View Full Version : Evolving gear over the years

06-15-2007, 17:43
Ewker was asking me some PCT questions and asked if I had a gear list from my previous hikes. I said I did not, but since it is slow today ( Friday), I thought it would be a great project!

So, if anyone is cuious, you can see the "before and after" from my gear over the years. (http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=76&Itemid=33)

Thought it may be of interest.

There's a reason why if you've hiked XXXX miles, your gear gets lighter: You became lazier..you don't want to haul any more than needed!

It would be interesting to see other lists.

06-15-2007, 17:52
I dont really have a list but in 3 years of guiding in the ADK my week long packs have gone from 60lbs to 15lbs. Mostly because I cut out unneeded stuff and replaced obscenely overweight items (6.5lb pack to 2.5lb pack) etc

06-15-2007, 22:08
The old days: (mid 70's for me) :
Pack was about 7 lbs and had a big aluminum frame.

Tent: I used a tube tent that was lightweight (yes it was important back them) but it wasn't very dry in a storm. (or breathable)

Sleeping bags: about the same really as i had a good lightweight down bag that probably weighed 3-4 lbs.

Raingear: nylon shell which made for wet, wet, wet. but it was fine really!

Stove: heavy optimus or Svea with white gas which was carried in aluminum bottle. (much lighter and simpler these days)

Cook pot: same as now basically

Clothes: no polypro back then so we wore cotton and it was heavy and not very efficient of course. what to do? I didn't find out about polypro until early 80's Didn't have fleece so we carried wool (heavy stuff, especially when wet)

Footwear: we wore big heavy, leather boots back then simply because Ray Jardine hadn't told us yet that we didn't have to.

so, we were wetter, carried heavier loads, and wore big boots, but we had just as much fun. In fact, there were way less people on the trail and we had a very enjoyable commoraderie amongst ourselves.

All in all, my pack back then weighed around 40 lbs with food and water. (did i mention the aluminum canteens we all carried?) and now, i go out at about 15-20 (with food, water, and guitar)

06-15-2007, 22:52

Pack: Kelty Tioga about 6.5 or 7 lbs.

Tent: Sierra Designs Starlight only about 3.5 lbs - Rainfly door was held closed with two short strips of velcro, worked great when no wind. In wet, windy conditions you learned to sleep with your hand outside the tent, holding the rainfly closed.

Sleeping bag: Jansport Brassbed synthetic about 5 lbs/15 degrees - I used this throughout winter, down to 12 below - was cold as sh**, but survived

Parka: North Face Polargard Parka about 4.5 lbs and bulky

K-Mart polypro long underwear about 14 oz each

Boots: Vasque Hiker II, three layors of full-grained leather over the top of your foot, about 2.5 to 3 lbs each!

Stove: Svea with Sigg aluminum fuel bottle (actually started my first long hike carrying 2 full liters of fuel - dumb, dumb, dumb even then!

Rain Gear: Ball cap (needed the visor to keep glasses usable), Poncho (in windy weather tied nylon cord around the waist and was told I looked like Moses), Rain Chaps or Gaiters

Mild temp insulation: Wool Shirt and/or Down vest

Cold weather pants: Wool Knickers with Ragg Wool knee socks (two pair) talk about heavy! Also imagine the chaffing - learned one good reason to carry safety pins - to attach a bandana inside the crotch of the knickers.

Shorts: $2.00 Nylon knit shorts from K-Mart. Wore these shorts everyday for 11 months and 3300 miles - only shorts I carried. Would wear them into the shower, wash them with shampoo, then wear them dry around town. Seams were re-sewn a couple of times but I still have them, they are still intact, there is just a lot more of me now, so I can't wear them.

Mallory Flashlight - 2 AA batteries, 4" long, rectangular shape, easily held in mouth while cooking, simple to repair, all inner workings accessable when opened to replace batteries - field repairable

Sometimes a Candle lantern - spring loaded to keep candle at constant height.

Sierra Cup - would hang on outside of pack, able to remove it and dip water from stream/spring without taking pack off - ahh the good old days before we worried about every water source!

Always a book for reading

Total pack weight generally varied from 45 to 65 lbs. During long, 12-13 day stretches between resupply, it could creep up to 75 lbs. I knew and hiked with people that occasionally carried 85 to 90 lbs. We still had a fantastic time and enjoyed ourselves immensly, we just thought that a 14 to 15 mile day was normal instead of the 18-22 mile days now.

06-15-2007, 23:16
Forgot to list today:

Golite Cave for shelter

EMS Velocity sleeping bag about 1lb 3 oz

ULA P2 Pack 28 oz

Pepsi can stove and Antigravity cookset - total about 8 oz

High Tek trail shoes

no books!

LED head lamp one AAA battery

Rain Gear - Medical supply emergency biohazard suit - very similar to Frogg Toggs, but only $28 for the set

REI micro insulated, hooded jacket (can't recall the name, it's out in the garage right now)

Fleece long pants in winter, Zip off nylon in summer

Todays pack is 17 lbs with two day's food and a liter of water.

Feet still hurt at the end of the day - that must be the limiting factor - we hike farther now to make up for the lighter packs, just so we can experience that foot pain at the end of the day!

06-19-2007, 09:56
When I think about my first trip it brings back some of the best memories of my life. My list was so simple back then. I was on the AT for 1 month without a plan.

Backpack from Sears
Tent from K-mart
No ground pad
Canned food
Drank water from any stream
No stove, cooked on open fire with boy scout gear. If it rained then cold food.
Sleeping bag from K-mart
High top tennis shoes
Small flashlight
No map of any kind
T-shirt and shorts, all cotton
Nylon rain coat

Had the time of my life, free from any worries, had quite my job, not married, no kids, no debt of any kind. Very few people on the trail but those there were, were amazing. You could go for days without seeing anyone. Found out that I really liked backpacking and being in the woods. Got dropped off above Helen and went North till I ran out of time then hitched hiked back to Georgia.

Came off the trail and bought a pair of Vasque boots, a Svea stove, ground pad and a North Face sleeping bag. I could day dream for hours remembering every day of that trip. :-)

Now it is high tech everything, no sure if it is really better now than in the golden days of simple backpacking.

06-19-2007, 10:29
Now it is high tech everything, no sure if it is really better now than in the golden days of simple backpacking.

Well, it is only high tech if you choose to make it so. ;)

My cookset is an aluminum pot from K-mart, for example. My backpack is basically a frameless rucksack, etc.

It is not better or worse today, but different. Just choose what works and don't pay attention to the glossy ads.

06-19-2007, 11:05
Back then we used a rock for a pillow, and we liked it!!!

06-20-2007, 23:59
Back then we used a rock for a pillow, and we liked it!!!

Used to use my Vasque boots as a pillow.:D