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Backpacker Magazine's Gear Guide '05
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Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Backpacker Magazine's Gear Guide '05 on 01/25/2005 20:29:19 MST Print View

Ohhh boy, I just received the new Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide '05 in the mail today. Usually I would always await for this time of the year (just like my REI rewards check) and enjoy some relaxing hours reading about the next, new, lighweight, gizmo to fly across their desk. Well much to my dismay, I got the new gear guide in the mail today, and I gotta say, wow, what a piece of, well you know. This magazine has lost all focus on their core users, backpackers! Not only is this issue that same width as their "normal" issues, but the amount of gear they highlight seems to be dropping year by year. To add insult to injury, their "ultra light hiking" section is a joke. Have they lost focus or are they so product or consumer driven that they have lost all focus as to what is cutting edge in todays outdoor market? The stuff that they highlighted in there two page section was embarrasing. Tarps that weigh 12oz., Stoves that weigh between 5-12oz. Sleeping bags that weigh in at 27-34oz. What about bags that weigh in at 16-28oz? Where are the industry trends that show shows that we are not buying "heavy" products but instead are looking at lighter alternatives? What about alcohol stoves, tarps, frameless packs, lighter sleeping pads? I honestly feel that my intelligence is being questioned! Do I pick up a Backpacker magazine to read about kayaking, canoeying, etc. Afraid not. Over the past couple of years the magazine has gone from being an informative, fun read to something that maybe I might pick up for an hour and toss into my recycle bin at home. I feel that I just don't have too much in common with this publication anymore and I am seriously considering NOT re-newing my subscription no longer. Will I be email them and letting them know my displeasure? YOU BET!!

Edited by kennyhel77 on 01/25/2005 20:32:30 MST.

bob chiverton
(rchivert) - F
BackPacker Gear Guide Review on 01/27/2005 09:16:42 MST Print View

I agree.....almost verbatim.

David Reid
(DavidR) - F
I agree!! on 02/01/2005 19:11:53 MST Print View

I agree 100%...I stopped my subscription a few years ago. Actually, this is why I found Bpl. I was searching for some good editorials to read. So I guess in my case I can thank them...kind of.

Justin Gunn
(biggunn) - F
But compared to BPL... on 02/17/2005 16:11:07 MST Print View

You know, I love reading almost any information about backpacking. BACKPACKER definitely sucks, though, for anyone other than newbies. I do not have a subscription for the same reasons mentioned above, and prefer to thumb thru issues when I come across them at the newsstand. If they capture my interest, I'll buy it. But let's face it, we're all SERIOUSLY into backpacking. After all, we have all taken it upon ourselves to become lightweight packing afficianados (efficientados?).

It's a real shame that popularly accessable sources of information like BACKPACKER gives ultralight such short shrift. I mean, they're capitalizing on the trend, but giving their readers the REI version of ultralight. Why, for instance was the TarpTent Virga not included in lightweight solo shelters? In fact, the only TarpTent featured was Henry's new THREE PERSON Rainshadow. Obviously, the likes of MSR are paying more in ad revenue (Tarptent doesn't pay any).

Dane Burke
(Dane) - F

Locale: Western Washington
Backpacker Magazine on 02/25/2005 22:46:27 MST Print View

In that same issue they had a "Save vs Splurge" article on lightweight backpacking, and all the "save" stuff was outrageously heavy and expensive. They didn't mention buying a simple blue closed cell foam pad, making a stove out of a pop can (they suggested the JetBoil for ultralighter's on a budget!), using a poncho tarp or poly-tarp for shelter...Backpacker Magazine exists for one reason: to deliver advertisements. And reading their "reviews" is a *BEEP* joke. It sounds like they just regurgitate the company's selling points on the product. Possibly the worst thing about Backpacker Magazine is that it reads like a travel brochure. They sell this impossibly luxurious dream of a backcountry experience, so that new people decide to start backpacking and subrscribe to their magazine so they know which of Mountain Hardware's and REI's new products they are supposed to buy.

The more I read Backpacker Magazine, the more I appreciate BPL. Thanks for the kick ass website.

Agreed!!! on 03/12/2005 19:29:11 MST Print View

I have subscribed to Backpacker for the past three years, and this year it has been a big bummer. I'm only a beginner backpacker myself, but most of this stuff is even below me. There are WAY too many ads, and I didn't give a rat's a.. about some of the stuff they have in there like the "Car Camping" page in this new Gear Guide. Honestly, what does car-camping, or even river running, have to do with backpacking. I aslo have to say that I thought that alot of the SAVE stuff wasn't a deal at all. Jeez.

big bob
(bigbob) - F
Soon they will have fashion guides! on 03/13/2005 18:38:49 MST Print View

I agree that it is very sad. First OUTSIDE magazine turned into a yuppie trade rag and now BACKPACKER has as well.
I am on a mission to drop weight from my 45 lb pack down to LIGHTWEIGHT!!!

Greg Vaillancourt
(GSV45) - F

Locale: Utah
Rodale Mags SUCK on 01/07/2006 09:30:34 MST Print View

You won't see any mention of any products that do not advertise in a Rodale rag, period!

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Rodale Mags SUCK on 01/07/2006 11:48:25 MST Print View

Backpacker has its problems, to be sure. It's certainly not the magazine it used to be. BUT, Greg, your comment is just not true. They've given space to TarpTent, ULA, and others. It's not BPL by a long shot, but it's not evil, either. As backpackers, there's just not much out there for us to read. Personally, I'd hate to see it go as it would be horrible for backpacking in general. That's my 2 cents, at least.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Rodale Mags SUCK on 01/07/2006 12:04:47 MST Print View

Backpacker magazine is more for the traditional backpackers, they have some ultralight reveiws and stuff, but they consider 4lb tents, 2lb packs, and 2lb sleeping bags ulttralight.

I still read the magazine, but for real ultralighters, BPL is the way to go.

Re: Re: Re: Rodale Mags SUCK on 01/07/2006 12:07:55 MST Print View

"BPL is the way to go."

Amen, Brother.

Sheldon McElhiney
(mcelhineysc) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Rodale Mags SUCK on 01/07/2006 12:38:53 MST Print View

Hmmm ... seems to be a market for a monthly vice quarterly BPL print mag.

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
BPL "Readers Write" A Monthly Magazine on 01/07/2006 14:21:36 MST Print View

Comment moved to:
Link to:BPL "Readers Write" A Monthly Magazine

Edited by bfornshell on 01/07/2006 14:40:18 MST.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Rodale mags suck on 01/07/2006 14:28:00 MST Print View

After having a subscription for many years, and watching the quality of the content decline steadily each year, I too cancelled my subscription in 2005.

The Gear Guide has been a problem for at least four years. The editors went so far overboard one year (2002?) with the format that they drew so many negative letters that they published an apology and returned to the old format.

Anyone notice the expansion in scope to include canoeing and non-backpacking venues?

Even with their distribution problems, BPL is the way to go - even if you're not really into the UL scene.

Scott Toraason
Re: Rodale mags suck on 01/07/2006 14:49:21 MST Print View

Ditto, My wife and I also decided to cancel Backerpacker Magazine at the end of our current subscription. Having been a member of BPL the last two years, it's very upsetting watching Backpacker ignore lightweight gear or printing inconsequential snippets six months after a full review has been posted on BPL. I’m sure in the next year or two Backpacker will “discover” lightweight backpacking.

David Neumann
(idahomtman) - M

Locale: Northern Idaho
Backpacker Magazine on 01/07/2006 15:01:19 MST Print View

I also ended my subscription a number of years ago. Every once in a while I will pick up an issue to read and find that it seldom contains enough valuable information for me. I'm sure it fits a niche somewhere, for someone. Maybe we are just on the fringe... but then we know that.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Backacker Magazine on 01/07/2006 15:55:09 MST Print View

In my original post all I was doing was voicing my displeasure with the direction that the magazine has headed into.

Here is an example: I am a cyclist. If I want to read about new road bikes coming out or new clothing or gear, then I pick up Bicycling (yes I know who owns it)

When I want to read about backcountry skiing or cross country skiing I will pick up something like Coliour.

I guess that is a perfect world for me. Unfortunately I don't want to read about car camping, canoeing, etc. I WANT TO READ ABOUT BACKPACKING. I know that the magazines main impetus is to make money....but common, save it for Outdoors or something.

OK my rant is over have a nice day. I did, camped high near Ebbets Pass on Hwy 4 in California with a storm raging. Great skiing and solitude!!

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
18 months ago on 01/07/2006 19:20:58 MST Print View

My subscription got cancelled about a year and a half ago. I had two major gripes: They never met a piece of gear they didn't like and they never took a trip that wasn't a hero trek through hurricane winds and Noah-scale rains, except for the good day when there was merely a blizzard; of course, all of this was on one of the 10 "most spectacular" or "toughest" trails in the world. Didn't any of these folks ever just go for a walk in the woods? The superlatives got old; when you scratched the surface of the magazine, all you found was more surface.

None of those gripes apply to BPL - it's just honest information and well-intentioned exchanges of experience and opinion. (With the occasional COW PLOP and chicken joke, just for fun.)

Edited by garkjr on 01/08/2006 05:09:08 MST.