Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

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Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby thombsaway » Wed 15 Mar, 2017 2:45 pm

Hey everyone.

I’m after a bit of brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker.

I’m looking to get out for a couple of overnight hikes in the next month or so, and with a view to hitting some longer multi-day hikes next summer. I’m in Tassie, so I’m avoiding winter for the time being.

I get the vibe that pretty much any good multi-day hike in Tassie is going to involve rain (which I’ve managed to dodge on day hikes thus far), so I’m in the market for a solid rain jacket. I’ve been having a look at a few things in town at a couple of different shops, and I found a jacket at Mountain Designs, who are having a 30% off sale at the moment, which might do the trick:
http://www.mountaindesigns.com/store/pr ... -gtx-jkt-m

With the disco it’s $315, which seems like a bit of a stunning deal. But is it a good jacket? Are Mountain Designs’ products up to scratch? Ideally I’d be splurging twice as much on some Arc’teryx thing, but if I can avoid spending loads I will. My one concern is the lack of ventilation, no pit-zips, which I’ve read can be crucial.

The other thing I’ve got my eye on is a sleeping bag, hopefully something smaller than my 10yo Kathmandu number which is the size of 9L gas bottle when packed. I’m pretty sure One Planet has a reasonable rep, and this Camp Lite I saw in town packs down pretty small, and has a reasonable price tag;
https://www.oneplanet.com.au/product/sl ... /camplite/

Lastly, a more general question on tents. What are the chances I’d need a 4 season tent down here? I won’t be going out over winter any time soon, but I do have my eye on the South Coast track in a couple of years once I know what I’m doing. Would a 4 season be necessary down there, in summer?

Generally it looks like I’ll be walking solo, so weight and packed are up there in importance.

Thanks for any advice!
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby wayno » Wed 15 Mar, 2017 4:39 pm

the gore tex material in the mountain designs jacket is good quality material against material failure . gore tex audit the companies that sell products with their material to make sure they are made to a high standard.
the sales are the real retail price, most chain stores use over inflated retail prices so the sale price looks better.
one planet is good quality...
four season tents are only needed for winter of severe storms in cold climates.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby thombsaway » Wed 15 Mar, 2017 8:12 pm

Hey wayno, thanks for your input.

Good to know re-Goretex. And yeah I'm aware of the pricing tricks these places pull, still 315 for a Goretex jacket seems like a pretty good deal?

Getting a 3 season will save some weight and money then! Good stuff.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby wayno » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 4:07 am

watch the cut of mountain designs, i found their clothes on the baggy side. when you put a coat on to try it out. see how wide it is around the waist.. how much movement can you get in the arms, what happens when you reach forward and squat down in it. all raincoats build up sweat, pit zip vents or vented pockets are a bonus to reducing heat and sweat,
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby north-north-west » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 8:22 am

Mountain Designs do make decent gear, and Goretex is harder wearing than many of the newer fabrics.

SCT campsites are generally fairly sheltered. I know people who take 3 season tents into some pretty wild places (albeit not without occasional issues). As long as you're not pitching anywhere too exposed when the weather goes feral (which it has a tendency to do in Tassie without warning) a good 3 season would be sufficient. Depends on what your budget is, but don't concentrate too much on weight at the disadvantage of strength.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby thombsaway » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 9:23 am

wayno wrote:watch the cut of mountain designs, i found their clothes on the baggy side. when you put a coat on to try it out. see how wide it is around the waist.. how much movement can you get in the arms, what happens when you reach forward and squat down in it. all raincoats build up sweat, pit zip vents or vented pockets are a bonus to reducing heat and sweat,


Sure thing. I tried that jacket on yesterday and was reasonably happy with the fit. I did find the large perhaps wider than I would like, but I'd prefer it to be a a bit wider than too short (which the medium was a bit, especially when bending). Plus I've a big head and the large hood size felt much much better.

I'll check out how it feels when bending/crouching before buying.

Thanks for the tips!
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby thombsaway » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 9:48 am

north-north-west wrote:Mountain Designs do make decent gear, and Goretex is harder wearing than many of the newer fabrics.

SCT campsites are generally fairly sheltered. I know people who take 3 season tents into some pretty wild places (albeit not without occasional issues). As long as you're not pitching anywhere too exposed when the weather goes feral (which it has a tendency to do in Tassie without warning) a good 3 season would be sufficient. Depends on what your budget is, but don't concentrate too much on weight at the disadvantage of strength.


Thanks for the info on the SCT.

