Forum Index » Philosophy & Technique » What are your guidelines for buying gear?


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Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: Killjoy on 03/05/2013 07:58:06 MST Print View

Just kidding about that garbage about the experiences. My real strategy is as follows:

Want it? See if Doug buys it.
Wait three months.
Buy cheaply from Doug on gear swap.

Love the cuben duo I got a few years ago, and it even came with a snack

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F - M

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 03/05/2013 08:15:13 MST Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 06/17/2013 19:56:32 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: on 03/05/2013 08:32:01 MST Print View

Thursday, baby! Gargantua to Devil's Chair.

(Can you tell I'm excited)

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F - M

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 03/05/2013 08:35:04 MST Print View

deleted

Edited by rOg_w on 06/17/2013 19:57:04 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Rog on 03/05/2013 08:53:48 MST Print View

Usually wake at 1-2 am to make the drive. Planning to be at Gargantua Road somewhere between 8-10 am Thursday morning. I need to be home sometime Saturday before my kids bedtime. You are most welcome to join me. Stephen is unfortunately (or fortunately) celebrating his wife's birthday.

edit- sorry for the thread drift, folks. We'll continue this privately. We now return you to your regularly scheduled gear purchase programming.

Edited by Ike on 03/05/2013 09:01:20 MST.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: Rog on 03/05/2013 08:59:46 MST Print View

Yep, wife birthday on thursday and could not get today off work.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Ike on 03/05/2013 09:00:52 MST Print View

Have fun man! Still available for PR?

Elijah Ziemann
(MrBlondyable) - F
Buying Process on 03/05/2013 10:22:39 MST Print View

I usually first realize that I need an item, then buy the best version of that item that I can afford. I generally don't buy any other item in that category. The exceptions are:

1. The redundant item is extremely affordable.
2. Sleeping bags. I sleep in 20 degree weather to 80 degree weather, so I have a 20F bag and a 45F bag.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
What are your guidelines for buying gear? on 03/05/2013 11:49:31 MST Print View

The careful, conservative accountant's guide to new gear purchasing:
(1) See announcement of new xxx on BPL.
(3) Look at the manufacturer's website and drool over the specifications.
(3) Try to ignore because my current xxx works just fine.
(4) Read more raves on BPL and even on The Lightweight Backpacker, whose members are far less apt to run out and buy the latest thing. Keep doing this for a year.
(5) Recheck the manufacturer's website; keep remembering that the new xxx is almost a pound lighter than my current xxx.
(6) Set up a spreadsheet to calculate dollar cost per ounce of weight saved if I buy the new xxx. Factor in probable selling price of the old one.
(7) Since I haven't quite died of sticker shock from that exercise, order the new xxx.
(8) Set up the new xxx in my living room as soon as received and spend the night in it (while I can still send it back). Decide I really like it so far.
(9) Decide to hang on to the old xxx for a while until I've thoroughly tested the new one in the field. Plan to decide after a season of backpacking with the new xxx which one I want to keep.
(10) While over-training for the following summer, develop severe plantar fasciitis which keeps me off the trails for almost 9 months--so no tent testing in the field.
(11) Over a year after purchasing the new xxx, I still own two xxx's and haven't yet had a chance for thorough testing of the newer one. The one good thing is that the old xxx has been discontinued and is in high demand in the WTB columns of BPL, so I can probably get a higher price for it if I decide to sell. In the meantime I still have two of the darn things sitting here and, thanks to family circumstances (most of them fun, but not backpacking-related), won't be able to do any serious backpacking until mid- July. Hopefully by next fall I can make the decision?

I might as well have ignored the spreadsheet step, but at least the accountant in me is satisfied!

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: A very flat place (Grrrrrrrr)
Re: What are your guidelines for buying gear? on 03/05/2013 12:26:31 MST Print View

Thanks for talking about shopping as it reminded me I needed to buy supplies from Pack It Gourmet :-)

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
My Guidelines on 03/05/2013 13:03:05 MST Print View

Whatever it is needs to do well what it's meant to do.

Once the above is satisfied -- then I look for compact form, light weight, and simplicity. I am at the age where price is no longer a big factor -- particularly if the item stands head and shoulders above the rest.

I used to be a big gear slut, but not so much anymore. I feel I have my system pretty much "dialed in" for my kind of hikes. But even when I was a gear whore, I was also a minimalist at heart. I hated clutter -- so usually I bought to replace something else rather than adding to.

Edited by ben2world on 03/05/2013 13:07:39 MST.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
a helpful question to ask on 03/05/2013 14:01:11 MST Print View

Just asking the process question is IMO a really good start (akin to "the first step is admitting you have a problem ...").

