Too often, in my view, outdoor writers focus only on high-end gear. Sure, the expensive stuff is amazing. It’s light weight. It looks cool. And it’s often made out of materials so advanced that you could safely use them for alien exploration.
The problem is that for someone who just wants to try hiking or backpacking for the first time, dropping hundreds of extra bucks on the super high-end stuff might not be too palatable, especially if you’re looking for gear for a whole family.
When I was a lad, I owned some High Sierra gear, and it served me quite well. So I was glad to see they had a big presence at the Outdoor Retailer winter show. The company started in 1978, and they’re still making outdoor gear meant to be sturdy and affordable today. Here’s a blurry photo I took of their line of packs. Sorry this isn’t a better shot, High Sierra.
Unless I am wrong, which never happens, pictured in the above blurry photo are, from left to right, the Long Trail 90L, the Appalachian 75, the Titan 65, and (I think) two examples of The Explorer 55.
Crappy phone photography on my part aside, it’s easy to compare High Sierra’s price point very favorably with other packs on the market. Take their Appalachian 75 for example, shown here with much better photography:
According to High Sierra’s specs, the Appalachian 75 weighs in at 6.5lbs. If you were to compare that to another manufacturer’s (who shall remain nameless) 75L pack, at 5lbs 6oz, you might be of the opinion that the Appalachain is a full pound heavier. And it is. But at $109, it’s also just about 1/3 the price. A third!
If someone walked up to you at the trailhead of your next hike and asked you to carry an extra pound of weight, you might very well tell them where they could stick it. But what if they offered you $200 to carry it?
Speaking for the dirt-poor outdoor writers of the world, I might just be willing to carry that extra pound, and I’d enjoy the $200 in cold beer and burgers on the other end. Simply put, in my view, the world needs more people enjoying the outdoors, and those people are going to need good gear that won’t make their debit cards melt. High Sierra provides that gear.