Yeah with the volatility of the weather down here, I'm reasonably happy to carry a bit more weight in the tent for strength/durability/piece of mind. I'll keep digging.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby davidf » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 2:02 pm

In Tassie you need a rain coat. not a fancy jacket. when it comes down hard the fancy fabrics are poo.... The expensive stuff is made for a dry alpine enviroment, you are in a nasty maritime enviroment. get a solid coat, I use a nylon, poly coated thing, light cheap, keeps me dry. Poly pro underlay dries in a synthetic sleeping bag well. keep the woolies for sleeping if need be.

Packs, crack the bank and get a HMG. not as durable as some, more expensive, light and comfortable as hell.

tents, suck, get a tent fly.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby Neo » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 5:37 pm

Was reading this article by Roger yesterday. Explains the fancy fabrics and how they work or don't work in many Australian conditions

https://bushwalkingnsw.org.au/clubsites ... inwear.htm
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby Mark F » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 7:32 pm

thombsaway wrote:tents, suck, get a tent fly.


While I am definitely in the ul camp I would suggest that this suggestion may lead to at best a seriously uncomfortable experience or two while you learn the techniques needed to make tarps workable in much of SW Tasmania or the Central Plateau. Definitely worthwhile if you are on the mainland and doing trips in well sheltered areas of Tasmania including places like the South Coast Track or the OLT but definitely not suitable for a first trip to High Moor, Southern Ranges etc.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby thombsaway » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 9:11 pm

After reading that article that Neo shared, the gist of it seemed to be “If you are active in the rain, you are not going to stay dry, no matter what the claims on the label.” I didn’t really come to this conclusion after reading the rest of the article, but I’m happy to accept that fancy fabrics aren’t the be all, and cheaper alternatives exist. It’s a solid read regardless, lot’s of good info/ideas.

What jacket have you got, davidf? Can anyone recommend some alternatives?

I’ve seen the HMG packs before, but I’m not sure they’re ticking my boxes… as a new hiker the austerity is concerning. The straps look thin, there’s no frame so packing is would be very important (I guess?!), and I’m unlikely to have UL everything else to match. It looks like they make great, ultra-light-weight packs, but they don’t look beginner-friendly… correct me if I’m wrong.

Similar vibe on tarp/fly pitching; I would rather have a mostly idiot proof shelter than save a kilo at this point.

Thanks for all your input, though I do feel like I’m further from making any purchases.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby davidf » Thu 16 Mar, 2017 9:50 pm

mark F has a point in regards to flys.

re coat I have had gortex, event, every thing under the sun and I swear by a rays outdoors nylon jacket that is well oversized so it ventilates, never "wets out", welded seams, I have also nikwawed and internally given it a PU coat. Light as mates coatsfor a fraction of the price. Had it for years. I do not use it if temps should be constanly below freezing. The Caffin article is good, beef up a rainbird.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby slparker » Fri 17 Mar, 2017 10:28 am

$300+ is pretty exxy for a goretex paclite jacket. it's good stuff but on the lightweight end of the spectrum.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby wayno » Fri 17 Mar, 2017 10:33 am

paclite is usually,, but not always lightweight,
I've seen it used with 70 denier fabric which is heavyweight rain shell fabric... the mountaindesigns jacket is 475gm, which is not a lightweight rainshell... its getting up towards a heavier weight jacket for a 2 layer rainshell...
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby Kingsleythelost » Fri 17 Mar, 2017 3:00 pm

Oneplanet i keep buying the stuff and keep getting more.....
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby slparker » Fri 17 Mar, 2017 3:33 pm

wayno wrote:paclite is usually,, but not always lightweight,
I've seen it used with 70 denier fabric which is heavyweight rain shell fabric... the mountaindesigns jacket is 475gm, which is not a lightweight rainshell... its getting up towards a heavier weight jacket for a 2 layer rainshell...

Cheers- wasnt aware of that, i suppose it all depends on the face material. Still, Id still want pitzips at 300 bucks.
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby thombsaway » Fri 17 Mar, 2017 6:52 pm

I've left the Mountain Designs jacket in the store and picked up an Outdoor Research jacket off a user on the market here.

I picked up the One Planet sleeping bag, just seems like a solid brand, and everything else about the bag was right.

And I picked up a Macpac sololight 1 man tent today, which comes in at 1.23kg. There was a pretty hefty sale on at Macpac, so it was $300. Probably close to what it's retail price should be! And that seemed cheap enough that that I won't be too bitter if I find I need something more in a tent for some walks.

