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A modest proposal
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Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
A modest proposal on 06/21/2008 07:05:44 MDT Print View

A plea to make our forum postings more useful ....

Here at BPL (most other forums too), we'll see a lot of postings for "Is ____ suitable for 3 season use?", "Comment on my winter gearlist" or "_____ raingear has always been adequate for me"

Many of us do it. I probably have too. The problem is that some of us are from the US Desert southwest, some from Alaska, some hike the Japanese Alps, some in S.E. Texas. You get the picture.

I frequently find myself thinking "this is not informative, just what IS winter like when you winter camp?"

But today I found a nice counter example in RJ's packrafting gearlist:
* Location: Northwestern Montana (e.g., Yaak, Kootenai, Flathead areas)
* Season: Summer (July - August * Water Type: Moving (river), Class I-II
* Terrain: Trails and bushwhacking through dense brush, below treeline
* Expected Weather: Nighttime lows 40s, Daytime highs 70s, rain common
Probably a side effect of an engineering background;-)

That is very descriptive and I can use that info to adjust the gearlist ideas to somewhat different conditions. About the only thing I'd wish to see added is some info about duration and amount of rain (inches or cm) that often occurs and since this is an aquatic activity, expected water temp.

Anyone willing to work at mimicking RJ's approach?

Edited by jcolten on 06/21/2008 07:12:00 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
A modest proposal on 06/25/2008 03:10:26 MDT Print View

Good point Jim. At same stage most of us have been guilty of not qualifying our questions (cause we know were we are and what we have) or giving advice that is totally irrelevant to the original poster

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Suggested terms for "base" weights. on 06/25/2008 05:41:47 MDT Print View

Jim,Yes, I agree. It is helpful to qualify the conditions and definitions we use in posts.

When I see something like a '3lb,3 season base' packing list I usually wonder what '3-season' and 'base' mean to the writer.

I don't set policy at this site, but I suggest the following terms:

For 2,3, or 4 season lists, please specify your low temperature, indicate snow and/or ice if you prepared for it. For example:
"3-season gear list,0'C, snow and ice"

I also see a lot of variability regarding weight terms. There have been recent threads on 5 lb, 10 lb, and 1 lb lists, wherein various terms were used. I propose the following three measured weights:

base weight worn (1)
base weight packed (2)
consumables (3)

..and the following three derived weights:

total base weight (=1+2)
total pack weight (=2+3)
total carried weight (=1+2+3)

This format removes the artificial distinction (IMO) between base weight in the pack, and weight 'worn or carried'. No more stuffing pockets to reduce one's "base" weight.

I also include clothing worn as base weight, whereas I frequently see only pack items as 'base'.

You can see a (light, not UL) example for a day hike at my profile.

Edited by Brett1234 on 06/25/2008 05:49:45 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: A modest proposal on 06/25/2008 08:24:55 MDT Print View

1. Context: Type (backpack; packraft); Location (where); Season (when); Route (terrain; water class); Weather (expected)
2. Weight categories:

Worn Base weight (1)
Packed Base weight (2)
Consumables weight (3) (only food, water, fuel)
Total Base weight (1+2)
Total Pack weight (2+3)
Skin-Out weight (1+2+3)

Edited by jshann on 01/16/2009 18:10:05 MST.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
A modest proposal on 06/26/2008 07:03:26 MDT Print View

Along the lines of making posts more helpful, you could have chosen a more relevant thread title than "A modest proposal." Johnathan Swift's essay of the same name was about eating babies, remember?

OK, joking aside, I agree that's a good idea you've got. It would make these type of "opinions please!" threads actually somewhere near informative. However, it could be a lot worse. I can name more than one backpacking message board where the Gear Reviews subforum is populated entirely with questions asking other people to review gear for them, rather than actual information about the gear named in the title of the thread. BPL is great because the first purpose of the website is producing high quality information, and the people who post in the message board know that they've got an example to follow, so highly informative and technical posts are not out of the question.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
"A modest proposal" on 06/26/2008 07:14:41 MDT Print View

What might be a good idea would be if BPL posted a gear list template that would just be filled in by the person posting. This would make all gear lists the same and easy to read and compare. There could be multiple templates for different seasons..., I'm sure there are members that would volunteer to create the template. Or BPL could have a contest and the best template format presented would win a years free membership or a cool piece of gear (or both). Members who have posted in the past could repost using the template.