Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Confessions from the gear shed

I've lived in this cabin for five years, the longest I have lived in any house since I was 17. I knew it was time for a purge. After all, J had been nagging me having a lot of stuff around makes me anxious. A hoarder, I am not.

Except for gear. And with a house with only one closet, no garage and one shed, it was time to visit the Land of Unwanted Gear. It was raining, so there was one thing to do: wade in.

As a backpacker of many decades, I have accumulated considerable amounts of gear. It's always tempting to reach for the next shiny thing, and over my years of hiking, newer, better things have emerged. I'll never go back to using a water pump filter, for example, so I added two of these to the pile. This backpacking stove was purchased in a fit of stove envy, but as it turned out, I really didn't want to fiddle with priming and fuel bottles. A mystery tent pole emerged from the depths. What was it, and where did it belong? The mysteries continued. It was almost like an archaeological dig.

The neighbors approached and left happily with a backpack and two tents. Briefly I was consumed by reading a journal from my time in exile in a small sagebrush town. Had I really been that lonely and heartbroken? I found old pictures. There were my Alaska co-workers, carrying our required rifles by the biggest waterfall I have ever seen. Oh look, there's my first backpacking stove. So heavy! There was my first tent that I bought with my own money, that I carried all over the Sierras. I was awash in memories.

Time. It goes so fast.

I found three sleeping bags I had FORGOTTEN I EVEN HAD. How does that even happen?

I found my new bike helmet.

Here's the shameful tally:

Tents sold: 4.  Tents kept: 4. (Well....)

Water filters sold: 2. Filters kept: 1.

Stoves sold: 2. Kept: 1.

Sleeping bags sold: 2. Kept: 5. (I KNOW)

Backpacks sold: 4. Kept: 5. (I know. I know!)

Room in shed for more gear: Infinite!

Are you a gear hoarder for a certain activity? Do you ever get rid of stuff?

Next, the old running shoe shelf!


(sorry no pictures, it's too shameful!)





20 comments:

  1. Bwahaha...I tried to just organize not purge our camping gear. I ended up just getting tents and sleeping bags organzied. What 14 yr old needs 3 tents, 4+ sleeping bags, 3+ backpacks, and 3 camp stoves? These numbers don't include sleeping bag liners and day packs. That's how you get (+). Making room for new gear is always so much fun.

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  2. Hahaha..that 14 year old is a man after my own heart. You always need more tents! (The number of camp stoves might be a little excessive....maybe). Sleeping bags, well, you need a winter backpacking, a car camping, an ultralight, a regular backpacking for shoulder season...I could go on....

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    1. Well he bought his Optimus Crux, the old Coleman backpacking stove he inherited from grampa for Christmas 2 yrs ago, and then this year he chose his Jetboil for Christmas. Most likely I'll end up with the Optimus.

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    2. I really like the Jetboil. I don't have one. I have a Pocket Rocket. If I were to get another stove it would be a Jetboil; I am trying to go stoveless more and more often, but it is a commitment and requires the ability to give up hot drinks. Really only possible in summer for me.

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  3. The gear really does add up.. And its so hard to get rid of it! I agree! I found your blog on the OBN network and looks so great! Very similar to my own blog, please check out my designed blog hungrymountaineer.com when you get a chance and we even have a FB page you can follow now! Happy hiking! :-)

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    1. Nice blog! When I am not at work (ahem) I will read more of it! thanks for the comment!

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  4. Hilarious! I could probably write one about accumulated dishes/glasses/etc from days when we threw much bigger parties than we do now! I've found a good place in mid-Michigan to consign items so I don't have to make deals in person/go on Craig's list or Ebay/take to Goodwill.

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    1. Oh that's nice. We don't have consignment. There's a gear swap happening thus the impetus. I hope nothing comes back!

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  5. Oh yeah.....I can relate with the amount of ski gear I seem to accumulate. Still have straight skis from the early 90s. I'm afraid to dive into the nooks and crannies of my garage for a count of camping/hiking gear. And don't even get me started on photography equipment. :)

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    1. Ha--I have some straight skis too! Luckily I have moved a lot so managed to keep things to a minimally acceptable level, but i definitely needed to purge the camping gear. It was taking over the shed, and everyone knows the shed is where the husband's numerous bikes need to go!

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  6. Oh, shoot. Here I was going to have you pore over all our camping/backpacking gear when next you were by here. However, it's so old that I think a look will result in laughing fits instead of adoption or purges. Sounds like you made inroads (and space for bikes).

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    1. Vintage gear! I don't need to adopt anymore, but maybe Ebay?

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  7. I am giggling...with some things, I am a SUPER PURGER. Get it OUT. And with other things *ahem running stuff* I am a huge hoarder. It's such a challenge to maintain the right amount of stuff - not too much, not too little.

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  8. Haha! I agree. I have not a lot of kitchen stuff, or shoes. Or jewelry. I don't have a lot of running stuff, except for old shoes. But camping stuff..a complete different story.

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  9. I know what you mean Mary.
    Our so called second living room has now become a gear room.
    I do need to part with a couple of old REI tents, I think I will take them to our local shelter.

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    1. That's a good idea. Those older tents really were made well. The neighbors took one that was probably made in 1990 but still looks great.

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  10. and did I mention books? Books to the left, books to the right, books cozy in their own little stack on the floor. Some of have gone to consignment in Saugatuck; others (they don't know it yet) will be on their way out the door soon.

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  11. My husband teases me mercilessly when I want to buy new gear. He doesn't say anything when it's related to running, but if I want something for backpacking he always tries to talk me out of it. I'm with you on sleeping bags, they're like a good set of knives: I could make do with just one, but having a few for specific purposes ensures I don't lose any fingers.

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  13. As a fellow female hoarder of outdoor gear, your blog warmed my heart! Like you, I don't crave material possessions except those that support my outdoor hobbies. I have shelves of old running shoes that I'm reluctant to part with. I look forward to seeing your 'shameful' photos to know I'm not alone in the crazy world of gear hoarding!

    Andrea Wilkins @ Getaway Outdoors

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