READERS - What do you want investigated in 2007?
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Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: READERS - What do you want investigated in 2007? on 09/01/2006 08:31:17 MDT Print View

A comprehensive article or series on clothing layering systems would be great. Where I found it relatively easy to evaluate my choices for pack, shelter and kitchen, getting a good clothing system together was the most difficult part of getting an UL system together. It took more perceptual change and research for clothing than the rest of my gear. We talk about the "Big 3" (pack, sleeping gear, shelter)when looking at hiking gear, but it should be the "Big 4" with a clothing system making that last category.

Fire starting methods would be a good topic too.

Edited by dwambaugh on 09/01/2006 08:59:02 MDT.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Weekly content release on 09/01/2006 15:49:05 MDT Print View

I have a feeling that Sam and Brian do not subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. In every newsletter, we announce new content. We've published new articles and reviews weekly since January 1st 2005. You can figure that out from the home page if you are visiting regularly, but it's really easy to just sign up for the newsletter which has direct links to each new release - every Wednesday.

Edited by cmcrooker on 09/01/2006 15:49:37 MDT.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
More great ideas - and some are coming SOON on 09/01/2006 15:51:17 MDT Print View

Hi all,
More great ideas and some are in the works already!

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/01/2006 18:42:17 MDT Print View

I will agree that I would like to see more trip reports from around the world.

In particular, I would like to see a bit of extra thought into long distance unsupported trips, trip in places where "bushwacking" is the norm rather than the exception, and trips where large amounts of water and food need to be taken. Esp Arid trips.

In South Australia, almost all of my trips involve carrying rediculous amounts of water (bare minumum is starting with 3L), and all of them involve off-track and off-trail walking, through scrub that will tear alomst all UL and SUL packs and rainwear to pieces in minutes. The average walk length for me is about a week, unsupported.

Could we get some reviews on pack and jacket options that are not neccessarily UL or SUL standard, but lightweight and capable of surviving what I have described? I know that there is no way a Gore Paclite 3 Jacket will stand up to Acacia sp. scrub, for example. What are the lightest options out there in "normal strength" 3L goretex or XCR fabrics? Does anyone make a rediculously spartan jacket out of these stronger, tougher materials?

Once I practice a bit more UL hiking, I wouldn't mind posting a trip report or two if allowed.

Thanks BPL for the opportunity to give our thoughts,

Adam

John Carter
(jcarter1)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: READERS - What do you want investigated in 2007? on 09/01/2006 23:33:23 MDT Print View

I agree on the fire starting article. In particular, the lightest surefire method of getting a fire started in a very wet, cold environment, such as in the PNW in November.

I'd also like to see the article scheduled for release in April-June 2006 titled "Lightweight Strategies for Wet Weather Hiking and Camping for Long Distance." Having just moved to the PNW, it was the article I was looking forward to reading the most, yet it is the only article that did not get finished! I realize it was a busy time for the authors as they were preparing for the Arctic traverse, but with Fall approaching, now would be a good time to finish it.

The artice would help me to understand better when the authors choose to move away from SUL to heavier gear. For example, while Ryan Jordan is a huge advocate of DWR bivies, he gives great reviews of the ID eVent bivies. Under what conditions does he switch?

Another example: when Ryan hiked the Wonderland Trail last November, he used a full rain suit. Time and again I read people say a poncho is more breathable than any rainsut, yet there are obviously times when a rain suit is better. What guidelines might one follow in choosing suit over poncho, DWR vs WP bivy, down vs synthetic, umbrella vs sucking it up? Does the new Gatewood Cape touted in their recent article on tarping in inclement conditions extend the season at which a rain suit and bivy are not needed?

In other words, what are the limits of the SUL revolution? We are inspired by the stories of the staff pushing the limits of their gear into foul weather, yet even they seem to know when to stop taunting death and bring more substantial protection. What advice can the authors impart from their experience beyone the edge? At what point have the authors woken up and said to themselves "I should have brought that heavier piece of gear?"

