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Thread: Are We a Dying Breed?

  1. #31
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    I often asked people if they'd rather be alive 200 years ago, right now, or 200 years in the future. It's an interesting exercise to consider how far we've come. For me, I'd always pick two hundred years in the future, hands down. 200 years ago would be a novelty until you got a minor infection and died.

    I'm sure by them people will be talking about how great the hiking boots their great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent let them are, and that they've only needed to be resoled 20 times.
    | 64.5% W48: 19/48
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  2. #32
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    I am at the age where the average person was not alive 200 years ago. When Social Security was created in the 1937 the average life expectancy was less than the full retirement age. When growing up in the nineteen sixties and seventies, my older relatives and many of my friends relatives rarely made it to their seventies, no worried about dementia as something else would take them out long before. Lung cancer was prevalent and it was a death sentence. Sure they may have had great pensions but they didn't collect them for long. I remember folks in their late fifties carrying and using nitro pills to keep their hearts running as things like pacemakers angioplasty and heart bypasses were not really in general use. I didn't see folks like Hiker Ed working on his 7th round of 12 by 48 which will be completed after the age seventy. I also didn't know folks getting new knees and hips or major rebuilds going back out and resuming their hiking career. I also grew up prior to the clean water act, folks have forgotten that all the major rivers in New England were open sewers including the Pemi and had been since the early 1900s or earlier. The waterfront on most cities were not places to go, I remember walking along the harbor in Portland and could see toilet paper and raw sewerage being dumped in the bay out of open pipes. Its easy to look back and have selected good memories but from my viewpoint I would rather take today.

    The mountains have also gotten a lot more accessible, yes it means more people on the trails but talk to anyone coming up routinely in the sixties up RT3 and not many of them routinely drove up did major summit and drove home in the same day.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-30-2018 at 10:52 AM.

  3. #33
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    One evening after a hike into our camp for the night, a few of us sat around our snow-kitchen imbibing a bit. I look at my friend, who is deep in thought. I ask him "What's up?"

    He replies: "You know, if I could do it all over again, I think I'd be a tarp salesman when the Colonists landed at Plymouth Rock".

  4. #34
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I'm a member of a lot of hiking forums and groups. When someone post a "What do you recommend for boots" question, I'm amazed at the low end suggestions. My boots last me a low average of 10 to 15 years and the rest of my gear is no different. I buy top of the line gear and clothes. I think it's very accurate to say the younger crowd goes cheaper by far. I also think, most of them will do a list and retire anyway, so it's probably not an issue for them.

  5. #35
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Limmers I bought 32 years ago. They never quite fit right after I had them resoled, but I still used them for trailwork and construction. But for my needs, lighter gear is much better. That typically means footwear won't last as long, but I'm fine with that if it means less weight on my feet and more miles on the trail. I typically get 3-5 years from a pair of soft hikers, and that works well for me.

    I do have some bombproof gear, and it's great, but it's usually heavy. I'm much more likely to go with lighter gear and worry about replacing it over time.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  6. #36
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sierra View Post
    I'm a member of a lot of hiking forums and groups. When someone post a "What do you recommend for boots" question, I'm amazed at the low end suggestions. My boots last me a low average of 10 to 15 years and the rest of my gear is no different. I buy top of the line gear and clothes. I think it's very accurate to say the younger crowd goes cheaper by far. I also think, most of them will do a list and retire anyway, so it's probably not an issue for them.
    My point from below was that it's not so much that they are young, it's that they have less disposable income to spend on higher-end gear. When I was in my 20's I hiked in my sneakers for the most part, and that was largely driven by budget. The budget's less tight now, so I have nicer gear. I think the other factor is experience/expectation of continuing to use the gear. I have a bunch of friends that I bring hiking, but some only come once a year, so it's hard to justify spending big bucks on gear that won't see much use. I have some friends that have gotten more into it, and they tend to upgrade gear as they gain experience. I'm willing to be that an avid, young hiker with sizable disposable income has decent gear. Of course, youth has it perks, such as being able to post hole for 10 miles or hike in jeans. Those inefficiencies are generally magnified with age
    | 64.5% W48: 19/48
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  7. #37
    Senior Member Nessmuk's Avatar
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    I do very little on-trail hiking, unless the trail is taking me to some place where I can get off trail. Mostly I'm out carrying a canoe over rough ground and blowdown while bushwhacking to some remote place well off trail. Or, I'm on a SAR mission over equally rough ground, often wet too. Sturdy boots are a necessity and welcome.
    "She's all my fancy painted her, she's lovely, she is light. She waltzes on the waves by day and rests with me at night." - Nessmuk, Forest and Stream, July 21, 1880 [of the Wood Drake Canoe built for him by Rushton]

  8. #38
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    Unfortunately 1983 makes me a millennial, apparently.
    I'm not going to lie that I just missed a letter "m" in the word "many" - I truly stand corrected, especially that if I followed this thread carefully, I would see that TJsName already proved me wrong before I even wrote my original post.