Being a mostly right-brained anal-retentive type, it's very much about process for me. First is establishing what all of the criteria even *are*, including (in no particular order):

- Price
- Durability
- Weight
- Where/if I can store the damned thing at home
- What niche(s) if fills; how well can I or can I not do without it?
- related to the niche(s) question, is it generally useful outside of backpacking?
- Can I make it myself instead of buying?
- Can I buy a used one or a cheaper alternative that's nearly as good?
- what feature(s) make this unique or better than alternatives and how important are they?

Then it's a matter of prioritizing and weighting the criteria. Doing this on paper (or with electrons) really helps me evaluate stuff more objectively.

Obviously I'm not going through this for buying a couple of tent stakes or the like (probably not ...).

Closely related issues for me are establishing whether I'm even aware of all of the credible alternatives for a given item, and getting objective reviews of the item (and best alternatives) from intelligent/experienced folks.

The downside to all of this is that it's more work; typically if I'm interested enough though, it's sort of fun work. The upside is that I've done pretty well with gear selection, am pretty happy with most of what I've purchased over the years.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Decision making process at the Bloom house on 03/05/2013 14:21:37 MST Print View

"Cool I'm finally ready to order that ULA Ohm 2.0"

"Thing 2 needs goalie skates"

"Goalie skates are different than regular hockey skates? Why didn't I know this?"

Two weeks to a month later...

"Well I think I want the Circuit now so good thing I waited. Purchasing ruck in 3... 2..."

"My car needs a brake job."

"Didn't we just buy that thing?"

"A year ago, used, and I put >40k miles per year on my vehicle due to my job."

Two weeks to a month later....

etc. etc.

BLUF this gives me ample time for product research and I've learned not to hesitate when I have a window of opportunity to pick up new gear.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Decision Making Process on 03/05/2013 14:52:32 MST Print View

My process is first to identify the catagory of items that I need and define the attributes of that category. Then buy 1 item for each category and if buying a new item it replaces an item in the old category. I keep 1 full backup set of kit to lend out of most items.

My gearlists are actually listed in type of product rather than the actual items which makes comparing different options easier.

It also allows me to obsess over spreadsheets in two different ways. First what types of items should be on my gear list and then what item should fill each type. As I write down my thought process it seems a little obsessive.

The other thing I do is keep track of the cost per night of each item. I figure since overhauling to a light wieght kit I have spent about $1200 and gone out about 20 nights each year over the past few years. That takes my gear cost per night to $30. My goal is to have that number drop each year.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
A big change on 03/05/2013 14:57:48 MST Print View

I pretty much locked into my gear two years ago so I only replace items when they wear out. (I but a lot of shoes). I did buy a few items for more serious winter camping but now purchased it will follow the same wear out strategy. I no longer get any thrill out of buying new gear. I guess I'm the party pooper!

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: What are your guidelines for buying gear? on 03/05/2013 16:50:03 MST Print View

Process goes like this...

1) Want it or need it - buy it. I work hard so I buy things if it suits me. Love a deal though.

2) Big ticket item guidelines - purchase discretely and let it show up at home. Wife's fury lasts 3-4 hours maximum. After the storm has passed, take item to man cave and become giddy. Last item purchased in this manner: WM Ultralight. It was worth it.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 03/05/2013 16:54:16 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: What are your guidelines for buying gear? on 03/05/2013 17:24:14 MST Print View

>"After the storm has passed, take item to man cave and become giddy. "

You need a separate delivery chute or mailbox with instructions to the carrier "leave in man cave repository".

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
simple procedure on 03/05/2013 18:05:00 MST Print View

Now that my son is in college my gear buying guidlelines have become much simpler:
1)Ogle new gear.
2)Remember size of tuition check.
3)Sigh and turn away.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
look for friends with expensive hobbies on 03/06/2013 09:07:13 MST Print View

In terms of getting spousal approval (or at least acceptance) of gear purchases, I find it extremely helpful to have friends with really expensive hobbies. Seek out and befriend one or two people like this just as cover ...

When I point to one friend who races expensive cars, or another who has a big fancy boat, and point out that I could replace all of my backpacking gear with new state-of-the-art stuff annually and not approach their annual $$ outlay, the issue just seems to be put in a different context.

I guess the other idea is to have a spouse who is also a backpacker. The catch there is that occasionally when I find a new piece of gear that I really want, it ends up costing double --- as she gets one too.

But I really do have all the gear I could ever need now. Really.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: What are your guidelines for buying gea on 03/06/2013 10:56:29 MST Print View

I have the same problem as Brian.

My wife and I always go backpacking together, so any purchase means buying two of the same or similar item. I don't think I'd get away with purchasing something just for me.

Come to think of it, I've purchased items just for her, and that was fine...what's wrong with this picture...?