Author Topic: How hiking equipment has changed over time.  (Read 1244 times)

gunwharfman

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How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« on: 10:58:32, 27/08/19 »
I was having a chat about hiking and showing some of my photos to my young next-door neighbour on Sunday. I used Robert Louis Stevenson's equipment list from his book 'Travels with a Donkey in the Cevenne' to compare and contrast with my equipment list. We had a good time, just left the other adults to talk about their houses, work, cars and so on. As she said, boring! RLS took a revolver, an egg whisk, a leg of cold mutton, black and white bread, a spirit lamp, tins of Bologna sausage and much else besides. As we commented his equipment must have weighed 'a ton' compared to mine. I also showed her some of the bits of the walk on Google Maps, she at least was interested, I didn't see her eyes roll at any point. As we agreed it was no wonder RLS had to buy a donkey! She is now going to read the book and will tell me her views about it in a couple of days.

JerryW

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #1 on: 12:28:59, 27/08/19 »
I've been reading "Ascent" by Chris Bonington recently,
(an interesting book though the list of friends of his that have died is quite extraordinary. I'm not saying its anything to do with him at all but after a while, whenever he says he became friendly with someone, you think "Uh oh.") .. anyway, he is very clear that mountain clothing (and equipment) has absolutely transformed itself in his lifetime and basically we youngsters don't know how lucky we are .. 
As I shoulder my 400g rucksack, containing my 500g tent, my 550g sleeping bag and breathable clothing that dries in an hour or less, i am inclined to agree with him. Oh, and I am wearing my 350g Innov-8s (so not a very serious walk, obvs :-) )

ninthace

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #2 on: 14:24:57, 27/08/19 »
Ah happy days!  My first tent was a pup tent - you don't hear of them any more.  No sown in ground sheet, wooden poles, no fly sheet and only water resistant in the finest drizzle. Just room for me on my lilo and the dog.
My "outer layer" was a grey anorak with a yellow lining - no full length zip, it went on head first.  If you wanted it waterproof (hah!) you painted it with Nev.  Later on I had a orange one which nearly suffocated you as you put it on.  The mid layer was an Arran sweater my mum knitted.
Anyone else remember the joys of cooking on a primus stove?  IIRC, it needed two sorts of fuel. meths to light it and paraffin to burn.  It was a black art to get it going with lots of strategic pumping and so dangerous you never ever bought it into the tent.  You could tell an experienced user - they still had eyebrows.  I remember when camping gaz cartridges came out.  If you had to disassemble the stove you just pored the unused gas away!
My rucksack was bright blue canvas, not in the least bit waterproof.  The straps were leather and in my case, had the luxury of 2mm thick felt padding over the shoulders.
My boots has "Commnado" soles which could be replaced by removing the screws that held them on.  The reality was the screws corroded so they wouldn't shift and when the screw tips started to draw blood, you bought a new pair.
But you tell the young people of today........


Edt - forgot to mention you always had fourpence in case you needed to phone home.  Not that I could, we didn't have a phone but we knew somebody who did.
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Owen

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #3 on: 14:52:47, 27/08/19 »
Ah happy days!  My first tent was a pup tent - you don't hear of them any more.  No sown in ground sheet, wooden poles, no fly sheet and only water resistant in the finest drizzle. Just room for me on my lilo and the dog.
My "outer layer" was a grey anorak with a yellow lining - no full length zip, it went on head first.  If you wanted it waterproof (hah!) you painted it with Nev.  Later on I had a orange one which nearly suffocated you as you put it on.  The mid layer was an Arran sweater my mum knitted.
Anyone else remember the joys of cooking on a primus stove?  IIRC, it needed two sorts of fuel. meths to light it and paraffin to burn.  It was a black art to get it going with lots of strategic pumping and so dangerous you never ever bought it into the tent.  You could tell an experienced user - they still had eyebrows.  I remember when camping gaz cartridges came out.  If you had to disassemble the stove you just pored the unused gas away!
My rucksack was bright blue canvas, not in the least bit waterproof.  The straps were leather and in my case, had the luxury of 2mm thick felt padding over the shoulders.
My boots has "Commnado" soles which could be replaced by removing the screws that held them on.  The reality was the screws corroded so they wouldn't shift and when the screw tips started to draw blood, you bought a new pair.
But you tell the young people of today........


Edt - forgot to mention you always had fourpence in case you needed to phone home.  Not that I could, we didn't have a phone but we knew somebody who did.




Yes it certainly has changed, thank god for that. 

