Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Talk about serious thread drift.
I have gone back and read Mug's original post. I just jumped in after the Ryan Jordan bashing started, so I am catching up to what started all this
Mugs, you are just plain wrong. Are some corporations evil? Depends on your definition, but I would agree to that in some instances.
HOWEVER, your attack on REI, Jordan or anyone else you dismiss as not "pure" is nonsense. "Keep it pure" is code for "you are not worthy to enjoy what I do, so go away, stay home and don't come back." I don't buy it. Should my friends be banned from Yosemite because they shop at REI? You seem to think so. I don't. I shop there myself.
Backpacking numbers may be down, but there are lots of reasons and I would put heavy gear at the bottom of that list. Video games, TV, or limited access to parks would top my list. There are plenty of people in this country, including people right here in the LA area who have never seen the ocean or been hiking in the local forests. Why should they care about saving something they have never seen? I don't have a good answer for that one.
I learned about camping in the Boy Scouts. My parents took my sister and me car camping with our little trailer with a cartop boat for fishing. We went to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Canada, and Northern CA including around the Lake Tahoe area. Was this "pure"? Of course not, but it was a great time for me and my family.
I believe kids learn to enjoy what they get exposed to early on. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think so. Kids in Hawaii, where I lived for years, love the ocean because it is close and free. Beach access there is a right, not a privilege. Do I hate the fact that my favorite scuba diving spot got overrun with tourists? Sure, but there are other places they can never go and will never see that my friends and I could go to, and we did.
More backpackers means more people who appreciate the wilderness and want it protected, not exploited or developed. We need more backpackers and hikers, not fewer. Political decisions are based on large part on special interests who influence policy. Votes or money count-the more of each, the more influence the group can wield.
Sure, no one wants to show up at a crowded campground filled full of RV's or people who think they are at the mall and act accordingly, but how are we going to educate them to appreciate walking instead of driving through the park, if we can't at least be examples for them?
I think we should encourage people who take in interest in our sport, not try to discourage them. Take my word for it, not a lot of people want to sit in the snow eating a freeze-dried meal out of a baggie. None of my friends do, even the ones who love to hike. "What's wrong with you?" is their usual reaction when I tell them where I am going.
But, without all of those "tourons" you despise so much, I might not get the chance to do that at all, so I am willing to co-exist with them because they allow me to do what I want at little cost to me.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
Moderators if you have any guts you will not edit, delete, or change this post
While out on a recent PCT section hike in Oregon, I was discussing with a friend the advantage of being light on the trail and how it allows us to get out past the Tourons. Which makes for a nice hike because of the fact that we can go further into the backcountry due to our lighter loads. Plus without a lot of gear we also leave a more eco-friendly and smaller footprint. We were discussing the fact that maybe backpacking is a dying breed as well. But I had to disagree some what, because I see more and more lightweight equipment in more mass media markets. This quite frankly makes me upset. I like being light because (yes I’ll admit) there is a certain gloat factor in it. I like it because I can get away from the people because they can not get as far. I like it because they do not know about it and this gives me a window of opportunity to do my second favorite thing, which is, teach. I feel as if this is our own little world, and that membership is required. I like keeping it clandestine and cottage. We are a minority of elitist, a pure society, one who is eager to help when asked, one who is more aware and sensitive of the over populated back country areas. But one must come to us for the information; it is not easily accessible, until now. Imagine my disgust when I saw Dr. Ryan Jordan’s book Lightweight Backpacking & Camping: A Field Guide to Wilderness Hiking Equipment, Technique, and Style at of all places the Wal-Mart for the outdoors REI. Before I go on and start getting flamed, and having people come back and say, well you were in REI so what does that make you? What was I doing at REI? Simple, living up to there Return Every Item policy and giving back to them something that had been sitting on my shelf for 3 years due to malfunction that is related to over engineering. Getting back to my point. How dare you, Dr. Jordan. You are not allowing this book to be sold because you want to spread the gospel, you are beginning to do just what Jansport, Gregory, and Kelty did, they started out small but then sold out the corporate