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Back in the Saddle
Adrienne Martini gets on her high horse

Bicycle Blues
For those on two wheels, Knoxville's not a friendly town

Coveting the Cove Why do automobiles dominate the Smokies' most popular haven?

Hiker Types

  Hiker Types

There are many types, but two main ones are the GEAR GUY and the MINIMALIST. They're actually quite similar, in that they're obsessive about their stuff.

by Joe Tarr
illustrations by Rick Baldwin

The Minimalist

Although they carry little with them, minimalist campers tend to be elitist and self-righteous. They preach about the evils of campfires and throwing banana peels into the woods.
Can be annoying to share a shelter with.

They pride themselves on having the cheapest, dingiest gear around. Will wear backpacks designed for Boy Scouts (because they're lightweight.)

Will eat dried, uncooked food because they don't want to carry a stove, pots and pans, or utensils. Will often drink untreated water because they don't want to carry a water filter. Backpack weight less than 15 pounds. But are they comfortable?

They prefer old style flannel shirts, torn down vests and ragged jeans. They frequently will sleep out on the ground (underneath a tarp with just a few blankets).

Have been seen hiking in sneakers, sandals and barefoot. Claim this is more comfortable and provides good traction.

Gear Guy

Their boots are extremely expensive, high top leather, accentuated by designer socks made specially for hiking. All their clothing is expensive—$300 GoreTex jackets and rain pants, designer socks, fancy synthetic underwear that wicks moisture away from their skin. They use tents that are designed for 200 mph winds on Everest, even though they rarely go backpacking past October.

In addition to the basics, they carry with them elaborate and fancy cook kits, espresso makers, collapsible axes, saws, and shovels, shower bags, toilet kits, collapsible chairs, fancy hats. They are forever tinkering with their gear, taking it apart and rebuilding to get it to work more efficiently. Their favorite topic of conversation at campsites is gear.

Although they like to have very high-tech, lightweight gear, they often end up have so many little gadgets and equipment that their packs end up weighing 80 pounds.

They tend to spend more time reading catalogues and outdoor magazines than they actually do in the woods.

September 28, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 39
© 2000 Metro Pulse