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Packrafting, Kickstarter and BPL
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Jacob Smith
(Wrongturn) - MLife

Locale: On the AT
re: Hostility on 01/18/2013 17:16:21 MST Print View

Hostility is coming from those of us that put up the funds for this "backpackinglight" project in the form of membership fees and are promised things are going to improve. Instead of taking the time to engage us and work on BPL, he's soliciting the same group of people he doesn't communicate with here to kickstart another project? It would be like the guy from A-Z videos asking us for input and advice on his series and then soliciting us for another series while promising to eventually get around to the first.

I'm not one for the mob mentality, but honestly it is getting old.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Packrafting, Kickstarter and BPL on 01/18/2013 18:54:53 MST Print View

I watched the video. Did anyone else catch this statement from Ryan in the video at 2:50: "We tried a pilot of this project last year and it worked fantastic."
At least in 2012, BPL's Wilderness Trekking School didn't offer a packrafting course. Don't recall seeing an offering in 2011.

So when and where was that? Anyone reading this have any knowledge of this project?

Seems like a niche in a niche subject. The packrafting sub forum has been here for quite a long while 107 threads 716 posts. Not a lot of discussion of this subject going on here. 894 post in the relatively new hammock sub forum for comparison.

I have to say it does look like a lot of fun. Too bad many of the rivers here most of the time are too low, slow flowing.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: RE: Kickstarter on 01/18/2013 18:59:20 MST Print View

"Ryan isn't taking anything out of the BPL cashflow"

Are you sure about that?

FWIW, the filming has already begun. Obviously, there is some degree of assurance that the film will be completely funded, so Ryan et al must know something that we don't.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
A-z videos on 01/18/2013 19:09:51 MST Print View


Edited by stephenm on 01/19/2013 05:43:59 MST.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Kickstarter on 01/18/2013 21:37:56 MST Print View

Has it occurred to anyone else that perhaps Ryan's interests have evolved from UL backpacking to packrafting?

Yes, ULBP is still a part of his life, and will be, at least until his son finishes Scouting. However, Ryan has been promoting packrafting with increasing fervor over the past few years.

We change as we grow older. We find new, exciting toys. Just look at your own gear closets.

To all things there is a season..........

Edited by wandering_bob on 01/18/2013 21:39:26 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
In Defense of RJ on 01/19/2013 16:27:31 MST Print View

I have been critical at times about how RJ runs BPL. As a paying customer, I feel I have the right to do so.

But maybe the criticism about the packrafting is somewhat unwarranted.

Lets face it, backpacking is not rocket science. It is pretty simple. Lightweight, or its lighter iterations is not rocket science, voodoo, or difficult. What else that is new or revolutionary about backpacking can be added to the extensive resource we already have on BPL? About the only thing left to talk about here is new gear... and we already know there is no longer any innovation in this arena; stagnation has set in.

There does seem to be some interest from BPL members in packrafting. I took a quick look at the Kickstarter page. The first two levels of participation have some pretty lame rewards, but the others might appeal to some folks. Although it sounds a little pompous that RJ will personally lead your group on trips... Dave C would be more interesting to me to spend time with.

I also noticed, if I read it correctly, that BPL MLIFE members will have access to Level 1.

I am not interested in packrafting per se, but have been toying with the idea of rafting from Hoover Dam to Mexico. My Mercury Quicksilver would be too heavy to portage around the dams below Hoover. But a packraft would be perfect. So I might enjoy the Level 1 course.

I disdain crowd funding, from a philosophical perspective, and won't be donating my money to this project.

So lets give RJ some slack.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: In Defense of RJ on 01/19/2013 17:14:53 MST Print View


I have nothing against pack rafting or what Ryan is doing, its just he comes out with this and a lot of Bpl members think Ryan should deliver his Bpl promises first.

Yes the locals are restless but they do have a reason to be.

Edited by stephenm on 01/19/2013 17:17:31 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Kickstarter & BPL on 01/19/2013 20:43:34 MST Print View

While I haven't been following this fervently, I don't see this as a fundamental clash of RJ's time between BPL and the packrafting project. There seem to be quite a few benefits of this project that will spill over into BPL - primarily in the form of instructional articles free to BPL members.

