We got some great feedback from Ian on the article Gear ideas for a wilderness hiking trip.
He questions the need / usefulness of modern gear compared with how he used to walk with mates in the 1980’s and 90s. In those days they made a lot of their own gear or improvised using what ever was at hand.
Below is a (slightly) edited version of his comment.
Mates & I did a lot of annual 5 day walks – Snowy Mountains, Bogong High Plains, Croajingolong coast, etc in the ’80’s & ’90’s, and managed to get down to 21kgs even then.
I still have the excellent Macpac Cascade Backpack & -12 deg Fairydown sleeping bag. We usually shared a home-made 4-man Itsa-pattern tent with tarp, then a Macpac Eclipse (which the married kids have snaffled).
My Pentax MX was held against the upper chest for instant access, under the jumper or parka, held by a bit of shaped car tube & army webbing, never wet, always warm & fog-free for photos, even when skiing. Swum the Lerderderg with the Pentax, and got it out fast enough to photograph my mates’ embarassing nudity as they arrived at the end of the swim with packs wrapped up in plastic!
Fuel was shellite for a very reliable Optimus 99 bought second-hand from a MBW colleague, with home-made aluminium windshield & toast rack. 300ml of shellite was easily adequate for these trips.
Technical gear was limited to:
- a plain swiss army knife
- an aluminium spoon,
- a bomb-proof 2 x AA Techna torch with a home-sewn velcro strap for headlighting while cooking
- a home-made AM earplug radio with earth pin and 32 gauge copper aerial we threw over a tree.
Oh, and we took 5m of 6lb fishing line, 2 hooks and a bubble, and had to hide behind trees to bait it for trout at Quambat Flat!
I wonder if our walks were, in fact, lighter & better equipped, with more home-made, fun-to-use gear than those on this website?
Over to you readers:
If you have been bushwalking for a while, do you think that gear has improved much since the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s?
Do you make your own gear or perform modifications to improve performance?
What is your favourite “old” piece of gear you still drag out and use on every trip?