Moderators if you have any guts you will not edit, delete, or change this post
While out on a recent PCT section hike in Oregon, I was discussing with a friend the advantage of being light on the trail and how it allows us to get out past the Tourons. Which makes for a nice hike because of the fact that we can go further into the backcountry due to our lighter loads. Plus without a lot of gear we also leave a more eco-friendly and smaller footprint. We were discussing the fact that maybe backpacking is a dying breed as well. But I had to disagree some what, because I see more and more lightweight equipment in more mass media markets.
This quite frankly makes me upset. I like being light because (yes I’ll admit) there is a certain gloat factor in it. I like it because I can get away from the people because they can not get as far. I like it because they do not know about it and this gives me a window of opportunity to do my second favorite thing, which is, teach. I feel as if this is our own little world, and that membership is required. I like keeping it clandestine and cottage. We are a minority of elitist, a pure society, one who is eager to help when asked, one who is more aware and sensitive of the over populated back country areas. But one must come to us for the information; it is not easily accessible, until now.
Imagine my disgust when I saw Dr. Ryan Jordan’s book Lightweight Backpacking & Camping: A Field Guide to Wilderness Hiking Equipment, Technique, and Style at of all places the Wal-Mart for the outdoors REI. Before I go on and start getting flamed, and having people come back and say, well you were in REI so what does that make you? What was I doing at REI? Simple, living up to there Return Every Item policy and giving back to them something that had been sitting on my shelf for 3 years due to malfunction that is related to over engineering.
Getting back to my point. How dare you, Dr. Jordan. You are not allowing this book to be sold because you want to spread the gospel, you are beginning to do just what Jansport, Gregory, and Kelty did, they started out small but then sold out the corporate machine in the name of Money!!!! You Dr. Jordan have done the same thing in this case. I feel as if you are not desirous of teaching, or helping “Joe Snuffy” on how to go light. It is the thought of the potential selling power that comes to REI and their catering to the “Joe Snuffy’s” of the world. Not only will people buy your book (which I bought through BPL more than a year ago) but because of all the “gear plugs” in it they will then go to the BPL site and buy more of your products. A very crafty marketing scheme I must say so myself, but and evil and typical corporate one, none the less. You yourself said “My wife, Stephanie, and I have renewed our commitment not only to simplify our lifestyle, but to renew and engage the relationships with people we love the most-including each other.” (1) You are not doing this by selling out Dr. Jordan. If there is one thing I have learned from people who have money or are seeking money it is that there is never enough. I beg of Dr. Jordan keep your business and this industry pure like it has been and needs to be. Do not loose sight of the mission, the movement, and the people. Do not sell out like the predecessors before you did. Who now are out sourced and of cheap quality, or over engineered products to mainstream companies.
What is even more disheartening is in another section of the REI store I saw a ton of light my fire gear, and the once BPL only long handle Ti spoon, which ok I can understand that, it is readily available and not to industry specific, neither is the ESBIT and ESBIT stove that was in the same row either. But next to that were about 10 Vargo Titanium alcohol stoves and a quart can size of denatured alcohol. Outrage, I say, outrage. What is next will we se ULA, SMD, GG, MoGo and others in mainstream out-door stores?
Imagine with me people that the nest time you head out and go to you favorite get-away place that you know, no one else can ideally get to because it is too far, or is not very well known to begin with. You get there and there is another person there, with lightweight gear, that they were able to purchase at REI or some other mainstream outdoor store. Not only did they buy the gear there, but they got the information from there as well. They did not have to go through the “rites of passage” they did not have to dig, research, explore, and find the information and knowledge themselves, they bought it!!!! And now a once under populated area is now over populated, all because Ul went. mainstream. Also when Ul goes mainstream the cottage industries begin to loose their positions on the niche market and therefore leads to them having to close shop. Which then puts them out of an income and forces them back into corporate society, and we loose quality hand crafted (in most cases) equipment.
People I beg of you lets keep our sport, our world, our society pure, let us not cater to the cooperate world, allow us to teach them via the means we always have, lets keep from becoming them majority. Let us not loose sight of our intent and allow others to purchase our knowledge in a department store for the sake of making another buck.
KEEP IT PURE !!!!!!!
(1.) Jordan, Ryan Unfullfilled drams in the Western Artic. Backpacking Light, iss7 pg.53.2007
Disclaimer:. I do not care how much heat this brings, but this has been keeping me up at night, I felt as if I had to say something, even if I am only one voice.