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Anybody want gear in more natural colors?
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John Doe
(jessearl) - F
Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/13/2008 09:29:56 MDT Print View

Maybe I'm the only one, but I really wish that most backpacking gear and especially the lightweight stuff that we all love was made with fabrics that are more natural, earth tones rather than bright oranges, whites, light blues, etc.

Integral Designs makes some tarps in an Olive color which is nice and my sleeping bag is a Slumberjack and it comes in a nice dark green.

But for a lot of my outdoor clothing, I usually end up looking at a lot of military-oriented clothing manufacturers so as to find clothes that come in a color that isn't a bright and flashy.

That's my 2 cents. Anybody feel the same way?

Gail Lusk
(AlohaTink) - F

Locale: In the Middle of No Where!
Let's Hide From The Bears! on 03/13/2008 12:27:09 MDT Print View

lol just kidding.
Yes, I also would love more shades of browns and greens.
I usually go solo and feel the need to hide at times, depending on where I am.

My hammock is that great breen color I think Tom Hennessy calls it. Coyote Brown, Forest Green, Desert Tan, and Woodland Camo or Universal Digital Camo
If Tom can get those colors I would guess that they are available for others as well.

I have one tent that is 2 shades of green, but then they had to add blue at the bottom?

You can always have at least 3 bright orange, lime green or red items with you in case needed for SOS etc...

Of course there are those who get lost at night when wandering away from there shelter for a relief break.
A simple light left on would solve that issue though.

Edited by AlohaTink on 03/13/2008 12:28:22 MDT.

Robert Devereux
(robdev) - F

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/13/2008 19:20:23 MDT Print View

I thought high visibility was a goal of a lot of outdoor gear, especially clothing. If you get into trouble, the loud clothing will make it easier for somebody to see and hopefully help you.

I tend to go back and forth about colors. Sometimes I want something that is colorful and stands out. Other times I want more natural colors.

I've grown fond of clothing from They make environmentally friendly outdoor clothing, most of can do double duty as city and backcountry clothing. Their colors are mostly earthtones and dark blues.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: Let's Hide From The Bears! on 03/13/2008 20:08:00 MDT Print View

Actually, I believe there are some studies that indicate natural colored clothing and tents do reduce the incidence of camp visits from bears (at least in Alaska where the study was done).

I'm not a big fan of the camo look, but I'm also not a big fan of fuschia or bright orange.

SO bring on something sorta neutral. Boring????

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
there is nothing worse then being storm bound in an orange tent ... on 03/16/2008 20:19:51 MDT Print View

There are probably a few worse things that can happen but being storm bound in an orange tent is dangerous to the health of your tent mates. Bright colors do help you "find" things above timberline or snowline, darker colors do absorb more heat, maybe dry a bit faster, but after being stuck in an orange tent in Patagonia years ago I'll pass on this color option.
There are tons of studies on color and mood, maybe we need it translated into outdoor geek language or feng shui for backpackers,actually I'm sure Snackpacker magazine has done an article on this in their annual alternative techniques issue, you remmeber the one that had trailside accupuncture kits with ultralight moxie sticks, packable russian kettle bells, and the portable wee little folk finder GPS combo.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: there is nothing worse then being storm bound in an orange tent ... on 03/16/2008 22:35:20 MDT Print View

How do tent colors affect mood?

I have a blue tarp and I'm about to buy a grey tent -- what do the scientists have to say about those colors? (I would have preferred yellow, red, or gold but beggars can't be choosers..)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
"Anybody want gear in more natural colors?" on 03/16/2008 22:37:36 MDT Print View

If it's not black, brown, or green I don't buy it. I want to blend in to my surroundings. I remember a sunrise hike back to camp from the summit of Telescope Peak, and seeing the line of brightly colored day hikers coming up trail looked like a Chinese dragon in a New Years parade. Awful!

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/17/2008 08:24:17 MDT Print View

I just got a Cocoon pullover and it's a bright cobalt blue. I normally would have gotten grey or black, but this was from the closeout sale, so I can't complain much. However, I feel like I'm sticking out like a sore thumb just walking around my neighborhood. You'll see me a mile away on the trail. I'm tempted to turn it inside out, but the zipper and pocket would then be hard to reach.

I do think that it's a good idea to have ONE bright object in your pack for emergencies, but it's really not my first concern for most of my hiking experiences. I prefer not to see 5 bright tents around me when I'm in the backcountry.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/17/2008 08:52:35 MDT Print View

I was looking at my Cocoon jacket while sitting at my desk at work (in a sea of cubicles), and a co-worker walked by. He abruptly stopped and said, "That's an extremely shiny coat." That makes my point of how unnecessarily bright some of these fabrics are.

I understand that some fabrics (e.g., cuben) are available in limited colors/textures.

Warren Wilkinson
(icensnow) - M

Locale: New England, USA
More gear in natural colors please! on 03/17/2008 13:35:18 MDT Print View

For me there is little difference between playing music loudly, riding a loud motorcycle or snowmobile, leaving trash all over the place, or bright unnatural colors. All of things "disturb" the natural environment.

Sorry for the intolerant attitude!

Robert Devereux
(robdev) - F

Locale: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/17/2008 13:43:22 MDT Print View

Interesting about the bears. I guess curiosity may be the reason. I'd probably investigate something that very obviously stood out.

