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Doing Things Different -- and Liking It
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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 11:34:12 MST Print View

I imagine most of us have willfully experimented with things, techniques, etc. despite being told repeatedly that they're not good ideas. And most of the time, we realize we should have listened.

But are there times when you are actually delighted with the results -- and thankful that you didn't just follow the advice of others? Would be great if you can share any "convention-defying" gear/methods/techniques that turned out well for you.

Here are two of mine (not saying I am the first -- just that I experimented with them on my own):

1. Mixing sunblock and bug lotions -- eliminating the need for separate applications and containers. Yes, I know the theory against doing this, but I've gotten excellent results over the past two years. From a user perspective, there's no degradation of either that I can tell at all.

2. Mixing cotton and polyester in my tee shirts / base layers. Cotton Kills -- so goes the mantra -- but I experimented with 80/20 blend because I (1) dislike the slippery/shiny/satin-ny look/feel and (2) the stink factor of 100% synthetics. That turned out to be the best of both worlds in cold or heat -- synthetics performance plus cotton feel and comfort -- and no stink factor. Cheaper too.

Edited by ben2world on 01/01/2010 11:42:20 MST.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
"Doing Things Different -- and Liking It" on 01/01/2010 11:57:10 MST Print View

I wouldn't wear cotton while on the move. Mainly because of the high humidity here. If weight isn't all that important I would bring a 100% cotton t-shirt to wear around camp and to sleep in. I too like the feel of cotton especially when I am all sticky from a long days hike.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: "Doing Things Different -- and Liking It" on 01/01/2010 12:11:07 MST Print View

I started shooting with a film camera again :) Being immersed in digital camera reviews this year, and generally being dissatisfied with most of their images relative to my hi-res 35mm scans, my film cameras have seen more use in 2009, and they'll see a lot more use in 2010.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 13:48:04 MST Print View

"Mixing cotton and polyester in my tee shirts / base layers"

I started using cotton/poly blend t-shirts on your advice a long time ago. I too don't like the feel of synthetics and the blends give the best of both worlds. plus they are much tougher than merino wool shirts not to mention a hell of a lot cheaper.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 15:34:20 MST Print View

I've never really had anybody tell me something I wanted to try would be a bad idea, but I learned some things were not always optimal on my own. For instance, I used to save weight by carrying a bed-top mosquito net tent instead of a real tent. It hardly ever rains around my area, but once it did and my poncho wasn't big enough to cover the tent.

One thing I did try, but I didn't tell anyone about it in advance because let's face it, it's just TMI, is that I took the advice on this forum to leave the TP home. That has worked out much better than I ever expected.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: "Doing Things Different -- and Liking It" on 01/01/2010 15:55:55 MST Print View

Ryan -- I find digital shots taken with a zoom lens especially suboptimal. Or maybe it was just me...

Brian -- I'm glad the 80/20 tees worked for you. So much for 'catchy' mantras and conventional wisdom!

Diane -- good for you! :)

Edited by ben2world on 01/01/2010 15:56:29 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 16:50:25 MST Print View

I wear cotton undergarments 90% of the time. Cotton doesn't kill...rather poor planning does. I don't wear cotton in cold never ending rain or in high aerobic snowshoeing. But everywhere else I do. And I feel SO much better. And oh yeah, I hate synthetic fabrics. I am very picky about what I will wear as tops - and prefer wool when I can get it.

Digital vs many ways it comes down to what a person wants to spend. A very high end digital SLR with high end lenses and then the software/storage/computer to process it will give exceedingly good results. But lets face it - most people cannot justify dropping that kind of money to get pro gear. Film does provide a certain look though that digital won't give if that is what someone wants.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 18:15:22 MST Print View

>> A very high end digital SLR with high end lenses

Oh man, I do NOT want to carry THIS!


Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 18:45:37 MST Print View

Whenever I go hiking in the summer here in Japan it is always unbearably hot and humid. During the rains I would often wear my Gore-tex rain gear and die within the sauna and car wash of the garment. I started using Paramo rain wear about 11 years ago and have been completely weaned off "shell" type rain wear. For most mountain walking, when it is cooler, the Paramo is just right and breathes so well that there are no issues with moisture build up inside the garment, but when it gets warmer even the Paramo can't deal well... I just get too hot. So one time I just removed my rain jacket and hiked in the rain, letting myself get completely soaked. And it was fine! It was so warm that I couldn't cool off too much; in fact the rain made it refreshingly cool in the heat. Because of the amount of heat I was making from the hard climbs and descents whatever moisture my clothing accumulated evaporated from my body heat. I remember that first time pitying the climbers wearing full-Gore-tex rain suits who were coming up one steep trail soaked in their own heat and sweat and how much freer I felt not worrying about staying dry.

I've also realized that nylon pants with some three dimensional weave, such as Schoeller or Fieldsensor do much better when soaked than fabrics like Supplex, which cling to the skin when wet and make you feel much colder.

Like Roger Caffin I love eating local bread, cheese, and sausage when hiking, especially in Europe, where the bread and cheese and sausages are often unbelievably delicious. And like him I tried eating these with the tiny Classic Swiss knife that I have, but would drive myself batty trying to cut the baguette or brioche. So I bought myself a much larger, but simple Opel knife and couldn't have cared less about the extra weight... being able to eat the local foods while sitting atop a glorious crag overlooking those white peaks, well, there really isn't anything in world better than that!

