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Investing in Gear

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FreespiritAZ
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Investing in Gear

Post by FreespiritAZ » Mar 19 2010 4:08 am

So I have been an avid day hiker for the last 5 years, but am now looking to invest in gear so I can hike AND camp. I am wanting to get quality gear without it costing me an arm and a leg.

Does anyone know of any quality places other than REI or Cabella's? Both places seem so pricey to me. Are there any good websites you could refer me to? Are there any brands that you prefer? If so, why do you prefer them?

Until now I have also always just used tennis shoes for my hikes even though I could have probably used a pair of boots. Any tips or suggestions for footwear would also be appreciated :D

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azbackpackr
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 20 2010 6:38 am

Not having seen an actual pair of those, I have to ask, don't you get chafed between the toes, especially if sand or grit gets in there? They do truly look pretty cool, but I just wonder about the practical things, like sand.
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MtnBart01
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by MtnBart01 » Mar 20 2010 7:37 am

I don't really have a problem with getting stuff in them because they fit pretty snug. The treks I have are kangaroo leather (sorry kangaroo lovers)and they seem to do a good job of keeping cactus out as well, but they are definitely an acquired taste. They basically keep you from getting rock bruises and provide traction. They provide no ankle support. On the other hand (or foot :) ) you don't have a stiff platform when you are walking on rough terrain to pivot your ankle around. You use slightly different muscles and have to be more selective about foot placement especially going down rough rocky terrain.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 20 2010 2:55 pm

Cool, I have no issues with kangaroo farming--probably less environmentally destructive than cattle grazing...

My son would probably like those shoes. I myself fit in so few shoes it's just about hopeless. They are all too loose, too wide, etc.
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Moovyoaz
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by Moovyoaz » Mar 20 2010 4:50 pm

I suggest you come to the monthly Friends Hiking Club meeting at the Boulders in Tempe. We have very experienced backpackers available who can offer you one-on-one advice about equipment, and can walk you through the process, without trying to sell you something. We meet the first Monday of the month, and guests are always welcome. More info is at http://www.friendshiking.com. We'll take care of ya.
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sirena
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by sirena » Mar 20 2010 8:46 pm

I fully agree with borrowing gear before you buy. When you are ready to buy, used gear or http://www.spadout.com for comparing gear prices. When buying gear, look for closeouts- which are many times just last year's model sold for cheap.
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JimmyLyding
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by JimmyLyding » Mar 20 2010 9:10 pm

I think imike might wear Five Fingers footwear, and if it works for him then it can work for you on your next 8700' AEG hike. I prefer full-leather big boots, but I've also trashed my ankles and knees via years of basketball, volleyball, and plyometrics. I'm also a little bit clumsy....
You could also check out http://www.steepandcheap.com.
I wouldn't claim that it's a rule with outdoor gear, but you get what you pay for. $200 boots will last you for years, but they cost 200 smackers. It all comes down to what you're willing to spend with respect to getting lighter, more durable, more of a "brand name," and comfort. However, our buddy Dave (dshillis) wears $30 boots from Wally World, and they seem to suit him just fine. My goofy self would probably somehow rip the lowers right off of those puppies.
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azbackpackr
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by azbackpackr » Mar 21 2010 3:26 am

I used to wear Vasque all-leather boots exclusively, before they started making them in China and stopped making them in narrow widths. They are not as good as they used to be, although I have a pair of Wasatches. Those are good in the sense that sometimes I like to work out with weights! Very heavy! I now mostly wear New Balance WW977 because they make them in my size.
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nonot
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by nonot » Mar 21 2010 11:17 pm

If you have a pair of shoes that will work for you then those shouldn't be your first buy. Most will recommend you try to get a quality big 3 set: Backpack, Tent/Hammock/Shelter, Sleeping Bag.

If you want to get quality gear, then:

Sleeping bag: get a down bag, 700-800 fill down, the most expensive purchase. Try to find a size that works best for you, everyone will have their own preferences. Women's have different amounts of down in different places than men's bags.

Backpack: Aim for light, 2.5 lbs max will hold up to 50L of stuff, you can find some packs even lighter than this. Try them on before you buy, rent them if you have to, women's straps are cut different than men's.

Tent/Hammock/Shelter: Everyone has their own preferences, I'm not going to touch on that here.

Other stuff:
Stove: aim light, the lightest are 1) Esbit and 2) alcohol custom made stoves, very cheap, very light. Good for weather above freezing. A titanium pot is a nice addition but not necessary right away.

Water filter: For extended trips, you need a water filter. Make a smart choice, get one that is field cleanable, especially if you ever plan on going to the Grand Canyon! Some prefer to use only chemicals, their preference, I choose differently.

A shovel, small and sturdy, a stick is never around when you need one.

A 3L camelback and supplementary water carrier, I recommend the dromedary bags, but 1 and 2 liter plastic bottles will work just fine for your first outings.