machine in the name of Money!!!! You Dr. Jordan have done the same thing in this case. I feel as if you are not desirous of teaching, or helping “Joe Snuffy” on how to go light. It is the thought of the potential selling power that comes to REI and their catering to the “Joe Snuffy’s” of the world. Not only will people buy your book (which I bought through BPL more than a year ago) but because of all the “gear plugs” in it they will then go to the BPL site and buy more of your products. A very crafty marketing scheme I must say so myself, but and evil and typical corporate one, none the less. You yourself said “My wife, Stephanie, and I have renewed our commitment not only to simplify our lifestyle, but to renew and engage the relationships with people we love the most-including each other.” (1) You are not doing this by selling out Dr. Jordan. If there is one thing I have learned from people who have money or are seeking money it is that there is never enough. I beg of Dr. Jordan keep your business and this industry pure like it has been and needs to be. Do not loose sight of the mission, the movement, and the people. Do not sell out like the predecessors before you did. Who now are out sourced and of cheap quality, or over engineered products to mainstream companies. What is even more disheartening is in another section of the REI store I saw a ton of light my fire gear, and the once BPL only long handle Ti spoon, which ok I can understand that, it is readily available and not to industry specific, neither is the ESBIT and ESBIT stove that was in the same row either. But next to that were about 10 Vargo Titanium alcohol stoves and a quart can size of denatured alcohol. Outrage, I say, outrage. What is next will we se ULA, SMD, GG, MoGo and others in mainstream out-door stores? Imagine with me people that the nest time you head out and go to you favorite get-away place that you know, no one else can ideally get to because it is too far, or is not very well known to begin with. You get there and there is another person there, with lightweight gear, that they were able to purchase at REI or some other mainstream outdoor store. Not only did they buy the gear there, but they got the information from there as well. They did not have to go through the “rites of passage” they did not have to dig, research, explore, and find the information and knowledge themselves, they bought it!!!! And now a once under populated area is now over populated, all because Ul went. mainstream. Also when Ul goes mainstream the cottage industries begin to loose their positions on the niche market and therefore leads to them having to close shop. Which then puts them out of an income and forces them back into corporate society, and we loose quality hand crafted (in most cases) equipment. People I beg of you lets keep our sport, our world, our society pure, let us not cater to the cooperate world, allow us to teach them via the means we always have, lets keep from becoming them majority. Let us not loose sight of our intent and allow others to purchase our knowledge in a department store for the sake of making another buck. KEEP IT PURE !!!!!!!
(1.) Jordan, Ryan Unfullfilled drams in the Western Artic. Backpacking Light, iss7 pg.53.2007
Disclaimer:. I do not care how much heat this brings, but this has been keeping me up at night, I felt as if I had to say something, even if I am only one voice.
Mugs, This reads like a Manifesto from someone who has grown to love backpacking, through a lifetime of commitment learning the necessary skills to be an accomplished backpacker. There is nothing wrong with voicing your outrage over what you see as 'encroachment' on the 'days of old'. But you must realize the World is moving ahead much faster these days then it did in our '60's and '70's. We cannot stop the commercialization of anything because this is the technology age <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
I once told a friend back in the early '80's that, "computers are just a fad, don't get involved with them and waste your time.." <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> I now spend at least 1 hour of my life a day typing on this silly keyboard, when the class I hated most in HS was typing! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> I hate the direction the World is taking as much as you; and I'm sure we'd make fine hiking partners because we have the same colored glasses on. There is just no way to halt progess, in any subject, civilazation is advancing with or without you.
No need to really worry that much about turons picking up UL gear and really putting in the miles. Now THAT'S a fad! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Rest assured like everything else they get into they will stick to the front country or limit their forays into the wilds the first 10 miles or so. heck, that's ten in ten out, and no matter how light the gear, they still have to walk it and miss their computers the whole time. So let the masses join us and support Open Space and the wilds that backpackers collectively love to visit <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
Now would be a good time to pass the bottle if yer a drinker <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!