminum Leiki. I broke one of my new REI carbon poles this summer.

But seriously, I have met backpackers on the trail who look a whole lot worse than me! Met a fellow this summer in Wyoming, who I swear was homeless, smelled like it too. He had a few screws loose too. Very odd fellow.

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#201998 - 10/23/18 06:11 AM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: wandering_daisy]
GrumpyGord Offline
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 898
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
Met a fellow this summer in Wyoming, who I swear was homeless, smelled like it too. He had a few screws loose too. Very odd fellow.


That describes most of the backpackers I know.

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#202001 - 10/23/18 04:03 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: GrumpyGord]
Bill Kennedy Offline
member

Registered: 02/27/18
Posts: 177
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Maybe so. On one of my daily walks, someone mistook me for a homeless person and offered me money. It kind of took me aback, since I was clean shaven and wearing clean clothes. I guess they figured anyone walking with a pack had to be homeless.
_________________________
Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everybody else. -Margaret Mead

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#202002 - 10/23/18 04:32 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: GrumpyGord]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1690
Loc: Southwest Ohio
And a couple of my relatives, except maybe for the homeless part. smile

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#202005 - 10/23/18 08:06 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2835
Loc: California
This fellow was WAY beyond the most "homeless" looking backpacker I have met.

This shows the regional differences in backpacking. Here in the Sierra most backpackers look like that advertisement for the latest "in" gear. Women, in particular, look like models, clean, hair blowing in the wind, color coordinated, lots of skin showing, tight form fitting clothes to show off their youthful fit bodies. Perfect skin. We have a very youthful backpacking demographic, lots to do with the popularity of the PCT. A LOT of UL backpackers and extreme hikers. Here, I am the one that looks like the homeless!

I am part of a forum on the Sierra. Two members just posted a trip- 38 miles over several high passes, in late October, a few days ago, left at 5AM, over gnarly x-country 11000+ pass, down to PCT,up to 11,000+, down 3000 feet, up again over 11,000, down to trailhead, ONE DAY HIKE, out at midnight, 7 hours traveling in the dark!!! A lot of extreme athletes in these parts.

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#202238 - 12/07/18 12:34 AM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: Bill Kennedy]
Talthing Offline
member

Registered: 12/29/13
Posts: 22
I definitely like darker colors better than lighter ones...function and form are way more important though. I don't really like the color of my latest pack (Osprey Exos..dark grey, orange)...but the green and white/blue were worse (color-wise). Sure Gregory packs are much more appealing color-wise...and I do like the military packs at Big 5...but when it comes to function..nothing compares to the Exos pack...same story with the Arc'Teryx Cerrium LT. This guy from Goosefeet makes custom jackets...unfortunately, I love the Cerrium blue better than the royal blue 20 D taffeta that Goosefeet has...but more fill, more durable lining...for 1 ounce lighter than the Cerrium for just $100 more...I'm going for the goosefeet.

Yes, I'm packing a small fortune on my back...but I've used cheap gear and it just isn't worth it.

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#202269 - 12/08/18 04:21 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: wandering_daisy]
bobito9 Offline
member

Registered: 01/25/08
Posts: 400
I'm with you about wanting bright gear, Daisy. I use to have a great preponderance of black colored gear and I would have trouble finding things in the jumble of my tent, especially at night. The worst was my black headlamp! I replaced it with a nice bright green one and it is much easier to find. The one thing I don't like is a bright tent. I know there is a safety factor in being more visible for rescuers, but I like being muted and hidden.

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#202270 - 12/08/18 08:45 PM Re: You Don't Care What It Looks Like, Right? [Re: bobito9]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6632
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I never bought any black gear. If you look at my avatar, and learn that the late Hysson was perpetually shedding, you can see why! I never liked black anyway--I look like death warmed over in it and it shows not only blond dog hair but every speck of lint or dust! And it is hard to find in even a dim (much less dark) tent!
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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