    Still I asked my son who is also a Millennial if he or his hiking friends use any discussion boards for hiking-related stuff and he unequivocally said "no".

    As to the question in the original post, I think outdoor retailers should carefully consider what happened to GoLite. One of my friends really liked their products, unfortunately the company lost focus on what they were really good at, and attempted to broaden appeal which resulted in chapter 11. Here is a quote from https://www.brandgeek.net/2014/11/23...one-trademark/

    GoLite’s co-founder Demetri “Coup” Coupounas said that GoLite engaged in an over-ambitious retail store model and too rapid expansion into casual apparel. Specifically, he explained that the company opened 20 retail locations in 2012 — many of which were too large for its needs — while also launching a casual apparel line that its technical gear-loving consumers were not yet ready to embrace. GoLite got out of balance and that imbalance quickly took its toll.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    I'm not going to lie that I just missed a letter "m" in the word "many" - I truly stand corrected, especially that if I followed this thread carefully, I would see that TJsName already proved me wrong before I even wrote my original post.

    Still I asked my son who is also a Millennial if he or his hiking friends use any discussion boards for hiking-related stuff and he unequivocally said "no".

    As to the question in the original post, I think outdoor retailers should carefully consider what happened to GoLite. One of my friends really liked their products, unfortunately the company lost focus on what they were really good at, and attempted to broaden appeal which resulted in chapter 11. Here is a quote from https://www.brandgeek.net/2014/11/23...one-trademark/

    GoLite’s co-founder Demetri “Coup” Coupounas said that GoLite engaged in an over-ambitious retail store model and too rapid expansion into casual apparel. Specifically, he explained that the company opened 20 retail locations in 2012 — many of which were too large for its needs — while also launching a casual apparel line that its technical gear-loving consumers were not yet ready to embrace. GoLite got out of balance and that imbalance quickly took its toll.
    To be fair, I'm the only one of my group of friends that even knows this place exists.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    I think you are right on the money - I seriously doubt there are any Millennials registered on VFTT. In fact, from what I read, majority of Millennials are also skipping Facebook.
    Wrong! 33 year old here, and I've been a member since 2004!
    Last edited by GBKDalton; 02-07-2018 at 06:48 PM.

  11. #41
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    Millennial speaking here!

    So regarding the boots... I had a number of boot disasters in the early years, and then on my AT thru-hike, and I settled on Keens for summer and Columbia for winter, and never changed brands again. What I heard about Limmers at the beginning was that there was a two year wait and they were really heavy and expensive. The last thing I needed was another expensive disaster. Not interested now either, as the heavier the boot the worse my blisters. I also read bad reviews back then from people who said the boots never broke in, even after 1-2 years of steady use.

    I owned the same tent and other gear for a decade and have recently started replacing some of it, some due to curiosity and finally wore out.

    Dunno who can afford a 600 dollar jacket to walk the dog in. I couldn't even cough up 300 to replace my poor ll bean down jacket this year, and I really wanted to. Losing feathers all over the place. Of course I hastened its death (over 5-6 years) by wearing it to the barn all winter. Probably not it's intended use!

    Bottom line, if it works it works, and I will use it till it dies and replace it. I take care of my gear and am not too hard on my boots, and they normally last a number of years at minimum (excepting down jackets). I am more concerned with weight then longevity, though I do expect stuff to last a few years of steady use. I'm not going to be told I need to go back to hauling a 50-60 pound pack so my gear can be bombproof.

    I appreciate this site because the members actually know what they're talking about when they make hiking and gear recommendations. I don't read the Facebook groups because many of the posters drive me nuts with their condescension, when they really have very little experience beyond day hiking in perfect conditions.
    Last edited by GBKDalton; 02-07-2018 at 07:18 PM.

  12. #42
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    Older folks probably have forgot how bad the use groups were and millennials were not even around to have known how bad they were. I dont pretend to deal with facebook but I would be hard pressed to envision if it could be as bad as rec.backcountry and its subgroups had gotten. Trolls and clueless folks were the norm and flame wars were expected. Mention certain topics, like Boy Scouts and hundreds if not thousands of replies would clutter the use group. I knew folks who remembered the good old days on rec.backcountry but by the time I finally had dial up access to the internet it had degraded to anarchy. There were regional sub groups that covered the whites but the noise to useful information ratio got quite low. Once the internet became commercial and the world wide web came into existence, VFTT and the AMC forum popped up as an alternative to the use groups and were moderated. AMCs board unfortunately was moderated with a heavy hand and the "party line" of AMC was enforced aggressively, it eventually became irrelevant and went away. VFTT tended to have far more even moderation although on occasion cries of favoritism did arise (and still do). Originally membership was open to all but along with that came spam and one post wonders. The sponsored membership policy was brought in to cut down on the spam albeit with a loss of membership and a two year slow down in approving new members, really knocked back membership. There were a couple of borderline trolls on the site that were tolerated to a limited extent but as their noise to signal ratio increased they usually were given multiple time outs and eventually grew up or went away.

