Backpacking - Old School

John Goering

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Sep 30, 2014
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427
Ahhhhh, Old School. My first pack was a wood frame/cotton webbing affair with a fold down shelf and no bag. I bought that at the local surplus store when I was 12, in 1957. The rest of the "kit" was a post WWII Coleman one burner stove/pot, Sears 2 person canvas pup tent, and a sleeping bag with a R value close to zero type insulation. My younger brother, along with a couple of friends, would just head out the back door of my parent's place and hike a few miles into the Bridger's. No mentors, just on-the-job training. I used that primitive set up for several years by which time another friend and I had explored just about every lake in the Madison and Gallatin Ranges. It was late 60's before that was upgraded to a Camptrails frame/REI bag, REI "two person" tent, REI McKinley D5 bag, Seva 123 with a Sigg Tourist kit. That kit accumulated quite a few miles and sometime in the early 70's I acquired a very early Jan Sport D3 from the local rep. Over the next decade, a Sierra Design Flashlight and an MSR GK stove were swapped in but the rest soldiered on. It was mid 90's before a lighter REI bag and GKX stove were added. That D3 continued to be used, primarily because I made the mistake of using an early Lowe internal frame pack on a 70 something mile off trail trip in the Beartooth's about 1981 and decided I didn't want anything more to do with internal frames based on that experience. It was late 90's before I finally tried one of Osprey's infinitely better internal frame packs. Photos? I probably have a few hundred from 1970 (when I bought my first camera-Canon FTb QL) and 2004 when I finally went digital but alas, virtually none scanned at this point.
 

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Wanderlust073

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Oct 30, 2016
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My brother and I. Pioneers in the backcountry, braving what dangers the wilderness sent our way.

Here we are enjoying a dinner of fresh grizzly sausage (recently expired griz just out of frame on left, I swear...)

85347
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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Jun 7, 2012
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1,685
In 94 I hiked into Coyote Gulch as my first backpacking experience.

I remember hating the bully of our scouts for hitting frogs with a stick. I remember it raining lightly, but being covered by the overhang and staying dry. I remember seeing the stars glow brightly, and the sand in everything. My dad made pancakes, with freeze dried syrup. We drank water out of a spring, and the scoutmasters swam naked. It all felt so intense, but so calming.

I carried a framed pack with a shitty sleeping bag, but I barely remember any of that. It was the first time I felt like there was something bigger than myself, and I get that same feeling everytime I'm out. Convert for life.
 

Pianomover

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May 25, 2019
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I'll have to think what was in it..... camptrails external frame, svea stove, Trailwise down bag, MTN house food, odds and ends. I remember it was 65 lbs at the start.... 11 days, no resupply.
First stove was a svea.
 

Tipi Walter

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Aug 25, 2017
Messages
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I don't have alot of vintage pics because we didn't carry cameras in the early days---just didn't bother with it. But I got a few---

85434

Anyone remember the old canvas Yucca backpacks? Here I am getting ready for a trip in 1963---age 12.

85435

This would be around 1982---when I literally lived out of my backpack in the mountains of North Carolina. My Mom took this pic just after I hitchhiked to Greensboro from Boone NC. Check out the old stopper type water bottle. And the vintage North Face Back Magic pack.

85436

Here's a pic from 1980s when I upgraded to a North Face Westwind tent and backpacked in blue jeans and canvas jungle boots.
 

Tipi Walter

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Aug 25, 2017
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OwenM's pic reminds me of the first tent I used in the 1950s---a green canvas umbrella tent with a single wooden pole in the middle.

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(Not my pic but off the internet---though my old tent looked very similar).

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My first serious backpacking tent was this North Face A-frame from the 1975 catalog---same color and same snow tunnel entrance. I lived in this tent for 10 years before my dog chewed it up. Here's a pic of my tent in action---

85585
 

gnwatts

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May 19, 2012
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In Grand Teton National Park, in 1979.
In the Alaskan basin, a miserable day. The guy in the center had an internal frame pack, the 1st I had ever seen. My cheap pack from an army surplus place In Salt Lake on the ground.

teton 4.jpg


I don't know why I look like I am taking a dump in this shot, probably running back from the camera and did not get a chance to sit down.
This is the next day, we hiked up from Cascade Creek (I think) for the view.

85586
 

gnwatts

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May 19, 2012
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I don't have alot of vintage pics because we didn't carry cameras in the early days---just didn't bother with it. But I got a few---

View attachment 85434
Anyone remember the old canvas Yucca backpacks? Here I am getting ready for a trip in 1963---age 12.

View attachment 85435
This would be around 1982---when I literally lived out of my backpack in the mountains of North Carolina. My Mom took this pic just after I hitchhiked to Greensboro from Boone NC. Check out the old stopper type water bottle. And the vintage North Face Back Magic pack.

View attachment 85436
Here's a pic from 1980s when I upgraded to a North Face Westwind tent and backpacked in blue jeans and canvas jungle boots.
Nice beard and rasta cap.
 

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Dreamer

off grid
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Jun 14, 2016
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175
Love all of these old pics and stories, thanks for sharing them. I don’t have any of my own earlier days hiking, but I do have a few old slides from my dad. This was a climb of Gannet Peak in September of 1957. There is not much gear to see, though check out the waist high wooden ice axes and twisted rope. Sorry for the poor scan quality, but you get the gist. That’s my dad in the red hat.

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Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,064
Love all of these old pics and stories, thanks for sharing them. I don’t have any of my own earlier days hiking, but I do have a few old slides from my dad. This was a climb of Gannet Peak in September of 1957. There is not much gear to see, though check out the waist high wooden ice axes and twisted rope. Sorry for the poor scan quality, but you get the gist. That’s my dad in the red hat.

View attachment 85607

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I can't believe I missed this one. Such interesting photos. I didn't realize there was much backpacking going on in the Winds in the 50s. Thanks for scanning and sharing them!
 

gnwatts

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May 19, 2012
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I really wish I was somewhere else, and not doing honeydos. The cool thing is I found some old equipment.
My North Face VE-23 that I bought in 1980. In 1979 Bucky Fuller visited our architectural school, and he spoke briefly about his partnership in the mid 70's with North Face and their geodesic tent designs. I knew I had to have one.
The tent is still usable, all of the mesh is intact, and the zippers work, the poles are a little bent though. I probably would have to re-seal the fly.

IMG_2756.jpg
 

Rockskipper

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Jun 11, 2017
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The above is spam.

OK, it's gone. Just so you know I'm not referring to gnwatts' post above.
 
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