KimE

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #4 on: 17:31:20, 27/08/19 »
Still one of the best ultra light mountain stoves Optimus Svea from 1955.

https://www.optimusstoves.com/en/de/200-8016279-optimus-svea

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svea_123

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #5 on: 19:23:09, 27/08/19 »
Anyone else remember the joys of cooking on a primus stove?  IIRC, it needed two sorts of fuel. meths to light it and paraffin to burn.  It was a black art to get it going with lots of strategic pumping and so dangerous you never ever bought it into the tent.  You could tell an experienced user - they still had eyebrows.
I remember Primus stoves well from Scouts. You had to pressurise the paraffin fuel with the plunger and then light the tray of meths that surrounded the fuel pipe. The idea was that this heated the pipe, which then vapourised the meths. When you were ready, you released the fuel and if you had got it right you could light the stove. If you hadn’t waited long enough a stream of liquid paraffin shot out and covered the stove. Once another patrol managed the second scenario and the liquid paraffin ignited . This pressurised the fuel tank more and melted the solder that kept the plunger in place. Said plunger then travelled the length of a 14 foot ridge tent at head height.
« Last Edit: 19:31:38, 27/08/19 by Bigfoot_Mike »

JerryW

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #6 on: 21:06:02, 27/08/19 »
Still one of the best ultra light mountain stoves Optimus Svea from 1955.
....
Ultralight? 550g?! My meths stove weighs 8g

alan de enfield

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #7 on: 08:38:06, 28/08/19 »
Ultralight? 550g?! My meths stove weighs 8g




But we didn't have grams in 1955 so nobody knew how heavy it was.


The stove weighs 8g, but the fuel & fuel container weighs …………… ?
« Last Edit: 09:47:31, 28/08/19 by alan de enfield »

richardh1905

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #8 on: 08:46:34, 28/08/19 »
  Later on I had a orange one which nearly suffocated you as you put it on.... (snip)

Your post made me smile.

And I had one of those wretched thing! What a wonderful invention Gore Tex is.
« Last Edit: 13:39:14, 28/08/19 by richardh1905 »

richardh1905

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #9 on: 08:47:55, 28/08/19 »
Ultralight? 550g?! My meths stove weighs 8g

My non existent stove weighs 0g.

Seriously, consider ditching the stove on short trips.

barewirewalker

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #10 on: 12:57:12, 28/08/19 »
My first pair of mountaineering boots were a pair of unlined leather working boots nailed by a cobbler, who had his workshop next to my mothers dress shop, with tricounis, star muggers and clinkers bought through a postal catalogue of mountaineering and explorers equipment. Thought I was going to learn to climb by the proper method i.e. traditional method.

I climbed some V.Diffs on Crib Goch and Cader Idris in them, climbs led by school masters. I then led two friend around the complete Snowden Horseshoe, starting and ending at our campsite end of Llynnau Mymbyr, Capel Curig. A very hot August day and my feet were burning up. I was not long after that experience I was given the money to buy my first pair of rubber soled boots, a pair of Arvon's Tigers.

On leaving school and pitching into 'real mountaineering' as I thought, much of my equipment came from a scrapyard, whose owner seemed have an in with military surplus. Top half of a survival suit outer for really wet weather, untill I saved enough for a Ventile anorak. Top half of the inner, made my first duvet jacket, hand dyed blue. Lower half was used as a Pied d'Elephant. (Bivvyed on a ledge in the Alps with that). Ex army crampons with webbing straps, got me up Green gully and the numbered gullies on Ben Nevis in one of the 1960's winters.

My first snow mitts were part of the survival suit, I think they might have been the best and longest serving part of that purchase. I gradually kitted myself out from a long period of make do, I have been in places where others have been killed. I think too comfortable/good equipment may have contributed to some fatalities. One in particular climbing out of Cwm Glas ascent to Crib y Ddysgl in good hard snow, we roped, even though there is no drop to go over, the exposure is very fierce, some years later I read of a party falling there with fatality, all the gear and I thought that they might just a bit too warm and comfortable.


« Last Edit: 13:00:44, 28/08/19 by barewirewalker »
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Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #11 on: 13:33:18, 28/08/19 »
Having been a walker for well over thirty years and more, the thing that surprises me most, is the inferior quality of just about most of the walking and hiking equipment for sale today.

We are asked to pay handsomely for the pleasure of owning the stuff, but few items are as well made as equipment of decades ago.

I still own a Berghaus Dart 45L rucsac, purchased way back in the 1980s, it was built to last, and will probably last another thirty odd years, as the quality of manufacture was light years ahead of similar sacs sold today.

I am still using, when conditions allow,  a heavy duty Javlin fleece, i bought in 1984.
Its had quite a bit of wear, but its construction means its got to be pretty nippy before you can wear the thing, its more suited to Alpine climbing, or the rare severe winters we have at home.

Cost me £24, a lot back then, but nothing today compares with the quality of equipment sold back in the 80s.

jimbob

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #12 on: 14:37:37, 28/08/19 »
£24 in 1984 is equivalent to approx £80 at the beginning of 2019 according to the Government inflation calculator.

« Last Edit: 14:45:01, 28/08/19 by jimbob »
Too little, too late, too bad......

Slogger

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #13 on: 17:55:08, 29/08/19 »
No need to purchase inferior gear today, there is plenty of really good gear, you just have to pay more for it. There are 'outdoor' stores in lots of towns and cities that just sell cheap C..p, even stored that at one time sold only good quality gear now also stock the cheap C..p. This is clearly down to the growing interest in outdoor activities in particular walking and the general more casual walkers who don't want to pay the price of good funtional gear.

richardh1905

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Re: How hiking equipment has changed over time.
« Reply #14 on: 08:54:12, 30/08/19 »
Indeed, Slogger - there are some very high quality tents, rucksacks, boots, waterproofs etc out there.