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Tatung42

Backcountry ethical question - should you wear bright colors or earth tones?

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Obviously during hunting season you should wear bright orange.  But for all other occasions, this topic is a debate that I have been having with some other adults in my troop.  Our class B, which all the scouts wear on outings, is a neon yellow. 

 

The main argument for bright colors is that you are easier to find if you get lost (the counter argument to this point is that other signaling methods such as a whistle are more effective).

 

The main arguments against bright colors is the 7th LNT principle (be considerate to others).  In other words wearing bright colors interrupts the solitude of people who go to the backcountry to get away from people.

Edited by Tatung42

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I would not wear bright yellow during warm weather as it would likely attract more insects to me. I often wear bright safety orange and safety blue in woods.  LNT gets a little silly at times and when they do, I ignore them.

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In the back country, my goal is to limit interaction with other humans to the most rational and polite extent possible.   So it would not matter to me what color other peoples' clothes may be.   After I pay my respects, I'll press down the trail to a more remote spot.

 

Over the years, LNT has morphed from guidance into dogma.   The LNT crowd does get overzealous.   What you wear is strictly your decision.

Edited by desertrat77
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I'm not bothered by people with bright gear and clothing. I'd rather see their campsite, so as to not tramp through it. (or if it's a bunch of yahoos.) avoid them. 

 

As a person with finite time and resources, I use the best gear I can, based on price, features and weight. Color is a minor consideration. I own two orange and charcoal tents, and blue and black packs. It was whatever met my needs at the time, and there weren't a lot of forest neutral colors. 

 

Wear what you want, gear companies don't make it easy to have nature like colors. The aspects of leave no trace regarding not trampling plant life, polluting water, and respecting animals are far more important than the color of ones gear. In my mind, being "considerate of others" is more about excessive noise, and not doing dumb things like making fires outside of fire pits, or digging trenches around tents which scars the land. Or litter. It's a sad statement that every trip I end up with a trashbag that is mostly full of other folks trash. 

Edited by Sentinel947
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I think this makes the case for abandoning the troop activity shirt for a standard issue t and neckerchief.

But unless you're crawling over some national monument and disrupting photography, I see this as the least of concerns.

Keeping boys attentive to their litter and indiscriminate fire starting is a greater priority.

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I'd prefer excellent leave not trace skills. Follow the 7 principles of LNT and wear what you want. The color of your shirt is the last thing I care about.

 

I teach LNT and can say this is the first time this debate has ever come up.

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The main arguments against bright colors is the 7th LNT principle (be considerate to others).  In other words wearing bright colors interrupts the solitude of people who go to the backcountry to get away from people.

The fact that you are there has already interrupted my solitude, regardless of what you are wearing. Try as hard as you want, but you will not go unnoticed. Might as well wear bright colors in case of emergency. I usually save my bright-colored shirts for the hike in and out, and wear whatever I feel like on my layover days.

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I'd always go with bright colours when I'm in the mountains. While I know what I'm doing I have no intention of ever falling into the trap of thinking "it could never happen to me". If Mountain Rescue do ever need to come and find me I fully intend that they can see me and I don't blend into the Scottish mountainside. If being able to see me from 2 miles away interrupts anyone's solitude then sorry but tough....

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I'd always go with bright colours when I'm in the mountains. While I know what I'm doing I have no intention of ever falling into the trap of thinking "it could never happen to me". If Mountain Rescue do ever need to come and find me I fully intend that they can see me and I don't blend into the Scottish mountainside. If being able to see me from 2 miles away interrupts anyone's solitude then sorry but tough....

Isn't green or brown a bright color for Brits? :)

 

Seems all you lot ever wear is black or shades of black.

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I avoid the wearing of bright colored clothing.  They tend to draw black flies in my neck of the woods.  I don't get lost because I carry a map and compass in areas that I am unfamiliar with.  My canoes are painted camo colors. 

 

I really don't ever see myself going through the woods in neon colors, bright colors like a walking banana for instance.  My clothing including BSA uniform then to be tans, and neutral natural colors. 

 

If perchance I do get lost and need to become visible, I have a blaze orange poncho I carry in my backpack that doubles as an emergency rain coat/fly/shelter.

 

I kinda go along with the natural crowd.  I don't go into the woods to see a circus.  It kinda goes hand in hand with not doing the off-road scare the animals treks, the snowmobile, or bass-boat approach to the out-of-doors.  I generally try to find places that are remote, quiet and easy on the eyes.  I have always appreciated that LNT is more than just keeping the garbage off the ground,  There's a time and place for everything.  I make the effort to respect the woods, not just the other people in them.  It's not my living room, dress accordingly out of respect for whose living room it is.

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An interesting question to ponder, when is it not hunting season?  In Wisconsin, when you consider the various seasons for different types of animal, it is always hunting season.  The one season that stretches throughout the spring and summer in Wisconsin is Coyote, it's a continuous open season on coyote.  Just because it isn't Deer season with hundreds of thousands of people out in the woods with guns, there is still a chance you can get shot even with a small number of hunters out there.  I think it is in your best interest to wear bright clothes when out in the woods, just in case there is a hunter nearby lining up a shot on an animal that is between you and the hunter.

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I live in Wisconsin.  :)  If one is observant of the woods around them, they are fully aware of any hunters in the area.   Even the heavily camo'ed turkey hunters are easy to spot.  If one doesn't see them, they are painfully aware of your presence because you have just scared away every turkey in a 5 mile radius just by walking through the woods.

 

If one was truly worried about the hunters in the woods, bright clothing would not be much of a deterrent.  I usually hear the cacophony of their noise long before I see their circus attire.

 

Oh, by the way if done right, one can use these people to drive game towards oneself if strategically positioned in the woods.  I have hunted public lands and State Parks where walking trails are always present.  A hunter can work that to their advantage especially when people who have no respect for LNT are present.

Edited by Stosh
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@@Stosh, where my cousin lives it's 1) Make noise to let the bears know where you are and risk the ire of the hunters, or 2) Not make noise and risk being a snack for the bears.

 

As for colors, one could be said that any loud color ANYTIME could be offensive, so we as Scouts should not wear them. I refuse to think that we need to let a thing like colors bother us. If I'm sitting on the Tooth of Time and I see a trek in orange neon below, it does not degrade from my enjoyment of the view or experience being there. If they are in the photo I either wait for them to leave or us PhotoShop to "shop" them out. ;) I can even change their shirt color later if I want.

 

No bother.

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