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What is most likely to fail?

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What is most likely to fail?

Postby rlown » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:16 pm

Given all our investments in gear, what do you think is most likely to fail?

Tent, stove, planning, maps, sleeping pads, filters, etc.

If you're solo, this is different and you adjust. If you're in a small group, do you double up on probable failures and plan?

As I usually go in a group, we definitely double up on stoves, maybe water filters depending where, and tents if the weight becomes a factor. What tools do you bring?

Some of the aspect might also be human. Do you know those who travel with you enough to bring them along?

Anyway, what are your thoughts?

Russ



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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby kpeter » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:22 pm

I have had tent, water treatment, sleeping pad and stove all fail at one time or another--this is my 40th year backpacking. I have also had boots, hiking poles, and various articles of clothing fail. When I was fishing, I once cast my reel irretrievably into a lake. I have dunked an electronic camera in a stream and killed it. The wilderness is unforgiving and failure of gear is inevitable.

I am often solo, so I take repair materials along for many items. I carry ripstop nylon tape and a short piece of aluminum tube to deal with tent fabric or pole failures. I carry iodine tablets just in case water treatment fails. I carry a pad patch kit in case pad fails. I carry a stove repair kit in case the Whisperlite fails. All of these items collectively weight less than a few ounces but what a difference they have made. Cheap insurance.

The biggest failure I worry about is a failure of judgment. The best I can do is try to be conservative in what I attempt, keep hydrated, fed, and warm so I don't get foggy headed, and carry a Spot, which could help in certain emergencies. One key thing that helps is to use this site in advance, and get good advice so that I know what I am getting into.
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby bluefintu » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:54 pm

OK rlown,

To answer your first and last question; my friends. Altitude problems. (can't go with me to the high places)
Depends where, water filter problems will be next because of maybe algae in a lake. (Where I take my friends to the lower lakes and have a good time because of no altitude problems.)
Gear wise, so far knock on wood, good so far. Some may fail soon,but I have a back up.(a son)
I always say,"bring it on",but, better be prepared.
Don
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby PatrickQuin » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:30 pm

Well, it seems ALL my gear is going down this season... My water filter was beginning to fail on the trip before last. My tent zippers have been going, finally broke one on the last morning out. I also broke the bail on my spin reel, fixed that with a little gaffers tape and even proceeded to catch a few more fish with it... the list goes on it seems. But the newest and least trusted piece of equipment for me is my Exped SynMat Ul 7. I love it, I sleep like a baby in a wind storm... But, I thought I was set with a patch kit if something went awry. Wrong i was. In June I had two of the baffles in the mat come unglued, and i had to sleep with one giant sausage baffle going down the center of the mat. Every day I moved camp was a crap shoot, most days the sausage would get larger. In the end it worked out, and I'll have to say it was surprisingly comfortable given the circumstances... I bring no back ups, only "patches" for everything, usually it is just one of those lemons to lemonade moments and a silly story to tell. These are also the moments where you show yourself as an outdoorsman, and prove it's not just ripstop keeping the ship afloat! :D
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby Herm » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:49 pm

Russ;
Like kpeter, I carry a stove repair kit, and a mattress repair kit, along with a decent amount of duct tape wrapped on my hiking poles. There was a time when I temporarily lost the use of my stove (a Whisperlite), when the supply line cracked and began leaking in the middle of cooking, nearly starting a fire. Duct tape solved that problem. Once had a water filter fail, but had enough fuel to handle my water needs. When hiking with others, I always bring along a second water filter. So far, no other equipment failures except for minor boot malfunctions.
However, I have hiked with a friend who always struggled with his own Whisperlite stove - no matter how many times I told him and showed him to prime his stove, he never would do it right. So he would get the stove lit, but the best it would do is just sputter along. The thing is, he always wanted to simmer loose leaf tea for an hour at a time. Oh, and he carried a weak tent that let in the rain - which put an early end to what was otherwise a good trip. After that, I let him borrow some of my extra gear.
I have always thought it best to carry something and not need it, than to need something that I am not carrying.
Hoping nothing fails.
Herm
I am not in a hurry, so don't be hasty.
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby quentinc » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:13 pm

The single item of gear most likely to fail is a Big Agnes sleeping pad. I went through about 6 of them in 2 years until REI just gave me a full refund. But each Agnes was really comfortable while it lasted. :)
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby toejam » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:32 am

On my trips the hiker has always been the least durable.
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What is most likely to fail?

Postby Hobbes » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:06 am

I make almost all of my own gear, so I have a pretty good idea of what works and what breaks. That being said, I take a (cutdown) Ridgerest pad & Esbit stove (Caldera cone), so that eliminates failure in those two areas. As for gear, here are some notes:

1. Tarp - 1.3 silnylon seams & grosgrain pullouts are surprisingly durable. You don't need reinforcement(s) if sewn on the hem. (That is, materials are 3-5x @ the rolled hem).

2. Quilt - my biggest issues continue to be either (syn) fill and/or down control. I'm constantly mucking with slight mods after each trip to fine tune flexibility & warmth.

3. Pack - this is the biggest point of (potential) failure. What I have found is the actual material for the pack, belts & pads themselves can be very light. That is, the actual break point for 1.3 silnylon is far greater than most people can physically carry; ditto for belting material & pads.

If you're building a frameless pack (the Ridgerest serves as back pad/semi-rigid frame), where things get interesting are the attach points. I've built my packs with re-enforcements, but after every trip, I'm back in there adding additional backing and front stress covers for both the top/bottom shoulder strap connections and hip belt sew points. You could literally construct a pack out of silk for straight carry strength. It's the concentrated pull @ the attach points that forces the use of heavier materials.
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby fishmonger » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:19 am

water filters failed on my twice, which also showed me that you don't need them anyway. Problem solved.

inflatable pads are guaranteed to fail - I think we went through 3 of them before we went back to foam. Still find myself looking at inflatables for winter, but the only types that are interesting are too expensive to risk another knight on a flat pad. The comfort they offer comes at the risk of having absolutely none after failure.
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby cgundersen » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:57 am

Like kpeter, this is my 40th season in the Sierra and the quality of the gear has improved greatly so failures are rare and rapidly discarded. I've returned a couple tents that were poorly designed or useless, but my thermarest has never failed and nowadays it's more brain cramps than gear failure. Off trail, I've developed a "veer left" syndrome and knowing that, I sometimes over-compensate. It helps to have a partner to point the correct way.
cg
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby sparky » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:47 pm

I have had lots of stuff fail on me, but I don't bring a back up for anything. Well, duct tape, which I do use every now and then. I am almost always solo. When I am in groups, everyone is self contained, so when there is failures, you just borrow.

How about not when something fails, you just flat out forget?! :drool: :drool:
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True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Re: What is most likely to fail?

Postby paul » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:36 pm

I've had more water filter problems than anything else. Never a complete failure, but one got so hard to pump that I gave up on it for the last couple days, another developed a crack in the casing so that as you pumped it sprayed out eh side almost as much as go into the bottle, and the latest was a gravity filter with a bag that started leaking.
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