My name is CampingJay, and I have a bit of a problem. I go to Campmor just to look around. I check for updates on gear manufacturer’s websites, even when I don’t need anything new. Outdoor Gear Lab is my top visited website. When coming upon a campsite, there is rarely a tent I don’t recognize. I often find myself watching someone at the airport thinking, “Geesh, that’s a nice backpack!” You could accuse me of going on a spur-of-the-moment overnight just to try out a new stove, and you’d be right. I am a gear junkie.
Owning a lot of gear has some advantages. Since I’ve tried so much stuff, I can make a lot of good suggestions to friends. Gear is easy to write blog entries about. I have spares of almost everything, so I can always give out loaners if a newbie wants to come along on a trip. When a favorite piece of equipment breaks down, I can usually salvage parts from something else to repair it. I never have to run to the store the day before a trip to buy equipment, because I already have everything I might ever need. (Confession: I run to the store the day before a trip anyway, just because it’s what I do.)
But is this healthy? Is this a sign of vapid consumerism? Have I been drawn in by the bright colors and marketing gimmicks? Is my savings account silently screaming at me? It might be, but at least if I run out of money, I can always sell my home and go camping. Forever.
I’m going to make a promise to change my buying habits. I want to start shopping smarter and more responsibly. I want to own the gear I need, not what others are trying to sell me. From now on, I’m going to follow these rules when selecting new equipment:
- Onlypurchase new gear when:
- Something breaks and needs replacing
- I want to try something new, like hammock camping
- If I can make it at home, I will. (My father’s workshop across town counts.)
- I’d prefer to buy products made in America.
- Whenever possible, I’ll go with a small manufacturer over a large one.
- I will only make one purchase per month.