Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 82
  1. #1
    Registered User kimbur96's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-16-2015
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale, florida
    Age
    52
    Posts
    103

    Default How many of you bought the wrong gear?

    I'm brand new at this and at times the information seems over whelming. I don't want to buy the wrong thing and waste money but at the same time at some point I have to make a decision.

    For instance looking to buy my first stove. Leaning towards the pocket rocket. Gets pretty decent reviews. Not to crazy expensive. I definitely want a fuel canister stove. Alcohol in a bottle scares me, goes back to drag racing days as a kid, but I digress. Then I read about another canister stove that had a better wind screen. So I started to doubt my decision.

    Am I doing too much research and just need to pull the trigger knowing I will probably at some point replace parts?

    Your wisdom and input encouraged, TIA


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #2

    Default

    I have gone through 3 kits(pretty much full setups), and if money isn't the problem then everyone can give you their opinion. I am in product development as a profession, (although not in textiles), and it is very difficult to filter through all the jargon and technical reviews. I can break it down into 3 main categories for you:

    1-Price
    2-Durability
    3-Weight

    You VERY rarely find all 3 in 1 product. There is going to be a trade off along the line. That's what makes it interesting and hard to pin point on the first go because as you develop your experience as a hiker, you learn what's important to you.

    As time has gone on I would say I have forfeited Durability(there is a difference in durability and quality) Batesville casket company makes the highest quality caskets on the market, but you drop a golf ball on the hood and you'll see a non durable reaction.

    I have learned to take care of my stuff, and therefor durability can be sacrificed. What's the pay off in this? Its lighter, and more expensive

    1-When I look for gear the main things I look for are:
    The Company: Has the company been around for a while?
    What are the reflections on their Customer Service?

    2-How much am I seeing the gear used by experienced people: For Example; If I go on a hiking trip and I see 20 boy scouts all using Kelty packs but I only see 1 ridgerunner (profession Hiker of sorts) using a ULA Circuit and at the end of my trip I have to choose? Sorry Tenderfoot I'm going with the Circuit.

    On another note of $$$
    No one goes golfing 1 time, enjoys it and goes out to spend a couple K on golf clubs. So the question is do you know you like backpacking enough to worry about the gear that much? If you haven't put in a good many trips, having good and bad experiences, just use what you can find until you get used to that gear and say " yes sometimes this is completely miserable and I'm okay with that" Then at that point you can worry about weeding out the gear and finding what you want. Some people are do it your selfers, I personally don't 99% of the time.

    In the end everyone weighs 1,2, and 3 differently to some scale, so you gotta find what works.
    AT Shuttle List
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  3. #3
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-26-2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Age
    33
    Posts
    1,003

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kimbur96 View Post
    I'm brand new at this and at times the information seems over whelming. I don't want to buy the wrong thing and waste money but at the same time at some point I have to make a decision.

    For instance looking to buy my first stove. Leaning towards the pocket rocket. Gets pretty decent reviews. Not to crazy expensive. I definitely want a fuel canister stove. Alcohol in a bottle scares me, goes back to drag racing days as a kid, but I digress. Then I read about another canister stove that had a better wind screen. So I started to doubt my decision.

    Am I doing too much research and just need to pull the trigger knowing I will probably at some point replace parts?

    Your wisdom and input encouraged, TIA


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I have no regrets buying the Pocket Rocket (or any other gear). I did buy a "heavier" set of backpacking gear when I first really got into backpacking years ago but I was able to learn with the more durable gear and once I became more experienced I moved into tarps, single wall tents, down bags, etc. I still have some of my original gear and use it as loaners when I can convince friends to tag along.

  4. #4

    Default

    I bought a few impulse purchases after minimal research that I regretted, and have already replaced. People here were very helpful in critiquing my proposed gear list. Set it up on lighterpack.com, give some info on your proposed start date, experience level, that type of thing. You'll probably still make a few mistakes, but you'll minimize them and recover.

    For me, I decided that I wanted a pot with a pour spout, so I bought a lightweight titanium kettle... which is cheap, functional and light, and just flat out the wrong shape to nest with any other gear in my cook set.

    I bought a sleeping bag, without checking my shoulder girth first. It's a little tight, but not unworkable.

    My attempt to make my own cheap alcohol stove set me back $50 of various materials. Carrying pressurized fuel scares me more than alcohol, both are perfectly safe when treated properly, funny how we all have our own little phobias.

