One Night Stand or Long Lasting Commitment?
I bet you thought I was going to talk about sex, didn’t you? Nope, just tricking you into reading about my thoughts and feelings on the ever-changing landscape of gear and my modern-day commitment issues.
So Much Gear, So Little Self Control
Gear options seem limitless! There are tents that set up in two seconds! They may weigh 14 pounds, but hey, everyone has their thing, right? In a way, I am thankful for this; gear is better and more accessible. It doesn’t seem that long ago when my backpack weighed close to 50 pounds as I was marching up the endless steps towards Machu Picchu. I was young, broke, and to be fair, the gear market wasn’t what it is today. In 2004, gear research and recommendations were gathered from outdoor magazines (the paper variety) and associates, if you were lucky to know anyone who had the slightest idea what they were talking about.
I’ve come a long way since Big Red, the backpack I carried from the time I was 17 until I was 30; the deep nostalgia I associated with Big Red and all of her adventures replaced with an ever-growing, ever-changing variety of packs, sleep systems, cook systems, and yes, even shit shovels. With so much choice and technological advances, I would categorize my relationship with gear as a series of one-night-stands, as opposed to the deeply committed, years-long romance of my first set of gear. I find myself captivated by the newer, shinier, and one ounce lighter versions, berating myself for ordering a piece of equipment only to find out something “better” is being released only weeks later.
Does It End?
So, is there an end to this quest for the perfect gear? It’s hard to say. I believe that I’ve reached a point where my gear is right for me, at least for now. I’ll keep you posted on my gear commitment issues as I get through the AT. I’ve tried lighter, newer options and chosen a few pieces of gear that some ultralight enthusiasts would cringe over, but these are options I’ve weighed both literally and figuratively (I’m so punny) and determined to be the right balance. I may carry a three-person Big Agnes palace, but the weight is divided between two of us, and I’ve tried other, lighter options and it’s just one of those things I feel is important for my sanity. On the flip side, my spork is titanium and weighs almost nothing! I’ll write a bit more about this later on, with more detail, but at the end of the day, I don’t like a lot of hassle with my tent, but I do like a lot of space, and also it seems that my partner and I are co-dependent babies who don’t like sleeping in separate tents. Who knew?
I’m not a gear expert, just a bit of a gear nerd and although gear is ever-evolving, sometimes the lightest, most expensive option doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re unsure about which options are right for you, think hard about your priorities and comfort levels and find a balance that allows you to be successful. Those with the lightest packs aren’t always the ones at the finish line; it’s those who know themselves and what is most important in maintaining that balance and sanity, who are successful.
Just my thoughts. Happy Trails!
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