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Groupthink at camp MYOG..
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Spruce Goose
(SpruceGoose) - F

Locale: New England
innovation in backpacking gear on 01/14/2010 07:32:35 MST Print View

>>I am so happy that this has seen as much activity as it has.<<

This much, I am sure of.

Until the GimpSlayer provides more detail on these wonderful innovations, I'll take this thread for what it is...chaff.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Grourthink... on 01/14/2010 07:37:27 MST Print View

Chaff +1

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Yawn on 01/14/2010 07:51:58 MST Print View

Anyone want to buy some magic mushrooms?

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Groupthink at camp MYOG. on 01/14/2010 08:47:08 MST Print View

I am pretty sure that, because of his narrow perspective, Gimpslayer is missing an important point. That point being; not everyone is all that interested in gear.

I am sure that there are many on this forum (including me) who see gear as a means to an end rather than as an end in its own right. For us "non-gearheads", gear can be more of a distraction from our goals than it is the focus of our efforts.

To many, making ones own gear provides nothing more than a pleasant, economical, hobby and a feeling of satisfaction from using home made gear; regardless of whether it is innovative, self-designed or made from plans or kits. That is not to say that those you dismiss as "groupthinkers" are not innovative, rather, they may be innovative in spheres that you are ignoring.

So, because of their different orientation, many hikers obtain gear that simply meets their needs and weight and budget limitations and are generally tolerant of minor design flaws or an extra gram here or there. I am sure you do the same thing with automobiles; no need to innovate your own when a perfectly satisfactory version is easily obtainable. Most of us "non-gear-heads" in the lightweight hiking community appreciate light gear and applaud those who design it. But, gear is not the purpose of our trips, rather, it provides the means to accomplish them.

So, please, in the future, do not paint with such a broad and critical brush. It makes you sound narrow, arrogant, prideful, dismissive and smug. I am sure that you are none of these things and am further sure that you do not wish to appear that way.

simon hackett
(minimalgear) - F

Locale: UK
creative buzz? on 01/14/2010 09:05:39 MST Print View

don't the myog forums develop projects further in a ' but wait-haven't you tried....' type way rather than limiting creativity? I've seen plenty of examples of people pushing each other forward. The difference from the older threads is that people seem to be using more sophisticated techniques and materials rather than 'bodging' with duct tape. it makes sense for people to ask opinions of others on particular skills that they may not have. (bonding cuben fibre etc) You come up with an idea which may be beyond your skill set to realise and then research it. Is this not what inventors have always done? there are also plenty of people who just want to make x rather than coming up with innovative new design which is fair enough?

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Groupthink at camp MYOG. on 01/14/2010 09:23:47 MST Print View

I'm just a gear tinkerer as well. I don't make my own gear as a creative outlet or to advance backpacking gear to the next level. I modify the gear I have or use available designs to make my own because I'm too poor to afford the real deal. Not to mention I don't have the time or inclination (or cash) to go through 3 or 4 revisions of something I make.

And who cares if someone posts their completed jacket kit from thru-hiker in the MYOG section? I know that I was proud as all get out when I completed mine and it felt great to share it. Where's the point in putting down those of us who just want to make a kit to save money or get a little more understanding of the gear we use? Even a kit is a huge leap in creativity compared to a traditional backpacker buying everything off the shelf.


David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 01/14/2010 09:57:30 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 06/16/2015 23:12:55 MDT.

En Deizeler
(gimpslayer) - F
No comment? on 01/14/2010 11:38:07 MST Print View

Nobody has any thoughts on that wicked awesome Active Harness pack? Or the slept on Front n Back packs?

I swear, this place is hostile! I'm just a messenger. YOU interpret it as an attack, or that I'm dictating What you Should Do. Relax. have Fun, be happy. OMG DID HE JUST TELL ME BE HAPPY RABBLE RABBLE>!!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: No comment? on 01/14/2010 11:54:46 MST Print View

"I swear, this place is hostile! I'm just a messenger."

Hi En,

I think you'd do well to read Charles' post, 4 posts up, and Dave T's post, right above yours. Dave does a good job of rather politely telling you why you got the reactions you did -- "and you got lots of response to your thread, not because you "got your message across", but because you came into a nice little friendly enclave on the internet where people are generally nice and helpful, and starting telling people (brusquely) that people "don't think for themselves", they "weakly run for help", that better stuff won't be made "by you", that tim is wallowing in a "negativity mire", etc."

Perhaps, if you think on it a bit, you'll realize that you started out a bit 'hostile,' not the group. They/we just took the hostility and ran with it! ;-)

We're not hostile, we're human. You could have presented much the same message, but done so in a non-badgering, non-arrogant way, and you probably would have had a number of "yes I agree" type answers.

Remember, the burden of ensuring your message gets across is on you (or, more generally, the sender). It's not the receiver's job to ensure you're communicating correctly.

So, I'll +1 what Dave said near the end of his message - "even though there is a message in all this that lots of us would agree with, i "beseech" you to work on your delivery."

