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  1. #1

    Default Are hikers just as bad as yuppies in spandex?

    Over the years I've read a disparaging comment or two from hikers about the spandex-wearing-chrome-and-ferns-fitness-club-jogging crowd, to which I have belonged from time to time. Although I have done the distance runner jogging thing in all the skin tight, reflective garb I also see the side that thinks those people kind of look foolish.... I kind of think that is true.

    But then I wonder if hikers aren't just the same but with different yuppy stuff. Think of all the stuff right now that we think we cannot enter the woods without which 50 years ago didn't exist. We depend on our synthetics as much as cellphones and satellites. Gortex boots, knee high gaiters, breathable rain suits, convertible pants, wiking shirts.... on and on and on to the hiking poles and GPS. What I really want is a holographic 3D map device.

    Nothing wrong with it. You can outfit yourself however you want and sure there is wisdom in taking advantage of today's technology... but in it all I can't help but wonder what John Muir would say as a yupped-out backpacker with all the latest, top of the line stuff walked by looking like a model for Backpacker magazine or would he be that backpacker if he were alive today?

    No what I mean? Are we as seperated from the sports that some disdain as yuppyish, fancy-lad sport or does a tricked out backpacker look about as funny as those bicycle-racer-wanna-be's in their racing replica jersies (I've been one of them too, but wouldn't wear the jersey).

    I'm joking and serious at the same time. Just talkin... know what I mean. I guess maybe I'm saying there certainly seems to be a rendy side to backpacking apparel and gear that runs as strong as anywhere else. I think I like it and hate it at the same time.

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    Oh.. can't edit the above --- please read "rendy" as "trendy" in next to last line.

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    Ain't nothing stupider looking than them high gaiters.

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    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    Oh, I thought you meant "randy."

    We are part of the culture. We make our fashion statements in UL, Gortex, silnylon, Tyvek and the like. The culture takes fashion hints from us, such as mugging folks in DC for their TNF logo wear.

    I think you are concerned with the "posers" as my kids called them - folks who dressed the part but clearly were not in their element. Like a certain young lady standing on 5th Avenue tricked out in shorts, boots, tight (oh so tight) green t-shirt, day pack but smoking a cigarette - providing a trail fantasy to those of us in NYC receptive to the image. Damn, but she had nice boooots.

    HYOH, and enjoy the scenery, even the human variety.

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    orangebug-"Oh, I thought you meant "randy."
    Actually I hiked with a young lady in 1998 who wore spandex and really defined the word "randy."

  6. #6

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    Spandex- the two faced Greek God of visual pleasure and repulsion. Personally I believe you should have to get a permit to wear it.

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    Anybody here met Beorn? Picture a 300 lb. shirtless man in a-size-too-small Spandex shorts.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Nothing wrong with it. You can outfit yourself however you want and sure there is wisdom in taking advantage of today's technology... but in it all I can't help but wonder what John Muir would say as a yupped-out backpacker with all the latest, top of the line stuff walked by looking like a model for Backpacker magazine or would he be that backpacker if he were alive today?.
    Well trends change and wasn't it Muir who started the fad of walking around with a sierra cup hanging from a loop around your neck (or somethin' like that)? Heck, he'd most likely forgo the crank on his flivver for one of those sissified e-lectric starter contraptions.

  9. #9
    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Over the years I've read a disparaging comment or two from hikers about the spandex-wearing-chrome-and-ferns-fitness-club-jogging crowd, to which I have belonged from time to time. Although I have done the distance runner jogging thing in all the skin tight, reflective garb I also see the side that thinks those people kind of look foolish.... I kind of think that is true.
    All depends on what you are doing...

    Spandex ain't just fashion.

    Never mind being a thru-hiker. If my family and friends saw me in spandex that would bust my chops to no end. I have the perfect background for people who are not (stereotypically) supposed to work spandex: Northeastern Italo-American of blue-collar background. Try wearing spandex in front of some of the people I knew growing up and the reaction would be interesting.

