Mar 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm #1314035
Anyone here constantly switching gear like me even if it's for the same temperature range? It seems like I finally get the weight/function right with the kit, then do a 180· and get confused again. Should I worry about OCD?
Maybe an old timer with the perfect backpack that he never worries about, grab it and go?Mar 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm #2079562
Of course you can stop changing gear.
I have done that many times and so can you.Mar 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm #2079568
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
My thought process is to switch gear only in the colder months when I'm around (i.e. here for delivery as there's always a chance someone will steal a package left by the door) and then concentrate on using it during summer, trying not to get any new gear. Replace worn and non suitable gear (some gear just may not work for a person) when the next major winter fronts hit.Mar 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm #2079570
I've been flustered with clothing the most.Mar 5, 2014 at 5:48 am #2079601
Yes, I think you need to worry about ocd. So do I: Sleeping bags seem to be my current weakness–After many years of happiness with a single sleeping bag for all temperature ranges (adapting by unzipping the bag according to weather), I now have sleeping bags for 40F, 20F (2 of 'em), 0F and -20F (I live and hike in New Mexico, so dunno when I'm ever gonna need that one!).
Or maybe we've been bitten by the consumerism bug? There are so many great designs around, and they all weigh next to nothing!Mar 5, 2014 at 6:26 am #2079604
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Do you take notes? I did this a lot at first but as I figured out what worked, it tapered off.Mar 5, 2014 at 6:34 am #2079609
Discipline with product research and setting spending limits has really helped me temper purchases. I do NOT have the money for all this cool stuff. There are just so many innovative options now w/the UL tech it can get out of hand (and expensive) really quick. I'm trying to be rigorous in analyzing individual items (packs, shelters,etc) and how things work together as entire systems (using packraft paddles for shelter posts, clothing layering for different climates, etc). Especially since I'm getting on water+land now, I have to be really certain about what I'm carrying and maximizing usage to prevent unnecessary weight+clutter. I've been spending months researching an ideal shelter for heavier winds/conditions; a lot of candidates but not ready to invest quite yet. The search continues…Mar 5, 2014 at 6:50 am #2079612
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
I've kind of turned into a revolving door of gear….I'm at least selling the things I swap out, but just like you I can't seem to stop trying out some of this new stuff.
Unfortunately I'm currently in a pack/shelter mode right now. Not the cheapest obsession……Mar 5, 2014 at 7:42 am #2079625
I am in the same boat! Clothing especially, I have bought several base layers and keep experimenting with them. I did LOTS of research on shelters, finally bought one, and now I already want a lighter one! I still need to drop about 4 or 5 lbs to make UL, so this will continue until I get there. But then SUL….Mar 5, 2014 at 7:55 am #2079629
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Go backpacking more often. You won't have time to think about new gear, and your savings account will grow.Mar 5, 2014 at 8:00 am #2079631
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
Nick I know! My new plan is the pct in 2015, so I'm hoping that will cure me.Mar 5, 2014 at 8:25 am #2079643
@paulmagsLocale: People's Republic of Boulder
There is a point of diminishing returns with buying new gear.
For example, I use a silnylon tarp. Standard 8×10. 13 oz. Call it just under a lb with stakes and rope.
I could buy a cuben fiber tarp. But is $300 worth it to shave a touch over 3 oz?
I do have a new pack, but my old one finally went kaput.
Stoves? I have a decent canister stove (Coleaman F1) for when alcohol stoves are banned and/or I don't want to go stoveless. There are lighter canister stoves now, but, again, do I really want to spend more $$$$ to shave 1.5 oz? Likewise, I could buy a remote canister stove for winter use..but do I really need another stove when white gas works well enough?
I find my gear purchases are when things wear out more than anything at this point in my hiking 'career'. I do occasionally buy new gear as my *needs* dictate vs my *wants*.
Not that I am immune to minor splurging. I did buy a $20 down beanie off e-bay to try out. ;)
To add to what Nick said..not only will getting out there and using your current gear make you less likely to do big gear purchases for the 'feel good effect', but by using your gear you eventually wear it out and *have* to buy new gear. Win!
I honestly think a lot of buying of gear is that gear itself can be the hobby. Nothing wrong with that per se. But when the hobby of gear collecting is no longer as satisfying, then you may find that you will stop changing gear so often.