Overall, shop sales, women's gear is often discounted, whereas men's (in reasonable sizes) is seldom discounted. Online, in store, women have the benefit when it comes to cheaper outdoor gear.
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by Jeffshadows » Mar 22 2010 7:31 am

No Not has a good list. I'd also recommend carrying some sort of knife. Nothing huge, just sharp.
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te_wa
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by te_wa » Mar 22 2010 8:04 am

for backpacking, the above mentioned Nonot suggestions are good. dont forget, we now refer to it as the "big 4" (sleeping pad/underquilt)
please keep in mind that it is highly recommended to bring the 10 essential items These include, but are certainly not limited to 10 items that should be in every day and overnight pack. see this article for details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials

also, if you want to get a quick in person look at what the veteran/seasoned ladies are bringing on their outings, you should seriously consider coming to tonight's Arizona Backpacking Club meeting. 3 veteran highly skilled women backpackers are due to put on a display of their gear choices, talk about the differences between them, and go over the unique challenges that face women adventurers. It should be a MUST for you just getting into this.
here's info: http://www.meetup.com/Arizona-Backpacki ... /12288252/
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by Jeffshadows » Mar 22 2010 8:18 am

I never got into the habit of carrying a pad, though it might not hurt. That's what pine needles and grass are for! :sweat:
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FreespiritAZ
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by FreespiritAZ » Mar 22 2010 11:22 am

Jeff, I was thinking that a pad might not be an essential item. Especially after I went and looked at what they cost. Heck, I don't mind using leaves, grass, pine needles and other vegetation as padding. The one that I want to get would be a self inflatable pad (IF I were to get one) because it is light weight. Everyone on this site has stressed light weight gear, and that does not come cheap without hunting around (which I don't necessarily mind doing, but I have a time frame in which I need to get it).

Nonot thank you for such a detailed list. I agree with you Jeff that I would add a knife. I used to have a really good Kershaw (I love that brand), but I lost it on the trail :( Kershaws are not too big or bulky, and I generally just like the feel of them better.

Te-wa thanks for the link. I think that a nice wide brimmed hat is an essential item, but it falls under the clothes category. If you have a good hat, then sunglasses are kind of optional. Plus, I wear glasses and find contacts dry my eyes out. Thus, I would have to get a pair of clip ons OR wear a set with big lenses over my regular glasses OR buy a pair of prescription ones. Eh, that is to much trouble. I will stick with my big straw "Derby" hat as my fellow hiking friends like to call it.

Ellizabek, I have the opposite problem that you have with shoes. My feet are rather wide, so I am often forced to purchase men's.

Sirena, Joe, Writelots and anyone else who suggested borrowing gear...I plan on it. Thank you for the suggestion :)

A couple of you have suggested the AZ Backpacking Club on Mondays, but unfortunately I work full time and go to school full time. My schedule doesn't permit me to do much of anything until the weekends. I plan on becoming a member, but just won't be able to do the meetings.

Wow, so I think I responded to everyone. You guys are all full of useful information and I appreciate the time you have taken to educate a newbie like me. I now see that the jump from day hiking to backpacking is one that requires a lot of research, oh and let's not forget money! Lol
Last edited by FreespiritAZ on Mar 22 2010 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PLC92084
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by PLC92084 » Mar 22 2010 11:31 am

FreespiritAZ wrote:the jump from day hiking to backpacking is one that requires a lot of research, oh and let's not forget money!

This is a fact my wife constantly reminds me of... She just can't understand why, after 30+ years, I'd need new, up-to-date equipment... :whistle:

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big_load
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by big_load » Mar 22 2010 11:32 am

FreespiritAZ wrote:I was thinking that a pad might not be an essential item
If you plan to camp in temps below about 50F, you'll find it pretty useful. Conductive heat loss to the ground is nasty, especially since the part of your bag that would slow it down is squashed flat underneath you.

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joebartels
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by joebartels » Mar 22 2010 11:42 am

Kurt's (hikeaz) inflatable chair that doubles as a pad seems to be the best investment to knock out two needs IMO. The oldest piece of gear I have is my Thermarest so it's hard to part with something I know lasts and works.
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FreespiritAZ
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by FreespiritAZ » Mar 22 2010 11:43 am

Big_load, hmmm ok I see your point. I guess there are just some things you don't skimp on.

PLC92084, well....then get her to come out with you to see just EXACTLY why you need updated gear :D

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Jeffshadows
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by Jeffshadows » Mar 22 2010 3:03 pm

One thing few ever mention but I'm never without is a small piece of folded up tinfoil. You can make a mirror, cup, occlusive field dressing, use it to cook food, purify water, all kinds of things. Additionally, when fashioned into a hat it will prevent mind control and other unwanted intrusions into your personal liberty... :sl:
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dysfunction
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by dysfunction » Mar 22 2010 3:11 pm

In response to Jeff MacE:
All you need then is to double filter the water to keep from saping and impurifying our precious bodily fluids...


I do carry a pad, habit started when I was using it for the R value alone.. now I don't think I'd backpack without it. <$20 will at least buy you some serious warmth without too much weight add (3/4 length ridgerest)
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by Jeffshadows » Mar 22 2010 3:15 pm

"We must not allow a tinfoil gap!"

...Come to think of it I do have a Ridgerest. Now that someone mentioned the camp chair cover you can get for it I do remember thinking that I should get one of those to make it more usable. I think finding space for it has been my challenge...
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FreespiritAZ
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Re: Investing in Gear

Post by FreespiritAZ » Mar 22 2010 5:18 pm

Jeff MacE wrote:Additionally, when fashioned into a hat it will prevent mind control and other unwanted intrusions into your personal liberty...
Hmm interesting or maybe it is nice cheap entertainment for your fellow HAZ hiking buddies, hehe :D

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