  5. #5
    Wanna-be hiker trash
    Join Date
    03-05-2010
    Location
    Connecticut
    Age
    38
    Posts
    6,884
    Images
    78

    Default

    Doing research is important, but don't drive yourself nuts. There is a lot of good gear, but there is no perfect gear, everything involves tradeoffs between price, weight, functionality, durability etc. You will end up replacing stuff as your experience increases and as your personal preferences change so make peace with that. A good portion of my lightweight gear that is "perfect" for me now wouldn't have been the correct gear for me when I was first starting out, in many instances experience can replace weight as you learn better ways of doing things and become more comfortable in the woods. The good news is that high quality used gear fetches a decent price if you decide to sell something and replace it.

    It reminds me of a quote I saw recently:

    "If you're a hiker giving advice and you're telling people the "right way" or the "best way," you're not qualified to give advice because you haven't yet learned that there's no right way or best way." -Jester
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    74
    Posts
    8,317

    Default

    My guiding principle: Buy quality once. It's always less expensive in the long run.
    In this case, I'll add a modifier: Gambit McCrae nailed it. When you know that you are serious about backpacking, see sentence 1.

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
    FlickrMyBookTwitSpaceFace



  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,043

    Default

    My mistakes, with few exceptions, have always been the result of being penny wise but pound foolish. I've reconciled myself to the idea of paying up for quality. I backpack enough days per year to make this worthwhile for me. I paid up for my zPacks tent but the cost per night is now around $4.75 and will probably be under $3 before the tent's useful life is over. While looking at things in that context may be a justification to overspend if you really are doing a lot of backpacking getting quality makes sense.

  8. #8
    Wanna-be hiker trash
    Join Date
    03-05-2010
    Location
    Connecticut
    Age
    38
    Posts
    6,884
    Images
    78

    Default

    To add another wrench inthe works, much of the best gear is made small manufacturers and you won't find it at REI or EMS. Here is just one list of many of these companies:

    http://blackwoodspress.com/blog/1237...ear-directory/
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    Doing research is important, but don't drive yourself nuts. There is a lot of good gear, but there is no perfect gear, everything involves tradeoffs between price, weight, functionality, durability etc. You will end up replacing stuff as your experience increases and as your personal preferences change so make peace with that. A good portion of my lightweight gear that is "perfect" for me now wouldn't have been the correct gear for me when I was first starting out, in many instances experience can replace weight as you learn better ways of doing things and become more comfortable in the woods. The good news is that high quality used gear fetches a decent price if you decide to sell something and replace it.

    It reminds me of a quote I saw recently:

    "If you're a hiker giving advice and you're telling people the "right way" or the "best way," you're not qualified to give advice because you haven't yet learned that there's no right way or best way." -Jester

    Why did it only take you 1 paragraph in what took me a newspaper?? haha

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    To add another wrench inthe works, much of the best gear is made small manufacturers and you won't find it at REI or EMS. Here is just one list of many of these companies:

    http://blackwoodspress.com/blog/1237...ear-directory/
    I would strangely suggest working off of this list of companies before trying the big name brands.

    Example; I got tired of seeing a bunch of folks wearing these cool light ULA packs, so I called up Chris and gave him the situation:
    I'm 6'4" but just cant find a pack that is right for me due to the scoliosis screwed up back issue. His response?
    After talking with him about what I liked and disliked about all the packs I had previously tried, and even requested that I send him pictures of my upper body structure. And sent me a pack off of his recommendations.

    Well, woops we tried and messed up, too big. His response was, "I know you wanted this pack for your final Georgia section of the AT next weekend, so I will OVERNIGHT you a new pack so that you get to go ahead and enjoy your new pack." Who does this? haha Small companies, ran and owned by backpackers. A+++ experience with Chris and love my ULA pack
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 01-11-2016 at 14:25.
    AT Shuttle List
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-27-2013
    Location
    WMNF, New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,534

    Default

    I still hammock, but the hammock I use now isn't even remotely close to the same design as the one I first bought.

    I still cook, but my cookset isn't even remotely close to the same design as the one I first bought.

    I still wear clothes, but my clothing system isn't even remotely close to the same system I first bought.

    I still start fires, wait.... I still use a mini-bic just like the one I first bought!!!

    I don't think you'll ever find a hiker who hasn't retired some gear to improve his kit. There is no end all gear list. Even people who do research and buy proper gear for a thru hike of the AT. Well sure it'll serve them well and they'll have a good kit to help them get to maine, but by the time they get to Maine and seeing everyone else's gear, they made find they like these features or don't need/want this that or whatever thingamabob. Everyone's gotta start somewhere. You'll only learn through experience.

