If you enjoy being outside and make a habit of getting out on a regular basis, then there is probably a good chance you have experienced what we are going to term ‘gear envy’. It usually entails walking through the doors of your favorite outdoor retailer, quickly glancing at the endless gear possibilities, and then daydreaming of all the potential trips you could take in the future…if only you had some new equipment. As enticing mental images begin to form of you and your friends posing for pictures after an epic, adventurous day on the water, in the mountains, or on the snow, a store associate quickly approaches to inquire what they can help you purchase…and your only thought is “Ughh, yeah, I’ll take one of everything please.” Believe us, we have been there too!
Now, before you start to feel guilty for wanting so many ‘things’, we hope you will take a second and re-think exactly what a purchase of a new, critical piece of outdoor equipment might be providing you. While new gear can be material in one sense, it is much more than cool new toys to throw in the attic (you shouldn’t be storing outdoor gear there anyway!). It will allow you to enjoy trips that without the proper gear, wouldn’t be possible. It will take you extraordinary places and keep you fit and healthy. It will also be with you for many years, and many trips, because outdoor gear is durable. In fact, after looking closer at these purchases, we have no problem aligning them with our belief that it’s important to spend money on experiences, and not just material things. After all, what this equipment essentially provides is the opportunity to get out and create lasting experiences for many years.
Many trips outside are just not possible without a few basic, often expensive, pieces of equipment. Spending a night in the mountains without a shelter, or sleeping in 20℉ without a sleeping bag would not only be miserable, but also dangerous. It wouldn’t be possible to set out on a memory making, overnight adventure outside without means to effectively treat drinking water, or cook food, or carry your gear. Unlike many purchases in our everyday life that change our style or perceived status without actually increasing function, some outdoor items are simply required in order to safely enjoy being in the wilderness.
‘Oh, the places you’ll go’…
The world is a big and beautiful place, and there are nearly an infinite number of exploration possibilities. This is exactly why you should never overlook what only a few pieces of outdoor gear will do to your ability to travel affordably and see it all! As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, this gear is truly meant to give you lasting experiences. It will expose you to sights and sounds that captivate your mind and body. It may introduce you to new and different cultures that shape your appreciation for the world and its diversity. It will probably even help you lead a healthier lifestyle, as it’s hard to spend much time outside without moving the body in one way or another. There are so many benefits to venturing outside (check out our 5 reasons here) and we encourage you to remember them whenever considering a new piece of gear.
While we have found that the initial investment in some outdoor gear is often expensive, its overall quality and product lifetime is typically much longer than other similarly priced material purchases. These items are built to withstand use in harsh environments and are designed to take you through diverse landscapes for many years. Many of the products from leading manufacturers come with lifetime warranties against material defects. In fact, there is probably a good chance you will be driving a different car before you need another down sleeping bag or a new tent. If you find yourself trying to justify a new piece a gear, think of the initial cost, along with how long the product can reasonably be expected to last, with proper care and maintenance. This is often a great way to lessen the sticker shock of an item and understand how, over time, it may not actually be that expensive.
Now, we certainly aren’t saying that you should sell everything you own to stock up on outdoor gear, but we do hope you will keep in mind some of these benefits next time you are considering purchasing anything that helps get you, or your family outside more. The memories, and moments that you and your gear will share is often enough to justify its cost.