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Progress ;-?
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John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Progress ;-? on 02/02/2014 11:17:39 MST Print View

Define progress.

In my case it is defined as a constant state of transition. ;-)

In the beginning of my hiking trips I used a $14.00 flashing blue light special as my shelter.

Blue pup tent

That's my shelter on the right and my smarter hiking partner with his lighter shelter on the left.

It was then that I got the idea to get off the ground but still not much lighter and I transitioned into my Hennessy Asym hammock.

Hennesy Asym

I got bitten by the MYOG "lightening bug" and transitioned once again back to the ground using a shaped tarp...

Shaped tarp

...and a MYOG Meteor bivy.

Meteor Bivy

In an effort to "streamline" my hiking kit I transitioned yet another time into a Lightheart Gear Solo tent.

Lightheart Gear Solo

Along this same timeline I moved laterally and up in weight using a cheap two person shelter while introducing a young hiker to the outdoors.

Ozark Trail dome tent

It definitely wasn't light but the price and the size was right for its intended purpose.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this was another excursion into the world of MYOG and a flat tarp...

Polymax 42 Flat tarp

...that would be used with my Meteor bivy.

At this point and time the pup tent, dome tent and Lightheart Solo all reside in my gear closet soon to be joined by another somewhat modular and seasonably adjustable shelter system.

Hammocking Part Deaux

It's a Grand Trunk single parachute nylon hammock with a MYOG asym tarp and whoopie sling suspension.

My progress / transition seems to have gone a little more than full circle as I have migrated back to the idea of a hammock.

The Grand Trunk hammock will be paired with a bug net for summer use and a yet to be built MYOG double layer hammock will be added to the system for winter use. Also being considered as another MYOG project is a winter hammock tarp with catenary curves and doors.

Newton is back y'all! It's a Southern thing like deaux. Just ask B.G. ;-) ROTFLMAO

Party On,

Newton ;-)

Edited by Newton on 02/02/2014 11:19:42 MST.

Andrew Urlacher
(anarkhos) - M

Locale: Colorado, Wyoming
$$$$ on 02/02/2014 12:03:41 MST Print View

Sounds like progress is expensive. =P

Did you Gear Swap a lot or purchase new on everything? (excluding MYOG of course.)

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: $$$$ vs "Progress ;-?" on 02/02/2014 12:14:29 MST Print View

Hi Andrew,

Yes, I did "Gear Swap" the shaped tarp, Meteor bivy, flat tarp and other assorted bought and made gear items to recoup some of the funds expended during this "transition". ;-)

MYOG is cheaper but not necessarily inexpensive. It does bring with it after a successful trek an immeasurable level of satisfaction.

It's a Retro Guy thing. ;-)

Party On,

Newton ;-)

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
The Road Ahead. on 02/02/2014 16:31:28 MST Print View

Nifty sequence.

Thanks for showing the road that lies ahead. (Sigh.) I'm only on tent #2 so far and I see I have a long way to go.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: The Road Ahead. on 02/02/2014 18:58:17 MST Print View


There is 1 tent, 3 hammocks, 4 tarps and 1 bivy left to go in your Nifty sequence. ;-)

As for the road that lies ahead, be willing to explore the options. Experience is the best teacher but asking questions and listening to the answers can shorten the road measurably.

Sometimes carrying a few more ounces is worth it if it gives you a better and more restful night's sleep.

My progress through this transition has included heavy packs, lighter packs and extremely lightweight packs. Some were bought, some were MYOG and some were sold on Gear Swap.

I've had alcohol stoves, canister stoves and solid fuel tablet stoves. These too included those that were purchased and those that were made. Yes some of these also left my gear closet by virtue of Gear Swap.

Titanium and aluminum cookware of all sorts has graced and left my pack and gone up for sale.

Pads, I've had pads. Closed cell foam and self inflating. Some were blue, some were green, some were charcoal grey and some were red and grey nylon and foam. One was sold and others were pieced out for MYOG projects. My soon to be built double layer hammock will make use of one of my remaining pads as cold weather "bottom" insulation. ;-)

Sleeping bags and top quilts have been bought, made and given away.

