Backpacker Magazine Reader Makes $89K/Year and Spend $4,500/Yearly on Backpacking

Backpacker Magazine Reader Makes $89K/Year and Spend $4,500/Yearly on Backpacking

roger
roger

August 31st, 2001, 2:50 pm #1

There's a thread in rec.backcountry about Backpacking Magazine publicizing its demographics. I always find these demographic surveys amusing. I am sure everybody answers them honestly
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&s ... ackcountry

Anyway here are some excerpts:
It says that the magazines advertises lots of fancy gear. It doesn't say that
anyone is buying the stuff that's advertised.

And it says that the average subscriber is quite affluent. OK. But if they're
actually talking household income rather than personal income, then change
that to "modestly affluent".

And it says that the average subscriber "spent more than $4,500 on
backpacking equipment and excursions last year". Notice that it doesn't say
whether the average subscriber spent anything at all on equipment last year.

And for "excursions", I read the word as encompassing all kinds of
excursions. Including mileage and 5 days in the hotel with the family while
visiting the grandparents in Iowa.

In short, it's in the magazine's interest to inflate these numbers as much as
they possibly can, by whatever technique they can find. Gets them more
advertising. Judge the magazine on its merits, if any, not on the PR put out
by its advertising department.
------------------
Average subscriber makes 89K/year? I'm getting TWO subscriptions.


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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

September 6th, 2001, 3:05 pm #2

Without speculating on the $89k average income, the comment about $4,500 spent on equipment and excursions doesn't sound all that unreasonable.

Consider, for instance, what it cost Nathan and me to go bag Whitney and NOT bag Boundary (busted car). Airfare from St. Louis to Reno. Rental car. Several nights in motels. Meals. Permits. New boots for Nathan (annual expense at the rate he's growing!).

Plus, we're planning an October trip down to El Paso to bag Guadalupe Peak. That was a spur-of-the-moment choice, not long-term plan like Whitney, since American Airlines ran some great fares a month ago, and we had a long weekend to use for the trip.

Or, last year, when the family did a 7-state HP trip around the mid-Atlantic states. (KY/NC/VA/WV/MD/PA/DE) (Do I count the $$ I spent on my digital camera? It's "gear", although gets used for more than just HP/backpacking trips...)

The key word is "excursions" in that spending...convert that to "vacations" and it doesn't sound too far out of whack.

Hey, this is one reason why I have a job...to be able to afford to do the things I like to do in whatever time I spend away from work. If you think backpacking expenses are bad, you don't want to know what I've spent over the years on SCUBA gear, underwater camera/lenses and dive trips! ;^)

Alan Ritter, jar@eng.bausch.com
http://www.mtritter.org
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John M.
John M.

September 6th, 2001, 8:05 pm #3

Interesting response to a query placed in a previous issue.
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Mad Pluck
Mad Pluck

September 8th, 2001, 8:59 pm #4

Without speculating on the $89k average income, the comment about $4,500 spent on equipment and excursions doesn't sound all that unreasonable.

Consider, for instance, what it cost Nathan and me to go bag Whitney and NOT bag Boundary (busted car). Airfare from St. Louis to Reno. Rental car. Several nights in motels. Meals. Permits. New boots for Nathan (annual expense at the rate he's growing!).

Plus, we're planning an October trip down to El Paso to bag Guadalupe Peak. That was a spur-of-the-moment choice, not long-term plan like Whitney, since American Airlines ran some great fares a month ago, and we had a long weekend to use for the trip.

Or, last year, when the family did a 7-state HP trip around the mid-Atlantic states. (KY/NC/VA/WV/MD/PA/DE) (Do I count the $$ I spent on my digital camera? It's "gear", although gets used for more than just HP/backpacking trips...)

The key word is "excursions" in that spending...convert that to "vacations" and it doesn't sound too far out of whack.

Hey, this is one reason why I have a job...to be able to afford to do the things I like to do in whatever time I spend away from work. If you think backpacking expenses are bad, you don't want to know what I've spent over the years on SCUBA gear, underwater camera/lenses and dive trips! ;^)

Alan Ritter, jar@eng.bausch.com
http://www.mtritter.org
I'm in college and make $6,000 a year at a crappy part-time job. I have so far this year spent $1,500 going to the Smoky Mountains 3 times (one way, 600 miles). AND, I'm going agin in 3 weeks.

Thats dedication folks.
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chepup
chepup

September 9th, 2001, 5:41 am #5

Without speculating on the $89k average income, the comment about $4,500 spent on equipment and excursions doesn't sound all that unreasonable.

Consider, for instance, what it cost Nathan and me to go bag Whitney and NOT bag Boundary (busted car). Airfare from St. Louis to Reno. Rental car. Several nights in motels. Meals. Permits. New boots for Nathan (annual expense at the rate he's growing!).

Plus, we're planning an October trip down to El Paso to bag Guadalupe Peak. That was a spur-of-the-moment choice, not long-term plan like Whitney, since American Airlines ran some great fares a month ago, and we had a long weekend to use for the trip.

Or, last year, when the family did a 7-state HP trip around the mid-Atlantic states. (KY/NC/VA/WV/MD/PA/DE) (Do I count the $$ I spent on my digital camera? It's "gear", although gets used for more than just HP/backpacking trips...)

The key word is "excursions" in that spending...convert that to "vacations" and it doesn't sound too far out of whack.