    But long live the Mini-Bic lighter

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-01-2013
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    671

    Default

    Make educated choices but, be willing to make mistakes. The stove, water treatment, shelter or backpack that works for others might work for you but, ...

    Anything you have or will have is a compromise with perfection. How far from perfection you are willing to tolerate will determine whether it is a "mistake" that needs corrected. Simply because a piece of gear is a compromise does not necessarily make it "the wrong gear".

    Yes, buying once is ideal but I promise, "You will always find something that will work better." Does that make the initial purchase "wrong"? No, just part of the learning process.

    Take risks. Make kistakes. <= punny, right?

  12. #12

    Default

    As well, Unless you only hike in the same seasons youll be buying gear that is more in tune with that season example sleeping bag

    It was 10* this morning, if I was on the trail I would want a 0* bag, where as in June I would not
    AT Shuttle List
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  13. #13

    Default

    I'm generally pretty cautious in buying gear and have only made a few real mistakes in 30+ years of hiking. Two come to mind. One is a Katadyn gravity water filter that has proven hard to use with water containers and keep dirty and clean sides separated, the other is an L.L. Bean sleeping bag that was too tight on the shoulders. I still have the sleeping bag, and it has been used by my daughter and loaned to numerous kids over the years. I will replace the filter before my next trip.

    I'm also willing to live with things that aren't ideal, as long as they are serviceable. I'd like a tent I can sit up in while using an air mattress, but haven't bought it in several years of thinking about it.

  14. #14

    Default

    I am also fairly new to backpacking, but not to hiking and camping, or horse packing. As such, I already knew what I liked and what worked from my other experiences. Other than a backpack, I knew that investing in light-weight gear would not be a waste because it would get used no matter what. The backpack, for me, was the biggest unknown I splurged on because I haven't done that much of it. I also did an insane amount of research, reading reviews from dozens of different places and types of users.

    I don't know of too many people who don't like their pocket, canister stoves (I have two), or their Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 tent or their ZPacks or Enlightened Equipment quilts/sleeping bags or their ZPacks or ULA packs. There is a reason these are popular and you probably won't go wrong with any of them.

    I bet most people here have at least 2-3 of every piece of equipment for different set-ups. I know I have 3 tents, 4 sleeping bags, 8 stoves, 3 sleeping pads...and not because I bought wrong or wasted money on something that didn't work...but I take different tents on different trips (Lunar Solo and EE sleeping quilt for BP, 6-person tent, cowboy bedroll and cot for base camp when horse camping).

    I think, if you can, borrow equipment and see what you like the best.

  15. #15

    Default

    The best way to learn about gear is to get out on the trail and figure out what works for you and talk to other hikers and see what gear they are using and why. Spring on the southern AT is a great place to do this because you will literally encounter a couple of dozen people a day, all with different gear. If you are starting from nothing, buy the lightest stuff you can afford. I try to achieve a balance between price and weight. I'm not going to spend $600 on a pack just to get one that weighs under 3 pounds...but I'm going to find the lightest pack I can in my price range. Same thing for a tent. I recently found a 3 1/2 pound tent for $37 on clearance. A couple of years ago I found a 30 degree sleeping bag that weighs 2 pounds for $39.99. If you aren't in a hurry and are willing to wait for sales you can get a lot of this stuff pretty inexpensively. You can also buy cheap crap and then replace it with better gear as you gain experience and figure out what your needs are.

  16. #16
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
    Join Date
    07-14-2005
    Location
    Virginia, 10 miles from the AT near SNP
    Age
    57
    Posts
    10,470
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    171

    Default

    Buying the wrong gear is part of the hiking exeperience. What works for one doesn't work for another Which is why returns are good to have etc. when purchasing.







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-16-2011
    Location
    On the trail
    Posts
    3,788
    Images
    3

    Default

    Wow, what a refreshing thread, there is discussion on trade offs. Many gear threads are "What is the perfect ______." If there was a perfect ______ then everyone would use it and there would be no competitors.

    The reason you will likely go through a couple generations of gear (if you continue hiking ) is because experience will change your perspective on gear. I would never in a million years recommend a new hiker use my gear, they would likely be wet, cold and uncomfortable. It took me many years to get the knowledge to hone my gear to where it is at today.