From my experience, most folks on this site forgive and forget quickly, as long as you don't continue to present your opinion as fact, and as the only correct way to do something. HYOH, LYOL, MYOGHYW, DBAA.


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Groupthink at camp MYOG. on 01/14/2010 12:56:51 MST Print View

There are as many reasons for folks undertaking MYOG as there are folk undertaking MYOG. I first started MYOG around 30 years ago due to lack of money. If I'm making something just to save money, I don't want to tinker or risk screwing it up. I just want it to come together without glitches and do it's job. If only we had the internet in those days! Now I do MYOG to make things that can't be bought, be it the world's lightest sleeping bag, or the world's strongest UL tent. Again, I could design from scratch, but when we have folks on board like engineer Roger C, who has made many iterations and improvements on his designs over the years (and tested them thoroughly), I (who knows nothing about engineering and wind dynamics, snow-loading theories etc...) would be an idiot to go it alone. If there was a Roger C tent kit available, I would buy it! However, in all cases I make modifications that suit my own needs and uses, so sometimes gear evolves in incremental stages thanks to group effort. I would venture to say that most of our culture and knowledge comes from this incremental method rather than sheer blind inspiration and AHA moments. There is plenty of room for both in MYOG. This is really not an area that should be subject to contention.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: No comment? on 01/14/2010 13:17:32 MST Print View

In general, this forum is one of the nicest ones out there. Part of that is because people use their real names. This encourages civility. So, maybe it is surprising that people have reacted with such hostility to your post.

On the other hand, what did you really expect? Seriously, what did you think would be the reaction. If I can paraphrase your argument (and my apologies if I don't do it justice) you are saying three things:

1) The folks who make their own gear here lack creativity.
2) They lack creativity because they prefer to listen to others.
3) This thread belongs here, instead of MYOG.

OK, let me take these one by one:

1) This is a rather rude and unsubstantiated statement. Have you read every post in MYOG? Have you read Bill Fornsell's blog? I think Bill and Huzefa's ideas (just to name a couple of guys off the top of my head) are extremely creative. It is extremely hard to measure creativity, so I'll ask another simple question: Is your pack load lighter than Bill Fornshell's? In what way are his and Huzefa's ideas hampered by "group speak".

2) I quoted Newton ("If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants"). Do you think he would have seen even further if he ignored those giants? Really? Do you think he was wrong in making that statement? Hey, don't get me wrong; there are lots of great inventions that stem from people who decide to ignore assumptions. But most of those folks build upon the work of others (even if they decide to make something completely different). Oh, and the two guys I mentioned before are big contributors to the site. They comment a lot, usually on the MYOG forum.

3) You still haven't made a good case for why this thread belongs here instead of maybe Chaff or MYOG. It seems you are critical of people who make their own gear. So, it would seem to make sense (after reading the many posts on that forum) to then turnaround and make those same criticisms. Then again, if you read that forum more, maybe you wouldn't make that comment. If your criticism is about MYOG people as well as manufacturers, then maybe it belongs here (or maybe in Chaff).

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Groupthink at camp MYOG.. on 01/14/2010 14:06:39 MST Print View

Move it to chaff or better yet delete. I've got to get back to fixing my sewing machine.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Groupthink at camp MYOG.. on 01/14/2010 14:17:39 MST Print View

This thread reminds me of this chart of selected patents granted in 2009:

En Deizeler
(gimpslayer) - F
plz read on 01/14/2010 14:43:37 MST Print View

@ Douglass, thank you for your thought out reply, I do read each of them and value everybody's opinions.

For the last time, the purpose of this thread was not to lambaste people for so-called uncreative projects (your words not mine), but rather to spur creative thought as a element in your design process BEFORE seeking community support.

It is easy to pick a choice word or two and spin it in a post such that I look like I'm demeaning the efforts of everybody. Everything from my screen name to my choice wording is being criticized, but I wonder if you're missing the forest for the trees.

The arguement that those without resource, simply copying is the best answer - to this i say, of course! But it seems to me that most people reading this are going above and beyond in their hiking gear management anyway, and could relate to the value in independent creative thinking before communicating all stages of the build.

I proofed the mature market argument, examples like Steripen, Active Harness Pack that makes it's own electricity, the slept-on Back N Front packs..

Please do not delete the thread or move it to whatever Chaff is. Many people spent time and genuine thought to make it, and to brush it aside is a diservice to everybody current and future.

On your future projects I hope you try this method. Just once. Have some fun. I have a hunch you will enjoy it.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: plz read on 01/14/2010 15:08:41 MST Print View

I must confess I don't understand the point you are trying to get across. Most folks on this forum are not even interested in MYOG (which is why we have a separate forum for it). For those who are into MYOG, some will be creative and try new things, others are just not inclined to take such risks, especially when dealing with expensive and often fragile materials, and for me limited time to work on MYOG projects. After all, this is just gear. We are not trying to find a cure for cancer, or even develop new electronic devices. The biggest innovation in UL gear that I can think of involves taking less gear, not developing more 'revolutionary' gear. Indeed, the only thing I would like to see get lighter in my pack is food and water. Nothing else in my pack is in need of revolutionary leaps in discovery.