Hey, this is one reason why I have a job...to be able to afford to do the things I like to do in whatever time I spend away from work. If you think backpacking expenses are bad, you don't want to know what I've spent over the years on SCUBA gear, underwater camera/lenses and dive trips! ;^)

Alan Ritter, jar@eng.bausch.com
http://www.mtritter.org
I subscribe. I LOVE backpacker! I did Whitney & White Mountain this year. I have never bothered to calculate the cost. I had to get a lot of gear, simply because I didn't have anything prior to this year. Last time I tried Whitney it was with a lot of old, heavy, borrowed gear. HUGE mistake! A lot of your gear is going to be a 1 time or 1ce every several years, expense, like pack & bag. So, I laid out quite a bit this year on pack, sleeping bag, stove, clothing, etc. I also avioded a LOT of expense by looking up items on ebay, checking them out in the Backpacker gear guide, & getting them there. I learned that I have no great opinion of REI but adore Campmor. Cost of trip itself? Gas from San Jose, food along the way, victory dinners in Bishop additional cost of unexpectantly having breakfast in a restaurant several times (Inyo country store & restaurant I discovered has the BEST hashbrowns on earth, bringing me back every time I passed through). Another big expense could also be time off work. My vacation time is not mine to choose. We're closed a total of 3 weeks out of the year, spread out. That's when I go. If I went any other time, I'd take a real beating!

Income...wow, who lied to get them at that number? Whenever I'm out there, the VAST MAJORITY of the people I see are young college age guys. Don't tell me they're making 89k, or more to average out my 24k!! It could also be the armchair readers. I don't recall which magazine it was, but one of the outdoor ones had an article awhile back on the problems that are being caused on Shasta by the bay area must have it all in like career folks (aka dotcomers!) who think they can work all week & then go bag Shasta on the weekend & be back at the water cooler monday to tell about it. I think most jobs paying a boatload of money like that won't put up with employees who disapperar into the wilds for long periods of time.
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Roger Williams
Roger Williams

September 9th, 2001, 4:59 pm #6

Anyone who climbs Shasta (14 162) in 2 days is a better man than I. Back in the 70s when I was in my 30s, it took me 5; took Trailways to Shasta City, hiked up in woods, camped on paper-co. land, on to glacier above Horse Camp (Sierra Club hut) & camped, on to summit & camped at fizzy hot sulfur spring on 14K' contour, 2 ascents from there (PM, dawn), back to camp at Horse Camp then down to Shasta City & Trailways motor coach back to San Francisco where I lived then. Great trip though got v. cold on summit; jacket over wool shirt wasn't enough in dawn wind. 100 in Redding.
Watched shadow of Shasta on W. sky at sunrise; had the same privilege from Gilman's Point on Kilimanjaro's crater rim where I managed to beat the sunrise, then on to Pt. Uhuru in Mar 73.
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Ken Akerman
Ken Akerman

September 10th, 2001, 3:39 pm #7

There's a thread in rec.backcountry about Backpacking Magazine publicizing its demographics. I always find these demographic surveys amusing. I am sure everybody answers them honestly
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&s ... ackcountry

Anyway here are some excerpts:
It says that the magazines advertises lots of fancy gear. It doesn't say that
anyone is buying the stuff that's advertised.

And it says that the average subscriber is quite affluent. OK. But if they're
actually talking household income rather than personal income, then change
that to "modestly affluent".

And it says that the average subscriber "spent more than $4,500 on
backpacking equipment and excursions last year". Notice that it doesn't say
whether the average subscriber spent anything at all on equipment last year.

And for "excursions", I read the word as encompassing all kinds of
excursions. Including mileage and 5 days in the hotel with the family while
visiting the grandparents in Iowa.

In short, it's in the magazine's interest to inflate these numbers as much as
they possibly can, by whatever technique they can find. Gets them more
advertising. Judge the magazine on its merits, if any, not on the PR put out
by its advertising department.
------------------
Average subscriber makes 89K/year? I'm getting TWO subscriptions.

It appears that magazines must overstate the income level of their subscribers in order to attract advertisers. For example, here is a quote that I found on a Wall Street Journal website(http://advertising.wsj.com/AdOpps/Direc ... t_home.htm):

"Wall Street Journal subscribers have an average household income of $338,200 and an average household net worth of $2,176,700 — well over twice that of affluent adults."

I find this figure impossible to believe. I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, and I don't think that I have even earned $338,200 yet in my working lifetime. Of course, as a person who respects other people's privacy and who does not butt my head into personal matters, I do not know what anyone else makes, but I personally don't know anyone who appears to earn $338,220 per annum and has a net worth of over $2 million unless some of my friends are very good at maintaining a very middle-class lifestyle at a very high income level.

Obviously, the moral to the story is - don't believe every figure that you read. (Mark Twain was right - he said that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics).

Ken Akerman

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Greg
Greg

September 10th, 2001, 5:18 pm #8

Considering that most, if not all, corporate CEOs, investment banker types, and other ridiculously rich types probably get the WSJ, I wouldn't be suprised that their earnings/worth figures inflate the average.

Bill Gates and his $60 Billion net worth, lumped together with 30,000 homeless people have an average net worth of $2 Million.

Even accurate statistics can be misleading. I think the mean is probably more informative than the average.
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Ken Akerman
Ken Akerman

September 10th, 2001, 5:28 pm #9

> I think the mean is probably more informative than the average.

Aren't mean and average the same thing? I think you are referring to the median instead of the mean. The median is the value at which exactly half are higher, and the other half are lower. The median is a more accurate statistic to use when the values are more skewed in one direction than the other. (This is the case with incomes, where most people's earnings are a lot closer to the minimum value (zero) than the highest value (infinity). While it is impossible to actually earn infinity, the earnings of some of the super-rich seem like infinity when compared to a typical person).

Ken
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