Why Some Hikers Never Replace Their Old Backpacking Gear

Why Some Hikers Never Replace Their Old Backpacking Gear

I have never been extremely sentimental about my actual physical possessions. If I hang onto


I have never been extremely sentimental about my actual physical possessions. If I hang onto clothing or other out of doors equipment, it is typically simply because I assume it may possibly want it in the foreseeable future, not since I’m emotionally hooked up to it. I are inclined to have a regular rotation of things in my equipment closet, and since I’m pretty utilitarian and streamlined with my equipment, I do not usually hold aged machines. 

The exception to this rule is a nondescript Black Diamond Location headlamp from 2011. It was a reward from my father, transported to a General Supply tackle when I was living in Yellowstone Countrywide Park. Ahead of that summer season I had been strictly a working day hiker I experienced just started off venturing into small overnights. I’d bought my initially backpacking set up as very well: a Therm-a-Rest ProLite sleeping pad, a cumbersome Mountain Hardwear zero-diploma sleeping bag, and a 5-pound Kelty Gunnison two-human being tent that I strapped to the bottom of my 70-liter Gregory Deva pack. 

My father has always been a single of my main inspirations for getting outside and checking out the backcountry. When I known as him from my new home in a cabin in Wyoming and told him about my initially backpacking setup, he was thrilled I was pursuing in his footsteps. A 7 days or so later, I obtained a package deal in the mail. He experienced gone to the nearby gear store and acquired me my initial headlamp, a uncomplicated, utilitarian product ideal for a to start with-timer. The light-weight unit was a minimal clunky and it experienced one button that functioned as an on-off change, with no other brightness options. It wasn’t rechargeable, and had no flood, strobe, or purple mild settings. It probably had close to 250 lumens, and the batteries lasted for good. 

In the decades considering the fact that, I’ve come to be notorious among my good friends for getting rid of headlamps. But somehow, this 1 has survived additional than a dozen moves throughout a few different states, plenty of backpacking and camping outings, and who appreciates how lots of gear purges. It’s been demoted a several moments: This was my go-to headlamp for my initially several decades of backpacking, then it was my motor vehicle-camping headlamp. It experienced a great run as the spare headlamp I preserve in my truck, and due to the fact the batteries last so lengthy, it’s continue to the light I grab when I do the job overnight careers. 

Nevertheless, I simply cannot appear to be to permit it go. I have specified absent all of the other gear from my original backpacking setup—plus numerous other things considering that then—but this has stayed in my gear closet. No issue how light-weight or impressive headlamps get, I’ll probably keep it endlessly.

My old (but however trusted) headlamp (Photo: Maggie Slepian)

I know a ton of other avid backpackers who hold on to some of their 1st parts of equipment, regardless of whether all those products make it on to just about every trip or just have a special spot on the gear shelf.  My good friends who do the job in the outside business place often have access to the most recent, lightest gear, but for author Katie Kommer, her “one item” is the unique Jetboil.  It was the 1st detail she purchased when she began operating at REI

“I have lighter options but I generally get that a single,” she claims. “I believed it was the coolest piece of gear at any time.”

When I asked another fellow out of doors writer Andrew Marshall if he experienced everything sentimental that transcended the offerings and benefits of his gear-tests task, he straight away despatched me a picture of a red Victorinox Swiss Military Knife. 

“My moms and dads gave it to me for my birthday a person calendar year,” he claimed. “Many ultralighters just have a razor blade or a extremely minimalist knife, and I have this.” His knife is engraved with solvitur ambulando, a Latin phrase that means “it is solved by walking” and could describe his commitment to the path.

As we get more into our years of backpacking and the miles extend out powering us, holding on to particular parts of gear is a way to maintain inbound links with our past. Though I agree that the recollections and encounters are the authentic keepsakes, for me, there’s some thing exclusive about this a single a little clunky, maybe out-of-date headlamp that I have stored by way of all the yrs, all the moves, and all the updates. 

My elderly Black Diamond Location may well not make it into my pack for each backpacking trip, but it’s particular to me for two motives. It was part of my preliminary setup, and it even now reminds me of what it was like to be a beginner, just venturing out into the woods for the to start with time. It was also a gift from a person special to me, a memento that when I hike, I’m not just owning exciting, I’m carrying on a spouse and children tradition way too. And over all, it’s dependable in the way that a large amount of old equipment is: Even right now, when I pull it out of my pack, it nonetheless turns on without having a fuss.



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