Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Can't stop changing gear?
Display Avatars Sort By:
d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: changing gear. on 03/05/2014 11:07:33 MST Print View

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.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: "Can't stop changing gear?" on 03/05/2014 11:17:13 MST Print View

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.

Rick Adams
(rickadams100) - M
buying instead of walking on 03/05/2014 11:44:12 MST Print View

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.

rick .
(overheadview) - F

Locale: NYC
Starting out and MYOG on 03/05/2014 12:12:41 MST Print View

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.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: GAS on 03/05/2014 12:19:37 MST Print View

"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!

(ardavis324) - F
Re: Re: "Can't stop changing gear?" on 03/05/2014 12:27:37 MST Print View

Interesting to hear different lines of reasoning. Ultimately the "its not as bad/expensive as other hobbies/addictions" or "its ok as long as you don't get in debt" don't really justify it for me.

I see the activity of acquiring gear as foolish if it continually draws you in, takes up lots of time, and doesn't really deliver the satisfaction and happiness most people seek. Consumerism is this way.. The climactic moment is making the purchase. However the level of happiness is not enhanced once the item is owned. Hence the reason many "can't stop changing gear"...we are seeking something that cannot be found in "gear". However, we keep looking.

These are some of the thoughts I've been coming to terms with lately.

Edited by ardavis324 on 03/05/2014 12:29:06 MST.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
heck, but more ! on 03/05/2014 12:34:54 MST Print View

lots and lots of the things i have acquired in the name of trekking see multiple uses. need a new multi tool ? no problemo, the old one goes into the glove box (which needs one anyway). new boots ? the old ones get torn up at work. heavy paracord became my clothesline. (and did the cdt and BC with 12oz of 1/4 poly rope).
optimally nice socks can be an expense, but having premium socks to wear each and every day at work is very Very nice.
merino wool ? who doesn't like to wear wool ? if it gets a hole in it, it gets worn at work.
oddball useless n2s top from mountain hardware proved without value in the hills, but somehow is exactly the perfect thing to wear on night runs in the winter. i mean, it's quite sweet, i just thow it on, add one of the less than perfet bomber caps bought over the years, go out the door while putting on partially used up manzella gloves, and we are quite confortably set for a wonerful evening ogging thru xmas lit neighborhoods.
i am about finished buring up the very first piece i ever bought for hiking. a 300wt marmot fleece jacket. dumb purchase for sure, but saved my butt for decades on cold shop mornings.
stop whineing. buy more. and work harder.


Alex Wallace
(FeetFirst) - F

Locale: Northern California
trusty old gear on 03/05/2014 12:37:40 MST Print View

I'm not immune to buying "new shiny gear," but more and more I've come to find that even if there may be something "better," I'd much rather use gear I'm familiar with and can trust. I know what to expect and how to deal with it. Always "testing" some new piece of gear on a trip gets old. It's nice to just enjoy the trip without thinking about if this new pack, tent, etc. is meeting your needs. So with that, once you find something that works, move on and don't read the Gear forum. =)

Owen McMurrey
(OwenM) - F

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: "Can't stop changing gear?" on 03/05/2014 12:54:56 MST Print View

"Of course the cure is to hike more and shop less."

That can go both ways.
I couldn't hike much more than I do and keep a job. I'm out 1-2 nights per week, and spend almost my whole month of vacation outdoors, plus occasionally dabble in mountain biking, rock climbing and rappelling, and some tame kayaking, which are all facilitated by working at night, and being able to do those things on work days as well as weekends.
Somehow, I still have plenty of time to play online. It seems like I'm always shopping for something, and can justify(to MY satisfaction, anyway) buying just about anything!

I think this is what they call a "first world problem"...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Disease of affluence on 03/05/2014 13:08:30 MST Print View

"I think this is what they call a "first world problem"..."

Yup, we are blessed with abundance and pay the price of being "owned" by our possessions. The UL twist makes it even worse as we analyze the purchase to the very seams.

That's why I advised seeking other pastimes other than reading about gear, on line shopping, gear catalogs, magazines and the like. An evening spent with a John Muir book will get you centered!

(ardavis324) - F
Re: Re: Disease of affluence on 03/05/2014 13:12:30 MST Print View

"An evening spent with a John Muir book will get you centered!"

Very true. Muir, or Thoreau help me regain balance.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Disease of affluence on 03/05/2014 13:16:04 MST Print View

I recommend the online version of John Muir's book, My First Summer in the Sierra.


Owen McMurrey
(OwenM) - F

Locale: SE US
John Muir on 03/05/2014 13:17:14 MST Print View

Guess we're straying off-topic, but if you have a Kindle or other e-reader, ten of John Muir's books(edit: including the one Bob just recommended) are available for free at

Try this link:

Edited by OwenM on 03/05/2014 13:19:57 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
(psssst! wanna buy a stove?) on 03/05/2014 13:24:21 MST Print View

Yeah, you need a new (i.e. "better") stove, admit it.

Well I have seven of them and, for a small sum, will part with the one of your choosing. (All purchases are final.)

How about a nice 3 person dome tent?

Maybe a Dana Designs Terraplane pack?

PM me and we can talk.

P.S. For a nominal fee I can also become your support person for counseling whenever you feel the need to buy something - that is AFTER you've bought from me.

Edited by Danepacker on 03/05/2014 13:30:34 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: (psssst! wanna buy a stove?) on 03/05/2014 13:31:45 MST Print View

"Well I have seven of them and, for a small sum, will part with the one of your choosing."

Geez, I passed that point about thirty years ago. It gets a lot easier once you get into two digits, and that is for white gas stoves alone. Once we add in alcohol, butane, and esbit, we must be looking at 25-30.

The good news is that after the first half-dozen, you can cannibalize parts off some to keep the others running.


Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
I am with Dale on 03/05/2014 13:33:52 MST Print View

I am with Dale on this, I operate a 1 in 1 out policy for gear. I do hold on to the old item for a bit (if I can afford too) incase the new one needs to be sent back under warranty.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: John Muir on 03/05/2014 13:45:47 MST Print View

The are also free on the Amazon Kindle site. Re-read everyone of them last year.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Kill the computer? on 03/05/2014 14:00:43 MST Print View

Like sayings about kill you TV, I think I need to kill my rat hole of a computer to save myself from spending money. Of course not having a car payment or mortgage does nothing to stop getting new gear or my case, old bp stove acquisitions. I'm on a shelter obsession now, looking for the lightest, but more protection. Settled I hope on more protection, lighter than my 10 year old TT Squall, but heavier than last summers shelter I sold this Fall. Onward.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Kill the computer? on 03/05/2014 14:21:11 MST Print View

That won't save you. You will go online with a phone or a tablet. You are doomed.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Re: Kill the computer? on 03/05/2014 14:49:19 MST Print View

Duane I'm curious what shelter you decided on and thoughts on changing. I think you went back to a variant of the hexamid?