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[ft-l] Some Gear Questions/feedback



Solid choices, but I hope you are being more careful regarding your boots.  Don't forget about the correct clothing as well.  Get a list of potential gear from the net or Backpacker Magazine.
Here is an article I wrote for the Apalachee Chapter Newsletter.
So you want to buy some new gear!
By David L. Rohe
Buying new gear is fun.  It can also be stressful and costly.  How do you know what to buy with all the new fancy gear on the market?  Whom do you trust to steer you to your new toys?  How much will you have to spend?  These are good questions that have no absolute answer, so here are a few helpful suggestions.
Determine what you need.  This will vary depending on your experience, and the type of hiking you will be doing.  The gear needed varies greatly, whether you are a day-hiker, a backpacker, or a trip leader.  What are your comfort needs?  Do you have to have a cup of Java in the morning, or are you partial extra tent space?  I donít drink coffee, and so I donít need to bring a coffeepot  (even though they are available in a lightweight format).  However, I drink copious amounts of water, and as such I own a lot of equipment that makes that possible.  Sit down and determine you individual needs.
Once you have determined your personal needs, figure out what gear is absolutely necessary to fill those needs.  Ask some more experienced friends or outdoor store employees what they consider to be the minimum requirements for your style of hiking.  If you are a trip leader, you may need a larger medical kit than a solo backpacker would.  If you have a bad back, you may need a better bedroll than some eighteen-year-old ďsuperĒ-hiker.  Donít buy a 3-person tent if you are solo hiking, just because someone else owns it and swears it is the best tent ever made.
Having made a list of what types of gear you want, do some research into all the different companies that offer those particular items.  Check the Internet, magazines, store employees, and your friends. Take a scale to the store with you.  Write down the weights of the various items since they add up very quickly.  These are all great ways to find out about the pros and cons of different pieces of gear.  Nothing compares to first-hand experience, so rent some gear and go use it.
Now comes the toughest part.  Determine the absolute maximum you are willing to spend.  Hiking gear is very specialized, and as such is usually more costly than you may initially suspect.  Iím not saying to buy the most expensive gear available, but if youíve done your research, and everything is pointing to an item that may be more expensive than you hoped, it may be worth the investment.  There are cheaper alternatives to be found, but that will require more hands on experience and research.  Good gear is an investment.  It can last many years, if you have purchased the right items for you, and you take care of your investment.  
Have fun shopping!

Dave Rohe
Programs Coordinator
Apalachee Chapter 
FTA

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