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Need help with where to buy camping gear

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Nancy, I'm very sorry about the situation...I hope calmer seas are ahead for you and your son.


The other posters have given superb advice. The only personal thought I'd like to add is if you are going to invest in two quality items, I'd recommend a good backpack and a good sleeping bag.


When I was a scout, I used military surplus, Kmart brand, etc...these items worked just fine. In fact, I still have many of them...cheap, functional, and tough.


The only items that gave me grief were a) a truly awful Sears backpack (hiked the Grand Canyon with it, 50 miler, and I still can feel that poorly designed frame torturing me, lo these many decades hence!) and b) my 10 dollar sleeping bag...spent many cold, sleepless nights in that thing!


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DesertRat, you've given me a bad flashback to my 70's Sears Himalayan model backpack (shudder). Perhaps if the hip-belt had fit properly it wouldn't have been so bad (I was really skinny in those days), but it's probably why I haven't been backpacking since I aged out.


I'm getting ready to buy an Alps Mountaineering Denali, I hope I have better luck with it.





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DWS, thanks for sharing that story! My Sears pack was a Hillary II...as you mentioned, poor hip belt, plus on the frame there was a bar that ran horizontally down near the small of the back that was curved inward--towards the back! Dug into your back every step, every switchback. My brother had one as well, with the same medival design, so mine wasn't a fluke.


That particular 50 miler in the GC was primer in how not to gear up for a backpacking trip...'70's waffle boots (cheap and weighed a ton)...the aforementioned pack...my 10 dollar sleeping back that weighed about ten pounds (like the waffle boots, cheap and heavy...roll it as tight as you can and it's still 20 inches in diameter...tough to roll and strap to the pack, so I started sleeping in my poncho [good, functional, 2 dollars, bought at Yellow Front])....


Two years later went to Philmont...mowed lawns to pay my way, and spent 35 bucks for a classic Camp Trails external frame backpack...it was sublime! Far superior to the Hillary II. Waffle boots gone, bought a pair of standard issue combat boots (16 dollars and superb once they were broken in)...wore those till I outgrew them.


PS Best wishes with the new pack...looks like a good one I'll take a look at.


(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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Tell your boy to pick up a copy of the Backpacking Merit Badge pamphlet at the local scout shop for about $3.50. It contains a list of all equipment he will ever need for any camping trip plus wonderful outdoor advice. It will also prepare him for future backpacking trips and his eventual trip to Philmont. You don't want to buy heavy gear if he will be carrying it on his back. BTW, Ray Jardine is a world-class expert on backpacking light and gives wonderful advice to hikers/campers. Best of luck to you and your son.

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