I just picked up a first printing of Backpacking Equipment Buyer's Guide from 1977 at my local St. Vinnie's today. The book is by William Kemsley and the editors of Backpacker Magazine. 285 detailed pages of gear reviews including prices and specs. Very early Buyers guide from Backpacker !
Surprisingly little has changed...lightest 3 season 2 person tent : Stevenson's Gold X --- 2.3 lbs. 30.4 sq. ft.
Highest rated sleeping bag : tie between Western Mountaineering Middle Bag and the Feathered Friends Peregrine.
The thing i find the most interesting is the huge article on kit making. The book lists several companies that manufacture do it yourself kits : Eastern Mountain Sports had their EMSKITS, Mountain Adventure specialized in a new insulation (Polarguard), Altra , Holubar, Plain Brown Wrapper, Sun Down and, of course, Frostline.
Since it was the 70's, they included a section on "How To Roll Your Own"----sleeping pads, that is ( sorry, Jimshaw <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" />)
All in all a really cool book that i am glad i found. It makes me want to dust off my old KISS Army jacket, strap the old external Jansport on and go 'packing with my Boy Scout troop !
Hammockers aren't stuck up, they're just above it all.