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Cost of gear "then" and now
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Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/18/2010 21:09:20 MDT Print View

I spotted these two comments at outdoor magic:
"Bought my Mark 4 second hand in 1974. It cost the earth £60, when I was earning 30p an hour"
"I have a Force 10 MK 4 and bought it for around £100 back in 1979 from the Preston Scout Shop"


At 30p an hour (about what I was earning in London then) £60 is equivalent to 5 weekly wages.

made me think about the real cost of gear then and now...
Franco

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/18/2010 21:31:53 MDT Print View

Now we make more money per hour, but it is worth even less.

--B.G.--

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Cost of Gear on 09/18/2010 21:43:37 MDT Print View

We began a year long backpacking trip in 1972 and all of our initial gear came to less than $500, as I recall. I don't think we bought anything secondhand, except perhaps the tent, which was a heavy 2-person.
We swapped stuff out as we went along but it didn't cost us much. One of the cheapest years we've ever had.....

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/18/2010 22:07:40 MDT Print View

It's called "rising standards of living". It's why "even" a truck driver here or in Europe can fill up an entire gear closet -- go on vacations out there in the wilds -- or halfway around the world -- some time or another -- if he so chooses.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Early 70's on 09/18/2010 22:09:00 MDT Print View

My first "real" bag was a Feathered Friends bag (Hummingbird if I remember correctly or at least the equivalent bag) purchased from the then new company in 1973. I paid $60 but at the time was making $1.60/hour, nearly two weeks pay working part time. The last bag I purchased was a Katabatic Sawatch quilt and I must say that I didn't even have to work a day to pay for it.

That same year I purchased pair of Pivetta Article 8 full leather boots with the "yellow label Vibram" sole (a must have at the time)on sale for $40. I still have them and they are completely wearable having had the soles replaced three times.

I also bought an Alpine Designs Flex pack (PVC external frame) that was about $50, an Optimus 8R stove, and a Sierra Designs Tipi tent that was great and about $80. I wish they still made it but it suffered severe damage when the Optimus stove had a flare up that ran away into a fireball before we could jettison it from the tent. That was a cold wet trip........

Over all I would say that the cost is less in terms of hours worked for a piece of gear from my perspective. My son is now working on his kit at age 12 and I am making sure that he feels the pain of saving to get something. I will pick things up during sales and then he has to work it off or pay for it before he can take it. He seems to take better care of it that way.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/18/2010 22:41:51 MDT Print View

P.P.
"We began a year long backpacking trip in 1972 and all of our initial gear came to less than $500"

How much did you earn per hour then ?
Multiply the amount of hours times what someone doing the same job earns now and tell us how much that $500 is now.
(The minimum wage per hour in the USA in 1972 was $1.60. Last year it was $ 7.25.
So going by that figure $500 in 1972 is about $2.250 now.
There is a chance that you can buy now the same type of gear for less than $2.250...)
Franco

As per my example , that Force 10 mark 4 was about 5 weeks wage. Now take your weekly wage and multiply that by 5.
Would you spend that much on a tent right now ?
Franco

Edited by Franco on 09/19/2010 01:15:34 MDT.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
weekly wages on 09/18/2010 23:42:57 MDT Print View

you might be able to buy that new Big sky tent out of Cuben... or Maybe the cilo NWD 75 Pack

Daniel Allen
(Dan_Quixote) - F

Locale: below the mountains (AK)
Economics on 09/19/2010 01:15:33 MDT Print View

I love proportionality!

It gives such a reasoned perspective on things.

=)

John Davis
(Bukidnon) - F
Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/19/2010 02:15:26 MDT Print View

"Bought my Mark 4 second hand in 1974. It cost the earth £60, when I was earning 30p an hour"

I used to dream of being able to afford a Force 10. Had to make do with half a newspaper. The other half was dinner. Tabloid I'm talking about. Broadsheets were for posh types. You tell young people that nowadays and they won't believe you.

Edited by Bukidnon on 09/19/2010 02:43:40 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
inflation on 09/19/2010 07:40:03 MDT Print View

its inflation

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Cost of gear.............. on 09/19/2010 09:35:15 MDT Print View

Franco,
"How much did you earn per hour then ?
Multiply the amount of hours times what someone doing the same job earns now and tell us how much that $500 is now.
(The minimum wage per hour in the USA in 1972 was $1.60. Last year it was $ 7.25.
So going by that figure $500 in 1972 is about $2.250 now.
There is a chance that you can buy now the same type of gear for less than $2.250...)
Franco"

Averaging both our earnings at that time, we were making about $7/hour each so at $280/week ($560 for both of us) it took us about a week to pay for our gear.
We didn't get the greatest tent at the time, but we spared no expense on our sleeping bags or our packs.
If I figure what the same 'type' of gear would cost me now, I think it would be around $1500....retail.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/19/2010 13:12:55 MDT Print View

Averaging both our earnings at that time, we were making about $7/hour each so at $280/week ($560 for both of us)

So you were making about 4.375x the average weekly wage then.
That would be the equivalent of $31.20 now, times 80 (1 week wage x 2) makes it $2.496.....


but we spared no expense on our sleeping bags or our packs.

