Noicy outdoor equipment
My pfd (a GUL) uses velcro fasteners for closing - two rugged fasteners around the chest. Those fasteners have come to irritate me increasingly.
Well, finding a couple of velcro´s irritating? Maybe too little paddling lately?.
But imagine this: you glide slowly into the beach a becalmed summer evening. It is quiet and the sun sinks slowly towards the horizon. The only sound is the lapping of small waved against the beach. Then you open the pfd…
RRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIITSCHHHHH!!! (that was the first – seagulls and small bird squat).
RRRRAAAAAATSCHHHH!!!!! (the other – and people on the nbeach and in anchored boats in the bay look up, wondering who broke what).
Silence is a commodidty in severe shortage in our society, apparently also one not in demand. With the new outdoor equipment we can conquer yet another arena – we can make noice in the nature.
Have you listened to a gas or multifuel cooking range – one of those certified for Himalaya, heating the soup in -30 deg centigrade and a howling gale – nowadays often heard in the Swedish archipelago? When such a piece is fired up, the nature shrinks to a small acoustic room with a radius of a couple of meter – everything outside that perimneter vanish – an acoustic version of tunnel vision. When it finally shuts down the silence feels deafening for a short while, until the hearing has normalized the reference levels again. Just lucky those contraptione are rather efficient, så the din is reasonably shortlived, even if it does not feel that way during.
And when I am at it: why those noice zippers in tents? Not all people sleeps through the night – unavoidably in most camps the two long zippers in inner tent and flysheet rattles away loudly, amplified by the drumskin tight tent cloth, and distributed ocver the entire surface by the poles: FRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR and FRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Short walk and the same procedure all over again.
No preblems if there is wind and rain. Then nature itself takes over. But those calm summer nights …
Even my little camera bag has a velcro closure!
Probably not all are disturbed by acoustic sensations like this. People with too much personality, dominating visually and verbally, with a laugh that silences seagulls – perhaps they can´t imagine this as disturbing.
But go back a couple of decades: pfd:s with silent buckles, silent ranges with white spirit, tents with lacing etc. In those days you could be closer to the nature and the wildlife. You could be a part of it, instead of dominating – above all when traveling alone.
Many industries work with sound design. Unavoidable sounds are tweaked to be experienced as relevant and reasonable. Car doors should close with a thud that fits the price tag, and the engine noice is tuned and muffled – not too loud, not to quiet – but enough to conjure up a feeling of power and flexibility. Machines are tuned to sound enough to give feedback on the process but not more.
When will the outdoor equipment manufacturers hire a sound designer?
Until then: use your ears in the shops.