Pg 18, Darrin
"Many thanks for the excellent quality of materials and concise, systematic instruction included in your kits! I have already completed three of your "Connection Kits" - the backpack, tarp, and quilt (deluxe 1p w/alpine & stowbag).
I was a self-described "gear-junkie." I subscribed to all the magazines (such as Ad-Packer . . . err, uh, Backpacker), read and participated in all of the online backpacking message boards and cajoled merrily and proudly with others who, similarly, thought nothing of owning 6 or more backpacks, 5 or more shelters, 4 or more sleeping bags, etc. What insanity! It was as though I was trying to BUY the outdoor experience rather than LIVE the experience I so desired. Meanwhile, in consuming more and more gear, my resources were continuously stretched so thin that I was never able to create the time to get out and actually use it! And by the time that moment approached, well, some new, "must-have" item that everyone was gawking about would come out . . . Nevertheless, I abandoned all those cannonballs (both physical and ephemeral) and quickly listed my stock-piles of gear for sale. It was just as quickly snapped up and I was able to finance my entire summer along the Pacific Crest Trail! In fact, just ONE pack sold payed for ALL of my Connection-Kits!
I wanted to pass along an excerpt of an email I set to one of my buyers when they asked about why I was not playing the game any longer: 'Its funny that you should ask about what pack design I finally chose because it is just about as opposite from the (brand of pack I was selling) as you can get! I purchased and sewed a "Ray-Way" pack from Ray Jardine's website: www.rayjardine.com. I found that with the wide shoulder straps and smart, compact design, I actually preferred to distribute the weight throughout my upper body. I also found that my gaite was easy and much more effortless without a hipbelt. I must have a lot of torso swing to my pace, because it just felt 'right.' This may sound far-fetched, but . . . My "training walk" is a pretty good 6-mile route with as many steep hills as I could include. I loaded up every potential pack with exactly the same weight, exactly the same items: 4 liters of water, 18 pounds of food and 8 pounds of clothes + gear. Each pack (here were the names of 5 different brands of packs), my homebrew Ray-Way pack, and an (another brand-name pack). Same route, same weight, just a different pack on a different day. I initially gave each pack two shots, and began to weed . . . It came down to the (brand-name pack) and the Ray-Way pack. I chose the Ray-Way pack over the (brand-name pack) for 3 main reasons:
* Comfort- Again, I preferred to distribute the weight throughout my upper body. I also found that my gaite was easy and much more effortless without a hipbelt.
* Weight- the Ray-Way pack weighs less than 10 ounces compared to the 3 lbs 10oz. of the (brand-name pack).
* Pride- I actually MADE the Ray-Way pack, I feel that I know everything about it! This sense of ownership and accomplishment quickly led to my also making my tarp, quilt and most of my clothes! I can RELY on it because I'm relying on its creator . . . myself!
Again, thanks for the inspiration & perspiration you two!"
- Darrin W.