Thanks for all the advice and chatter, I'm sure I'll be back soon with more questions!
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby GPSGuided » Sat 18 Mar, 2017 5:08 pm

OR has nice gears and generally a cut above MD. For all the choices out there, Gortex is hardly the only magic word out there these days.


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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby SimSlack » Thu 26 Aug, 2021 2:28 pm

thombsaway wrote:I've left the Mountain Designs jacket in the store and picked up an Outdoor Research jacket off a user on the market here.

I picked up the One Planet sleeping bag, just seems like a solid brand, and everything else about the bag was right.

And I picked up a Macpac sololight 1 man tent today, which comes in at 1.23kg. There was a pretty hefty sale on at Macpac, so it was $300. Probably close to what it's retail price should be! And that seemed cheap enough that that I won't be too bitter if I find I need something more in a tent for some walks.

Thanks for all the advice and chatter, I'm sure I'll be back soon with more questions!



Hey mate, are you able to share your opinion of the One Planet Camplite? I'm looking at getting one myself. Cheers
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Re: Brand/gear advice, for a new bushwalker

Postby Gadgetgeek » Fri 03 Sep, 2021 7:33 pm

A couple of things I would think about in general. These are something that you might decide are not priorities, and that's totally fine, but worth going in eyes open.
A lot of US brands are run under companies that are also military suppliers. This is a concern for some, not all. Larger than that however is that some of the "green" companies are very much in the propaganda business. As far as I know, very few have actually tried to make their factories more fair, and more eco, last I heard the big charge pushed by Patagonia was pretty thin for support from other manufacturers. Again, I'm not making that value judgement, its just something that catches folks off guard later on in the learning curve.

All of the Aussie brands have become much more "seasonal" over the past decade, so you really will have to try things to see how they fit. The company I used to work for bought everyone 3/4 heavy weight raincoats, since we were in them a lot. The cut of the old jackets (An aussie company, I think we were using One planet, but its not important) the new batch were WE, an otherwise great company, but the jackets were terrible. Obviously a re-brand from somewhere else. They stopped selling them shortly after. So you do really need to take things on a case by case basis. Also, some of the aussie brands are still riding on reputation that is now owned by a different company, so when reading old reviews, consider that.

You will likely notice that most aussie stuff is heavier than its foreign counterparts, one is the terrain, and the other is that overall, backpacking is less common and so they target a market that tends towards semi-supported and a wider variety of environments, with a lower willingness to own multiples. For example, when running expeditions on the Sunshine Coast I needed two tents, and three sleeping bags to cover the climate range in just our region, let alone much travel. I'm also a gear-hog so there is that as a consideration, but I can camp one night on the ocean with an overnight low of 28C and fifty klicks and three months later, and wake up in frost. Knowing if you can get away with the lighter gear, or knowing that you want one pack/tent to rule them all is a valid question. A big thing to recognize is that no synthetic/coated fabric lasts forever. Don't even think of it as a "long" term thing, I've got nylon duffel bags that are still very good, but the internal PU coating is all flaking off, and requires regular cleanups. I also camped with a guy who had a canvas pack older than I was, it was maintained and patched, but otherwise going strong. I guess the short version is knowing your priorities, and that will help guide your decisions. Everything is a compromise at some stage, you decide where that happens.

Ask heaps of questions. A huge part of it comes from finding your own style, and how you want to pack your stuff. My kit as an instructor is totally different than how it would be solo. Also, "instructor" mode might be as simple as camping with folks I'm not really sure of as far as their skill level. Nothing wrong with ultra-light or ultra-lux, really depends on your goals, and we can't set those.

For what its worth, I currently run a tarptent (since I use treking poles anyway), several brands of sleeping bag, (almost all synthetic due to the rain/humidity here, some DIY quilts) Osprey packs and Thermarest mat when I'm not hammocking. That having been said, I've worked with folks who run/own nearly every brand and once you get down to brass tacks, its simply a matter of knowing what feature means the most to you. For example, I know a person who, as an instructor uses a paramilitary style pack because the rifle sleeve was the right size and shape to hold their waterproofed paperwork carrier, and the bag was about indestructible. I was also recently on a training event and several people were jealous of my lightweight osprey pack as many of them were carrying over-stuffed hydration packs. Meanwhile I had the same or less gear in a 45L pack.
Outdoor gear lab has really solid reviews and its worth reading older ones as well to see how products have evolved over time.
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