    So, the first time I wore spandex for a long run felt odd to me. Like I was doing something that just did not feel right. I felt like the yupsters you talk about, felt like the kind of people that my friends and I goofed on growing up. In short, felt like I was somehow being hypocrirical to myself and to my roots. (Seriously!)

    Well, after having a chafe free 3-4 hr training run, all those silly doubts went by the way side. So, go ahead, goof on me. My legs aren't rubbed raw.

    Think of how people who don't hike long distances look upon us: we have banged up cook pots, wild beards, not showreing for days of weeks at a time, and having gear all duct taped up.

    All a matter of perspective.

    Yeah, I can't stand some of the yupsters still. Think they are superficial. But, if I see a person on a run, all sweaty , "in the zone" and wearing spandex, heck,..I know they are just having a good time and do not deserve ridicule.

    Just my .05 worth.

    (Boo! Hiss! Working a Saturday. Off in a few hours. But I'll probably being do a run in spandex.;-) )

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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    Ain't nothing stupider looking than them high gaiters.
    =====================================
    I RESEMBLE THAT COMMENT !!

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

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    I remember how I felt about bicycling garb when I first tried the 210 mile Tour of the Scioto River Valley. So I wore cut-offs, T-shirt, and used my old canteen instead of a water bottle. But over the next few years I evolved more and more to bike shorts, tights etc.

    All those clothes look odd but they are designed to be functional. Just like the hiking clothes we spend so much on.

    But I agree, the people who really look silly are the ones who wear it just for the "look", the ones wearing mountain hiking clothing in Manhattan or performance jogging or cycling clothing to go around the block. The ones who would never dream of doing what those clothes were really designed for!

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    I reckon Muir and other old timers used whatever was best at the time for them, I'm sure they had it easier in some ways with woven fabrics instead of skinned animals for shirts and pants.

    As for fashion, sure, my throw away lemonade jar, Gatorade bottle and home sewn jacket are sure trend setters
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    NO SNIVELING

  13. #13

    Default are hikers just as bad as yuppies in spandex?

    well I thought the s pandex fad ended in the 80's and as far as hkers go there are many different types kentucky

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    I've backpacked through about 4 generations of "special" gear, from the "canvas packs and metal canteens" days of 50's Scouting, through the "external frame and down" 70s, to the "internal frame and lucite bottle" days of the 90s. Now we're in a 'microfiber and digital' era. All of them were functional, and once you get past the gearhead stage of your life, you realize they had one purpose: To make access to trails and the wild easier. They've done that.

    But through all of that, backpacking was never considered to be a 'cool' thing. "Cool" was surfiing or skiing, in the 60s; it was basketball or lacross in the 80's; soccer and x-sports in the 90s. Fine. I enjoyed backpacking, and I didn't demand 'public respect.'

    Now, though, backpacking is 'cool', and outdoor clothing worn by wannabees is common. And I kind of like that: It says that there are people who admire those of us who go for long walks and up and down mountains and canyons. Just as some may wear Kobe or Tiger or Raiders logowear, others wear the things we wear, or knockoffs of it. That's a compliment, as in 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.'

    So the imitators don't bother me.

    And as for being 'yuppies in spandex,' well, backpackers have really been far more close to the thrashers and surfer dudes and other extreme sports types: We don't mind getting dirty. We make (and have had to!) our own gear, and wear other things that some think outlandish. We're clannish, and a little suspicious of others (and each other!). We know what our 'sport' means, and it means more than 9 innings and a six pack to our lives.

    So hikers in spandex don't both me, either.

    The Weasel
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mouse
    I remember how I felt about bicycling garb when I first tried the 210 mile Tour of the Scioto River Valley. So I wore cut-offs, T-shirt, and used my old canteen instead of a water bottle. But over the next few years I evolved more and more to bike shorts, tights etc.

    All those clothes look odd but they are designed to be functional. Just like the hiking clothes we spend so much on.

