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Backpacker's "Gear Guide" just out
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Jeffrey Kuchera

Locale: Great Lakes
Uh yeah. Whatever. on 01/21/2007 23:38:50 MST Print View

I am not really sure how my humble opinion that Backpacker Magazine doesn't contain material of the caliber it did about fourteen years ago is going to harm the ultralight movement.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: Uh yeah. Whatever. on 01/22/2007 00:17:15 MST Print View

I did not mean your commentary was only relevant to about 14 years ago -- or that what Rodale does, or anyone at BPL, will innevitably harm the UL movement. Nor, is it only your commentary, by itself, that I was responding to. I meant your, and others, present commentary may not take into account the terrain or circumstances of the world in which Rodale and BPL work. I can only say what I think, it does not mean it is true or that I would not change my mind. Please, don't take offense at what I am writing.

IMO: At some point criticizing others or questioning their abilities or integtity will backfire (at least without establishing an equivalent credibility). Again, IMO, anyone who cannot influence the ultimate outcome of a decision within that Rodale organization who attacks or criticizes that organiztion can create a more negative result than is necessary or foredained.

The real issue, IMO, is to support and engage with the existing alternatives and people ... in a positive manner. Build those alternatives and possibilities which are within your/our grasp, and not seek to "convert" others or those whom we have no relation with to believe or act as we wish they might otherwise do.

Otherwise, ... go for it .... you are right on, I just don't like to think about Rodale putting their energy and time and money into dinging BPL like people at BPL are dinging them; when it is entirely unecessary.


Edited by bdavis on 01/22/2007 00:42:39 MST.

Jeffrey Kuchera

Locale: Great Lakes
Don't want a peeing contest to ensue. on 01/22/2007 01:11:57 MST Print View

I get your drift (I think) -keep things positive and avoid being negative. That being said opinions and criticisms can often effect positive changes. Much of the UL gear we covet today exists because people were willing to form opionions and criticisms of said UL gear prototypes and first runs and share these opinions and criticisms. So by sharing my opinion that the quality of content in backpacker magazine is no longer satisfactory to me I hope to effect positive change. I do not think there is anything wrong with letting a business that I at one time supported know that they have lost my loyalty. I do agree that attacks should be avoided however. I do not think that stating that I go to the library to flip thru their publication is an attack. I also think my inquiry about the date of Rodale's acquisition of Backpacker was misinterpreted. If my memory serves me Rodale has been in control of the magazine since I read my first copy of it. I was not suggesting that they took it over and ruined it but rather that their style has changed over the years if they have in fact been in control of the publication since I discovered my first issue of it circa 1992. B.D. if you wish to discuss this topic at any further length feel free to PM me. I do not believe that I will post again at this thread.

Respectfully -jeff aka frankenfeet

Edited by frankenfeet on 01/22/2007 01:26:18 MST.

R Alsborg
(FastWalker) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Give it a break... on 01/22/2007 01:39:49 MST Print View

This is getting to be too predictable and sad.

I’ve noticed the past few years just about the time Backpacker Magazines "Gear Guide" comes out some ultralight discontents feel they have to share their humble opinions and have this uncontrollable need to slam the magazine.

Hike your own hike and try to have an open mind.

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
What about BPL on 01/22/2007 03:46:20 MST Print View

Maybe BPL should do a print Gear Guide. Then we would all have something to drool over :D


(dealtoyo) - F

Locale: Mt Hood
Re: What about BPL on 01/22/2007 03:54:01 MST Print View

They already do (sort of). Outdoor Retailer Show reports for summer and winter markets.

Edited by dealtoyo on 01/22/2007 03:55:51 MST.

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
Re: Re: What about BPL on 01/22/2007 04:01:11 MST Print View

Ah. Oh well, I'm a new subscriber, so I had no idea that they did a print write up as well.