Hats and clothes have come and gone. Nalgene bottles and reservoirs have been replaced by reclaimed sports drink bottles.

Pack weight and volume must be considered but ultimately it's the performance of the gear that makes it worth carrying.

This thread started out talking about my transition from one type of shelter to another. One two week trip I neither pitched a tent or hung a hammock. I slept each evening in one of the AT's many shelters. My unused tent was simply unnecessary weight.

I'm a confessed gear head. I enjoy hiking, buying gear, making gear and talking about gear. It isn't really clear to me which one I enjoy doing more. :-0

Party On,

Newton ;-)

Edited by Newton on 02/02/2014 19:08:06 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
The Opposite of a Gear Head on 02/02/2014 19:20:40 MST Print View

I knew a gal who was the exact opposite of a gear head. She hated to make her own gear. In fact, she hated to buy gear. She did not want to store it. Instead, she borrowed and rented gear for everything.

On her first year of cross country skiing, she went almost every weekend for the entire season, yet she owned no ski gear.

She used to go backpacking and do it all with maybe one or two pieces rented, and the rest was all borrowed gear. She was the only backpacker that I ever knew who would go to a store to try to rent a water bottle. I kid you not.


John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: The Opposite of a Gear Head on 02/02/2014 19:34:46 MST Print View


Somehow I knew that you would not disappoint. ;-)

That gal reminds me of a story about a fellow who wanted to "borrow" enough paint to re-paint his house. ;-?

Party On,

Newton ;-)

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
Interesting Digression on 02/02/2014 23:14:51 MST Print View

I feel like I care more about my gear when I'm not using it. I think some times I educate myself about or by gear when I'm at work, as the bumper sticker reads "I'd Rather Be Fishing" or hiking, or skiing, the list goes on. When I am in the field, by a lake, or on a mountain, I generally care far more about the fish in the water, the mountains in view, or the sights and sounds of nature. I put up my tent, but I don't go in and out of it, or test its features. These things that matter so much when I'd rather be hiking, somehow become incidental, or beyond seconds to the tasks at hand.

In some ways I like Bob's ski girl. She loves skiing. she doesn't want to get burdened down with the nerdy side of weight, dimensions, or who uses what. She gets out and does it. I'm thinking renting all of your gear COULD be cheaper than the long and often circuitous paths like Newton's or mine. I've gone dome, small light TNF tents of many varieties, single wall tents, tarps, hybrid all-in-one designs, ponchos, etc. some have lasted a trip, some years. But my memories of my trips don't really include the bag or the shelter I used - of course freezing or soaking wet, I'm more likely to remember that, but that's still just nature.

Edited by bcutlerj on 02/02/2014 23:18:32 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
The "nature" of the Interesting Digression ;-) on 02/03/2014 04:04:01 MST Print View


" But my memories of my trips don't really include the bag or the shelter I used - of course freezing or soaking wet, I'm more likely to remember that, but that's still just nature".

Nature is a very interesting word and term.

We go out into the field to play in nature with all of our gear thinking that we are prepared. In fact while we are in the field it is nature that plays with us.

While I'm on a hiking trip the beauty of nature always amazes me. But nature's little surprises always seems to test my good nature. ;-)

When I first started hiking I made all of the wrong moves and choices that a noob could make in gear and preparation choices. Two days into my first trip and I heard my hiking partner say, "We're not having any fun any more, are we?" We bailed. ;-?

Why did I even think of trying it again?

I'm a Retro Guy who likes to fix or make things.

I felt defeated and stupid. It's in my "nature" to fix or replace broken or useless things. I needed to fix me and replace whatever gear that was too heavy or proved inadequate. Also I wanted to fix and or replace my memory of that trip with a good one.

The beauty of nature can be endless vistas, peaceful animals, clear star filled nights and clean free flowing streams. It can also be the desire to become or perform better that I have found is in my "nature".

Progress can be made through transitions if we let ourselves listen to and learn from nature in all of its forms. ;-)

Party On,

Newton ;-)