It is a universal truth. The more decrepit your equipment looks, the cooler it is when you get out there and show 'em how it's done in prime time.
So same goes for backpacking. Sethie was kerkuffled that Tom and I would destroy the family reputation if we showed up at the trailhead with the price tags hanging off our spanking new backpacks and hiking boots. Especially if we had no game. Which is likely since I haven't been backpacking since maybe 1984 and Tom is a nubile camping virgin. Sethie advocated leaving our new gear out in the rain or maybe seeking out mud.
Aside from that topline tip, he also recommended:
- Hanging twist ties off various clips on the backpack exterior. Sethie says twist ties come in handy on the trail, plus they make you look like you know what you're doing.
- Line all your stuff sacks with plastic bags because sleeping in a wet sleeping bag or ending up with damp toilet paper sucks bricks.
- Wrap a few twists of duct tape around the bottom of a water bottle. Never be without duct tape.
- Pack baby wipes.
- Take a headlamp. Excellent for reading in the sack.