Love letters from devoted readers


From Outfield Fly Rule

As I mentioned previously, I’ve had a website in one form or another for almost twenty years. And this particular domain for over fifteen.  That makes this website ancient in terms of internet years.  I’ve been online since 1987 (all hail the BBS, USENET and VicModems), And, no coincidence,  I’m also a middle-aged guy in human years.

And because of this continuous online presence, I’ve received my share of “fan mail” over the years.  I never became upset, but the younger version did enjoy engaging in debate. Something I still succumb to at times.  Of course, strongly expressing opinions and enjoying the fine pastime of arguing may or may not be typical of someone who draws from my cultural well. 😉

But the older I get, the less time I have for spirited discussion. That’s the silver lining with selfish COVIDiots this year if anything!

So, here are some of my favorite comments from the fans over the twenty years.  Enjoy!


Name: John
Location: KY Date: Sat Jan 23 15:11:02 2010
Comment: What the hell is this I Google “PMAG” and get this site. If you are going to use a trade mark name you better at least sell Magpuls product. Freaking tree huggers, the demise of our civilizations.

Pictured: Hippie Tree hugger who wears a good amount of mil surplus. Italian-Americans and their hard to pronounce names are the demise of our civilization!  Or maybe even civilizations.

Wow, 2 mm and 6 mm polyethylene drop cloths… that is really thick, like sleeping on a slab of plastic 😉 I think you probably mean “mil”…

Annual Pedants Conference.

  • Car camping is for outdoor posers. No doubt this guy crushes the miles, hitches into town with many other hikers in said town, and goes outside on his #EPIC thru-hiking adventure once every two years, too?  What’s with this Magnanti guy and his all his car camping anyway. Loser!

    I’ve never found the joy in the car camping, personally. I don’t try to avoid it out of any sort of machismo but because it just sucks from both an aesthetic and sleep-oriented perspective. Perhaps the danger, for the aspiring car camper, is having too much wilderness baggage along for the ride. If you’re new to camping, and can focus on The Camp with all of its rich symbolism, the melding of human company and an abundance of traditional provisions to insure comfort, then you might have a good time of it, and learn something to expand upon. This thru-hiker, however, is ruined, spoiled by the joy of needing less and finding more. Oh, and silence too, free of the door ding alarm and click of the auxiliary switch.

Backpackers who follow white rectangles for 6 mos without knowing how to read a map, walk on a well-defined trail that can be as much as five miles from a road, and have ample guidebook apps, logistic support, and services are naturally outdoor experts. Nay, they are outdoor gods amongst humans.

As a greenhorn, the AT took me 4 1/2 months….. as an AT veteran, the PCT took me 4 3/4 months….. it is ludicrous to expect to do the PCT a month shorter than the AT!…. in addition, I took off about a day every week on the AT; but only 1/2 day off per week on the PCT, mostly due to fewer free hostels & less convenient trail towns. Also, I desperately needed my ice axe on the N. side of Sonora pass, north of Tuolumne meadows….. the next time I used it was in N. Cal to cut steps in an icy glacier that hikers behind me were able to use instead of taking the long detour! Trail running shoes are great, but not on the JMT where you might require light boots & some kind of mini-crampons like my old Austria-Alpins would have come in handy on the icy afternoon suncups.

Please read the label on the side of the MSR Canister by the Manufacture that States ” do not puncture the canister” , then it goes on to say failure to follow the instruction my result in death, serous burns or property damage. Yes you may be able to get away 99 times, but what about that one in a hundred times that you (or someone you convince this is safe) has something go wrong. So think seriously why the company that knows a hell of a lot more about risk management and product liability thinks this is a bad idea to recycle pennies worth of steel.

These instructions look just a smidge familiar.

Couscous and hummus? You must be from California to eat crap like that!

Pictured: Crappy food. From Wikipedia Commons

What’s to be reconsidered? Fire bans are law. Law says no alcohol stoves. We are to obey the laws. Could it be you were in violation and then had a change of heart to “reconsider” ? Again, I ask what is to be reconsidered?

From Medium

  • The Most Interesting Backpacker In The World apparently posted on my site once?  Stay thirsty, my hiking friends.

I have been in thunderstorms and hail in the Sierras where an UL umbrella “rain gear” system could have gotten me killed. I have used that system in the Grand Canyon. I have woken up in low 20s at 10K feet with ice everywhere in late August – a heavier down sleeping bag at these altitudes was necessary. I’ve been in several successive days of rain in the Sierras (monsoons) where a single-wall UL tent didn’t cut it. I’ve also been in mosquitos so thick, that they would land on my spoon before I could get it into my mouth – mosquito netting required.

Lol $40 will break you? Well, you look like a gun owner, so why not just buy a high point, because spending any more would be a waste of money. Right? I mean look at how much people pay for dogs. They are not needed so lets hate on that too. My point is, if you can afford it and think it is cool why does that make you stupid and worthy of ridicule. I own a Yeti 160 ($700). I don’t need it, but I love it and use it all the time. I also shoot a Hoyt bow and could have got other brands at half the price that do the same thing. Big deal! If you think it is dumb, don’t buy it. Don’t act like people who buy it are stupid, because you have also made useless purchases.

I do love my Crappy Beatup Coleman Cooler, however.

Any guide to car camping that doesn’t at least suggest bringing a fire pan is a bit outdated.

There’s a difference between “no heavier than NECESSARY” and “ultralight,” you knucklehead. You’re confounding the two ideas, either out of foggy thinking or guile. Nobody has ever championed the idea that a hiker should lump cans of soup and a ten pound Coleman stove up a mountain; it’s not like everybody was doing that until “Ultralightness” came along and liberated us. Weight has always been ONE consideration out of many. But the ultralight FAD or religion is something else. It’s been exposed as moronic on the PCT. “Zpacks” is a name that will live in infamy. People buy ultralight gear and when it’s pressure tested it fails. Then these people have to go spend the night with a hiker who bought a real tent. This is gear anorexia.

Almost always when I encounter a stupid idea online about hiking and climbing it comes from a state that has no tradition of hiking and climbing, but has jumped on the bandwagon in recent years. And lo and behold, where does the author come from? Rhode Island.

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Stephen Keire
Stephen Keire
3 years ago

Rambling, cantankerous Uber Boomer for the win. Thanks for the link that referenced Giger, the image of his laid out gear is astonishing in light of the ads in the average issue of Backpacker.

3 years ago

Glad I didn’t make the list because I disagreed with you about fires. The most humorous to me was the one about humus.