Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Gear Reviews

10 Things We Don't Miss About Backpacking in 1978

Today's young whippersnappers will never experience these backpacking frustrations of yesteryear.

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

1. “Point & Shoot” cameras that still won’t fit in your pocket.

things we don't miss about 1978: huge point and shoot cameras
New \”Point & Shoot\” Pocket Camera

New “Point & Shoot” Pocket Camera
Vivitar’s model 700 pocket camera is an economical, lightweight alternative for backpackers who would rather not pack a bulky SLR. The Model 700 uses 110 film cartridges and has a built-in flash with a range of up to 22 ft. The camera has an all-glass 24mm f/7 lens, measures 6 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ x 3 1/6″ and weighs just 7.7 ounces. It’s easy to use, too. Just pop in a film cartridge, set the flash, point, and shoot. The Model 700 retails for about $49.95. For more information, write to Vivitar, 1630 Stewart St., Santa Monica, Calif. 90406

2. Having to invent your own hydration reservoir because CamelBak didn’t exist yet.

things we don't miss about 1978: DIY camelbacks
Easy Sippin’

Easy Sippin’
I have a water bottle that fits in the lower pocket of my pack. It has a hole cut in the cap and a length of surgical tubing inserted deep into the water. The other end of the tubing is secured to the top of my packframe, up by my ear. When I want a drink, I just turn my head and sip away . . . no more hefting the pack on and off every time I’m thirsty. I also carry a regular cap, so I can use the bottle in the usual manner. -Russ Dix, Yakima, WA

3. Ordering everything from catalogs.

things we don't miss about 1978: catalogs
Mountain House Catalog

Mountain House Catalog
The free 1978 Mountain House catalog lists a wide variety of freeze dried foods. 114 items include entrees, complete meals, snacks, vegetables, fruits, meats, soups, beverages and desserts. Pick up a catalog at your dealer, or send a self-addressed envelope, with 24¢ stamp, to Oregon Freeze Dry Foods, PO Box 1048, Albany, Ore. 97321

4. Worrying about your camera film.

things we don't miss about 1978: worrying about film
Traveling Photographers Risk Fogged Film

Traveling Photographers Risk Fogged Film
Photographers who travel by plane risk having their film fogged by the X-rays emitted by airport baggage inspection machines, according to the Kodak booklet “Tips for traveling Photographers.” The risk is especially great for foreign lands where more intense X-rays are used in the machines. Repeated exposure to domestic luggage inspection machines. Repeated exposure to domestic luggage inspection machines can also fog your pictures. One way to avoid the problem is to request a visual inspection of your luggage when carrying film. The booklet is 35 cents from Kodak, Dept. 841, Rochester, New York 14650.

5. Everyone assuming the default hiker is a “man”.

things we don't miss about 1978: hiker = man
One-Man Tent

One-Man Tent
By using your pack frame in place of poles, you can set up this one-man tent and still have access to your pack. The tent has a full-length net top and Super K-Kote fly. Its dimensions: 4 ft. x 7 ft. 6 in. x 2 ft. 10 in. Weight: 2 lbs. 3 1/2 oz. Pacific/Ascenté, P.O. Box 2028, Fresno, California 93718.

6. Horrible rain gear.

things we don't miss about 1978: shitty rain gear
Leaky Rainwear

Leaky Rainwear
I’m sure that Foamback and Gore-Tex work pretty well as wind clothes and rain clothes in moderately rainy environments;but when put to the test of wilderness camping in real rain, such as that in southeastern Alaska,
they simply fail miserably—seams, fabric, everything. Of the six such garments I had close association with this summer, all thoroughly sealed with a variety of seam sealer, none worked in the rains we encountered. It is irresponsible to advertise and sell these supposedly waterproof items at such exorbitant prices and at exaggerated claims of performance. Garbage bags are definitely waterproof and cheaper. Lou Awodey St. Joseph, Mich.

7. People putting wheat germ in everything.

things we don't miss about 1978:
Let’s put wheat germ in everything.

8. No Google.

things we don't miss about 1978: no google
Let me Google that for you. Oh, wait…

Hiking in Europe
Q. Where can I find information on hiking in Europe? —Mark Emmert, Elkhart, Ind.

A. The best available source is Walking in Europe by Ingremund Hagg, 1978 Swedish Touring Club. This is a forty-page booklet containing addresses of hiking organizations, sources of maps and other essential information. To order, send an international money order for 6.25 Swedish crowns (about $1.35) to Swedish Touring Club, Fack 5-103 80, Stockholm, Sweden. Another source is Wandering: A Walker’s Guide to Mountain Trails of Europe by Ruth Rudern, Dial press, 1972. $8.95. On Foot Through Europe by Craig Evans will be published in March 1979 by BACKPACKER and will give in-depth information on trails in 30 European countries.

9. Logging your photo metadata by hand.

things we don't miss about 1978: manual photo logging
Keep a Photographic Journal

Keep A Photographic Journal
Reviewing pictures of wilderness travels in the comforts of home can bring a cascade of happy memories or it can trigger frustrations. Where was this picture taken? What was wrong with the exposure? To avoid overloading my neurological circuits, I carry a pocket notebook and write the location or contents of each picture and other other important information like f-stop, shutter speed and light meter readings. This comparison of picture and camera setting is a valuable tool for improving my photographic skills. And the notes make it easier to recall where those pleasant moments took place. —Ted Amelun, Overland Park, Kans.

10. Velcro-ing your socks on the outside of your pack.

things we don't miss about 1978: This Guy
How to Dry Clothes While Hiking

How to Dry Clothes While Hiking
Sew Velcro patches to your pack bag and the corresponding patches to items of clothing. It’s great for drying out wet socks and tee shirts.
—Edward Turner, Ph.D, Boone, NC

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.