One Man’s Struggle With Gear

My name is David Kennedy and I have a gear problem.  It started innocently enough in high school.  I experimented with hiking and backpacking first.  Then I met more outdoorsy folk and started to explore caves, rivers, and rock cliffs.  Then it got serious when I moved to Colorado – skiing and ice climbing. Most recently, photography has become the umbrella in which all other outdoor activities fall.

Each new pursuit required its own set of gear. I began to collect backpacks in search of that perfect pack.  You know the one, just the right size for every adventure; slim and clean, yet with great organization; bombproof yet lightweight.  Some of it bordered on the ridiculous.  Ok, it was ridiculous.  I mean, who needs a sleeve for their trekking poles?  My only defense for that one is that it was free.  I even started making or modifying gear and became obsessive about repairing the damaged pieces.  Seamgrip, repair tape, homemade pot insulators, soldering wires in a headlamp?  I’ve done it all.

Along the way I began accumulating gear.  At first, it wasn’t much.  Just a corner in the closet.  Then a full closet. Then walk-in.  And somewhere along the way, a bedroom.

My wife made fun of me and guests would be shocked that our guest room didn’t contain the requisite guest bed.  Just sleeping pads (seven) and sleeping bags (five).  But still I saw no problem.

Then, we moved.

Twice in a year. Then again.

And I became committed to slimming down the gear room.

This effort, however, was met with minimal success.  Most progress was gained by more creative storage and packing, not actual reduction in gear.

The problem? Threefold…

First, replacement cost.  Maybe I could make a few dollars by selling gear, but what if I needed it back?  I could never replace it for the same amount*. Wouldn’t I be the perfect fool for selling one goretex jacket then trashing the other that I kept?

Second, friends.  Dave’s rentals, or more appropriately, Dave’s free loaners, have outfitted many.  More than once, someone forgot their ski pants and my closet came to the rescue.  Fleece, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags?  All common loaners.  Outdoor activities are perplexingly expensive and I figure if can help someone get started a little cheaper then it’s totally worth it.

Finally, the nostalgia.  That gear has some great stories.  That great climbing day in the Park that I gashed my my new climbing pants on my crampon.  Or that trip to Ouray where I got a new-ish pair of Patagonia soft shell pants for the equivalent of a 6 pack.  The tent that I got lasagna on the fly – don’t ask – or the backpack that has been on every trip since my first back in high school.

Digging through that room turned into a trip down memory lane, perhaps the most challenging trip in a room where so many trips have started and ended.

So for now, I think I’ll hold onto my old gear. I’ll probably even keep searching for that perfect pack.

* The fact that I worked at an outdoor gear shop through college and took ample advantage of prodeals didn’t help.

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