I must confess that as anti-materialism as I’d like to be known for, I am, for all intents and purposes, a “gearhead.” I spent hours pouring over glossy Mountain Gear catalogs back in the day when I was building my backpacking collection. I can still happily peruse the Seattle REI store for over an hour with no real agenda. Its weird, I know, but I feel at home amongst all the bear bells and emergency whistles.
Disclaimer: one does not NEED any of what I will be talking about in this post and future ones on this topic in order to appreciate and feel connected to nature. In fact, just leave it ALL behind, especially your shoes!
There are many climates and topographies that would lend themselves well to wilderness minimalism. Mountains are not one of them. Here’s my wife on her birthday, in August, wet, cold, and understandably pouty.
(Also, we had just seen a full camo-ed bear hunter disapper into the fog up a steep slope; hence the bright stocking cap and the worry about our unleashed black dog).
We haven’t gone backpacking on her birthday since.
Weather conditions can change in short order. I’ve been snowed on in summer more times than seems fair. A scourge of mosquitos or swarm of blackflies will make anyone go temporarily insane. The sun, reflecting up from the snow, can burn the inside of your nostrils. Walking through the underbrush after a rainfall will get you more soaked than if you had rode through a carwash on the hood.
Oh, and rocks can be shifty and sharp.
No doubt about it, your comfort level can quickly dip below root canal if you are not careful. And you want to be reasonably prepared for spending an unforeseen night out.
So, how exactly does one be prepared? Stay tuned for further posts on specific gear topics. Until then check out: Steep and Cheap (Just don’t make it your homepage or you’ll end up with all kinds of sh*t!)