99% of the time I am extremely jazzed about my lightweight conversion, but this is sprinkled with brief moments of clarity where I wake up from my fantasy and realize I'm just asking for a whooping from mother nature.

Edited by jcarter1 on 09/02/2006 10:48:24 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/02/2006 00:45:19 MDT Print View

Adam wrote:
> In South Australia, almost all of my trips involve carrying rediculous amounts of water (bare minumum is starting with 3L), and all of them involve off-track and off-trail walking, through scrub that will tear alomst all UL and SUL packs and rainwear to pieces in minutes. The average walk length for me is about a week, unsupported.

> I know that there is no way a Gore Paclite 3 Jacket will stand up to Acacia sp. scrub, for example.

Ah, Adam, can I interest you in a really tough second hand GoreTex jacket which has only been through the NSW scrub a few times ... :-) Our Acacia sp are not that sharp - pity about some of the rest though ... ;-}

Believe it or not, I have been wearing a silnylon poncho/parka in some of our light scrub sometimes. The very smooth surface tends to slide over the scrub far more than the rough surface of the old Taslan GoreTex fabrics. That's some of the time. If it does get a pinhole, the silnylon does NOT leak anywhere nearly as much as a punctured Goretex membrane. Holes in the GT membrane seem to GROW instantly.

However, I have to confess that sometimes I just put my raingear away and bash through the scrub in tough full-length unproofed nylon gear, with a good hat keeping my head and shoulders moderately sheltered. Sure, I get wet, but in heavy scrub I am usually working hard enough that I don't get too cold. The hat is important: it blocks the rain from my head and a bit from my shoulders.

But thanks everyone for the ideas and suggestions. Yep, working on it.

Cheers
Roger Caffin

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/02/2006 20:11:32 MDT Print View

Are you from NSW Roger?

On my first couple of overnight walks as a scout I simply used a cheap $5 plastic poncho. It worked fine, although it was mostly on trails, with a bit of open scrub and pine forest off track.

I will have to investigate a silnylon parka and try it out.

I do agree on the work factor and using non-breathable fabrics. I have one of the last MONT gore-tex jackets produced. It is a great jacket, but I tend to sweat it up big time when working hard with a pack, so I am considering using lighter, still tough, but less breathable fabrics. It is only in Tasmania and the Aus Alps where I personally would prefer to have a really breathable jacket, due to the cold. I do have a pair of light (maybe 5 or 6 oz) coated nylon overpants that seem really tough, but do not breath a bit. I used them in Tasmania in March, and found that I didn't sweat them up at all-they had enough ventilation at the top and bottom, and perhaps I just don't sweat that much in my legs compared to my upper body.

On some occasions I ahve also employed that "wet bash" technique, although it has usually not been raining that hard. I find you get pretty wet though-especially if you are the first person going through the scrub!

NSW scrub is pretty weak. Haha! I reckon by changing technique slightly I could easily get away with a poncho in most of SA-if it is really raining hard enough (pretty *BEEP* rare even in winter) and I am in potentially damaging scrub, I would just have to sit/sleep it out (usually not that long).

I'll have to give it another go I reckon.

Seriously though, a review on tough, yet LW or UL jackets would be great.

Has anyone ever used desaliators or made their own for use on coastal walks or in deserts? Maybe a review on them would be good (maybe just for me tho, haha!).

Cheers guys and girls

Woubeir (from Europe)
(Woubeir) - F - MLife
Re: READERS - What do you want investigated in 2007? on 09/03/2006 17:24:21 MDT Print View

Perhaps a study on the choice of type of footwear, specifically related to the nature and severity of injuries.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: READERS - What do you want investigated in 2007? on 09/03/2006 23:55:59 MDT Print View

Hello everyone- these are some great ideas! Thanks- I've got inspiration for several new articles now!

Doug Johnson, Trekking Systems Editor

By the way- I thought you might like to know that we editors are in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Washington (that's me), D.C., and Australia. We've also had editors from Georgia and New Zealand...so those on staff are pretty well spread out!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/04/2006 17:36:13 MDT Print View

> Are you from NSW Roger?
Sydney, NSW - Blue Mts, and Wollemi NP.