I'll just go back, sit in the corner, and shut up now ;)


Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Backpacker's "Gear Guide" just out on 01/22/2007 09:54:33 MST Print View

I can definetely keep a positive state of mind in regards to the Backpacker Gear Guide. How could I not be in a positive mood when I'm still laughing at the inclusion of the computer printer with a handle on it?!? Thanks for posting the pic, Jim!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Backpacker's "Gear Guide" just out on 01/22/2007 09:59:36 MST Print View

I didn't know that Outdoor Retailer Show reports for summer and winter markets come in print form?

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Cannonballs on 01/22/2007 10:43:00 MST Print View

Maybe this is old news here; sorry if it's a repost! Ray Jardine wrote a fanciful essay about Backpacker magazine that pretty much sums up my feelings about relying on mainstream press for any information.

If he wasn't climbing Mount Vinson right now after having just walked to the South Pole, he'd be laughing his ass off when he saw that Backpacker is now pimping portable printers.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Getting Laid on 01/22/2007 11:08:07 MST Print View

PS I have a personal theory on why people still insist on traditional backpacking, and it's this: the ladies in their lives.

My sister (a heavyweight backpacker) finally helped me understand this. Basically, girls in general have a higher affinity for (perceived) security and cleanliness. (Not all girls, not all the time. But your average female could be said to place more importance on security and ability to get clean and stay clean than your average male.)

So the more your camping setup is big, complicated, and "Eddie Bauer," the more comfortable/relaxed/secure your (stereotypical) female companions are likely to feel. And the more likely they are to, well, you know. Want to come... err... along. Well okay I'm not articulating myself well here. Please ignore any double entendre you may think you are reading.

Anyway, back to the subject. I say who can blame the heavyweight backpackers? I'd hump (excuse me) a 50-lb pack 6 miles a day for the comfort of my girlfriend. The fact that it would take me 4 days to walk a distance I could dayhike is irrelevant, I guess. In that hypothetical situation, there would be different drivers. After all, lots of us go car camping right? There are different drivers for that, too.

When it comes to true Backpacking, for me, my goal is simple: get to places that take more than one day of walking to see. I camp to walk, rather than walking to camp. But I also have a girlfriend who hates the bush!

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Backpacker Gear Guide - Different perspective on 01/22/2007 11:26:35 MST Print View

Every year the Backpacker Gear Guide gets published and like clockwork it gets roundly trashed as being utterly irrelevant to backpackers needs. Somehow when people publish things contrary to our own establish beliefs they’ve fallen into that hellish pit of bias. As if somehow our own opinions have reached the heavenly heights of the Gods by somehow circumventing that tar pit.

Truth is we’re all bias. In fact the more time, energy, money and thought we invest in our particular phobia, the more bias we become. The only way we can overcome the bias of others is to first deal with our own, untoward tendencies.

As a member in (hopefully) good standing of the UL community, I don’t really care too much what Backpacker published, at least with regard to the UL backpacking. The fact that they’ve published anything at all and continue to do so, at least indicates that they recognize the community exist and is a force to be reckoned with.

Nor do I believe that their copy is somehow tied to ad rates. I’ve gotten several good write-up’s in Backpacker (including the current Gear Guide) and have never been approached to buy advertising. I do believe they tend to focus on more mainstream products, ie. products from larger more established manufactures. Frankly that not only doesn’t bother me it makes me feel somewhat relieved.

I’m not sure I want to be a mainstream manufacture. I can’t think of any good reason to trade my time designing gear and talking with customers with trying to maintain a payroll, chasing government regulations, employee problems, etc. that plague larger businesses. Granted if I’m to remain in business for the long haul I’ll likely to get drug there kicking and screaming. But I, for one, view that day with a significant degree of apprehension.

Remember, not all of us stand on the same step on the staircase to backpacking nirvana. Nor are all of our destinations and desires the same. That which lacks value to some, may be quite valuable to others on a different path.


Randy K
(roosterk) - F

Locale: SW OK
Re: Backpacker Gear Guide - Different perspective on 01/22/2007 11:34:39 MST Print View

Ron's post is one of the most insightful that I've seen, whether in this thread or others. I've never seen "hike your own hike", or a variation thereof, put more elegantly.