Just my .05 worth.Mar 5, 2014 at 8:42 am #2079653
My 2 cents…
Sitting around browsing BPL is a snare. The more the mind dwells on material things/gear, and less on experiences, the more it becomes convinced that it really needs things that it doesn't. I do think it is dangerous consumerism. In some ways this constant pursuit of gear that "works better" or weighs less becomes disconnected altogether from the experience of enjoying wild places. The idea that lighter or efficiency adds joy or comfort is true to a point, but where does one draw the line? Is there a point where we become satisfied? Satisfaction is found at the top of peaks and passes, not in a box of new gear delivered to my front porch.Mar 5, 2014 at 8:57 am #2079657
A few years back I definitely stopped buying new stuff, and now I just try to use what I have. And I'm selling off random things that aren't getting used much. It's fun to talk about gear and check out new stuff, but I think that most of the serious advances in weight were made a while back (e.g. Tarptents, cuben, light down bags, etc.). Now I'm just using it.Mar 5, 2014 at 9:01 am #2079659
@dallasLocale: North Texas
I find I'm more prone to 'needing' new gear when I analyze my gear spreadsheet.
Look at all the grams I can save!
I say blame the spreadsheet. :)
Although, because of the knowledge on this site and the availability of materials like cuben and carbon fiber, I've shaved pounds off of my skin out weight. So some amount of gear consumerism is helpful in having a more enjoyable outdoor experience.
Although I'm still tempted to shave a few more ounces. Hmmmm….Mar 5, 2014 at 9:15 am #2079669
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
Some people go to the bar and blow all their money on high price tap beer and pulltabs. Some order pizza delivery every other night. Some people take long cruises on the deck of a boat to buy high price tap beer and pulltabs. Ok, the drinks are usually free, but you get the idea.
So I buy cool flashlights, neat knives, hip backpacks, comfy clothes and swanky shelters.
There's far worse things in life to spend your money on. At least when I buy "gear", even if I never use it, I still have that little adventure, even if it's just in my head. Better than any movie or book, and the mental exercise of making it all work together is like a great puzzle.
And then after a long, cold, house bound winter, there's those first few treks with new gear! It's better than that new car smell! The weather gets warmer, the ground thaws out, and the online shopping goes into hibernation. And such is the circle of life. Let the adventure begin!Mar 5, 2014 at 9:34 am #2079676
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
yeah, buying stuff is like taking drugs, stimulates some of the same brain chemicals
maybe fewer side effects. Doesn't destroy your liver.
nothing wrong with it as long as you can afford it
you should first save enough to pay all your expenses, have an emergency fund, save for retirement,…
you can go overboard the other direction, be unhappy because you're too frugal. Money is to be spent, not just hoarded until you die.Mar 5, 2014 at 9:46 am #2079682
@glenn64Locale: Snowhere, MN
"nothing wrong with it as long as you can afford it"
Good point. I won't buy unless it's with cash. I'd hate to see somebody go in debt just for some hobby gear. I realize many on this site are highly-trained-professionals and make a living with gear investments, but for us mere mortals, it should be cash only!Mar 5, 2014 at 9:52 am #2079685
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
I understand this. I find that no matter what, I'm not satisfied with my gear. I keep finding a new "holy grail" item that I just "must have" and have a closet full of discarded items that I need to find new homes for. To combat this, this year I've committed to taking a moratorium on any new gear over $100 (so, no new tents or sleeping bags for me this year, among other things). I have to live with my gear for the rest of 2014 barring a gear failure or loss that necessitates a replacement (and no, it can't be deliberate, haha).Mar 5, 2014 at 10:01 am #2079689
Gear acquisition syndrome …
The start to beating the addiction is to realize the truth that once you get to a certain point, no amount of shiny new gear will allow you to realistic do anything you wouldnt have done anyways
Not that uber CFM windshirt, not that million lumen headlamp, not that 1200 fill down poofay, etc …
Most of us arent cutting edge athletes on the sharp end where that little bit might make the difference between life and death
But the MARKETING departments and the entire gear CULTURE (blogs, mags, forums) is very good at making us believe shiny new gear will somehow make us better and go harder
They make us feel like ueli steck while sitting at our desks
;)Mar 5, 2014 at 10:07 am #2079694
I definitely fall prey to the allure of new stuff, especially when I can't get out and hike (either because of work schedule or plantar fasciitis). I have a little less lust for some categories of gear now that I've accumulated pretty good items (bag, warm clothing, a couple of new packs that I still need to get out and try), but it seems I will NEVER lose my fatal attraction to the "perfect" shelter. (come to think of it, I've been fixated on tents ever since I made one from a Frostline kit in the late '70s)
I'm about to embark on making myself a shelter for the first time since the Frostline, as soon as I figure out exactly what I want it to look like – probably a silnylon hybrid of a couple of different cottage gear shelters I've been eyeing. If that succeeds, I can offload at least some of my shelter stockpile.