    But I agree, the people who really look silly are the ones who wear it just for the "look", the ones wearing mountain hiking clothing in Manhattan or performance jogging or cycling clothing to go around the block. The ones who would never dream of doing what those clothes were really designed for!
    Functinality, true, but did you get the yellow Tour leader jersey or the blue and white U.S. Postal jersey..... that stuff makes me smile. I've got the carbon fiber bike but in my own color and I will not dress up like Lance Armstrong, my kids pretend to be someone they are no October 31 and at other times too, but you won't cath me in replica gear...... You know what I'm talking bout, right. You can buy Armstrongs helmet for bout $200 and the yellow Tour jeresey and the U.S. Postal uniform, plus the bike in team colors and many adults do this. Kind of funny if you ask me.

    And I'll second functionality, when your out there running 20+ and your chaffed so bad your nipples are dripping blood then you're all about functionality. If I ever am able to distance run again, I'll be wearing spandex shorts.... have to.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by SGT Rock
    I reckon Muir and other old timers used whatever was best at the time for them, I'm sure they had it easier in some ways with woven fabrics instead of skinned animals for shirts and pants.
    I think you are right. Seems funny to think of them busting it up a trail with GPS clipped to their Arc'tryx/Marmot/Patagonia outfit with titanium polls in hand though.

    Maybe my point is more along the lines of the old timers did fine without all this stuff we now think we have to have.... do we really need all this stuff or is it more industry driven? It is clear to me that the backpacking periodicals are nothing more than vehicles of the industry --- huge advertisements --- be in intentionally or not. (or maybe I'm not making a point,just talkin) So much of the stuff we have noe we would never go without, thinking it almost to be an impossiblity despite the fact that the products have existed for only a very short time.

    Maybe Marmot could do a deer skin line!!! There's a novelty. When will retro hiking become the style? Anybody thruhiked with more primative gear, ala The King of the Wild Frontier..... hmmm. Deerskin clothing, hmmm guess those guys used natural shelter rather than silnylon. I'd like to hike like David Caradine (sp?) in Kung Fu. Did he wear shoes....

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    I guess I'm the antithesis of the Patagucci hiker. I haven't a piece of clothing that cost me over $25. My Tilley hat doesn't count, it was a christmas gift.

    And I think running when you are neither chasing nor being chased is just wrong.

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    I'm unique, just like everyone else........ One Leg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kentucky
    well I thought the s pandex fad ended in the 80's and as far as hkers go there are many different types kentucky

    Let's not forget those Members Only jackets either.....My dad still wears one, LOL~!
    Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. That way, you're a mile away, and you've got his shoes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Maybe my point is more along the lines of the old timers did fine without all this stuff we now think we have to have.... do we really need all this stuff or is it more industry driven? It is clear to me that the backpacking periodicals are nothing more than vehicles of the industry --- huge advertisements --- be in intentionally or not. (or maybe I'm not making a point,just talkin) So much of the stuff we have noe we would never go without, thinking it almost to be an impossiblity despite the fact that the products have existed for only a very short time.
    I may not want to skin a bear to make my jacket but I probably would do that if it was the gear I needed.

    Well it is more of a function of what is available, at least for me. I don't drool over catalogs looking for the cool gadget or clothing, rather they are a tool when I get an idea of what I may need to change about my kit. These days I'll find the fiber and fill that I want and make a jacket out of it. I decided I need a bowl and I'll look for the most convenient thing that exists instead of carving my own. I won't carve my spoon from a log, but I will make my own stove. I can say at least in my case, the industry rarely drives what I carry, I decided I need a piece of gear and if it doesn't already exist, then I figure out how to improvise or make it.

    I do look at some of the gear that people carry and I often marvel at the over-design that some non-hiking people feel epitomizes hiking, while my gear would probably disappoint their notion of what gear ought to be. I consider it a compliment when someone stands agape looking at some piece of my gear and says: "That is all you carry?"
    SGT Rock
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    NO SNIVELING

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDale
    I guess I'm the antithesis of the Patagucci hiker. I haven't a piece of clothing that cost me over $25. My Tilley hat doesn't count, it was a christmas gift.
    And I think running when you are neither chasing nor being chased is just wrong.
    Remember, "beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes." Henry Thoreau

    Weary

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