My expectations of BPL are pretty minimal: two articles/week and keep the lights on. If they can do that and provide some free packrafting videos and articles, then I'm on board.

Edited by dandydan on 01/20/2013 10:54:59 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Kickstarter & BPL on 01/19/2013 21:42:32 MST Print View

"My expectations of BPL are pretty minimal: two articles/week and to keep the lights on. If they can do that and provide some free packrafting videos and articles, then I'm on board."

You're too easy, dude. Hold out for free parking. Parking is so fricking expensive these days...

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Kickstarter & BPL on 01/19/2013 21:49:39 MST Print View

"You're too easy, dude. Hold out for free parking. Parking is so fricking expensive these days..."

Some car dealerships in NYC charge around $49 for a basic maintenance service, IF you wait for it. If you leave the car for the day, it is $129!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Kickstarter & BPL on 01/19/2013 23:26:30 MST Print View

Had to give my left nut for an overnight spot in Chicago.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Re: Re: Re: Kickstarter & BPL on 01/19/2013 23:37:00 MST Print View

You would be so fortunate Travis.

Lance had to give both for two evenings in Chicago with Winfrey.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Kickstarter & BPL on 01/19/2013 23:43:40 MST Print View

Eugene: LOL.

"Lance had to give both" - which was twice as many as he had after his testicular surgery in 1996.

Winfrey on the other hand. . .

Miles Barger
(milesbarger) - F - M

Locale: West Virginia
Ah nuts. on 01/19/2013 23:45:17 MST Print View

Nicely done, sir.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Ah nuts. on 01/20/2013 05:47:02 MST Print View

Where I live you get a free banjo when you park.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Kickstarter & BPL on 01/20/2013 08:32:09 MST Print View

I agree with Dan but would be satisfied with "lights on" only. The articles are a bonus.

Anyone have any idea how much money is generated by dues? I'm guessing it isn't a great deal. I've already got more than my money's worth from my lifer membership.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Re: Kickstarter & BPL on 01/20/2013 11:49:36 MST Print View

I founded and run my own organization with members (a nonprofit vs a for-profit business...which has all the risks of starting a business without a potential financial upside). And I am sure there are many other BPL members who have started their own businesses and know what a challenge it is. I have no idea what the finances of BPL are. Does anyone know how many members BPL has?

I don't know Ryan, but I get the sense that he has tried many things (making and selling gear, print magazine, workshops, etc.). Many have not worked out financially, which leads me to suspect that BPL has been a struggle. But I give him some respect for being a entrepreneur with a social commitment to a community. And for being willing to experiment and recognize when something is not working. I say all this from afar, with little direct sense of how good a businessman he is. Although the other staff working with BPL seem honorable, and I like to think that good people tend to coalesce around other good people.

Anyway, I am not a long time member of BPL, although I have been aware of it for years. I'm a long time backpacker, but took a break for quite some time due to a propensity for getting too many degrees, that starting my own organization thing, having kids, living overseas, etc. So I don't have the history of being a member that others have. But the membership fees seem pretty small, and unless BPL has a really large roster of paying members, I am guessing we are not talking about a lot of money here to run this thing on. So, at least for me, I calibrate my expectations accordingly.

Edited by mwgillenwater on 01/20/2013 11:52:13 MST.

James Castleberry
Well said, Michael G.! on 01/20/2013 12:43:49 MST Print View

I don't have any experience running a business but I can only imagine the challenges it must be. I agree that the BPL member yearly dues are pretty low for the content received. Kokatat, NRS, Alpacka, Werner, Astral, Stohlquist, Aqua-bound are all companies that could easily chip in to this thing to promote packrafting and their own bottom line. The project also coincides with the recent founding of American Packrafting Association, which is urging members to contribute. Perhaps packrafting lends itself more to having actual classes than does backpacking. Whitewater safety and that type of thing. I think with current state and affordability of outdoor videography, they can make a pretty good course.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Packrafting, Kickstarter and BPL on 01/20/2013 21:44:59 MST Print View

It seems unlikely to me that BPL will be run any differently because of this.