> I will have to investigate a silnylon parka and try it out.
Er ... no. Silnylon poncho, sure, but not a closed parka. SWEAT!

Pants: I'm using either silnylon chaps (wierd, but they work, see my Review of the Oware ones here) or GoLite Whims with the legs expanded so they fit over my shoes.

> On some occasions I ahve also employed that "wet bash" technique, although it has usually not been raining that hard. I find you get pretty wet though-especially if you are the first person going through the scrub!
Yeah, true, but keep moving and EATING! Not so smart in Tasmania or the Alps though, -cold plus wind.

> NSW scrub is pretty weak.
I'm laughing too, but maybe for a different reason... Try some 'lawyer' vine jungle.

Edited by rcaffin on 09/04/2006 17:37:34 MDT.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/04/2006 20:50:52 MDT Print View

Ill just wait till you do a review of tought jackets then.

I have heard about this lawyer vine, not experienced it yet. I am guessing thats the same stuff as wait a while or lantana?

I was giving you crap about NSW scrub-you guys have some pretty tough places in the Blue Mountains. I hear Wollami is pretty hard to get into.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/04/2006 21:11:00 MDT Print View

I just got back from a weeklong walk in the North Japan Alps and have to admit that the weakest part of my effort to cut weight from my pack is the food. On this last trip my week's worth of meals weighed almost half of my entire pack weight! I've spent so much time with the equipment that I haven't yet really given the food aspect the five-year long consideration that I've so far given the equipment. That is something I'd really like to see: more in-depth articles on types, methods of preparation, and packing techniques for food and meals. And preferably not the constant loads of candy that I see in so many gear lists. I am a diabetic and the glycemic spikes of candy and overloads of sugar just don't work for me in the mountains. (Getting a hypoglycemic attack in the mountains when you're in the midst of climbing a vertical trail is truy a terrifying thing)

Edited by butuki on 09/04/2006 21:12:47 MDT.

Dane Fliedner
(dfliedner) - F

Locale: North Texas
RE: What do you want investigated in 2007 on 09/05/2006 14:07:14 MDT Print View

This is not so much a topic of investigation, but an improvement on the usability of the web site-- why not make a "FAQs" section that can be updated periodically to cover some of the state of the art in that particular field. These FAQs could avoid some of the thread redundancy that probably annoys the old timers (things like: hammock under insulation questions, tarp guyline lengths, size of one man tarps, cat vs. flat tarps, etc)-- of course most of this info is covered somewhere in the site, in some forum, but I think we can all agree that it is not very easy to find. It seems that a FAQ could help newbies get up to speed easier and faster, and with less heartache for all involved.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: RE: What do you want investigated in 2007 on 09/05/2006 15:20:20 MDT Print View

"why not make a "FAQs" section that can be updated periodically to cover some of the state of the art in that particular field"

To piggyback on Dane's idea, how about something like a glossary in wiki form? This would be something that forum participants could access and modify openly. It could be a simple at-hand reference for terms like base weight, catenary, Big Three, handy knots, silnylon, clo, lumen, types of fuel, etc. Maybe it could also have information on manufacturers, MYOG product sourcing, fabric details, etc.

So what gets mentioned and hashed out in the forums could receive a permanent, orderly place in the wiki-glossary, with the ability link back and forth.
-Mark

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
FAQs section on 09/05/2006 15:28:47 MDT Print View

As a recent backpacker trying to go light, an easy-to-find source of state-of-art info would be a real boost. Running Google searches on forum threads eventually nails down tips and info, but is very time-consuming. Good idea.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: Re: RE: What do you want investigated in 2007 on 09/05/2006 19:37:01 MDT Print View

In case someone is counting these votes I just wanted to step in and second the idea of a BPL wiki. That is fast becoming THE "industry standard" for an informational clearinghouse.