Though I agree with Sarah about the expense that digital cameras lower in terms of image development, there is a lot of appeal in film cameras that digital has never been able to overcome. I like using a fully manual camera that doesn't require batteries and that has only the necessary controls for shutter speed, aperture, exposure metering, and flash, nothing else. It requires me to think more structurally about the image taking process, actually "seeing" the light I am about to capture, and calculate, in my head, what I need to do in order to get the right picture. I learned MUCH more about photography using a manual camera and film than I think I ever would have if I had started out with digital. I don't even really understand how the digital process works. And there are so many controls and menus and options that every time I need a manual in order to understand how to use my camera. I just don't want to think about those things when I'm taking photos. So, I might very well go back to film if I can find a way to reduce the cost of developing the film and afterwards scanning the images for the computer.

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Hiking in the rain on 01/01/2010 19:52:23 MST Print View


Edited by johnk on 01/01/2010 21:43:00 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 19:58:19 MST Print View

A simple Opel knife ?
Is that from the German branch of General Rotors ?
I think that I'll stick to my Opinel for now.Might be different, but I like it.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 20:22:28 MST Print View

Ryan...when the husband hikes with Ford and I, I carry EVERYTHING gear wise (more reason to go light, eh?) as the husbands pack is all camera gear. It is scary heavy. Even worse is trips where he brings our pro vid cam setup and I have to carry it. My back! But...I don't say anything - it is why he loves hiking (taking photos) and I love having him I carry everything else.

My digital point and shoot is sooo tiny :-D (And takes cheezy photos..oh well!) is something I do that most don't:
I carry whatever food sounds good these days. I cut weight elsewhere. I carry a lot more fresh items now - like oranges, apples, avocados, fresh peas, the last couple years I started taking loaves of fresh baked focacia bread from the bakery on the way out of town....Hostess fruit pies, home baked treats. I definitely eat well these days. Way I look at it is I will eat it, the weight goes down ;-) Dicentra is worse than me even: she will even pack in pickles and olives! Last summer Jeff and I had ice cream in 100* weather that we packed in a bag full of ice :-D

Another thing I do: I carry a sit pad. I realized after years of sucking it up that I like that 3 ounces that my T-Rest Prolite pad offers my behind. I use it as a pillow as well.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 20:37:51 MST Print View

Opel Knives... they have tiny combustion engines that allow you to automatically track the blade across those wide expanses of baguette ridges and valleys! I've also got a Citro├źn Knife somewhere in my outside pocket there, that's great for cutting the cheese! Would you mind retrieving it for me? I've never much liked those Ford and Chevrolet Knives, though; too big and clunky, though I used to own a multi-purpose Jeep Cherokee that I loved! One day I hope to get myself a nice, red Ferrari Knife! ;-P

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/01/2010 22:04:01 MST Print View

Hi Miguel

> being able to eat the local foods while sitting atop a glorious crag overlooking
> those white peaks
Like this?



Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Doing Things Different -- and Liking It on 01/02/2010 01:17:33 MST Print View

(1) Anyone use fishnet underwear these days? I used to use fishnet underwear, especially for Eastern winter mountaineering. Cotton, of course, because that is all there was then. When really cold out I'd use a Merino wool zip turtleneck over it. Mostly, though, with adjustable clothing over it vented wonderfully. Sure kept me warm and dry. (Side note: Merino's nothing new -- I was using it 45 years ago and it was not new then.)

(2) How about a tump line? I have used one in the past for traditional canoe tripping -- only way to go if you know how to do it right, and if you are out long enough for your neck to get used to it. I have thought about making a home-made tump for my UL stuff, but have not yet gotten around to trying it.

-- Bob

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
How about a tumpline? on 01/02/2010 08:01:37 MST Print View

Regarding a tumpline, aren't they usually only useful for really heavy loads?
I would have used one when I was young, when people carried 100 lb packs with canvas tents, wool blankets and canned food, but not now.

David Rowenhorst
(row435) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Hiking alone on 01/02/2010 09:10:44 MST Print View

Everyone says I shouldn't hike by myself, but they also think that coming along wouldn't be fun (there might be bears! or even worse, no bathrooms!)

Alexander Laws
(goldenmeanie) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
film cameras on 01/02/2010 09:37:14 MST Print View

Good on you Ryan!

I first started lightening my gear so that I could bring my heavy-ish film cameras with me...

Mamiya RZ ProII and Nikon F3HP. Scan the negs. Yummy ;)

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: How about a tumpline? on 01/02/2010 09:40:23 MST Print View

Define "really heavy". We used them for 16' canvas and wood canoes (that had been in the water all summer). for wanigan boxes (canoe-width boxes full of canned goods), but also for just carrying a couple of duffle bags of personal gear.

My thought for UL is not the big load carrying capacity so much as a couple of other things. Carrying with one feels freer than having the load attached to your body -- not clear how true that remains at UL pack weights. Carrying the load in two or three waterproof stuff sacks, with no pack, may be a bit lighter, especially as the tump is multi-use (tent line in camp).

Truthfully, I am not overly serious about the tump for UL -- just an off-the-wall thing that I think may have some value and I'll get around to trying "one of these days". If nothing else, I'll have the fun of trying something "different", which was the point of this thread.

-- Bob

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Lighten the gear weight on everything else except... on 01/02/2010 10:32:47 MST Print View

I will still bring my 2.2 pound, late 1970's Minolta SLR.