I normally am not one for an 'attaboy' post, but felt that I had to comment on this one.


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Backpacker Gear Guide - Different perspective on 01/22/2007 11:51:00 MST Print View

"That which lacks value to some, may be quite valuable to others on a different path."

True. But when a publication that purports to serve a niche (i.e. backpackers) chases after profits by morphing into a "lifestyle" magazine with Gollum-like determination, then some of the criticisms leveled at it are actually quite legitimate.

(sandykayak) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Getting Laid on 01/22/2007 13:17:21 MST Print View

LOL... that reminded me of a hard-core backpacker who schlepped an aluminum lawn chair for his urban girlfriend! (It was a wimp hike) She (wearing blue jeans) was most put out that he was offering to buy her a backpack for her girlfriend. I gently suggested that he get her another present that would be more to her liking AS WELL AS the pack.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Re: Getting Laid on 01/22/2007 13:49:07 MST Print View

Yeah buying a backpack for your non-hiking girlfriend is in the same realm as Homer buying Marge a bowling ball for her birthday.

They say it's easier to make a wife of a backpacker than it is to make a backpacker of a wife!

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Backpacker Gear Guide - Different perspective on 01/22/2007 13:54:52 MST Print View

Good words, Mr. Moak.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Backpacker Gear Guide - Different perspective on 01/22/2007 14:09:31 MST Print View

Excellently spoken, Ron. Might I add the following:

If someone who subscribes to a magazine doesn't like its content, cancel the subscription. And if that person doesn't have a subscription in the first place, well just don't get one. Save your energy and money for whatever tickles your fancy, and leave others to do the same for whatever they like. IMHO.

All within the bounds of law and good manners, of course.


b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: Uh yeah. Whatever. on 01/22/2007 15:18:54 MST Print View

I purposefully chose to respond here to Jeffrey's post, and not Ron Moak's --- which is a short version of my long winded thoughts. That is because I entirely respect Jeffrey's response to me, feel I need to respond, and totally respect Ron Moak (of Guru status in my mind) at the same time.

Jeffrey -- Thank you for your post, I am not criticizing nor am I condemning what you wrote previously. Thank you.

Et al.,

If this is taken for granted to be a world in which the majority of people do not care about wilderness or the value of wilderness, then people who do care need to condition their converstations on that recognition of a matter of fact -- they don't care and are greedy. Talking about or to those people will really not get you anywhere. That is and was my sole point previously.

To fight with people with more money, more power, and generally with the freedom to accomplish their goals at your expense is foolish -- although it is understandable, laudable, and I will and would support it to do so. (Don't think I am saying all this because I am a wuss.)

People like Ron Moak and pj have taught me, inspired me, and are providing me with both insight and gear here by their endeavors. I would not otherwise have either the gear or the insight to write this.

Therefore, all I was saying is, to quote an old phrase, "give peace a chance" -- especially dealing with Rodale and publishers or other business interests who might help in building what I can only call an "UltrLIte Consciousness".

I have seen more fights between people than I wished, as a lawyer, because they wouldn't respect each other in the first instance and in the second insisted on beating on each other, when it could produce no good result, ultimately, for either. I think, unless proven wrong, with the size of what I perceive as the growing UL movement or reality, those people (Rodale, et al.) will listen and listen even more seriously as the UL community in a directed, concentrated, and articulate manner addresses the Backpaker magazines or individuals of the world with sharp, coherent comments. So go for it Ron, pj, Jeffrey and the rest .... one for all and all for one -- but watch out for my tent or tarp space, a grizzly I might want to handle but not a human.


Timothy Davis
(Davis2001r6) - F

Locale: Sunny!
Big Sky on 01/22/2007 15:21:14 MST Print View

I haven't seen the new one yet, but just the fact that they could recommend the Big Sky tents as a best ultralight knowing the production issues they have turns me off.