View Full Version : Money and High tech gear, Does it really make a difference?

09-02-2003, 22:30
Money and High tech gear, Does it really make a difference?

I have read that Grandma Gatewood Hiked the AT Three Times with only a blanket, plastic sheet, cup, first aid kit, raincoat, and one change of clothes.
Her footgear was also plain, just a plain old pair of tennis shoes.

And there was no freeze dried hiker meals for her. Her hiking diet consisted mainly of dried beef, cheese and nuts, supplemented by wild food she would find along the way.

I'm not saying any thing is wrong with high tech gear, If you have the money go for it. But I do think to many people think the more they spend, the better there chances of completing a thru hike.

All the money in the world couldn't by the courage, determination,and GRIT that Grandma Gatewood had........

09-02-2003, 23:11
One certainly doesn't need money to make a go of it. With limited funds on tap, I think I would spend more on hi-tech, synthetic clothing to reduce weight, increase wicking, improve the chance of the fabric drying overnight, reduce odors (if treated), and increase comfort overall. Most of the rest of the gear, even ultralight, can be homemade (unless you're incompetent, like me).

09-03-2003, 00:28
You will like the Mithril and George will do what it takes to make sure it works for you////
...money versus tech..often brain versus advertising, example a nice Patagonia fleece for major dollars or the Remington zip-t neck for 12 bucks in black in the Walmart hunting section (I bought 3 of them they are so nice)..but Patagonia does make the Dragonfly and no one else does, so my first act is to determine if it weighs less and performs as well or better, than my first act is to scour the world for the most opportune price, then I act accordingly without regard to who makes it..current challenge is the down underquilt for the hammock. I have made several underquilts and have the system down but I have to decide whether to buy a sewing maching and attempt a quilt or spend the money at Nunatak Gear and have them make one based on my model...well after much much thought I have decided to let Nunatak do it.
Another funny thing about tech is its reversal-notice the return of the external frame pack- so nice to keep your back cool and dry, and the returnig to 'solid' fabrics versus Goretex---how many hike cool in the rain knowing they will put something warm and dry on when they stop versus putting on the gore and sweating to death?
and look at the alcohol stove-so simple so light so cheap-even semi-free for the pepsi can
Grandma can teach us so many lessons and any time I hike I look down and see her footsteps along with so many others.
So I've got a sil-nyl tarp and she had a shower curtain, I'm sure she is smiling knowing we are still walking the trail :)

09-03-2003, 01:26
Where theres a whip theres a way :)
sooner or later you adjust to the load your carrying - whether is 10 lbs or 70 lbs......

09-03-2003, 07:17
What is going to get you from Georgia to Maine is your mental attitude, not the gear.

I have seen the result of surveys that conclude that the major reason for drop out is that people loose the desire to continue for various reasons. They have the gear, and they are in shape by then. But, just loose the desire to hike on.

But, gear certainly does help. Perhaps the solution is to figure out if the cost of an item justifies the comfort and weight savings it provides. I got caught up in this recently when I started to calculate what the cost per ounce saved would be for replacement gear. That is, I figured out that I was spending something like $10 per ounce of weight saved.

Spirit Walker
09-03-2003, 14:16
You're right - it isn't the gear that gets you to Maine, it's what's in your head. How badly do you want to hike the trail? Enough to put up with all the rain, pain, strain etc.?

A lot of things can make hiking a little easier - having good gear, having a lighter pack, being in good shape, having enough money to enjoy some luxuries, lucking out on the weather, etc. - but they aren't as necessary as having the attitude that what you are doing is the most important thing for you to be doing, right now. I've known people who hiked the trail with K-Mart gear, and others who went home after two weeks who had the best gear. I've known young strong hikers who got bored and went home, and older out of shape hikers who kept on hiking despite constant pain and slow travel. I've known some who hiked with 70 lb packs, and others who hiked with 9 lb packs. Some stop at motels in every town and others are so low budget they're begging food off the other hikers. Hikers this year had rain for the first several months on the trail, some hikers barely experience a rain day. Yet each year, a lot of people manage to finish the trail. Those who hike all the way from Springer to Katahdin are the ones who really really want to be out there, enough to do whatever it takes to continue up the trail. Some do it because they love the life, and others simply because they're too stubborn to quit, but in either case, it has nothing to do with having great gear.

squirrel bait
09-03-2003, 15:11
It's all I want to do, hike this trail. Got some good gear, alot of advice, a cool stove from lil redmg, some homemade gear, a osage orange stick from my bro, a kelty external and I spent all my money on poly-pro wicking clothes. Fleece from Hotline (womens shelter discount store) 3 bucks, spices in small baggies from home, food fromthe big Food Lion, rain fly from my buddies bigger tent, ground cloth from construction site (8 mil plastic), pop bottles for water, fuel, toliet kit from the house all told I am right at that 300 magic mark.

squirrel bait
09-03-2003, 15:34
Sorry my computer loggedme off. I agree with the above. Attitude is the only thing that doesn't wiegh and the only thing that will get you through. Pack what ya got, hoist it and take off. I'm not advocating non planning, just non procastinating. Go. Learn. Experience. Enjoy. And as far as singing in the rain it really does help.

09-04-2003, 15:44
I agree the trail is not about the gear. BUT, those of us that are getting up there in time on the planet can greatly benefit from the new technology that does have its price. I have not been on the AT since the '70s but did treks to Philmont the last two summers. Both treks were 11 trail days and totaled about 75 miles each, all above 6,700 ft.

Attitude is a good topic. I always found my attitude was better when I was not carrying two days worth of water (6 qts/ 12 pounds) because of a dry camp. If a few extra bucks can make your pack lighter, and that keeps you on the trail just one more day, it is a cheap investment.

At 25 what mountain can stand before you and not be climbed? At 50 they seem a lot taller. I am pleased that I was able to spend a little extra cash and keep my pack weight down. Each time I came of the trail "younger" that when I started.

"Don't shop, hike!"