Robert Spencer
(bspencer) - MLife

Locale: Sierras of CA and deserts of Utah
More suggestions.... on 09/09/2006 23:44:30 MDT Print View

Hope it's not too late for a few more random ideas. I'm a newbie but here goes.

I'd like to see reviews of the following:

hiking insoles (superfeet, dr. scholls, sorbathane, etc.) Which ones are the best for the weight?

ultralight gaiters (montbell, dirty girls, etc.)

Pentax W20 and WPi

ultralight synthetic short sleeve shirts (montbell, patagonia, Golite, etc.) A chart with actual weights would be helpful. Which ones provide adequate sun protection?

I'd also like to see articles investigating the following:

specific backpacking menus/nutrition versus weight. What does the BPL staff eat?

Chlorine Dioxide drops are great but is it safe to drink water treated the night before? How cold does the water have to be to require a 4 hour wait?

What's the deal with bear cannisters? Are Ursacks the future or will anyone make a newer and lighter hard sided option? Fully titanium can? All carbon fiber cannister anyone? Is the cost out of this world? I am hoping that the smart people at BPL will invent and sell something we can use where these are required (Yosemite etc.)

And finally, I love when you outline the brief history of lightweight products. For instance, which ones were the lightest and who came and took over the top spot. I like it when there are lists or charts of the top several ultralight champs for quick and easy comparison. I'll stop now.

Keep up the great work guys. You are a life saver!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/10/2006 01:58:07 MDT Print View

> Ill just wait till you do a review of tought jackets then.
Hum ... this is Backpacking LIGHT. Tough jackets are HEAVY.
The trouble is, if you rely on your 'tough' jacket, sooner or later you will trash it. That's been my experience, anyhow.

> lawyer vine, not experienced it yet. I am guessing thats the same stuff as wait a while or lantana?
Same as 'wait-awhile'.
Lantana is completely different - awful stuff, but not as prevalent in the rainforest valleys.

> I hear Wollami is pretty hard to get into.
Yeah ... took us all afternoon to get down about 300 m height and along about 1.5 km, from ridge to creek. Bit rough. But then, getting out was slightly more epic that trip. Good trip tho!

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
ideas on 09/14/2006 10:50:36 MDT Print View

I would like to see a comparison between the different waterproof breathable membranes on the market. I would love to see a scientific and real world evaluation between Gore-Tex Paclite, eVent, and Proprietary technologies as used by Mont-Bell, TNF (Diad), Go Lite (Virga) and others. I would love to see actual numbers to see how breathable these membranes are, how truly waterproof they are (long term: example- I have heard rumors that eVent was not as waterproof as originally thought) and how they compare to each other.

Although you might feel that it is slightly of your market, I would like to see some more traditional “lightweight” gear reviews. I feel there are a ton of “lightweight” hikers such as myself (20-25lbs) that are not interested in traditional equipment, but are not yet ready for that cueben(sp) fiber backpack.

I would like to see a overview and comparison of lightweight frame packs as well as reviews and comparisons between lightweight double wall tents (2 person examples: MSR Hubba Hubba, Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 SL, REI Quarter Dome, and others.



I also second some earlier opinions such as

A synthetic insulation review (perhaps even including down-(the benchmark of insulation) to compare and contrast with)

More “traditional” sleep system reviews

Water treatment: Chlorine Dioxide (Aqua Mira, Miox, etc..), Lightweight Filters (Katahan Hiker, MSR Sweetwater, etc.), and UV (Steripen) When to use each one and advantages and disadvantages of each.


BTW- Thank you for doing such great in depth unbiased reviews. Sometimes a bad review is as good as a favorable review to a reader and much harder to come by in today’s commercial world of outdoor publications.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Ideas for 2007 on 09/14/2006 21:08:03 MDT Print View

This idea just hit me: how about a nice overview of winter hiking footwear options? There are a number of different product designs out there from shoes or boots; neoprene socks or waterproofs or to gaiters & WPB shoes, etc. A lot of it could boil down to personal preference, but there are trade-offs with each. I'd like to see a
good summary of "best practices" for the non-skiing, snow & slush hiker.

-Mark