Having other hikers being colorful might make photos of them a bit more interesting. I like life in my pictures, and if I can't get wildlife, human life can be good. Besides, if the other hikers are colorful and you're drab, it's more likely that the bears will harass them and leave you alone. :)

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Re:Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/17/2008 21:03:20 MDT Print View

Not me, Im always trying to find more vibrant colors to breakup the mass of black, tan, khaki, grey, and brown "outdoor" gear and clothing. REI branded stuff is a good example- really drab. We all don't have to look like we are camoflaged for somme military operation when enjoying the outdoors. But I draw the line at fluorescent neon colors like from the '80s..

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
sorry duplicate on 03/17/2008 22:16:11 MDT Print View


Edited by Brett1234 on 03/17/2008 22:18:04 MDT.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Re:Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/17/2008 23:10:34 MDT Print View

I'm with you. My trail name is Red Leader, and not for nothing. On a grey afternoon with rain clouds blocking the view from a hanging lake at 11,000 feet, the bright Marigold fly on my Evolution 2P makes a "cloudy day sunny", as I relax with a book, waiting for my tea water to boil.

Evolution 2P on the Lost Coast, in the rain.
Evolution 2P, clip version, with Marigold Fly, on the Lost Coast in the rain.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Natural versus vibrant colors on 03/23/2008 13:12:45 MDT Print View

I have a great deal of muted color clothing and I prefer it most of the time. A typical set of backcountry clothing looks something like this:Lunchtime

But living in the southeast, hunting season is a big deal for the last 3 or so months of the year and I prefer the more obvious advantages of orange:The Dont Shoot Special

As we used to say in the Marine Corps, your clothing is "mission specific" gear.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Natural Colours on 03/23/2008 15:43:35 MDT Print View

My usual hiking top is a Snowsled Classic Smock in olive green Ventile cotton. It's about as sympathetic to a natural, outdoorsy environment as it's possible to be without wearing camouflage, which I never do. Consequently if I take a photograph with me in it the thing turns into something out of "Where's Waldo?" as friends try to spot the invisible hiker...

Although much of my hiking wardrobe consists of various khakis, blacks and greens I also have a very bright red windshirt, a rather violent yellow Paramo jacket and a Golite wind-resistant jacket that could charitably be called a slightly muted orange (all of these discontinued colours and thus massively cheaper than the current range.) It's not just getting things at a good price or making sure I show up in photographs, there is also the safety aspect and sometimes the simple fact that I like having a few things that aren't green and brown. Horses for courses, as they say: the windshirts are often tucked away in the pack and the Paramo jacket tends to be worn only in winter, so generally I'm fairly inconspicuous. That said, I don't object to someone wearing a bright anorak and the traditional rambler's red socks if they want to. For my money if a person behaves responsibly in the countryside and cleans up after themselves then they can dress as a novelty chicken or a giant tomato if they like.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Re: Anybody want gear in more natural colors? on 03/25/2008 15:07:19 MDT Print View

>> For my money if a person behaves responsibly in the countryside and cleans up after themselves then they can dress as a novelty chicken or a giant tomato if they like.

Nicely said. Though I do see the point of the other side of the argument: sometimes thos bright colors are pretty garish. Still, I think I prefer garish to that uneasy feeling that I get whenever I see one of those unwashed, wild eyed guys sporting AUC camo trousers and the 200 L pack with the axe strapped to it. ;)

I tend to wear mostly muted colors out of preference with a bright piece thrown in for safety's sake. That said, I'll buy whatever color is on sale and I'm sure I look a little off myself some days when I'm sprting blue pants and a bright orange shirt with a red bandana...

By the way, Jon, how do you like your ventile smock? I've been eyeing up that same one for some time now, but I have no experience with ventile and the price always disuades me from buying it. How much does it weigh, do you know? Is it really waterproof? Windproof? Breathable? And all that...

Edited by Ramapo on 03/25/2008 15:10:40 MDT.

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Natural colour Ventile on 03/25/2008 15:40:27 MDT Print View

Hi David, without wishing to hijack the thread entirely (it's related, at least, since Ventile garments are favoured by the "bushcraft" community who prefer natural fibres in sympathetic colours) I can say that I love the smock and have been using it for over five years. I opted for a front map pocket and Velcro cuffs (to allow more ventilation to my arms if needed). The hood is wired and excellent in a storm, the shirt itself is superbly breathable and windproof.

The key to single-layer Ventile is to wear the right thing under it. I generally use either a Paramo shirt, an Ulfrotte wool top or a Marmot baselayer, all of which help to control both sweat and the inevitable intrusion of water. Eventually, given enough rain, the smock begins to leak, but it takes a long time and I've happily worn it through Scottish downpours that have continued for days. A friend of mine wears a double-layer Ventile jacket and stays entirely dry, although he can't wear it in blazing sun as I can with the smock.

No coatings to peel, no chemicals to re-apply every few weeks, it's quiet and tough... and a very soft green so as not to stand out too much. Expensive, but worth it.

EDIT: Missed your question about the weight... On my digital kitchen scale it reads 654 grammes, which is a hair over 23 ounces, for a size Large. Since it replaces a windshirt and a waterproof jacket I can live with that. Indeed, when hiking I pretty much live in it.

Edited by bigjackbrass on 03/25/2008 15:48:30 MDT.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Re:Natural colour Ventile on 03/26/2008 23:13:02 MDT Print View

Thanks for the weight info Jon. I would have assumed that the smock would have been heavier. I am quite interested in getting one some day. I find ventile strangely mysterious and tempting, especially given that it now seems that its weight is pretty reasonable. It'd be so noice to be able to walk quitely through the woods for a change!

Do you find that the Paramo shirts made from the reversible material works better under single layer ventile than the more typical merino wool base layers? I'm curious as to why you specified the baselayers that you did as being preferable.

Thanks again!