How much does a pack and sleeping bag of the same sort of weight/size/performance cost now ?

Franco

Edited by Franco on 09/19/2010 13:17:26 MDT.

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: "Cost of gear "then" and now" on 09/19/2010 13:31:53 MDT Print View

Franco,
As far as I can figure, roughly twice what they cost then.
I must say, however, the quality is just as good or better.
It's hard to remember, being OLD and all. ;-)

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/19/2010 14:33:03 MDT Print View

I used to do this often at work , photographic retail.
People would go on and on about how good and cheap cameras used to be "back then" , so I challenged them to bring in their pictures and compare them ...
To verify this take a really close look at the sharpness/detail of your old photos (not the ones taken by a studio with 4x5" camera...)
The problem is that sometime people remember the cost in dollars but not how long they had to work to earn that.
BTW, here is a comment from the Net on camera prices :
I came across a 1936 Contax RF ad with prices recently, and I was shocked to say the least! The top model with fast glass was $371 (1936) US dollars! A brand new Buick was only $700 in 1936 !
Yep, in the early days Leicas and Contaxes used to cost a year's wage , or more..., but people think that a $1k DSLR is really expensive compared to....

This is the tent that I mentioned costed 5 weeks wage second hand in 1972 :

Force 10 MK4
Force 10 MK4 2

This was a tight 3 person tent, mostly used for 2 . Often copied, still in use now in Nepal for example.
A few kindly described it as "heavy" for one person . Cotton fly : 18 lbs, nylon fly 12.35 lbs
Franco

Edited by Franco on 09/19/2010 14:56:35 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/19/2010 16:06:02 MDT Print View

My first real set of gear - that I bought after college (I used horrid loaned gear in college) cost a lot when I think about how little I made at the time. My first real backpack I got for like $5 or something like that - where I worked had a lot of customers who smoked and I badgered them for their Marlboro UPC's and saved them up and redeemed them for a sweet internal frame backpack, all I paid was shipping. 5 minutes with a seam ripper and I had all the smoker logos off of it. But then that $5 was more like $50 to me now. I don't blink much these days when I buy a $4 latte. Afterall...it is "just" $4. But back then....$5 would have fed me for a couple days.

I remember buying my first car for $300 in cash. Then buying $200 of tires and a new battery. Once I had plates/tabs/registered it was $600 total - in cash. It was a lot of money for me to come up with but I did it by saving. $600 doesn't seem like a lot of money to me now either for what I got - but at the time it was a huge jump to get a car.

Many things are cheaper these days - one only has to wander Walmart to see that. What used to cost $500 20-30 years ago is now $50 (for example microwaves, movie players, etc) and when inflation is taken into consideration it gets even cheaper.

John Davis
(Bukidnon) - F
Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/20/2010 11:22:17 MDT Print View

The Force Ten was always a tent for toffs. While it was occasionally visible in remote glens, I can't ever recall seeing one in a high corrie, for a very good reason. At 18 lbs, the all cotton tent was largely a car camper's residence. Those of us unable to afford a Force Ten were also unable to afford cars. Still, cycling round the Lake District on icy roads with full winter camping gear as I made my way from train to campsite and back was highly entertaining.

The only person I knew who owned a Force Ten had beaten Jan Kodes at tennis and made a visit to hospital with a dislocated jaw after an incident involving his girl friend. He told me that the tent suffered in horizontal rain because wind could blow the wet fly against the inner, resulting in leakage.

John Davis
(Bukidnon) - F
Cost of gear "then" and now on 09/20/2010 11:30:00 MDT Print View

"Many things are cheaper these days - one only has to wander Walmart to see that. What used to cost $500 20-30 years ago is now $50 (for example microwaves, movie players, etc) and when inflation is taken into consideration it gets even cheaper."

I finally learned to drive when a return train ticket to Aviemore from Stafford cost me £130, sometime before 1986. This year, I paid £70 for a similar journey to Scotland. Can such prices be sustained without cutting corners?