  13. #43
    Administrator Kimball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    As to the question in the original post, I think outdoor retailers should carefully consider what happened to GoLite. One of my friends really liked their products, unfortunately the company lost focus on what they were really good at, and attempted to broaden appeal which resulted in chapter 11.[/I]
    GoLite is back as a new brand called My Trail (stupid name IMO) and they say they learned their lesson.
    https://mytrailco.com/pages/our-story

    I'm not sure they have. TrailsNH is a My Trails affiliate. They seem to be doing a crappy job in the affiliate space.
    NH 4000 x8, NE 4000 x2, NEHH x1, Presi Traverse x8, Pemi Loop x12, Double Presi Traverse x1, ADK 46 x1.

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  14. #44
    Junior Member datbrew's Avatar
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    25 here. I come from a running background that includes years of Track and XC training. At one point I must have had over 5 different pairs of running shoes for different types of training, races, and field events. This way of life has translated into my shoe selection for hiking. For shorter hikes I wear Salomon Spreedcross 3's which are a type of aggressive trail runners. They pretty much are a running shoe with great traction (All of my trail running is done in these). For longer hikes or fringe season hikes where traction may be needed I use Salomon XA PRO 3Ds. I've seen these mentioned before on other VFTT posts...I recommend trying them if you haven't already. Great hiking and everyday shoe. They are marketed as a trail runner but I find them too heavy and stiff to run in. They function as a very sturdy waterproof sneaker that provides enough protection from jagged rocks but also the mobility needed on a long hike. I hear many people choose them for the AT. Winter is a little different...I wear a Vasque Snowburban. As you can see I prefer having a low-cut trail-runner/sneaker whenever I'm doing any physical activity other than in the winter when I obviously care about warmth and safety over speed/weight.

    I've tried heavier boots but I could never find one that didn't either give me toe-bang issues or blister problems. I cracked on a Bonds traverse a few years ago and swore I would only hike in sneakers until I found a solution. That solution was the XA Pro 3Ds. Since then I found the Snowburban's actually fit me well enough but I would never go back to a classic hiking boot for summer hikes.

    I know my shoe choices may end up more expensive as I have to replace the speedcross and XA Pro 3d fairly often. I buy a new pair of running shoes every year and the idea of doing the same for hiking just makes sense to me. To me, it's like choosing the high performance summer tires that wear down way quicker than the all-season ones, but man do they grip the road better! I clearly don't look for shoes (and other gear) that fills all of my needs as the article mentions but I also don't have a preference for gear that will last years and years as some of you have talked about!

  15. #45
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Older folks probably have forgot how bad the use groups were and millennials were not even around to have known how bad they were. I dont pretend to deal with facebook but I would be hard pressed to envision if it could be as bad as rec.backcountry and its subgroups had gotten. Trolls and clueless folks were the norm and flame wars were expected. Mention certain topics, like Boy Scouts and hundreds if not thousands of replies would clutter the use group. I knew folks who remembered the good old days on rec.backcountry but by the time I finally had dial up access to the internet it had degraded to anarchy.
    I'm one of those older folks who still remembers the good old days on rec.backcountry... I didn't find it that hard to skip the trolls and flame wars. There were some very knowledgeable folks there (it was also international) and I learned a lot from them. I also liked that it was unmoderated--one could post opinions that weren't PC without fear of them being deleted. (Of course, one needed to pick and choose one's groups to avoid those that were dominated by noise.) Since the decline of usenet, much of the similar discussion has been spread out to the point that IMO it isn't worth trying to follow it. (Obviously I read VFTT, but it serves a different purpose for me than rec.backcountry did.)

    I may have gotten on it earlier than most here. (I have had arpanet/intenet access since 1976 and usenet started in 1980.) I also read it by downloading the groups of interest to my local machine and reading them locally which gave me instant response--no waiting for a slow connection or server. In addition, a text-based threaded news reader is IMO more efficient than a web browser. Usenet still exists and there are still some active groups with a good signal-to-noise ratio. I still read several groups using the same old paradigm: download the groups of interest and read them with the same old text-based threaded reader...

    BTW, rec.backcountry isn't completely dead--there have been a few posts in the last few days. A gear question which was promptly answered by a familiar poster.

    Doug

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