Even I am beginning to think this looks like chaff. Maybe Dave T is rubbing off on me :-)

Scott Bentz
(scottbentz) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
To Each His Own on 01/14/2010 16:16:29 MST Print View

Funny that you would use a G4 as your example. My son, when he was 15, got interested in sewing. Since we backpack I bought a G4 kit from Quest. It was a tough first project but he did a real nice job. He has used it quite a bit.

Is the G4 the best thing out there? Probably not. However, where else could you get a pattern and materials for $40.00 for such a large and useful pack? It was a great starting point. After this project my son and I have talked about what we would have done differently to make the pack smaller and lighter since the volume of the pack is way too much for our needs.

That project is what gave us experience in making that style of pack. Now we have Cuben to play with. Our experience following the G4 pattern will help us make some Cuben packs.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: plz read on 01/14/2010 23:28:06 MST Print View

I would rebut your claim about a non mature market. The active harness pack would have no place in the UL community, how ever neat the scaled up shake flashlight idea is. People have already made front/back packs (4-5 years ago if im not mistaken, and several other times since). Neat idea on paper, but when it comes down to practicality, adding 'back sweat' and heat retention of being covered in gear to your front would make for a less comfy experience even with better load transfer. Also, with an UL load, the need for a front pack is eliminated to begin with.
Many recent advances in gear have come due to advances in technology. lighter, stronger nylons, eVent, cuben fiber, MSR miox, competitive synthetic insulations. Its when these happen (usually in fields unrelated to backpacking) that we are able to take advantage them through design.

Not to try and hamper your own creativity. I would love to see some of the things you are going to make and hear how practical they are after you put them into use. I still have some ideas that may be considered out there that I do plan on attempting to make when I get back to the states and my sewing machine.
Not to toot my own horn, but I too enjoy the lifestyle of being a self made millionaire and only 23 years old, I just wish it didnt take 1,200 Korean Won to make 1 US dollar :(

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Groupthink at camp MYOG.. on 01/18/2010 12:03:36 MST Print View

I've been thinking more about this thread, and I must say I disagree with the basic premise. i see the evolution of "gear" or electronics ro whatever, as just that-evolution. Nature moves us forwards in one of two ways. Most commonly nature evolves, that is, many hundreds if not thousands of gradual changes that, taken one at a time, don't make much difference, but taken on the whole it leads to new species and niches being filled. This is evolution at it's most successful because it takes something that already works, and makes it work better. Then there is cataclysmic selection. This is not evolution as such, it is more like when the dinosaurs died out and left room for warm-blooded mammals. The warm-blooded mammals were already around, they were just waiting for a niche to open up. This is a much riskier method of 'evolving' as it is often all-or-nothing, and most of the time the hoped for niche doesn't open up and the beast goes extinct.

If I know nothing about MYOG, should I go buy a second hand sewing machine and figure out how to use it, spend a few months or years working out what kinds of seams work best in which situations, (through trial and error) and buying swags of material to weigh and test for UL, tear resistance, water resistance, stretch, comfort and breathability etc...and then try to make a shelter out of it, not knowing anything about how forces are transferred, how to reinforce important bits, how big to make it etc...or maybe ditch the sewing machine and do it all by hand sewing like our ancestors, maybe make it out of reindeer pelts?

Naaaah. I will take what's already known on the subject, and apply it to my own end goals. I will modify it as needed, or if I'm a complete noob I'll follow the directions as best I can and make important mistakes that I will learn from. This process does not stop me from also coming up with a Eureka idea, but the fact is most of us don't have a lot of those Eureka moments, so tweaking and slowly evolving a design is the next best (and proven) approach.

Or as others have pointed out correctly, why reinvent the wheel? Our strength as a species is that we can learn from others endeavors, both their successes and failures, rather than having to make the same mistakes all over again. Following roughly in others footsteps is not lazy, it is often smart. OTOH, to follow blindly without asking why is stupid...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Groupthink at camp MYOG.. on 01/18/2010 14:30:17 MST Print View

Perhaps the OP does have one really good point. Instead of evolution of gear, where is the "improbable" or "impossible" gear? The model T is not a lot different than the Taurus, just an evolution of the product. A jet pack would be revolutionary.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Groupthink at camp MYOG.. on 01/18/2010 15:32:23 MST Print View

"where is the "improbable" or "impossible" gear? "

It's been around for quite a while if you hang out here long enough. There have been concepts thrown around for helium filled gear, a company actually making argon-filled insulation, and all sorts of theoretically improbable ideas over time. It's one thing to dream, it's quite another to make the dream come true. Dreaming up impossible gear takes no talent at all. It's dreaming up far-fetched but "possible" gear that takes talent.

"A jet pack would be revolutionary."

Not really, at least not in this day and age. They are around. They just need to evolve into something more suitable for mass-marketing.