Sunday, 17 June 2007

Lightweight Rant

I just caught up on Alan Sloman's day 100 rant (full text). I'll focus in on these paragraphs written by Alan:

So, Cameron, LW Bob, Chris T and other lightweight zealots - if you read this - take a long hard look at who your audience is, and then think hard before advocating the complete lightweight solution. The important thing I am stressing here is the audience; the readership. Not all are as experienced as Cameron and Chris and they should take care when blindly following TGO's latest direction in kit selection.

As I see it, it is far more important to be fit, slim and expereienced in the hills than it is to carry the latest lightweight tarp. TGO should be ramming this message across rather than their current lightweight gear fetish month after month.
Mainly because it reminded me of Ryan Jordan's disclaimer at the start of "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping" (link):
Your mama ain't watching out for you. Don't be an idiot.
...it is not intended for beginning backpackers or those that otherwise do not already know how to stay dry and warm in inclement weather, possess wilderness survival skills, and know how to recognise and avoid dangerous situations. Therefore, be warned that you must exercise your own judgement in evaluating the accuracy, applicability, and utility of the information provided herein.
I used to carry a Berghaus Antaeus 65 litre pack [1.95kg], a New Ilanos tent [2.5kg], a big bulky synthetic sleeping bag, 2-pot cookset and even tinned food. This was only 3 years ago.

Pack is now the Osprey Atmos 50 litres [1.45kg], and the Hilleberg Akto tent [1.5kg], sleeping bag is lightweight down, stove, fuel and utensil are now all inside the titanium cookset, and food is never tinned.

Three years ago it was a struggle hauling my overnight gear up the side of Ben Hope, but with lighter gear and lower volume, I was able to trek across Scotland at Easter.

I'd hate to see the dumbing down of outdoors mags to cater for the possibility that someone thinks they might be able to get to the top of Everest in a pair of trail shoes. But I'm not that way inclined, so I'll say: keep up the good work, TGO.

Pick up the techniques and gear that suit you and the terrain/climate you'll be hiking in. Waken up to the possibilities on offer and think about your kit. I use visualisation techniques, and, unlike some people, I definitely don't rely on weather forecasts to help chose my kit. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best.

3 comments:

Weird Darren said...

Duncan,
they are both right.
Alan is right about being fit and slim. Imagine the weight savings that can be made there. But as you know I'm not even close to that, and need to work on that area abit more.
But TGO are right in their promoting of lighweight gear. If you can combine both weight loss (if tubby like me) and lightweight gear with the knowledge of how to use it. Then you are in a fantastic place to have a great time on the hills.
BUt using Alan's argument which I think is a little flawed (and will be discussing this with him when he gets back, hopefully over a very nice drink or to ;) ), is that you could argue that the magazines shouldn't be promoting going on the hill as that requires knowing how to use the correct gear and having the correct gear, how to navigate etc etc

AktoMan said...

We all hike our own hike.

TGO did an article on car camping. Hardly lightweight.

What's wrong with showing people what can be achieved with some foreplanning and modern technology? Like F1 cars, it isn't for everyone, but it can get people thinking about gear. Bellingham (at which I was present) gave people the chance to see lightweight gear and talk about it instead of just reading about it. If TGO didn't consider their audience, why did they bother organising the weekend?

I just love the duality that Alan ordered a lightweight tent in from the US and then talks about lightweight zealots.

200,000 people go hillwalking in Glencoe each year, and the MRT are called out 30-60 times a year. I wonder how much of the callouts involve the "lethal cocktail" of lightweight gear and inexperienced walkers?

Best that we all sit on the couch, and leave the outdoors to the thin, gym-going, professionals. B@llocks to that. I have a great time in the outdoors, know when to turn back, and can enjoy myself even when it's chucking it down. I eat more healthily, have fewer headaches, and my eczema is generally better.

There's more chance of a group of thrill-seeking inexperienced walkers trying AE because it was mentioned on "Countryfile" this morning, than because they saw a tarp for sale in TGO.

Welcome to p*ssed off Britain: a place where you can please none of the people any of the time.

People of Britain: Get a grip on reality for once in your life.

Only you are responsible for your own actions or inactions - not the tv, not magazines, not the government - but you alone.

/*end rant*/

Nick said...

''Only you are responsible for your own actions or inactions - not the tv, not magazines, not the government - but you alone''.

Well said sir. I agree 100%