ergophobe - 8:09 pm on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)
camping will make it all meaningless
As a lifelong mountaineer, rock climber, backpacker, trail runner, former full-time national park ranger, current on-call national park ranger, I am open to that comment.
However, our experience of the wilderness has been profoundly altered by nylon, polyester, synthetic rubber, Gore-tex, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, lightweight backpacking stoves, detailed topo maps, GPS units, SPOT units, etc, etc, etc.
In the 1970s, climbing NEI5 (New England Ice 5, a slightly harder rating than the more modern WI5) was for a handful of top climbers. With current gear, any fit person can toprope NEI5 after a couple of days of climbing.
Few of us experience the wilderness that even someone as recent as John Muir knew without maps, without waterproof clothing or tents or aluminum pots or any of that. Technology changes everything, even the "pristine" camping experience.
The question remains. What will backpackers consider "essential" in 2113. Temperature regulating clothing that absorbs body heat while in motion and releases it during stops when you cool down (it's already here, just not very good) or... and back to my original comment... something we cannot even imagine.