My name is CampingJay, and I’m a gear junkie

gear nut
Bedroom of a gear nut.  This is a shot from a few years ago shows just a small sample of the gear I have collected.

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.

3 thoughts on “My name is CampingJay, and I’m a gear junkie”

  1. Just after a quick look, i’d say there are a lot of commercially available tents that are very similar in design to this one. It’s a camping tent, so I would evaluate it in the following way:

    1) What does it cost?
    2) How much living space is there?
    3) How much storage space is there?
    4) How effectively does it ventilate moisture?
    5) Can it be zipped off into separate living areas for parents and kids?
    6) What other cool features does it have?

    Some secondary considerations for a camping tent:
    1) What does it weigh?
    2) How small does it pack down?

    My personal preference for a tent these days is for the bare minimum. It’s just a place to sleep, and the rest of my time in camp will be spent elsewhere. I’d prefer a combination of two tents: A) A small sleeping tent with excellent weather protection and large vestibules for gear storage and B) A completely separate screen tent for hanging out and eating.

  2. OH, I didn’t see the video the first time! This is actually pretty cool. What I didn’t get from looking at the pictures is that it just folds out and there it is, and yet is fairly large. This might make a pretty good camping tent, which is what he intends it for. He says its “double skinned” which is probably the same as double walled. When done right, this is a great way to deal with moisture build up, but there needs to be enough space between the walls for wind to sweep the moisture away. My only other concern would be wind. This type of structure doesn’t have any straight lines. In fact, all of the lines are curved and meant to bend. It might blow over, but maybe not. I would like to see a wind tunnel test.

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