An important corollary to yesterday’s question about getting started with trekking is
What trekking gear do I Need?
More often than not it is men who’ve asked me this question. Being a guy I can relate to this. For us men gear is paramount. It is a primate urge that women never seem to understand. To drool over a piece of gear that I do not have, obsessing over how it will make my like that tiny bit better is entirely a male prerogative. This would be harmless if it was limited to window gazing and drooling. But since the advent of video sharing sites and the bandwidth to consume them this has reached an obsession. We need to know all the gear specs, what each 100s of reviewers think about it, we want to see those product shots and any videos the manufacturer may have produced. I have been guilty of this GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)* and my overflowing shelves filled to the brim with hiking gear are a scalding indictment to this guilt.
Yet over this past year, I’ve had a lot of time to muse over my hobbies, “Requirements” and obsessions and I daresay that I’ve not bought a single hiking gear all year. So much so that I have returned everything that came my way as promotions as well. So what led me to turn cold turkey on this GAS obsession? It all started with a bit of stoic philosophy that I was reading the other day ( on my Kindle which is another piece of gear that’s a must 🙂 )
This thing, what is it in itself, in its own constitution? What is its substance and material? And what is causal nature (or form)? And what is it doing in the world? And how long does it subsist? - Marcus Aurilius
So let’s get a little philosophical today and wonder on the nature of gear? What purpose does gear serve? Is buying gear an end or a purpose in itself? does it serve a higher need?
When stripped down to its essence any piece of gear is an enabler. Trekking Gear to me serves the purpose of getting me to places I want to visit. So whether that’s a winter ascent over the Dhauladhars or something as mundane as climbing the hill behind my house. My gear needs to facilitate that, safely and comfortably. While some may argue that trekking by its very nature is never about comfort, the difference between a pair of shoes that fit well vs something that chews at your toes is very real and tangible. Therefore while gear cannot be relegated to an afterthought, at the same time it is a means to an end, not the end itself.
So if I were to draw a pyramid of hierarchy gear would be at the bottom supporting the top which would be the places that I want to visit. And no, I do not mean the places I want to visit a year from now, I mean the places that I want to visit tomorrow, the next week, by the end of this month. When I put down my wanderlust in such clear terms, I shut down my browser and stop gazing at the fifth and latest pair of boots realise only to realise those 4 pair of shoes that I have and lying around in my closet will suffice for now.
P.S. And just because I’ve eschewed GAS doesn’t mean that you have to as well. But thinking about gear in this way is food for thought. Do remember that it’s your purchases (big or small) via this amazon affiliate link that helps keep this blog alive and functioning.