Perils of Outdoor Stores


Seeking happiness? Perhaps hanging out in the outdoors might cheer you up. You'll need a bunch of stuff of course. Take sleeping bags.. In these outdoor stores are young self-confident people that act as though they knew what they are talking about. Gee, this salesperson must have just come back from K2! They know everything! Well not really. The employer just tells them to say certain things. They are careful not to sell people sleeping bags that are too warm. It seems to be politically correct to sell sleeping bags that are not too warm.

No wonder my campsites are so solitary. Above is a picture of my campsite on the summit of Mt. Baldy during a winter ascent via the south ridge. My REI goretex bivy bag, foam pad, and North Face -40 synthetic sleeping bag and a properly maintained MSR stove made for a very comfortable night.

Next is a picture of camping on the east face of University Peak at about 13,000' on Dec 14. Getting out of the bag to take a leak was somewhat bracing but I was comfortably warm again as soon as I got back in and zipped everything up.

The next picture doesn't show the sleeping bag but it was taken Thanksgiving afternoon on the summit of San Gorgonio 11,500' looking south to San Jacinto. After taking the picture I set up camp, melted some snow for water and had the summit to myself for Thanksgiving. There were other people on the mountain but they were wimping it out, down in the forest. But at least they had sleeping bags that were not "too warm".
In the summer I use a bivy bag, foam pad, and a -20 down bag. Due to climatic deterioration it seems best to take along a tent also.

The next thing outdoor stores do is sell hiking boots that are too stiff. Going backpacking? Oh you need something stiff to support the weight.  Wrong,
wrong, wrong. I've seen three people hobbling out of the Sierras barefoot, in socks, or in camp slippers and each one had slung over their shoulder the stiff, rigid, boots that they had been conned into buying. As I was retreating from the Palisades during a storm I met one person walking into it. He supported his pack, about 1/3 the size of mine, by a strap around his neck. His daily mileage was 20+ and he intended to come out five days later over a hundred miles south. This guy walked through weather systems. Oh yes... He was wearing tennis shoes.
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