    So so given the above posts here is my reco.
    1) don't worry so much about gear starting out. Just get out and hike and make sure you like it.
    2) cut the items you take, it's free.
    3) once you know you will be hiking for years to come, sap out your big items such as sleeping bag, pad and shelter. Notice pack is not on there.
    4) you can get quality and lightweight gear second hand. You won't get it for pennies on the dollar but you will see a discount. Backpackinglight is a great place for used gear.
    5) if you do 4&5 and it doesn't work out, sell it. you can often get full resale price.
    6) best gear to spend money, sleeping bag or quilt. Don't skimp on this.
    7) worst gear to spend money -accessories. You likely don't need it anyway.
    8) when you think you have the rest of your gear sorted out then buy a quality pack.
    Bonus: Gear selection is all about trade offs. gambit hit the big three: Price, durability, weight. But there are many more. A shelter has ease of setup, footprint, storm bulletproofness etc. the more you understand these trade offs the better informed your decisions will be. Experience allows you to do this.

  18. #18
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-20-2013
    Location
    Upper East Side of Texas
    Age
    74
    Posts
    8,317

    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrickjd9 View Post
    ... I'd like a tent I can sit up in while using an air mattress, but haven't bought it in several years of thinking about it.
    I've been using air mattresses in tents since I started backpacking. I can always sit up in the tent while seated on the air mattress. Why? Because when I sit up my sit bones are either lightly touching the floor of the tent or just barely off the floor. Otherwise, I have too much air in the mattress.
    I thought everyone knew that.

    As for gear mistakes:
    Backpack #1: External frame pack from REI. Their lowest priced model in the Dark Ages. Almost crippled me. Sold it.
    Backpack #5: Boreas Gear Lost Coast 60. Made in China. Labeled medium. Actual size: Extra Small. Returned.
    I still have and use Backpacks #2-4. Made in USA.
    Sleeping Bag #4: The North Face 15 F Hightail 3S. Made in China. Where should I start. Snagging zipper. Exaggerated down weight, total weight and temperature rating. Compared side by side with my WM Antelope: No contest. Returned.
    Bags 1-3 & 5: I still have 2,3 & 5. My granddaughter has #1. It's older than her mother. Made in USA.
    Tent #1: Returned to The North Face for repair. They replaced it with Tent #2 which I recently sold to a friend. That may have been a mistake. Imports-not sure where.
    I'm keeping and using Tent #3. Made in USA.
    Updates:
    NeoAir Xtherm replaced a Therm-A-Rest self-inflating pad which I still have. Made in USA.
    WM Alpinlite, Bag #5, replaced the REI bag I gave to my granddaughter.
    Stoves #1-#3 & Cookset #1 & #2: All in service depending on my needs & mood. Made in USA, Sweden or Switzerland.
    Do you see a pattern here?

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
    FlickrMyBookTwitSpaceFace



  19. #19
    Registered User AO2134's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-23-2014
    Location
    Gwinnett, Georgia
    Age
    34
    Posts
    635

    Default

    I can tell you my experience. A year and a half ago I wanted to get into backpacking. I cared at the time and I still do care more about $$$ then I do the weight of my gear. So I bought a cheap REI Passage II on sale. With it's footprint, it was nearly 6 lbs. The weight wasn't a big issue to me. Weight rarely is, but the tent's size was a huge issue. I was struggling to get all my gear and that tent into my pack, an REI Flash 62 that someone here recommended and that I still use. My pack weight was likely 36-37 lbs. Not a big deal, but my pack felt like it was bursting at the seams. I loved the tent. Huge, 2 person tent. I loved it. I would have dealt with its weight if it were not for size. Mind you, this is a very, very, very small minority position in the hiking community.

    A friend I met here had an extra tent. A Six Moon Design Scout. I used it 1 night and bought it from him. I took my REI Passage II back. I am still using that Scout 1 1/2 years later. It is about 3 1/2 lbs lighter, but SIGNIFICANTLY more importantly, it was MUCH smaller. It fits in my pack easily. I love it.

    I have other examples, but I think the above story makes the point.

    You kind of wont know what you like until you start using it on the trail. There are so many options. It can be overwhelming. It sounds like you are at that point. With the best information you have before you, pull the trigger. You will go nuts otherwise.

    Mind you, this is a post from someone who absolutely hates talking about gear.
    Foothills Trail - 14
    Bartram Trail - 15 - Video
    Benton MacKaye Trail - 15 - Video
    AT - 15% complete
    Pinhoti Trail - 16 - Video

  20. #20
    -
    Join Date
    08-14-2005
    Location
    Fort Madison, IA
    Age
    56
    Posts
    1,624

    Default

    the only thing I still use that I started hiking with is worn out - I sure wish I could get a new one - it's my body

Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •