November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Weight vs 'The Look'
Display Avatars Sort By:
simon hackett
(minimalgear) - F

Locale: UK
Weight vs 'The Look' on 12/16/2009 01:46:13 MST Print View

This was originally going to be a poncho tarp question-If you could get a full rain suit and shelter for the same weight as a poncho and bivi would you change? For me part of it is the purity of multi use items, but as I thought about it, it's also the look of the item as opposed to all the identikit regular backpackers. When it's raining and I'm walking along the trail it's kind of good to see the incredulous looks as I saunter past in a giant trash bag and two plastic sacks (cuben rain chaps!). Then I got reminded of the punk rock thread. So would you change if you could get 'conventional looking' gear at very low weights or do you like to use cuben fibre backpacks partly so that people can tell you that 'you shouldn't do that'?

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Weight vs 'The Look: ie. form vs function on 12/16/2009 15:00:54 MST Print View

This is not something I spend a lot of time worrying about. To me, function is much more important than is form (aka fashion). My priorities are: 1) functionality; 2) price and; 3) what it looks like.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Weight vs 'The Look' on 12/16/2009 18:17:22 MST Print View

I have a run-of-the-mill ordinary Gossamer Gear G4 pack. While hiking the PCT I got a lot of comments from regular backpackers that I met about how small my pack was. It was kinda fun.

But if I could get a full rain suit and shelter for the same weight as a poncho and bivy, I would definitely take the rain suit and shelter. Why? Because I would get more for the weight. Pants and a jacket and a tent vs just rain protection for my upper half and a bag.

... on 12/16/2009 18:55:11 MST Print View

my fashion IS function

but self-expression is in every item we choose so...

Id say people should go with what best represents them as an individual or member of their chosen lot

are you a 1, a none, a some, a minority, or the consensus?

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Weight vs 'The Look' on 12/16/2009 19:05:05 MST Print View

I like to look goofy on the trail. It helps my friends find me if we get separated for some reason. For example, in the winter, we may ski in different directions for a while. If I wore boring grey and black (like so many these days) I would blend in, but instead I typically have a neon yellow Montbell jacket and a purple hat. In the summer, I like to wear my yellow O2 rain jacket and pants, for similar reasons. The only time I didn't like this "look" when when I was in Europe, as I didn't want to look like an ugly American.

Probably the main reason I still prefer a rain jacket over a tarp is that I can also use it as a bug suit. Speaking of which, when I didn't care so much about ounces, I wore the Original Bug Shirt ( That would get more comments than any of my other gear.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

The Look on 12/16/2009 20:49:08 MST Print View

For me it's the opposite. Given the same weight, I prefer to not look like a UL geek on the trail. I think some stuff is cool (ie. cuben packs) but a lot of stuff doesn't draw the kind of attention I prefer (ie. DriDucks, Poncho tarps). I'd rather not be perceived as an escapee from a mental institution if there's no good reason to.

I like Montbell's slogan: "Function is Beauty". In most cases I will choose whatever is the most functional, but if it's all about equal then I'll avoid looking like a UL geek. Think about it....if a jacket, rain pants and shelter weighed the same as a poncho tarp, then how would you logically explain why you have chosen to wear the poncho tarp? I can just see the conversation:

Me: "Whoa...what's that thing you're wearing?"
UL Geek: "It's my new lead poncho tarp."
Me: " why are you wearing that?"
UL Geek: "Well it's my rain protection and my shelter and it weighs 4 lbs."
Me: "4 lbs????"
UL Geek: "Yeah 4 lbs...just like your tent, rain jacket and rain pants combined."
Me: "I what's the advantage then?"
UL Geek: "Well it does all the same things as your gear and it weighs the same, but I get to look like geek."
Me: "I see....very compelling."

Edited by dandydan on 12/16/2009 20:58:11 MST.

robert k
(kindalite) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
The Look on 12/16/2009 21:45:48 MST Print View

One can't enjoy the timeless beauty of nature in last year's fashions. Don't take it too seriously though.

simon hackett
(minimalgear) - F

Locale: UK
UL geek on 12/17/2009 01:21:29 MST Print View

I like looking different! It sets me apart from people. I'm kind of anti fashion in my general life too though. That's why I thought about the punk thread- the gear that marks you out from the crowd is the tattoos and piercings that shock people for no good reason. UL geek is really the correct way to describe it though!
In terms of functionality though, there's a few ways to look at this. I like the simplicity of having only a few things that do everything for me- the pack is a lot less cluttered. When I set up camp, everything is being used-treking poles support my shelter, my sit mat becomes my food cosy and my sleep mat. It also helps me to think more clearly about the land, how and where I set up camp. I like packs with very few features, I'd have no pockets in my trousers if I could- one pot, one spoon etc, etc.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The Look on 12/17/2009 01:45:25 MST Print View

"One can't enjoy the timeless beauty of nature in last year's fashions."

LOL -- The North Face should use that in all its brochures! Heck, maybe REI too. :)

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Weight vs 'The Look' co-option of rebelion on 12/17/2009 07:10:07 MST Print View

When you get older you realize that people are born unique individuals. It isn't something that you need to try to be or become. Whether you put a bone through your nose or put on a suit you are still a unique individual -nobody can take that away from you. fashion is meaningless and superficial and you just end up conforming to a smaller less tolerant subculture. People who grew up with punks and hippies learn this fast.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
The look. . . . on 12/17/2009 07:21:36 MST Print View

Yup you don't have to look different to be an individual. Most of us are weird, er special in our own way. :)

I am the most special off all. :P

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: The look. . . . on 12/17/2009 08:17:27 MST Print View

All this time I thought that the woods were the only place I REALLY don't have to give a crap.

Although I do try to get most of my gear in black/earth tones these days- for purely tactical reasons, of course.
Punk rock? Whatever...
You just never know when you're going to have to fight the government, U.N., or help start an uprising.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Weight vs 'The Look' on 12/17/2009 08:38:28 MST Print View

I also don't spend much time considering this, but in general, I prefer not standing out and drawing attention.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: UL geek on 12/17/2009 08:49:19 MST Print View

Simon - I hate to squash your dreams man but you don't really look weird or different to me in that picture.

My advice is add some Tyvek and maybe a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers to your kit...!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Weight vs 'The Look' on 12/17/2009 09:00:41 MST Print View

"Form follows function."

Since one of my main hiking goals is to avoid other people, it doesn't matter. Plus I wouldn't know what cool or geek looks like anyway.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Huh?? on 12/17/2009 16:17:17 MST Print View

It's beyond me why appearance would even enter into gear selection, unless maybe you're young and headed to a backcountry rave. ;}

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
Kilts.. on 12/17/2009 16:21:30 MST Print View

I was cruising around last night, I think it was on the Section Hiker blog, and he linked to some hiking kilts.

Pretty cool idea, no pun intended, but I don't know if I could do it.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Kilts.. on 12/17/2009 16:27:40 MST Print View

I have a sport kilt in my family tartan. I've never worn it hiking but I have worn it to Home Depot a couple of times. That was fun.

simon hackett
(minimalgear) - F

Locale: UK
... on 12/18/2009 02:11:00 MST Print View


Edited by minimalgear on 12/18/2009 06:00:05 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: The Look on 12/18/2009 02:14:49 MST Print View

Maybe I should resurrect the green Lycra ski pants?