My other recent obsessions have been with other MYOG projects (cone-type windscreens for various pots, raingear) so at least my rampant consumerism is temporarily on hold.Mar 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #2079702
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I've adopted a policy of one-in-one-out to help keep things in line.
I think experience helps too. After a while you find out what works and all the buzz of the the newest whiz-bang gizmo has less effect. You start to see where the wheel is invented over and over again. There are very few truly revolutionary changes in gear technology but many incremental ones. It's good to see what is going on and keep an eye to replacements for worn out gear, but the trick is to look at the banquet without partaking. The reviews and colorful ads make it easy to convince ourselves that we really, really, need that thing. Self honesty rules.
Of course the cure is to hike more and shop less. Read books on adventures rather than ads and reviews. Spend the time on your photographs or blog, etc.
I found late in life that I really should have been an industrial designer. I have an extensive education in silver-based photography and that can be a lust fest with equipment. I found that the design and function of the equipment was as much a draw as the making of images. There is a great story about a young photographer who went with Imogene Cunningham on an outdoor photo session. Cunningham pulled out a decrepit old Rolliflex twin lens camera and went afield nothing else, just the camera with its fixed lens and some film— no light meter or any other gadgets. This was the way she made renowned images for decades, the lesson being that it is the artist, not the equipment.
And so it is with backpacking. Once you have the good basics in shelter, clothing and cook kit, there is little you will do in the way of changes that is revolutionary. I really want a lighter sleeping bag, but the one I use works and isn't at all "heavy" so I really am duty bound to wear it out first, in terms of my budget and sustainability. Anything else is just churn.Mar 5, 2014 at 10:44 am #2079714
I am trying to break this habit, after buying and selling lots of stuff some final decisions have been made and my kit is becoming more well defined, lots more to sell but I no longer find to buy.
I think Nick is correct about the need to get out more. Alot of time spent thinking about gear instead of using it costs a ton more money.
Of course, the way I've justified this over the years works too. Faithful to my wife of 20 something years, spend lots of time with my kids, drink little, no drugs, no smoking, no boat, no harley, no airplane, and no other hobbies to speak of. So, no big deal in the big picture.Mar 5, 2014 at 11:12 am #2079723
@overheadviewLocale: Charlotte, NC
I'm definitely struggling with this, but I chalk most of it up to "starting out" (longtime hiker, new ultralighter). I either replace heavy stuff from before "enLightenment" or replace stuff I recently added, with even lighter stuff.
Using 4oz of paracord for bear hang was fine, until I replace it with lighter stuff for no reason except its lighter. You start buying 3-4 versions of the same things!
Dale's 1-in, 1-out policy is a good model to strive to! Though it helps if you own several options of the item to start with.
I'm trying to focus on MYOG projects to abate this. You get a shiny new thing with a few added benefits: It hopefully costs less, you get more satisfaction, and you learn a skill to modify/replace that item later. Time spent on it can be enjoyed, especially if its downtime you'd spend lazing about either way. A package full of fabric gives me the same jolt of brain chemicals, and so does using a finished home-made item.
I think the key is to focus on "what is the gear/item I have not letting me do?" if that answer is "not much" then focus your energy elsewhere. And keep it on a wishlist that you occasionally splurge on. Or plan some trips outside of your normal that may require add'l gear, and focus your gear syndrome budget/energy on that. An example is adding snowshoes to extend your hike-able seasons by 1.Mar 5, 2014 at 11:19 am #2079728
"They make us feel like ueli steck while sitting at our desks"
And heck it feels good!
Its a lot of fun when that USPS man dings the doorbell, lots of endorphins and dopamine start rushing between receptors. Knowing that hours of browsing forums, reviews, we are finally getting rewarded with euphoria.
Until something lighter, more breathable, or more durable comes out… Then it's another hit right in our main line, please use clean needles!
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